Why AI Lags Behind the Human Brain in Computational Power
It might be more accurate to think of many of the brain’s 10 billion neurons as being deep networks, with five to eight layers in each one.
Why Your Sleeping Brain Replays New Rewarding Experiences
It turned out that, yes, the participants’ brains revealed they were doing a kind of “neural replay” of the game they had been manipulated to win.Illustration by Kateryna Kon / Shutterstock During this Olympics, I’ve been rooting for Kelleigh Ryan, who is on the women’s foil team. She’s from Ottawa, where I live. Whenever she […]
Do We Have Free Will? Maybe It Doesn’t Matter
It’s hard to change people’s beliefs about free will. So, it can feel like a relief to realize that even when you can change people’s beliefs, it seems to make no moral difference anyway.Illustration by Triff / Shutterstock Belief is a special kind of human power. Agustin Fuentes, an anthropologist at the University of Notre […]
What If You Could Describe Your Dreams While Dreaming?
The potential to hack our dreams opens a new frontier for mental research.
Can You Treat Loneliness By Creating an Imaginary Friend?
Tulpamancers imagine talking to the tulpa, sometimes for more than an hour a day, and eventually, perhaps after several months, the tulpa will start talking back.Photo Illustration by LeaDigszammal / Shutterstock Did you ever have an imaginary friend? If you didn’t, chances are you know someone who did. Imaginary companions, as scholars call them, are […]
Most of the Mind Can’t Tell Fact from Fiction
Even after you understand how an illusion operates, it continues to fool part of your mind. This is the kind of double knowledge we have when we consume fiction.Photograph by KieferPix / Shutterstock Stories, fiction included, act as a kind of surrogate life. You can learn from them so seamlessly that you might believe you […]
We Aren’t Selfish After All
In turbulent times, people go from “me” thinking to “we” thinking.
The Neural Similarities Between Remembering and Imagining
The act of recalling something that happened to you looks very much like what happens when you imagine something new.Photograph by HBRH / Shutterstock Imagine a living room. Not yours or your friend’s or one you saw in a home makeover show, but one purely from your imagination—perhaps your ideal living room. You should have […]