Remember When? … No, You Don’t

REminderElizabeth LoftusTEDTalk about false memory is quite the shared item lately …

The evidence continues to mount that our memories, which we continue to view as the official record of our lives, are not all they are cracked up to be.

As one of the many who tend to insist on saying things like “I remember what I said“, as though that makes my version of reality an inviolate truth to be enshrined for all time, I find the things we are learning about memory fascinating.

Memory is one of our perceptions and is similar to viewing something.  The police will always ask “Who saw what happened?” at the scene of an accident or a crime … and the lawyers will always destroy that same eye-witness testimony in court.  We are less in possession of The Truth than we are comfortable admitting. 

We remember what we think has happened …

We remember what we wish has happened …

We remember what we perceive has happened …

We just do not always remember what actually happened … Continue reading

Snake Oil …

BrainAfter one very busy week and as I slide into a very busy weekend, I have one question to ask you all:

Is it just me or is everyone pasting the word “Neuroscience” on whatever brand of snake oil they have available for purchase?

Just asking …

Personally, I am already looking forward to the time when we just talk about how we human think, feel, and act again, without the need to attach a buzzword to the discussion to make it hip.

Getting a little tired of seeing certain words in the Heartland ….


Money For Nothing … Oops, Wrong Words

“It is extraordinary to what an expense of time and money people will go in order to get something for nothing.”

Robert Wilson Lynd

I believe Mr. Lynd has hit on something here …

It really is all in our minds.

Visit any gambling establishment and watch the action for a while.  Watch people put endless streams of money into a machine and celebrate when they win a little bit of it back.

Go to the local grocery store or gas station that sells any types of lottery tickets.  Then go check the statistical odds of winning any of those lotteries versus, say getting assaulted by a one-armed person of Albanian extraction with a limp or having lightning strike your house.

Watch the action at local garage sales or the mall, especially during any holiday seasons.   Notice the amount of gas (not to mention sustaining supplies like food and drink) consumed in the quest for some really cheap thing you don’t already have at home.

We often do spend an extraordinary amount of energy, time, and even money … just to save money … or at least perceive we are saving some money.

This is why we get coupons for 25% off, rather than notices that the store is lowering its prices permanently.

However, we do have our limits:)

In “Predictably Irrational“, Dan Ariely reports on research by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky which shows we are much more likely to drive across town to save $5.00 on something when that represents a large share of the asking price than when it represents a small share.  So we happily drive across town to save $5.00 on a $25.00 purchase, but refuse to do so on a $100.00 purchase.  The mount of money saved in each case is exactly $5.00.

The amount of money saved is the same.  The perception of saving is RELATIVE to the total amount.

Apparently, our relative view will overshadow equivalency much of the time.

Where are your perceptions skewed by relative values?

What can you do about that?

Trying to view myself more accurately in the Heartland ….


Conceive and Achieve …

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”

Napoleon Hill  as quoted in Self-Motivation Through Risk Taking! : Are You Leading Or Do You Wither with Problems?(2005)    

Do you buy this?  Really?

This is a very popular quote, probably because of the optimistic tone and “Can Do” attitude.   I would bet this is on posters in scientific laboratories and think tanks all over the place.

But does this reflect reality?

I’m more aligned with Han on this one.

Luke: She’s rich. 
Han Solo: [interested] Rich? 
Luke: Rich, powerful. Listen, if you were to rescue her, the reward would be… 
Han Solo: What? 
Luke: Well, more wealth than you can imagine! 
Han Solo: I don’t know, I can imagine quite a bit.

From IMDB – Star Wars (1977) quotes

Being just a tad cynical about these ubiquitous “we can do it all” messages in the Heartland ….