Victoria NeuroNotes

Into the Gray

Right Amygdala Experiment

176 Comments

What do you see ❓

In a blog I follow, Finding Truth, Nate published an Open Conversation Part 2 post, and one of the topics lately has been about perception and the paranormal, i.e., ghosts.  The topic led to one commenter posting a link about a ‘ghost’ appearing on a security camera at a New Mexico police station.  The commenter was/is adamant that the ‘mysterious’ figure was/is a ghost or rather a “demon”.  Other commenters have provided plausible explanations other than supernatural. Ruth recently shared an update in the comments.

From Discovery.com:

“A mysterious moving object caught on camera outside a New Mexico police department last week has many people scratching their heads and wondering if it might be a ghost.

According to a report on “Good Morning America, “Police in Espanola, New Mexico, are trying to figure out what human-shaped, blurry, translucent figured was captured on camera strolling across a locked area of their station Saturday night. The video shows the figure walking through a chain link fence and slowly walking out again.

Because the outside lot is a secured area, it would be impossible for anyone to open the gate without an alarm going off, and in any event the object appears to move through objects in classic ghostly style.

Police officer Karl Romero said that at first he assumed that the moving figure in the video was an insect, probably a fly or moth. But when he looked again he saw something that made him change his mind: “Then, I saw the legs … and it was a human,” he concluded. Yet it could not be a real human because it appeared to move effortlessly through a high chain link fence. So it was “not a real human,” he concluded: “No — a ghost.”

The video has gone viral, and thousands of people viewed and commented on the mystery so far. The fact that the video was captured at a police station gave it instant credibility, and no one has suggested that the incident is a prank or a hoax.”

A Closer Look

Photo credit: MorgueFile.com

Though the police seem baffled, there is enough information contained in the ghost video and news reports about it to identify the mystery object. A closer look at the video reveals that the ghostly blur doesn’t go through the objects in the background as claimed (such as the fence) but instead goes over them — a sign that the “ghost” is close to the camera (such as on the camera lens), not out in the secured police yard.

Furthermore the object’s scale is all wrong: Assuming — as people often report and claim — that the “ghost” is human-sized, what appears in the police video is far too small to be human. At one point when it moves over the silhouette of a metal fence post, it appears about the same size — which would be about three inches in diameter.”

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So it got me to thinking about our perceptions of reality and why some people might assume supernatural while others will look for natural explanations.

For example:

Abstract
“The present study investigated the relationship between psychological stress and magical thinking and the extent to which such a relationship may be moderated by individuals’ tolerance of ambiguity. Questionnaires assessing different types of magical thinking and tolerance of ambiguity were administered to 174 Israeli citizens who, during the Gulf War, resided in areas that were either exposed (high-stress condition) or not exposed (low-stress condition) to missile attacks.

Magical thinking emerged more frequently in Ss under high-stress conditions than in those under low-stress conditions. Furthermore, high stress levels exerted a more pronounced effect on the emergence of magical thinking in individuals with low tolerance of ambiguity than in those with high tolerance. Results are discussed in relation to the concept of personal control and coping strategies adopted by individuals for attaining such control.”

and…

Abstract
“Research shows that the frequency of magical thinking and superstitious behavior increases under conditions of stress.  A possible explanation for this finding is that stress reduces the individual’s sense of control and that to regain control she or he engages in magical rituals or superstitions.”

and this:

Stress makes people more superstitious and likely to “see” things that do not exist, a new study shows

“The researchers asked half of a group of volunteers to remember a situation when they felt a lack of control, such as a car crash, when a close family member had been ill or when they had felt under threat.  They then conducted a series of experiments, including asking the participants if they saw images in “snowy” pictures made up of dots.

Half of the pictures contained dots arranged randomly, while the other half made up faintly recognizable pictures, such as a chair, a boat or a planet While the volunteers saw 95 percent of the hidden images, the group under pressure also “saw” images in 43 percent in the random dots.  They were also more likely to believe in superstitions like having “lucky” socks, the scientists found.”

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Out of curiosity, I thought I’d conduct a psychological experiment on perception and stress incorporating micro stuttering.  Some may see and hear the phenomena, others may not.  Micro stuttering (jump) is the manifestation of irregular delays in visual and/or audio between frames which can render noticeable jumping.  If you want to take part in this experiment — to prevent subject-expectancy effect — please do not read the comments below before viewing the 17 second video.   After viewing the clip, I look forward to your feedback.

 

Note:  Make sure there are no distractions such as drinking or eating while viewing/listening.

