Tag Archives: cosmos

Other Minds

6 Aug

A pretty neat survey was recently published: “What People Believe about How Memory Works: A Representative Survey of the U.S. Population.”  It’s freely available here, which is very awesome and very unusual.

One of my favorite simple psychological concepts (well, “simple”) is the idea of a theory of mind–very basically, the belief or understanding that other people are conscious just as you are conscious. That’s also why I find surveys really interesting: I get that other people are conscious, but I want to know precisely how their minds work.

This one is particularly great, as it compares the answers of the general public to the answers of experts on a number of propositions regarding memory.  I think my favorite is under “Permanent memory: Once you have experienced an event and formed a memory of it, that memory does not change.”

Spoiler alert: This is so, so, so very wrong based on everything we know about memory, which is admittedly not enough, but certainly enough to be fairly certain about this.  (And while we’re at it, you don’t use only 10% of your brain. You just don’t. Pretty sure you need more than 10% of your brain just to maintain the biological processes of life. Someone please make this myth go away.) Continue reading