Brownian thought space

Cognitive science, mostly, but more a sometimes structured random walk about things.

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Location: Rochester, United States

Chronically curious モ..

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The infinite power of language (PG17)

The Park Bench Back Alley Bar off Park Ave is a great place to hang out for it's nice mix of peoples. And the occasional wacky piece of conversation: Guy 1: So do you speak other languages? Guy 2: Yeah, Hebrew. Guy 1: So say something in Hebrew. Guy 2: Like what? Guy 1: Say "come sit on my lap and do me a dance" Guy 2: ... Guy 1: Can't you translate that? Guy 2: We don't say such things. Guy 1: Weird. In English, I can say pretty much anything that I can think of, even if I've never said it before. Folk psychology, at least of the gentle folk of the Park Bench Back Alley Bar, would appear to support a very algebraic, mentalistic version of the language faculty :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Food and synesthesia

The Psychology Press has an interesting (though meagre) podcast, with interviews of interesting people from psychology. The first one, with Jamie Ward, talked about synesthesia (a field in which he is an expert). At one point, he talks about how eating is such a multisensory experience.

And recently, I saw Ratatouille (which for me marked a come-back of better Disney films (ok, backed by Pixar animations animation) with a strong storyline). In this film, Remy, the rat-protagonist and food lover describes at one point how different flavors create different sensations; and how combining flavors makes markedly different sensations. Interestingly, when he is shown experiencing these sensations, one sees music and color patterns swirl around him - the rat is a food synesthete!

Monday, September 03, 2007


Puffball mushrooms - the spores are inside the ball-shaped sac, and any mechanical disturbance causes a spray of spores to puff out of the top. Shot at the Adirondacks range, upstate NY, (c) me