Saturday, April 25, 2009

Consciousness and Suspension of Disbelief

Was talking to Tom Gammarino, author of "Big in Japan" this evening and was discussing the odd phenomena of when you are reading a book or watching a show, and the first half chapter or first episode seems very contrived and unreal to start, and then at some point it "clicks" and the world being presented becomes somehow believable.

I experienced this phenomena recently in what has turned out to be the excellent "Prince of Nothing" series by R. Scott Bakker; and previously when watching the first episode of the unparalleled Firefly tv show.

I started thinking that this might be a similar sort of thing to the process of consciousness turning disparate sense data into some sort of cohesive whole. I believe it is fairly commonly accepted amongst psychologists that we perceive disparate chunks of sense data and that there is kind of a leap of faith, or jump, whereby consciousness turns those chunks into what seems like an unbroken continuous reality. I would be very interested to know if there was any research on how much sense data and what quality of it was required before the jump to believable universe was achieved ...

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