thinking is dangerous


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I know, you know

From Nature: Web users judge sites in the blink of an eye

We all know that first impressions count, but this study shows that the brain can make flash judgements almost as fast as the eye can take in the information. The discovery came as a surprise to some experts. "My colleagues believed it would be impossible to really see anything in less than 500 milliseconds," says Gitte Lindgaard of Carleton University in Ottawa, who has published the research in the journal Behaviour and Information Technology. Instead they found that impressions were made in the first 50 milliseconds of viewing.

Lindgaard and her team presented volunteers with the briefest glimpses of web pages previously rated as being either easy on the eye or particularly jarring, and asked them to rate the websites on a sliding scale of visual appeal. Even though the images flashed up for just 50 milliseconds, roughly the duration of a single frame of standard television footage, their verdicts tallied well with judgements made after a longer period of scrutiny.

So I'm reading a conference paper on Andy Clark's extended mind hypothesis. The argument offered against Clark is that we know our internal states with an immediacy that is absent in his extended examples, which involve perception of external devices and are thereby open to sabotage and deception in ways the internal awareness is not. Clark's reponse, at least according to the paper, is to say that we do sometimes treat perception like immediate internal awareness. Phenomena like change blindness occur because we think perception is so reliable in the normal case. The paper then proceeds to argue that this response isn't convincing, and tries to defend Clark from other angles.

I think Clark is right, though grossly individualistic, but this study presents a rather striking validation of his argument. Not only do we judge the quality of these pages almost immediately, but we do it in much, much less time than it takes to perform a full cogntive act of perception. In fact, it raises the possibility, which I am somewhat convinced by, that perhaps Clark has the whole thing backwards- external perceptions might not just be structurally similar to internal endorsements, but rather, the majority of our internal endorsements might simply be some extension of these external processes of judgement. If thats the case, then Clark's thesis should be inverted: the mind doesn't extend into the world so much as the world extends into the mind. Our reliance on external devices is not the exception; its the rule.

And but so anyway I included a creepy picture in this post for to manipulate your instantaneous judgment.
19:42 :: :: eripsa :: permalink