I heard somebody explain yesterday that information our brain gets from the outside world is 80% sensory input, followed by 20% internal feedback.

The basic concept is that the brain needs a certain amount of internal reinforcement to make sure that incoming information actually registers. Otherwise, it would immediately become wiped away by new sensory data, before we have a chance to evaluate it.

If this factoid is true, it means that while most of what you think you perceive is really coming from the world around you, about 1/5 is actually being generated by your own brain, in a way that to you will appear indistinguishable from actual reality.

Which is something to keep in mind the next time you doubt your senses. It might be because you are really experiencing 80% reality followed by 20% internal feedback.

Unless of course you are discussing politics. In that case, as everybody knows, it’s about 20% reality and 80% internal feedback.

2 Responses to “Feedback”

  1. Stephan Ahonen says:

    Pretty much everybody who works with audio will nod their head in recognition if you tell them a story about how you tweaked the settings on some audio processing device to perfection only to discover that it wasn’t patched in. Just twisting a knob that you think will have a certain effect on the sound is enough to make you hear it actually affecting the sound. This is why we invented ABX tests.

  2. admin says:

    Ah, if only ABX tests were used to test political perceptions!!

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