balances in stress responses

In her interesting book, The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions, Esther Sternberg describes how the brain’s hormonal stress response balances susceptibility to inflammatory and infectious diseases.   Stress stimulates hormones that repress immune cell functions that cause inflammation. Hence a rat strain that reacts more to stress is less susceptible to a … Continue reading balances in stress responses

multisensory processing

Multisensory processing in primates, like information processing on the Internet, is extensively decentralized. A recent neuroscience review article declared: The pervasiveness of multisensory influences on all levels of cortical processing compels us to reconsider thinking about neural processing in unisensory terms. Indeed, the multisensory nature of most, possibly all, of the neocortex forces us to … Continue reading multisensory processing

economics of social attention

Persons like to look at photographs of pretty girls and pretty boys. Taking objectification to a higher level, rigorous experimental testing (using photographs from Hot or Not, re-rated in a controlled laboratory procedure) has established that subjects discount the value of looking across time and trade money and work for viewing opportunities. These behavioral patterns … Continue reading economics of social attention

sensory economics: cheaper is better

Experimental studies indicate that persons rate images that they process more fluently as more aesthetically pleasing: We propose that aesthetic pleasure is a function of the perceiver’s processing dynamics: The more fluently perceivers can process an object, the more positive their aesthetic response. We review variables known to influence aesthetic judgments, such as figural goodness, … Continue reading sensory economics: cheaper is better

more empirical evidence on making sense

Brain effects are communicative goods. A recent study found common effects among reading and seeing actions: Participants observed actions and read phrases relating to foot, hand, or mouth actions. In the premotor cortex of the left hemisphere, a clear congruence was found between effector-specific activations of visually presented actions and of actions described by literal … Continue reading more empirical evidence on making sense

sensory ecology

The PicturePhone was a spectacular failure in the U.S. in the early 1970s. Many factors contributed to the PicturePhone’s flop. It required significant up-front equipment expenditure coordinated across users. It was expensive to use. It was bulky. It highly constrained the bodily position of users: compared to the PicturePhone, the fixed line phone of that … Continue reading sensory ecology