Sunday, August 07, 2011

Paul Bloom: The origins of pleasure

"Why do we like an original painting better than a forgery? Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that human beings are essentialists -- that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is."

The point of this talk is that we really perceive external stimulus based on what we believe to be its essential nature. It is not just that snobbish people pretend to like a wine better if they believe it expensive than cheap, but they actually do experience the taste differently according to the perceived origin, as confirmed by brain scans. We think with our brains, and not just our minds!

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