Wiki Contributions



Meditation Turing Test (MTT) [cf. Ideological Turing Test (ITT)], that's great. 🤔


some papers associated with the popular articles above, for precision and posterity:

  • Schoonover, C. E., Ohashi, S. N., Axel, R., & Fink, A. J. (2021). Representational drift in primary olfactory cortex. Nature, 594(7864), 541-546.
  • Libby, Alexandra, and Timothy J. Buschman. "Rotational dynamics reduce interference between sensory and memory representations." Nature neuroscience 24.5 (2021): 715-726.
  • Niell, Cristopher M., and Michael P. Stryker. "Modulation of visual responses by behavioral state in mouse visual cortex." Neuron 65.4 (2010): 472-479.
  • Kumar, Neeraj, Timothy F. Manning, and David J. Ostry. "Somatosensory cortex participates in the consolidation of human motor memory." PLoS biology 17.10 (2019): e3000469.
  • Vinck, M., Batista-Brito, R., Knoblich, U., & Cardin, J. A. (2015). Arousal and locomotion make distinct contributions to cortical activity patterns and visual encoding. Neuron, 86(3), 740-754.
  • Stringer, C., Pachitariu, M., Steinmetz, N., Reddy, C. B., Carandini, M., & Harris, K. D. (2019). Spontaneous behaviors drive multidimensional, brainwide activity. Science, 364(6437), eaav7893.
  • Salkoff, D. B., Zagha, E., McCarthy, E., & McCormick, D. A. (2019). Movement and performance predict widespread cortical activity in a visual detection task. bioRxiv, 709642.
  • Drew, Patrick J., Aaron T. Winder, and Qingguang Zhang. "Twitches, blinks, and fidgets: important generators of ongoing neural activity." The Neuroscientist 25.4 (2019): 298-313.
  • Stringer, C., Michaelos, M., Tsyboulski, D., Lindo, S. E., & Pachitariu, M. (2021). High-precision coding in visual cortex. Cell, 184(10), 2767-2778.
  • Musall, Simon, Matthew T. Kaufman, Ashley L. Juavinett, Steven Gluf, and Anne K. Churchland. "Single-trial neural dynamics are dominated by richly varied movements." Nature neuroscience 22, no. 10 (2019): 1677-1686.
  • He, Biyu J. "Scale-free brain activity: past, present, and future." Trends in cognitive sciences 18, no. 9 (2014): 480-487.
  • He, Biyu J., John M. Zempel, Abraham Z. Snyder, and Marcus E. Raichle. "The temporal structures and functional significance of scale-free brain activity." Neuron 66, no. 3 (2010): 353-369.
  • Voytek, Bradley, Mark A. Kramer, John Case, Kyle Q. Lepage, Zechari R. Tempesta, Robert T. Knight, and Adam Gazzaley. "Age-related changes in 1/f neural electrophysiological noise." Journal of Neuroscience 35, no. 38 (2015): 13257-13265.
  • Donoghue, Thomas, Matar Haller, Erik J. Peterson, Paroma Varma, Priyadarshini Sebastian, Richard Gao, Torben Noto et al. "Parameterizing neural power spectra into periodic and aperiodic components." Nature neuroscience 23, no. 12 (2020): 1655-1665.
  • Schaworonkow, Natalie, and Bradley Voytek. "Longitudinal changes in aperiodic and periodic activity in electrophysiological recordings in the first seven months of life." Developmental cognitive neuroscience 47 (2021): 100895.
  • Wen, Haiguang, and Zhongming Liu. "Separating fractal and oscillatory components in the power spectrum of neurophysiological signal." Brain topography 29, no. 1 (2016): 13-26.
  • Maniscalco, Brian, Jennifer L. Lee, Patrice Abry, Amy Lin, Tom Holroyd, and Biyu J. He. "Neural integration of stimulus history underlies prediction for naturalistically evolving sequences." Journal of Neuroscience 38, no. 6 (2018): 1541-1557.

Someone noted through a backchannel that the thing I'm trying to say in the model/error/noise section is maybe just "rather than treating some neural phenomenon statistically, it's better to engage with that phenomenon as concrete mechanism [or meaning-laden]." That's maybe super hard for high-complexity, hard to measure, or pre-paradigmatic contexts—which is why people often start or finish with statistics.  Anyway, there's a map/territory thing I'm circling, here, in not the best way.  Or it's hard because of friction between mechanism versus telos frames. They may chime in; mistakes mine.


In my head I call this the "word salad" phenomenon, where one can read something and be like "that's just word salad..."

I think about this a lot because inferential distance makes "calling word salad" more likely, and it's maybe especially common in pre-paradigmatic domains.

Honestly, I see it a lot between meditators at all skill/knowledge levels, and, imo, it's often a good call. Sometimes it's a good call for part of someone's body of work and a mis-read for another part.

In general, I see it especially between "same-level" experts or autodidacts (again in pre-paradigmatic domains), as well as between non-experts and experts, in both directions. (The "expert" thinks "word salad" when a non-expert tries to convey something, and/or vice versa.) "Expert," here, could be replaced by advanced practitioner, unsocialized autodidact, crackpot...

I think the principle of charity is helpful, but also there's only so much time to evaluate claims.

When I'm evaluating something, I sort of run through a list of referents, concepts, relations, jargon/terms-of-art, equivocation, causality, implication in no particular order.

Have I ever encountered ANY of the referents before, as best I can tell? Are words being used in non-standard ways? Is the "language game" ostensive, assertoric, logical, mechanistic and/or all the above? Do the concepts and relations feel like they're "sufficiently high quality"?--how blurry are the edges? Are they of relatively small number? How elegant is the thing, overall? Do words change referents? Is referent-switching "doing useful work" or driven by lack of good vocabulary? What's the degree of causality or mechanism that inheres in the referent, or the degree of implication or argument that inheres in the writing?

Sometimes one has to eject or short-circuit the evaluation process. I use the above questions to do that. But, if I have time or there are outside-view reasons to give something a longer look, I try not to drop it until (a) I have an explanation of the generating process that gave rise to the statements or artifact I'm encountering (what is the sociological/epistemic causal history of this?), or (b) I have a more general explanation for which what I'm encountering is a limit case or edge case.

Because writing and speaking are "correlated with reality," even if tangled/confused, I think it's really powerful to "give word salad a chance," because people are exposed to different patches and trajectories of reality, and, modulo bullshit, it's never word salad from the inside. I think there's often net-alpha to be had, for the work put in, when someone is trying to communicate in good faith, and even when not. 

(And it can create affordances to correct errors on both sides, can create a feedback loop for dispelling the curse of knowledge, etc., etc., etc.)

But, yeah, sometimes it's better to disengage or to put up a communal wall.