Do Our Senses Reveal the World—Or Do They Obscure It?

Our brains didn't evolve to see the world accurately, we only perceive what is useful and apply meaning to it. Neuroscientist Beau Lotto shows us how the sausage of reality is made.

We know the world exists, we just don’t know what it actually looks like—and it's likely that we never will, says neuroscientist Beau Lotto. Humans can only access reality, whatever it may be, through the filter of our sensory organs, which interpret "inherently meaningless" data in ways that are useful for our survival. We don't see the world as it is, we see the world that helps us to live. It can be a concept that's hard to wrap your mind around: how is that chair not as I see it? What color is an apple, really? Lotto calls on two clarifying examples: "Dressgate", which blew people's minds in 2015 and exposed that perception is not objective, and the color spectrum, of which we only see a small slice of. Beau Lotto is the author of Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently.

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The Key to Reversing Autism May Be in the Microbiome

Part of the rise in autism is due to better diagnosis, but Dr. Emeran Mayer thinks it's something in our environment, and within us, that has played a role in causing this increase.

The genetic risk for autism has always existed, but in the last 40 years the prevalence has risen dramatically – and not in any one location, but across all developed nations. Many researchers are looking to identify the trigger and, as a gastroenterologist and neurologist, Dr. Emeran Mayer is following the trail of evidence that points to the microbial composition of the digestive system and its relationship to the brain. The gut microbes of those with autism differs from people who aren’t on the autism spectrum, but so far many of the studies have not been sufficient to draw solid results. Dr. Mayer runs through one of the more compelling studies and explains how a yet unapproved strain of probiotic may be the answer to the decreasing the incidence of autism in the future. Dr. Emeran Mayer's most recent book is The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health.

Dr Emeran Mayer's most recent book is The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health

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The Surprising Symmetry of Brains on the Autism Spectrum

MRI study finds brains of ASD subjects are more symmetrical than typical brains, which makes sense.

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Researchers Set Up 'Candid Camera' To Test People's Empathy and Altruism

When you see a stranger in some kind of hardship, how do you react? Researchers carried out a rare study in a real-life setting to assess the relationship between empathy and altruism. 

People remain at the beach near two corpses after the collapse of a bicycle track in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo: CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

When you see a stranger in some kind of hardship, how do you react? What goes through your mind when you consider whether to help this person? Researchers, led by psychologist Richard Bethlehem of the University of Cambridge, carried out a rare study in a real-life setting, and found that your level of empathy is related to your altruism and whether you'd get involved in a stranger's problem.

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