Thursday 17 September 2009

Meaning, and surreal experiences

Towards my modest exploration into the relationship between information and meaning...
Surreal experiences boost brain power

Psychologists at the University of California - Santa Barbara and the University of British Columbia have found that exposure to surrealism, by say, reading a book by Franz Kafka or watching a film by director David Lynch, enhances the cognitive mechanisms that oversee the implicit learning functions in the brain.[...]

"The idea is that when you're exposed to a meaning threat - something that fundamentally does not make sense - your brain is going to respond by looking for some other kind of structure within your environment," said researcher Travis Proulx. [...]

Meaning, explains Proulx, is an expected association within one's environment. Fire, for example, is associated with extreme heat, and putting your hand in a flame and finding it icy cold would constitute a threat to that meaning.
(My emphasis.) I'm thinking that the 'expected association within one's environment' corresponds to my conversion of information into meaning in a trapezium. It is the 'decoding' at the receiver. A 'meaning threat' is when that decoding goes wrong.

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