Begin the experiment:  Watch

Was there any noticeable jumping?

 

no_cheating

 

 

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Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, and the brain's role in religious type experiences.

176 thoughts on “Right Amygdala Experiment

  1. Yes, there was jumping – including me, when I said, “jebus!”

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  2. You know what “Paybacks” are ! 🙂

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  3. There was jumping. But then again, there’s always jumping when I’m looking at stuff because I used to eat handfuls of Mexican jumping beans when I was a kid. I think those little larvae are still crawling around in my noodle. Once again, another superbly informative post.

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  4. Carmen, you were reading my mind ! 🙂

    Victoria, I would send you to the “Naughty Step” except I think you might like it ! I think you relish the possibilities of punishment for when you are naughty ! LOL

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    • LMAO — must have something to do with my days as a Christian — as in being a glutton for punishment. You know what I’m talkin’ about. 😉

      Bring on the chains, whips, handcuffs. I’m waiting for Professor Taboo to show up any time. 😀

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  5. whips, chains, handcuffs ………. you might like them all. 🙂

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  6. You don’t have to own whips, chains & handcuffs to be a Christian Fundamentalist, but it does help ! 🙂

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  7. YOU are the devil! Right-amygdala my eye!

    My heart skipped at LEAST two beats!

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  8. I’m too old for this kind of thing!

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  9. Nan, it got my heart to skip a beat too ! LOL

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  10. I’d like to know where arch is. . . I can only imagine what he’ll have to say about all this. .

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  11. Carmen, I’m sure Arch will have a field day with this ! 🙂

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  12. I just got a WP notification that my stats are “booming”. Apparently people like doing “psychological experiments”. 😈

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  13. Victoria, this seems like a good time to tell you what happened when I first did your ‘experiment’ – I almost wet my edible panties! 🙂

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  14. I noticed the paved road suddenly became a dirt road after the trees and so I pulled my attention back from looking for the car and expected something new. That’s why I wasn’t surprised by the interruption. But becuasee I was following the car, I didn’t notice the picture jumping at all. Interesting…

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  15. There are so many weird insect people aren’t aware of. How far we have come from nature.

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  16. What is wrong with you?!?

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  17. I’ve seen that video before and it still caught me off guard. Made me laugh. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I saw a ghost, with antennae and a hat that says, “Who farted?” going through the woods. It’s true! I looked at my screen with a magnifying glass. Let us lower our heads in prayer…

    Liked by 1 person

    • LMAO — you see what happens when you have discourse for hours and days with the paranoia? You came in late on the scene, you brave soul, giving some of us a much needed break. Thank you. Bows. 😀

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      • I assume that comment below mine was directed at me, but I can’t tell with my tablet. I am happy to be a part of it all. I am a veteran of the hilarity that happened in the early days of the Flying Spaghetti Monster site. The hate mail was spectacular. A bunch of us don’t go there any more but are still in contact. In fact, one of them is moving from Colorado to the Nethetlands to marry another member of our group.

        I don’t run into many like-minded folks in my real daily life. It is so edifying to hear what you all have to say. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Gliese, we are glad you joined us. I don’t run into many like-minded folks in my neck of the woods, either. Live in the bible-belt. They tend to be scared chitless of us “heathens”. Think we are demon possessed or something of that nature. 😈

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          • But I am demon possessed, Victoria, and I’m damn proud of it, too. Wait. I think I meant to say, “I’m beer possessed and proud of it.” Oh, hell, I guess it’s all the same in the end. Why am I bothering to differentiate. 😀

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            • Hahah — Think about it, Jeff. The bible says that in the last days, good will be counted as evil and evil as good.

              I think many bible-believing people don’t comprehend that scripture. 😉

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              • I’m one of ’em. Actually, I don’t comprehend how anyone can read the bible and say to themselves, “Wow! That’s the most believable sh*t I’ve ever read! I’m gonna go out and condemn everyone who doesn’t get that to the hell Gob (my new name for god) made for them.” Right. Why aren’t these people on Haldol?

                Liked by 1 person

          • The bible belt, huh? Wow. I don’t live there, but I am beginning to feel like I do. I live in New Hampshire, where we are usually too damn cold or too busy being hostile to outsiders to care much. There are churches everywhere, and yesterday I saw a huge billboard that said, “The HOLY BIBLE: Absolute, Authoritative, Final” It was right next to a bevy of gun shops.

            We hardly even have any billboards, so it got my attention. Why… why… why can’t they just leave everybody else alone?

