研究快报:后发制人的神经学依据与概率论统治生活

你是否注意到好莱坞西部片中,第一个拔出枪的牛仔通常是第一个被击倒的?诺贝尔奖获得者、物理学家玻尔(Niels Bohr)便注意到了,他曾经安排了一个模拟决斗去测试其有效性。研究人员现在证实,如果一个人确认另一个人要采取行动,那么他的反应速度能快于那个率先行动的人。 玻尔当时对好莱坞的诠释很不服气:为什么后发制人的好牛仔,却总是能赢得胜利。对于此种后发制人的现象,物理学家解释是大脑应对威胁的反应速度比有意采取行动时的速度要快得多。英国布里斯托尔大学的实验心理学家Andrew Welchman的团队在实验室中模拟枪手对决,让成对的志愿者在计算机主机上按特定的次序按下三个按钮,以期击败对手。研究人员观察到,与对手第一个按下按钮到完成整个过程所需时间相比,后一个人的手从按下第一个按钮到按下最后一个按钮所需时间缩短了7%。Welchman推测,为帮助人类处理危机,大脑反应系统已发生了进化。报告发表在《英国皇家学会学报B》上。

 

The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives (Unabridged)

By Leonard Mlodinow                         Narrated by Sean Pratt                       Gildan Media Corp
Length:  9 hrs and 19 mins    Audible Release Date  2008

Summary

In this irreverent and illuminating audiobook, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, chance, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.

The rise and fall of your favorite movie star or the most reviled CEO – in fact, all our destinies – reflects chance as much as planning and innate abilities. Even Roger Maris, who beat Babe Ruth’s single season home-run record, was in all likelihood not great but just lucky.

How could it have happened that a wine was given five out of five stars by one journal and called the worst wine of the decade by another? Wine ratings, school grades, political polls, and many other things in daily life are less reliable than we believe. By showing us the true nature of chance and revealing the psychological illusions that cause us to misjudge the world around us, Mlodinow gives fresh insight into what is really meaningful and how we can make decisions based on a deeper truth. From the classroom to the courtroom, from financial markets to supermarkets, from the doctor’s office to the Oval Office, Mlodinow’s insights will intrigue, awe, and inspire.

Offering listeners not only a tour of randomness, chance and probability but also a new way of looking at the world, this original, unexpected journey reminds us that much in our lives is about as predictable as the steps of a stumbling man afresh from a night at a bar.

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