Consciousness and how it got to be that way

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why Does Music Seem Faster During Semi-Conscious States?

This morning someone in a nearby home decided to treat everyone to Joan Jett's I Love Rock and Roll at 8:30 in the morning. Laying there half-asleep and annoyed at the disturbance, I noticed how fast the song seemed. This is consistent with my memories of listening to music during breakfast in high school. Songs that seemed pretty peppy during breakfast seemed almost plodding if I listened to them in the afternoon. Why would this be? And how could we objectively measure the subjective experience of tempo to investigate this effect? For this purpose, introspection is a hard sell.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Step Forward In the Binding Problem: Attribute Pairs

A set of simple binocular-conflict experiments gives results strongly suggesting that we chain together sets of attribute pairs in order to bind together aspects of visible input into a coherent experience.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Finite Universe Must Contain Finite Information

I've recently been criticized for not using quantum computing arithmetic in my meaningless arithmetic post. I assumed that the amount of "stuff" in the universe amounted to rougly 10^80, using fundamental particles. Berkenstein and Schiffer* put a limit on quantum information in the universe at 10^122. Fine. In fact, let's say that even the various quantum computing cheerleaders are all hopelessly narrow-minded and we aren't even near the real upper limit. There is still an upper limit. The point is this: the amount of possible information about a finite universe (and therefore encodable by the universe) is also finite. It must be, if reality exists at all.

*Jacob Bekenstein and Marcelo Schiffer, "Quantum Limitations on the Storage and Transmission of Information", International Journal of Modern Physics v1, pp. 355-422, 1990.