            Liked by 1 person

            • I know, right? If they want the “Holy” Bible and all the baggage and dysfunction that comes from it — then they need to look at the stats in the Bible-Belt, predominately the most religious states in the Nation.

              We have the:

              highest infant mortality rate
              highest homicide rate against women
              (South Carolina having twice the rate of the national average)

              highest STD/HIV rate
              highest high school dropout rate
              highest teen pregnancy
              highest gun ownership
              highest depression rate
              highest poverty
              highest incarceration rate
              highest obesity rate
              highest diabetes rate

              Corporal punishment in schools is legal

              And these states are the worst states for women to live in.

              Praise da lord and pass the ammunition.

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              • Yeah. So. What’s yer point? 😀

                Liked by 1 person

              • That is disturbing. I’ll stay in the heathen North!

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                • Yeah, it is disturbing, and there are a lot of caring, kind people here who tend to vote against their own best interests. But the main point in posting those stats was to show you that the dysfunction creates a lot of stress, therefore, a lot of superstition and magical thinking.

                  Go to countries, such as those in Scandinavia, where there is generally well being, and you will find just the opposite. It’s not a coincidence that they also happened to be in the top ten of the most peaceful countries in the world.

                  New Hampshire is beautiful.

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                  • I agree about New Hampshire. I tend to think the White Mountains belong to me personally. Mount Washington is mine! The Presidential Range is mine! Mine, mine mine, I say!

                    I’m sorry – it’s foliage season and all the Massholes are here. : )

                    I don’t think I could survive in the Bible Belt. I once alienated an huge group of Mississippians when someone almost knock me over in a hotel corridor when I was 7 months pregnant. I yelled, “Jesus Christ!”, as you do…

                    A woman came out of her room and said, “Who’s swearing?” I was genuinely confused and replied, “Someone is swearing?” “Yes”, she said, “someone took the Lord’s name in vain.” I said, “Oh, crap! I almost got run over, sorry.”

                    This was in Tennessee – I realized then that I live in a different world.

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                    • Unfortunately, people just don’t question. I am the only one in my family, ever in the history of my family, on both sides, who became an unbeliever, besides my daughter. My family moved from California to the South when I was 10. It was a culture shock even for a kid.

                      I’ve spent a good part of my life here, and as a believer, we just accepted that suffering was part of being a Christian. But now that I’ve deconverted (which was about 10 years ago), I feel like an alien here. I may be vocal online, but I don’t push my lack of beliefs on people offline. I don’t care if people want to believe in a god, but they can’t keep it to themselves. Nono, they want to make laws that affect my rights, and knock on my door every weekend to “lead me to Christ”, and leave religious tracks on my windshield in parking lots, and on and on. They are invasive. If everyone doesn’t believe like them, they feel threatened. Diversity is not their forte`.

                      I currently live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it is spectacular here around the end of October. This is a time of year when you all get a lot of tourist in your neck of the woods. Same here in the Blue Ridge during peak.

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                    • Peak here about the 3rd week in October:

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                  • There’s no Reply thingy under the pics, but I just want to say that those are gorgeous.

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                    • Good morning Gliese. Thank you. Fall/Autumn is my favorite season. I can literally be moved to tears when I see such beauty.

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                    • When I was in the Army, stationed at Ft. Harrison, Indiana, the Sargent on the first floor of the two-story barracks thought I was bunking on the second floor – the second-floor Sargent thought I was on First. I didn’t correct their misconceptions. Actually, I was in town, living with my then-girlfriend and drove to the Fort each morning for Roll Call. Somehow, I evaded Court Martial.

                      She lived on a street that terminated at the end of her block, after which, there was a huge acreage, occupied only by maples and sycamores. One Autumn day, I walked deep into those woods, full of ambers and deep reds against an azure sky – it was like stepping into a panoramic calendar picture – the trees even absorbed the traffic noises, so it was literally like being in a different world. I will always carry that image, it was a profound experience.

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            • It’s a Federal law in most states, few know this, that any billboard advertising THE BIBLE must have one next to it advertising GUNS. That’s how our founding fathers wanted it, by Jeebus, and that’s how it must be. If you don’t accept the love of Jeebus, you get shot.

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  19. The “ghost” on the CNN video does indeed look like a human form. So perhaps it is, and the camera was malfunctioning–it didn’t catch the complete image. There are so many possibilities.

