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Thursday, February 01, 2007

jumping to conclusions

From This is Your Brain on Music, The Science of Human Obsession by Daniel Levitin I find this quote worthy:
... Our perceptual system completes or "fills in" information that isn't there. Why does it do this? Our best guess is that it was evolutionary adaptive to do so. Much of what we see and hear contains missing information. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors might have seen a tiger partially hidden by the trees, or heard a lion's roar partly obscured by the sound of leaves rustling much closer to us. Sounds and sights often come to us as partial information that has been obscured by other things in the environment. A perceptual system that can restore missing information would help us make quick decisions in threatening situations. Better to run now than sit and wait to figure out if it those two separate, broken pieces of sound were part of a single lion roar.
We need to be aware of our senses and brain processing to provide a "complete" story when in fact it may be based upon incomplete data that has been "filled in".

One could jump to a conclusion that would not be valid if the information had been filled in.

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