When people hear voices others can't, the prevailing scientific model describes this as psychosis due to brain abnormality, chemical imbalance, or other affliction. But scientists have now reliably induced auditory hallucinations in some people not diagnosed with psychosis.
The technique uses good old classical conditioning developed by Pavlov. They repeatedly showed four groups of subjects a grid pattern while playing a tone, then showed the grid without the tone. Many still heard the tone. The study led by Yale neuroscientist Albert Powers says:
Using functional neuroimaging and computational modeling of perception, we identified processes that differentiated voice-hearers from non–voice-hearers and treatment-seekers from non–treatment-seekers and characterized a brain circuit that mediated the conditioned hallucinations. These data demonstrate the profound and sometimes pathological impact of top-down cognitive processes on perception and may represent an objective means to discern people with a need for treatment from those without.
They conclude: "Our observations support an explanation of hallucinations based on strong perceptual priors. They suggest precision treatments for hallucinations, such as targeting cholinergically mediated priors, and interventions to mollify psychosis more broadly, such as cerebellar transcranial magnetic stimulation."
• Pavlovian conditioning–induced hallucinations result from overweighting of perceptual priors (Science)
Image: Bill Strain
Ant Lab's Adrian Smith (previously) writes, "No one had ever filmed how ants inject venom when they sting something. I study ants and I make videos, so I went to work on getting that footage. It involved filming something smaller than a human hair moving faster than the blink of an eye. But, I got […]
Just for your information, there are some very teeny and some quite enormous trees. keshitsubo grass, wheat sunflower, Apple tree Rocky Mountain Juniper, Socotra Dragon tree olive, Salix Babylonica Common Hawthorn, Southern Live oak Mediterranean cypress, Stone Pine Limber Pine, Palm tree Baldcypress, Sycamore Araucaria Araucana, Common Oak Brazil Nut, Kauri Eucalyptus, Patagonian cypress Noble […]
Above is a three-millimeter long maggot launching itself into the air for a distance of up to 36 times its body length. Researchers from Duke University and their colleagues studied how these larvae of gall midges leap between plants with the greatest of ease, even rivaling some jumping insects with legs. Their research could have […]
If your office works at all, it uses Microsoft Office. Those icons for Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook are as familiar around some workplaces as the coffee machine. So familiar, in fact, that they get taken for granted – and rarely used to their full potential. Whether you need a crash course in the essential tools […]
It’s a great time to be a maker. 3D printers are on store shelves for anyone to buy, and coder kits like Arduino and Raspberry Pi are letting kids as young as 9 or 10 dive into the Internet of Things. Here are a few examples of our favorite tech toys, all priced low enough […]
Want to make a hit? The right software is out there for anyone, but any music producer will tell you that finding the right sound can still take time and talent. Still, the right tools are a great shortcut, which makes this Synth & Sound Pack Bundle absolutely priceless. And now that it’s on sale […]