Vale Chris Cornell

For me the human voice in song is one of life’s greatest pleasures. For synaesthetes enjoyable experiences are often coloured. Many but not all voices of popular singers have specific colours, in my experience: men’s voices typically brown, women’s red, baritones deep brown, counter-tenors and falsetto yellows and whites, harsh Italian tenors shining gold, but there was only ever for me one orange singing voice – that of Chris Cornell, the late singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave fame. Orange is the colour of experiences that are so intense that they are close to painful.

Not holding my breath waiting for driverless cars

“Reliably recognising what mental states are encoded in facial expressions or bodily movements is way beyond even cutting-edge tech.”

Ong, Sandy Give your car a conscience: Why driverless cars need morals. New Scientist. January 7th 2017.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23331050-300-how-to-make-a-moral-car/

 

Stephen Fry doppelganger in here?

And another politician/celebrity doppelganger pair

Where have I seen that slightly unhinged, cheesy, sometimes grimacing smile? Oh oui!

Oooo-ooo-ooo-ooo!

Looks like I’m not the only librarian

who has been screwed-over by Frontiers:

http://www.nature.com/news/controversial-website-that-lists-predatory-publishers-shuts-down-1.21328

Beall-listed Frontiers empire strikes back

http://www.nature.com/news/backlash-after-frontiers-journals-added-to-list-of-questionable-publishers-1.18639

 

Mind the hype about AI and machine learning

I’m an advocate of the use and hiring of super-recognizers in various work roles and tasks that involve face memory or face recognition, but there are lots of people, some with personal interests and some without, who believe that technology can or will do a better job than humans can. The interesting articles below are probably worth a read if you have an interest in new technology relevant to face processing.

Hooker, Giles Machine learning: What journalists need to know. Sense About Science USA. March 22 2017.

http://www.senseaboutscienceusa.org/machine-learning-journalists-need-know/

Reese, Hope Top 10 AI failures of 2016. TechRepublic. December 2, 2016.

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/top-10-ai-failures-of-2016

 

Does fascinating advice from a super-polyglot utilize a psychological effect unknown to science?

Tell me about your key technique for learning a new language, and how it works

I call it shadowing. I shadow the audio of the target language by listening to it through earphones and speaking along with it as fast as I possibly can. I’ve found the best way to do this is while walking outdoors as swiftly as possible, maintaining a perfectly upright posture and speaking loudly. [and he goes on to further discuss]

Hooper, Rowan You had me at halla. New Scientist. Issue 3110 January 28 2017 p.42-43.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23331100-800-i-could-speak-a-different-language-every-week-for-a-year/

This is advice from Alexander Arguelles, who can speak around 50 languages, so it is definitely advice to take seriously. The part of the advice that interests me is the walking fast with an upright posture. This implies that bodily perceptions or perceptions of the position/location of the body in space, and movement, are important in boosting learning. This part of the advice fits in nicely with a phenomenon that I’ve described in at least one previous post in this blog, years ago, in which vection or actual physical bodily movement through space (in the form of walking outdoors while looking around) seems to evoke a cascade of thought, or somehow add fluency or speed to the normal train of thought (which could be described as the stream of consciousness or daydreaming). This effect is important to me (a super-recognizer synaesthete in a family that seems to have a gene for ease of learning languages and spelling) because I’ve found that when walking or driving a vehicle I get useful and creative and novel ideas that don’t happen when I’m not doing such activities. I also find that taking a shower (indoors!) has a similar effect, and I think the link to the outdoor activities is that parts of the brain that deal with bodily movement and visual-spatial perception are activated. I’ve observed that outdoor visual perception of movement through space or actual movement seem to promote thought or creativity, while it appears that Mr Arguelles has observed that this kind of experience promotes learning. As I’m a synaesthete who is interested in synaesthesia (specifically types involving visual memory and links between visual memory and conceptual thinking) I’ve suggested that this is actually a type of synaesthesia – experiences as one type of stimuli (visual-spatial) triggering or promoting, inside the brain, experiences of a very different type (language learning, combining discrete abstract concepts in thought). I don’t adhere to the idea that there’s a very sharp demarcation between synaesthetes and non-synaesthetes, but nevertheless, I’d be very interested to know whether Mr Arguelles is a synaesthete. Certainly there’s lots of evidence linking synaesthesia with superior memory, which a super-learner such as Mr Arguelles must surely possess.

Is the effect that I’ve identified and described embodied cognition? Is it a type of synaesthesia, enjoyed only by a minority of the population? Is it both? Neither? Has it already been described and named in the scientific literature? I don’t know. Does it need a name of it’s own? Visual-spatial stimuli-boosted cognition?

New Statesman article about supers from last year

Rice, Xan The super-recognisers of Scotland Yard. New Statesman. August 2 2016.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/08/super-recognisers-scotland-yard

 

Lorde and other top musicians see music in colour

Yes, it is synaesthesia. No it ISN’T a disorder, or bizarre, or cross-wiring, or an affliction…..

The New Daily  journalist does indeed very much deserve to have his article bombarded by angry comments from offended synaesthetes. It isn’t clear why he is reporting this story now as it appears that Lorde having synaesthesia is old news from 2015. Interesting anyway.

http://thenewdaily.com.au/entertainment/music/2017/04/28/lorde-synesthesia-music/

http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/do-you-have-synaesthesia-a-look-at-the-condition-that-means-lorde-sees-sound-in-colour-14639

http://www.musictimes.com/articles/51099/20151017/lorde-reveals-wanted-comedian-tumblr-q.htm

 

 

Openness personality trait linked to interesting variant of visual perception

I feel as though they are talking about me (and no that isn’t paranoia).

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092656617300338

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2127804-creative-people-physically-see-and-process-the-world-differently/