Monday, January 19, 2009

Hack your brain

"Do you ever want to change the way you see the world? Wouldn't it be fun to hallucinate on your lunch break? Although we typically associate such phenomena with powerful drugs like LSD or mescaline, it's easy to fling open the doors of perception without them: All it takes is a basic understanding of how the mind works.

The first thing to know is that the mind isn't a mirror, or even a passive observer of reality. Much of what we think of as being out there actually comes from in here, and is a byproduct of how the brain processes sensation. In recent years scientists have come up with a number of simple tricks that expose the artifice of our senses, so that we end up perceiving what we know isn't real - tweaking the cortex to produce something uncannily like hallucinations. Perhaps we hear the voice of someone who is no longer alive, or feel as if our nose is suddenly 3 feet long".

Infographic - Text by Johan Lehrer, graphics by Javier Zarracina


Anonymous said...

Recommend to read "Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind" by V.S. Ramachandran.
He conducts amazing experiments attempting to treat his patients who had suffered a variety brain damage.

inken said...
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inken said...

yeah and it seems to work pretty well! just came across the so called "mirror therapy": patients suffering for example from a paralyzed hand after a stroke learn to how use it again by watching the other hand doing exercises in the mirror... seems to be a very elegant way to convince another part of the brain to take these tasks. how awesome!

thanks for the book hint Amous!