(Apologies for light news posting. Staff moonlighting. Back this evening.)
In an otherwise workmanlike story on false memories, we encounter the following passage:
According to another researcher, the errors the human brain makes can sometimes serve a useful purpose.
Sergio Della Sala, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Edinburgh, UK, says it can be thought of in the following way. Imagine you are in the jungle and you see some grass moving. Humans are likely to panic and run away, with the belief that there could be a tiger lurking.
A computer, however, might deduce that 99% of the time, it is simply the wind. If we behaved like the computer, we would be eaten the one time a tiger was present.
This of course has nothing to do with false memory, nor is the caution most people display under the circumstances described in the story an example of error. Nor would it be seen to be such if we didn’t somehow have to drag “evolution” into the story, whether it makes any sense or not.
Maybe we should start calling that “emptying Darwin’s wastebasket.”
Embedded in this recent story is a vid of what happened when a guy tried getting really close to grizzly bears (hey, no one gets hurt, but you see why great caution around large wild animals is not an example of error and never ill-advised).
Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose