Thursday, 6 March 2008

human conscious

Theres no doubt human conscious is very strange and the more you look at it the stranger it gets. Via onegoodmove comes this report of an experiment to study the effects of 'expectation' on peoples perception. Most everyone knows about the 'placebo effect' but the results of this study suggest the that effect is far greater and more pervasive that we imagine.
CIENTISTS AT CALTECH and Stanford recently published the results of a peculiar wine tasting. They provided people with cabernet sauvignons at various price points, with bottles ranging from $5 to $90. Although the tasters were told that all the wines were different, the scientists were in fact presenting the same wines at different prices.

The subjects consistently reported that the more expensive wines tasted better, even when they were actually identical to cheaper wines.

The experiment was even more unusual because it was conducted inside a scanner - the drinks were sipped via a network of plastic tubes - that allowed the scientists to see how the subjects' brains responded to each wine. When subjects were told they were getting a more expensive wine, they observed more activity in a part of the brain known to be involved in our experience of pleasure.

What they saw was the power of expectations. People expect expensive wines to taste better, and then their brains literally make it so.