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Math Science

Evidence for Unconscious Math, Language Processing Abilities 168

the_newsbeagle writes "It's hard to determine what the unconscious brain is doing since, after all, we're not aware of it. But in a neat set of experiments, researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's consciousness lab found evidence that the unconscious brain can parse language and perform simple arithmetic. The researchers flashed colorful patterns at test subjects that took up all their attention and allowed for the subliminal presentation of sentences or equations. In the language processing experiment, researchers found that subjects became consciously aware of a sentence sooner if it was jarring and nonsensical (like, for example, the sentence 'I ironed coffee')."
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Evidence for Unconscious Math, Language Processing Abilities

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  • by fph il quozientatore ( 971015 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @06:25AM (#41965535)
    Sudoku is not Math. It's something that happens to have numbers in it (but they could be any other kind of symbols, and it would work in exactly the same way).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:34AM (#41966463)

    Bullshit. Mod this guy down, why this is +4 informative is beyond me. I am doing a PhD in pure math and I would say Sudoku is definately maths. Maths is nothing more than logic puzzles, the use of numbers of whatever symbols is irrelevant. Numbers are just one kind of placeholder for something abstract and there are obviously many other mathematical placeholders available. I have written papers where only one or two numbers are written per page. Maths is nothing more than the consistent and rigorous application of well-defined rules of logic to reach a conclusion, and its hard to see one single reason why Sudoku should fail to be math. This is more than just a philosophical statement. Maths is not a spectator sport but something actively done, and I am pretty sure that the exact same part of my brain that solves a pure math problem is the part used to solve Sudoku, because the same part gets tired from this kind of mental exercise.

    OTOH applied math can be different, and doing it *feels* different and probably uses the brain in a slightly different way. I think what you meant to say is Sudoku is not engineering, which is a fairly trivial claim.

  • Re:So, (Score:5, Informative)

    by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:15PM (#41968483)

    No, epilepsy is a "cascade reaction" in the cortex. Basically, a cluster of neurons, (usually in the visual cortex), gets overloaded with rapidly changing stimulus, and continues to activate after the stimulus ends. This "noise" activity spreads through the cortex from the site of origin, like a ripple on a lake. The activated region remains hyperstimulated until the neurons temporarily shut down.

    In many epileptics, they experience visual hallucenations of very complex black and white patterns. (sometimes with vivid colors) these hallucenations quickly overwhelm them, and their whole brain gets overloaded, and then enters a quiescent state for awhile. (unconciousness.) The state of hyperstimulation is the seizure, and is what causes the convulsions. []

    Essentially, their brain goes haywire for awhile, until the neurons become exhausted from cycling their ion pumps, and shut down. after this sedate period, normal activity can resume, since the anomalous internal stimulation will have abated.

    Even epileptics can have such seizures, if the proper stimulus is provided.

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!