    I’d seen that video before. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Oh dear, you need to put a disclaimer on that – warn people of a nervous disposition, or PREGNANT people. If my baby pops out all premature I’m going to blame it on you, I haven’t haven’t jumped like that in years! 😉

    But anyway, about the post, I find it all incredibly interesting, and I’ll be looking out for stressed people talking about ghosts.

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  21. As always with these kinds of events, one is obliged to consider a likelihood scenario. Is this phenomenon some other-worldly ghost-like magical creature that can defy laws of nature OR are you under some kind of misapprehension? – i.e. is there something in front a camera lens that’s creating this (not really very) mysterious effect? Of those 2 possibilities, which is the more likely to be true? I’ve had conversations with people when talking about psychics. Someone appears to “know” some kind of information about someone or something that they shouldn’t. Which do you think is more likely – that they got it by conventional means (talking to other friends, snooping, perhaps hiring a PI, etc…?) OR they got this information from talking to the ghost of a dead person? The ghost of a dead person that only appears at certain (unpredictable) times to certain people (who claim to have magical or supernatural powers) to talk about certain things. I know which answer I’ll pick every time…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I realize there are some things yet to be explained that would even make a skeptic scratch his/her head. I am open to other possibilities of mysterious happenings, but I do not see them as supernatural. IMO, they are natural phenomena we haven’t yet come to understand. There are just too many things in our environment that can be the cause of these phenomena to automatically assume its a ghost, etc.

      For example, infrasound. http://neuroresearchproject.com/2013/02/19/1289/

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      • Understanding basic classical physics offers enough challenge to justify significant skepticism for any supernatural explanatory model. For example, if something can reflect light (pics like these are often used as ‘evidence’ for mysterious apparitions) then it must have mass. It must take up space and be subject to the same forces as anything else… like gravity. That means that this mass must also be subject to physical and chemical interactions and operate by naturalistic mechanisms to have motion (or effect motion as the case may be). A supernatural explanation always explains nothing. Hence the term ‘pseudo’ should always be attached to these kinds of explanations.

        All of us must remember that lacking an explanation for X does not mean therefore Y; yet this is the exactly the kind of flawed reasoning encountered all too often for all kinds of woo claims.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. I refuse to like such a chuffing post as it made me this myself and brought on a bought of dyslexia.
    Jesus will get you … .
    May your broomstick be cursed with splinters, you horrible woman! 😉

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  23. I watched it twice bit I know every time I watch it, i will jump from seat.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Yes, the video skipped a lot – wasn’t that what you wanted to know?

    Oh, was the thing there at the end supposed to startle me? I see worse things than that on a regular basis, including pink elephants and 6-foot white rabbits.

    BTW, was that you?

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  25. Okay, so I did what you said not to… I took a big gulp of water just as the clip scared the living daylights out of me… yup, still mopping up!

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  26. Noticeable jumping, car seemed late, then I jumped. 😛

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  27. Sure proof of demons you’ve got here – you need to paste that video over on Nate’s blog. Surely nobody can come up with a valid rational explanation for that.

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  28. Just thought of this: William Friedkin, director of the “Exorcist” inserted several frames of skulls and monster faces throughout the film in order to increase the discomfort of the audience viewing it. It was quite effective. This short video reminded me of that as it uses a similar technique to create its “jump” moment.

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  29. I just have to share this:

    Liked by 1 person

  30. hahahaha! You silly! Luckily I’m not fully awake yet and also used to videos like that because in this house of mine my men would take turns to see who could make me scream the loudest and they would send me videos like this and tell me to watch closely. After quite a few of these I didn’t even flinch anymore and spoiled their fun. You did wake me up a bit more and after another cup of java, I might be ready for the day. 😆

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  31. Haha. I’ve seen that one before.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I don’t have anything relevant to say about the New Mexico police station video, but I do always say that when it comes to the paranormal, mystic, metaphysical, etc, etc, most explanations (not all) can be nicely found in Quantum Physics/Mechanics, if not insects (wink). I am content to know there is indeed an afterlife; it is nothing like what all the major religions describe. However, I have sadly learned and discovered that some humans are perfectly capable of creating a “hell” or “evil” right here and now in their life and for others. Hence, there does seem to be certain molecular DNA combinations that simply destroy or want to destroy. Is that something to fear for the whole of your life and spread unnecessary paranoia and panic, or a call-to-bloody-arms — like the Abrahamic religions often purport? Not at all. The Law of Energy Conservation shows we’ll have another opportunity to rectify that distortion but in a different form, or person if you subscribe to reincarnation.

    But that is just my simple opinion. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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