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Meetup details changed: NYC ATHEISTS JULY BRUNCH & SPEAKER

From: Jane E.
Sent on: Thursday, July 5, 2012 1:23 AM

I've updated this Meetup. For more details, see the full listing:

When: Sunday, July 8,[masked]:00 PM

932 SECOND AVE. (49/50)
NEW YORK, NY 10017

This Meetup repeats on the 2nd Sunday of every month.

If the changes affect your plans to attend, please take a moment to update your RSVP. (You can RSVP "No" or "Yes".)

You can always get in touch with me through my group profile on Meetup.


How Much of What You See is an Illusion?


The Psychology of Seeing What’s Not There May Explain

‘The Virgin Mary on the Side of the Barn’ Phenomenon


We’ve always known that the mind plays tricks on us, but now psychologists are proving it scientifically by examining what the neurons in your brain do when you view certain scenes.

That image of the Virgin Mary on the side of a barn on some remote Midwest farm? It could be neurons firing away in unusual ways in the brain. “There are a lot of examples where you have a vivid experience of something that’s not actually there,” says Alex L. White, a psychologist who is working on this very phenomenon in the laboratories of New York University.  “These are experiences that are somehow created in your brain but aren’t actually out there.”

White adds, “Someone with a strong spiritual belief may think that what you experience is related to your ‘soul,’ or that there is something inside you that’s not the same thing as your brain and that’s what’s causing you to see these things.”

Brain Playing Tricks?

But, he notes, if  we, as Atheists, believe that humans are basically a collection of cells, tissue, blood and bones and the brain is made up of neurons, then we have good reason to believe that one’s vision experiences are related to activity in these neurons in your brain.  In other words, that Madonna on the barn may be more “in your head” than you realize.

Alex L. White is a scientist focused on a cutting-edge branch of psychology called cognitive science, which he describes as a blend of neuroscience and computer science.

White graduated from Yale University and received a Master’s degree while doing a Fulbright stint at the University of Sydney in Australia. He is currently working on his dissertation in cognitive psychology at New York University, Washington Square, doing experiments on vision, the brain, and how those neurons flashing in your brain are influenced by what you see--or think you see.

The New Era of Psychology

Come hear this remarkable young scientist on Sunday, July 8th at the NYC Atheists’ Brunch.  Go beyond the old-fashioned Freud and Jung theoretical psychology--that’s history now: our newest psychologists are doing pioneering research with computers,

x-rays, CAT scans and MRIs to see how the brain really works.

Come and catch up with the brave new world of psychology; hear about exciting new scientific thrusts in learning how the neurons in our brains determine what we see--or think we see!




by Alex L. White,  Ph.D. Candidate at New

York University, and Lecturer.

WHEN:        SUNDAY, JULY 8, 2012  AT 12 noon.


932 Second Ave. (bet. 49 & 50th)

Second Floor

COST:           Brunch is $20, which includes a

selection of buffet entrees, salad

soft drink, coffee, tax and tip. We

are avid fans of the Eggs Benedict.

New York City Atheists Inc. is a 501C not-for-profit association dedicated to the separation of church and state and to the promotion of the Atheists lifestyle and values.


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