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Reality is nothing like what you think, says UCI neuroscientist

Visitors inspect the work
Visitors inspect the work "Spazio ad attivazione cinetica" by Italian artist Marina Apollonio at the Schirn Kunsthalle museum in Frankfurt/M.T he museum shows large-format paintings, objects and environments by artists fascinated by the physical laws of light and optics who dedicated their work to the study of visual phenomena and principles of perception.

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In the 1999 sci-fi dystopian film, “The Matrix,” the character played by Keanu Reeves is presented with two pills. The blue pill would keep things the way they are. The red pill would usher in an entirely different universe.

The idea that “reality” is actually nothing like what we perceive it to be is not new, particularly in the realm of film, literature, or conspiracy theory. Turns out that trippy notion might really be true.

Instead of some larger evil force trying to pull the wool over our eyes, though, a neuroscientist at UC Irvine who’s studied perception and artificial intelligence says that it is our senses – touch, smell, taste, etc – that are doing the cheating.

Guest host Patt Morrison speaks with Hoffman about his research.


Donald Hoffman, Professor of Cognitive Science, University of California, Irvine