Monday, July 11, 2011

Power of Suggestion

Found this while browsing the popular financial blog Naked Capitalism.

How do we understand what we hear and what we see ? I am always amazed by the abilities of the brain - human or otherwise. Like any programmer I compare the deterministic abilities of my own code with the seemingly indeterministic behavior of any human/animal brain, It's easy to get amazed at the speed of search and pattern recognition performed by our brains. What's truly mind-boggling (!!) is how well we handle the fuzzy, unclear and incomplete data.

This demonstration highlights that point. How a suggested frame of reference makes us see patterns that do not exist. It's kind of similar to how "preconceived notions" affect our thinking. Also similar to what is referred as "Confirmation Bias". Whatever the name might be, this demonstration is quite dramatic.

Simon Singh is a very good author. I have reviewed his books Big Bang and Fermat's Enigma. Loved them.

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