Do animals see the world the way we do?

We can't ask them, so scientists have devised an experiment.

Credit: sebastiangora/Roxana/Adobe Stock/Big Think
  • Humans have the capacity for conscious awareness of our visual world.
  • While all sighted animals respond to visual stimuli, we don't know if any of them consciously take note of what they're seeing in the way that we do.
  • Researchers from Yale have devised experiments that suggest that rhesus monkeys share this ability.

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​Dyson spheres: The key to resurrection and immortality?

Creating an afterlife—or a simulation of one—would take vast amounts of energy. Some scientists think the best way to capture that energy is by building megastructures around stars.

Credit: Kevin Gill via Flickr
  • In a 2018 paper, researchers Alexey Turchin and Maxim Chernyakov published a paper outlining various ways humans might someday be able to achieve immortality or resurrection.
  • One way involves creating a simulated afterlife, in which artificial intelligence would build simulations of past human lives.
  • Getting the necessary power for the simulation might require building a Dyson sphere, which is a theoretical megastructure that orbits a star and captures its energy.
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Pigs proven intelligent enough to play video games

They did really well considering joysticks are not designed for oral use.

Credits: Candace Croney, Eston Martz at Pennsylvania State University/Frontiers Science News
  • A quartet of porcine subjects at the Purdue Center for Animal Welfare Science learned to play a simple video game.
  • All of the pigs scored well at the games' hardest level.
  • Gaming skills were improved with human verbal and tactile encouragement.
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BDSM therapy: Are there therapeutic and relational benefits to being submissive?

In-depth research suggests BDSM practitioners can experience altered states of consciousness that can be therapeutic.

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  • BDSM is an acronym encompassing a variety of sexual practices that include: bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism. The practice of BDSM usually consists of partners taking on specific roles in which one partner is dominant and the other is submissive.
  • BDSM practitioners (individuals who frequently engage in BDSM play) can experience various mental health benefits from engaging in their scenes.
  • According to the research, subspace is often characterized by the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, the release of epinephrine and endorphins, and a subsequent period of non-verbal, deep relaxation.
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What is the ‘self’? The 3 layers of your identity.

Answering the question of who you are is not an easy task. Let's unpack what culture, philosophy, and neuroscience have to say.

  • Who am I? It's a question that humans have grappled with since the dawn of time, and most of us are no closer to an answer.
  • Trying to pin down what makes you you depends on which school of thought you prescribe to. Some argue that the self is an illusion, while others believe that finding one's "true self" is about sincerity and authenticity.
  • In this video, author Gish Jen, Harvard professor Michael Puett, psychotherapist Mark Epstein, and neuroscientist Sam Harris discuss three layers of the self, looking through the lens of culture, philosophy, and neuroscience.
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