Cognitive Scientist Donald Hoffman: Do we Experience the World as it Really is … or as we Need it to be?


We see the world as we are, or do we? Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman explores the relationship between our brain and our conscious experiences, such as how we experience the taste of chocolate or the feeling of velvet.

This is not a recent mystery, Says Hoffman:

In 1868, Thomas Huxley wrote, How it is that anything so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about as the result of irritating nervous tissue is just as unaccountable as the appearance of the genie when Aladdin rubbed his lamp.

Huxley knew that brain activity and conscious experiences are correlated, but he didn’t know why. To the science of his day, it was a mystery. In the years since Huxley, science has learned a lot about brain activity, but the relationship between brain activity and conscious experiences is still a mystery. Why? Why have we made so little progress?

While neuroscientists have made considerable progress in documenting what happens in the brain, we are still grappling with fundamental questions of whether what we see is real or just perceived:

Once we let go of our massively intuitive but massively false assumption about the nature of reality, it opens up new ways to think about life’s greatest mystery. I bet that reality will end up turning out to be more fascinating and unexpected than we’ve ever imagined.

The theory of evolution presents us with the ultimate dare: Dare to recognize that perception is not about seeing truth

Yet the theory that perception is like reality and reality is like our perceptions is false. Our progress is in recognizing it. Watch the full talk, including a Q&A with Chris Anderson below.


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Conversation Agent – Valeria Maltoni


Cognitive Recognition in Social Media


social media

Social media marketing is the driving force in most bloggers’ strategy. You’re probably posting to social media every day, using your blog links as bait to lure the reader to your site in some form or fashion. But, for some reason it may not be working…

There are a lot of things happening behind the scenes in your social media marketing.  Relationships need to be built on social media, and a lot of people really don’t dive that deep into this sort of stuff, because you can find lots of articles about how to do the same old things over and over again.

Yet there are no definitive answers for the solution of social media marketing.

Psychology of Social Media Marketing

In my last post on social media updating and the brain I noted you only have 8 seconds or less to drive traffic to your site from your update.

You may think that’s not enough, but it’s actually more than enough time to drive traffic from your updates.

You have a great blog, but perhaps no one knows about it yet. That’s the way it was for me anyway. You’ve got to entice them through your updates before you can show them how great your content actually is.

The series begins…

First things first, cognitive recognition is “that which comes to be known, as through perception, reasoning, or intuition; knowledge.”

It’s as if you are making readers recognize you through something you say in your update. I formerly introduced focused attention and the truth behind the way people function when they get on social platforms. It’s like their brain changes gears and they are in a “go fast” mode, which in turn, is the reason why you’ve only got 8 seconds to retain cognitive recognition in your social media updates.

Why Social Media Marketing Isn’t Working

You’re probably converging with the reader, but may not be capitalizing on it too well because your wording isn’t correct.

Just posting links to build your social media marketing isn’t going to be good enough if you want to build your business, grow your social following, and potentially drive more traffic. You’ve got to branch out and find something that is different. Something that no one else is doing. Something that is going to make you stand out from the crowd.  Some people would call this finding your voice, or building authority through originality, but as a matter of fact, it’s just simply a good marketing practice to do.

Making Cognitive Recognition Work in Social Media Marketing

Cognition means to make yourself recognizable through some sort of awareness, perception, and reasoning.  When you employ cognitive recognition to your fans on social media you are literally showing their brain what is good.

The psychological description in the APA says cognition is:

 Choices are made regarding the environment and permitted action that lead to a formed experience.

The psychological definition of attention is “A state of focused awareness on a subset of the available perceptual information.”  A lot of emphasis should be placed on reticular formation and focused attention when someone comes to social media.  The key function of attention is to discriminate between irrelevant data and filter it out, enabling the desired data to be distributed to the other mental processes.

What you are trying to do is to get them to recognize with cognition that your update is important.  How to do this?  Well it first starts out with writing great content.

Some have a hard time finding interesting things to post. There are helpful tools that can help you with writing great starter titles that really grab attention.

This is just one bullet you can use in an array of elements to drive traffic and create recognition.  Typically cognition is when you are known to show people an awareness in your updates by creating this type of social interaction when you post.

Attention is what you’re wanting and these people have no idea that you’re important yet. One way to jolt them out of their focused attention is to generate titles that break them out of their same old routine.

Your Social Media Marketing

Social marketing is a big deal.  However, most people tend to mess up their social media marketing when it comes to driving traffic to their site.  Understanding what makes people tick and what is the better update to use in which situation will determine how much traffic you actually get from your social update.  The content in your blog, while very important, it’s only part of a larger scale to get the reader to your site.  If you’re not working with a lot of people in the first place, then you’ve got to drive these people to your site so they can actually see your great content.

The Solution

Start writing content that will help people. Sometimes it helps to start back at square one. If you’re not getting the success you desire, it could be that there’s a problem back home. The second thing is to interact on social media and start building trust with your followers. There’s a thing called too much “push” on social media and that can pose a problem with some people. You have to learn how to lead your followers and before the push can happen trust has to be made.

There’s a popular quote, “Success on social media is simply showing up.” While I agree with that statement, as it describes being consistent every day, I would add one other thing. Post epic content that you can be proud of while you’re on social.

About the Author:

Wade Harman

This monthly Social Media Psychology column is contributed by Wade Harman. Wade is a full time blogger and social media psychology expert. He earned a Cognitive Psychotherapy graduate degree in 2000, and he now uses that knowledge to research and develop social media strategies and methods that create action and emotion in the reader. Wade can show you how to spark an emotional reaction, get the reader’s attention, and create action that drives traffic to your site through social media.

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