You believe in angels, or the saints or that there’s such a thing as a state of grace. And you believe it. But it’s got nothing to do with reality. It’s just an idea.

Psychologists investigating the well-being of patients with an acquired brain injury (ABI) have documented a curious phenomenon, whereby the more serious a person’s brain injury, the higher their self-reported life-satisfaction.

{ BPS | Continue reading }

When we look at the world around us, we feel that we are seeing it as it is. Most of the time, we are — but not because our visual system perceives the world precisely as it is. Rather, our visual system makes informed guesses about the contents of the world based on the compressed signal projected onto our eyes. And, for most practical purposes, those guesses are pretty good. Moreover, this “guessing” system work so seamlessly that we rarely notice any discrepancy between our guesses and reality. Only when we “break” the system can we reveal these default assumptions.

My 7-minute long talk at TEDxUIUC in February 2011 explains why we have to break the visual system to understand how it works.

{ Daniel Simons | Watch the video }

related { Sean Penn faced skepticism when he arrived last year with no medical expertise and no N.G.O. experience, but he has built one of the most efficient aid outfits in Haiti today. | NY Times | full story }