Science catches up with Buddhism

In my earlier post on Buddhist psychology I noted that the feeling sense is part of the thought process, prior to understanding, integral to the mind formation as an atom is to a molecule. Now via Kurzweil I came upon new research review which supports the fact that our feelings of attraction and repulsion are basic parts of perception:

New research from Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) shows that the brain’s visual perception system automatically and unconsciously guides decision-making through valence perception… [V]alence, which can be defined as the positive or negative information automatically perceived in the majority of visual information, integrates visual features and associations from experience with similar objects or features. In other words, it is the process that allows our brains to rapidly make choices between similar objects.

Valence then is what science is calling this initial, atomic feeling of attraction or repulsion. And the research notes that the behavior follows what the mind perceives

This basic research into how visual object recognition interacts with and is influenced by affect paints a much richer picture of how we see objects,” said Michael J. Tarr, the George A. and Helen Dunham Cowan Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and co-director of the CNBC. “What we now know is that common, household objects carry subtle positive or negative valences and that these valences have an impact on our day-to-day behavior.”

“Everything you see, you automatically dislike or like, prefer or don’t prefer, in part, because of valence perception,”

This last phrase, after the “because” is of course not a causal, scientific statement but rather a scientific narrative form which uses the because clause to sound scientific. Valence perception is identical to like/dislike or prefer/don’t prefer not a partial cause of it.

I should write a post on the scientific narrative form…. hmmm.

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