Pareidolia in Your Pocket

Virtually everyone who carries a cellphone with a vibrating mode in that handy pocket regularly experiences "phantom phone vibrations"(estimates are as high as 90%). Also called, a little frivolously, "ring-xiety", "hypovibrochondria", and "fauxcellarm", the phenomenon has been the subject of considerable speculation for several years.  Apparently, too, the syndrome is at its highest amongst the younger crowd–including IB students--and amongst those who have an emotional connection with the use of their cell phone. It is a striking reminder that pareidolia—the inclination ...

“The eye sees only….”

Ongoing research on the eye gives fresh meaning to an idea that runs right through TOK – literally most relevant to sense perception, but metaphorically to confirmation bias (WOK intuition) of all kinds. This 3-minute video on the way the brain anticipates changes in the visual field takes as its opening a quotation from French philosopher Henri Bergson: “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” This quick, clear video raises knowledge questions about our screening of the world, involving selective attention and ...

TOK and mathematics: how not to be wrong?

"As it develops, mathematics moves both towards the abstractions of the mind, and also towards the connection with the world."  Thus begins the section on "Pure and Applied Mathematics" in the ToK Course Companion.  (p. 357).  The nature of the relationship between the abstract nature of mathematics and "the world" is one of several issues examined in a new book on mathematics by University of Wisconsin mathematician (and "maths journalist") Jordan Ellenberg.  In How Not to Be Wrong: The Power ...