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Scientists unlocking mysteries of intuition

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posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 12:27 AM

Scientists unlocking mysteries of intuition

ATTEMPTS to manipulate consumers with subliminal messages, flashed onto movie or TV screens, once thrilled admen and panicked the public, but the furore faded when the technique failed to work.
But a study published today has given what is claimed to be the first evidence to the contrary - that our decisions can, in fact, be influenced by subconsciously-perceived cues.

An unusual experiment, recounted in the British-based journal Neuron, could go a long way to explaining the mystery of what is often called intuition, its authors say.

"Humans frequently invoke an argument that their intuition can result in a better decision than conscious reasoning. Such assertions may rely on subconscious associative learning," said lead author Mathias Pessiglione of University College London.

For example, a poker player who somehow always knows when to fold or call a bluff may be picking up on telltale signals from his opponents, using a part of his brain unrelated to conscious thought.

Previous studies have shown that people, like rats or dogs, could be conditioned to respond to unconsciously perceived stimuli. A subliminal image linked to an electrical shock, for example, will - after repeated jolts - cause a person's palms to sweat with anticipation.

But these are so-called "automatic" responses that do not involve conscious thought.

The new study is the first to show that such cues can influence deliberate choices too.

In the experiment, 11 men and nine women aged 18 to 39 were repeatedly exposed to one of two symbols sandwiched between a pair of abstract images.

The symbols flashed for only 33 or 50 milliseconds, not long enough to be consciously perceived.

After seeing each trio of images, the volunteers - told to "follow their instincts" - had the option of pressing on a button, knowing that one of the symbols corresponded to winning a euro, and the other to losing one.

About half way through each "learning session," which consisted of 120 decisions, most volunteers began to earn money, which they had been told they could keep.

On average, they made the "right" choice 63 per cent of the time, though some individuals scored far better than others.

Mr Pessiglione used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to find out what part of the brain was activated during the experiments and found that a region called the ventral striatum responded to the subliminal visual cues.

"Even without conscious processing of contextual cues, our brain can learn their reward value and use them to provide a bias on decision making," he said.

The study implies that humans may not be immune to the kind of subtle, below-the-threshold-of-awareness marketing that, in the 1950s, fired the imagination of advertising executives.

Provided they were reinforced with simultaneous rewards, subliminal advertising could probably influence some of the choices we make, Mr Pessiglione said.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 12:27 AM
I find it interesting scientists are bothering to test things like this.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 12:35 AM

Originally posted by leearco

I find it interesting scientists are bothering to test things like this.
(visit the link for the full news article)

Why? The psychology behind it is interesting, and could give us a deeper understanding to how the brain works...which could unlock all sort of things. Psychology is one of the most interesting fields if you ask me...this is just an experiment to find out something else...that will lead to yet another experiment, and so and so forth.

[edit on 1-9-2008 by yellowcard]

posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 03:51 AM
There has to be more to the human brain that remains barely tapped...

Articles like this are baby steps to maybe one day admitting that there is some merit to ESP.

Who knows?

posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 04:20 AM
reply to post by yellowcard

Sorry I wasnt clear with my post.
I meant to say that it surprised me to hear that scientists believed enough in this to test it.

posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 06:17 AM
Whats more important Pepsi is who is paying for these Ford study's. One can always follow Sony the money trail and find out McDonalds that there is an ulterior motive.

Just my thoughts.

This message brought to you by Jack in the Box.

posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 07:58 AM
reply to post by leearco

When i did the story link... i immediately wondered at the strange By Line:
Marlowe Hood in Paris it read....
seems he's a correspondent with AFP (agency of the french press)

Marlowe also seems interested in the edgy items in science,
like this story;
titled 'Theories about that eureka moment'

this little bit more information about 'intuition' does not in any way nullify my stated idea that the apparent ESP abilities of some brains are just the product of a hyper active brain working in self developed neural networks that many others willingly shut-off or do not develop because of the need for social acceptance...
it could be compared to magnitudes of 'total situational awareness' and ones' awareness of their own orientation in the galactic 'cell'

nice labor day, ya'll

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