Friday, May 16, 2008

Quicklink: More Evidence That Everything is Connected

A recent study apparently demonstrates that the perceived flavor of a glass of wine can be significantly impacted by ambient music playing while drinking. Snip:

Four types of music were played - Carmina Burana by Orff ("powerful and heavy"), Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky ("subtle and refined"), Just Can't Get Enough by Nouvelle Vague ("zingy and refreshing") and Slow Breakdown by Michael Brook ("mellow and soft")

The white wine was rated 40% more zingy and refreshing when that music was played, but only 26% more mellow and soft when music in that category was heard.

The red was altered 25% by mellow and fresh music, yet 60% by powerful and heavy music.

The results were put down to "cognitive priming theory", where the music sets up the brain to respond to the wine in a certain way.

Priming, the phenomenon whereby antecedent mental states affect perception, recall, or other cognitive functions, could indeed be responsible for this effect. Still, I think there's a deeper message here: namely, that we need to stop considering brain functions in isolation from one another and start looking at the big picture; let's get holistic!


Anonymous said...

Nothing new about this, Hume makes a big deal about this type of thing in Book 2 of the Treatise.

Jon said...

Very true, but I think it's a truth we're losing in our race to understand consciousness by vivisection.

Anonymous said...

Hume's model, as far as I can tell, is that consciousness is a layer on top of what is going on underneath. The causes of the passions and their relations were beyond his reach. I think he'd love to see how vivisection is going to let us, someday, to embody his theories. I think he thought that was going to be beyond what humans could ever accomplish.

Stephen Dedalus said...

I read Hume's Concerning Human Understanding and Natural Religion and am currently cracking away at Prolegomena before I try my hand at Critique. While I haven't read Treatise, Hume does seem to be wanting of something more comprehensive. He is great at descriptively explaining that mental processes occur (custom of inference, etc.), but not so much on how these could be possible.

I don't know, my armchair philosophy experience is pretty limited, so I'm likely a bit off. I'm partly just taking Kant's word that Hume was incomplete in his examination in the a priori.

Spartz said...

That's interesting. I think if we learn to manipulate our environments and our realities (through words, sound, setting, timing, etc) - we can have an impact on people that would be considered by them as 'magical'.