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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 Twinbee ( 767046 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @05:49AM (#41965405) Homepage
    Students who learn piano are often taught to take breaks between practice sessions (or even just 2 half hour sessions per day instead of one single hour session). As a piano teacher myself, I've recently encouraged my own students to take 5 minutes breaks, and even 5-20 second breaks WITHIN a session to allow the subconscious mind to make more sense of a passage or scale etc. Not sure how popular this kind of technique across other teaching disciplines is.
  • by srussia ( 884021 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @06:01AM (#41965455)
    The sensory-brain system is actually an integrating machine in that it integrates time-variant functions (physical phenomena) into constants.

    For example:
    Pressure wave > sound of a certain pitch
    EM wave in the visible spectrum > color
    Heck, even an electric current > taste (We've all stuck a 9V battery on your tongue, right?)
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @07:49AM (#41965873) Journal

    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).

    Debateable. The fact that it uses numbers, rather than arbitrary symbols or letters, certainly doesn't make it some kind of arithmetic workout; but Sudoku puzzles are special cases of Latin squares, and there is(as with most puzzles that anybody cares about) active mathematical futzing with algorithms for generating puzzles, algorithms for solving them, and proofs of various things about solution sets for various variants(NxN grids, more than two dimensions, etc.)

    What I don't know is the degree to which the sudoku-solving population at large is consciously involved with this, unconsciously has latched on to some reasonably optimal algorithms but wouldn't recognize them if it saw them formalized, or is basically just plugging numbers into the Sunday paper...

  • by TuringTest ( 533084 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:31PM (#41968683) Journal

    Sudoku is not Math

    Constraint satisfaction [] begs to differ.

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