Neuron presents evidence that subliminal learning occurs in humans. The researchers observed how people perceived differences in new, unfamiliar symbols.
The researchers collected scans of the brain, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, to investigate the specific brain circuitry that is linked to subliminal instrumental conditioning. “The ventral striatum responded to subliminal cues and to visible outcomes in a manner that closely approximates our computational algorithm, expressing reward expected values and prediction errors,” says Dr. [Mathias] Pessiglione [U. College, London]. “We conclude that, even without conscious processing of contextual cues, our brain can learn their reward value and use them to provide a bias on decision making.”
[Image: Dublin Head Shop by kyz Patrick Nielsen Hayden buy my novel]
This week’s big genre fiction news is undoubtedly the long-promised launch of the new-look Tor.com – a publisher’s website that is also a social network, free fiction repository, group-blog and webzine all in one. Go take a look around and see what you can find.
As Charlie Stross points out, it’s been a long time coming – not just for Tor but for big publishing houses in general, who have been slow to adapt to the post-print internet paradigm.
Of course, not everyone is all positive. Genre fiction’s gadfly-in-chief, Futurismic columnist Jonathan McCalmont, wonders if Tor.com is too little (or rather too much) too late:
“I put it to you that this community (which has been admirably quick in adapting to new technologies) is as connected as it can possibly get and that this connection is (aside from a few existing forums) nicely decentralised and organic.
In fact, I put it to you that [the genre fiction] community is getting dangerously close to the saturation point.
If you went through last week’s Friday Free Fiction, you’d have noticed me mention Tor Books’ new email newsletter/giveaway program.
As good as that appeared in its own right, it seems much more is in the pipeline at Tor – Simon “Bloggasm” Owens has the scoop on this one, complete with anonymous tip-offs from within the organisation. The Tor site will have simple social networking features in addition to original content (fiction and non-fiction) from authors both on and off the Tor roster.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden confirms the rumours:
“The free digital books are exactly what we say they are: an inducement to get people to pre-register as users and allow us to send them emailed progress reports,” Nielsen Hayden said. “The book-length freebies are a temporary program slated to run from now until when we launch.
Although the site will be ‘giving away’ a lot of content – indeed, all of its content, as we don’t anticipate any part of it being DRMed or paywalled – the core of the site will not be built around a program of free novel giveaways. That said, we reserve the right to give away free digital books any time we think it’s a good idea to do so. (With the cooperation and consent of their authors, naturally.)”
Best go get signed up, if you haven’t already!