Two studies on instruments reading or affecting brain states

Science is getting closer to using instruments to accurately determine brain states and/or affect them.

One recent study deals with the cruder outlines of tone of voice— happiness, sadness, or fear—showing that the way we process our own tone of voice is probably the same as the way we process other people’s tones of voice.

From the abstract:

…our result reinforces the wider framework of self-perception theory: that we often use the same inferential strategies to understand ourselves as those that we use to understand others.  (Covert digital manipulation of vocal emotion alter speakers’ emotional states in a congruent direction)

Additionally, this study shows that we are affected by our own tones of voice without being consciously aware of that. If you want to cheer up, speak more cheerfully and it will affect you as well as others, though obviously this can be taken too far.

The other study, which was conducted on people undergoing neurosurgery, shows that

…continuous auditory representations… could be accurately reconstructed from measured neural signals. (Reconstructing Speech from Human Auditory Cortex)

Symbolic behavior in animals

Here is a story about a cat who “hunts” socks and shorts instead of birds and mice.

Brigit has collected 50 pairs of socks and likes to steal them in pairs.

Besides making for a cute story, this behavior is probably a very basic form of symbolic behavior, where clothing items replace prey.

These items symbolize or “stand in for” normal prey and by so doing redirect hunting instincts into the realm of signs, symbols, semiotics.

The ability to use signs and symbols is fundamental to complex communication.

Could It Happen Here?

The Donald Trump phenomenon is amazing. I’ve never seen such enthusiasm for a politician—ever. His rallies are overflowing with emotion. This scares a lot of people because it conjures up images of populism, and even fascism. There’s something about crowds of cheering White people that terrifies America’s elites, especially when the speaker is criticizing their long-standing immigration policies.

We have become inured to an arrangement in which major party candidates are vetted by the media and the donor class before being put up for election. It’s a top-down system that more resembles an oligarchy than a democracy. Donald Trump has not been vetted. (Source)