18 May 2011

The grand delusion: Why nothing is as it seems

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Delusion
This might come as a shock, but everything you think is wrong. Much of what you take for granted about day-to-day existence is largely a figment of your imagination. From your senses to your memory, your opinions and beliefs, how you see yourself and others and even your sense of free will, things are not as they seem. The power these delusions hold over you is staggering, yet, as Graham Lawton discovers and reports in The New Scientist, they are vital to help you function in the world.

What you see is not what you get
Your senses are your windows on the world, and you probably think they do a fair job at capturing an accurate depiction of reality. Don’t kid yourself.

Blind to bias
Do you see the world through a veil of prejudice and self-serving hypocrisies? Or is it just other people who do that?

Head full of half-truths
One of the most important components of your self-identity – your autobiographical memory – is little more than an illusion.

Egotist, moi?
Most drivers think they’re better than average. Most people think they’re less likely to have an inflated self-opinion than average. See the problem?

Who’s in control?
The more we learn about the brain, the less plausible it becomes that we have free will.

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For when things get personal…
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