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Valuable Objects Stimulate Brain More Than Junk

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the klepto-addiction dept.

Medicine 118

Roland Piquepaille writes "According to researchers at the University of California at San Diego, visual areas of our brain respond more to valuable objects than other ones. In other words, our brain has stronger reactions when we see a diamond ring than we look at junk. Similarly, our brain vision areas are more excited by a Ferrari than, say, a Tata new Nano car. In this holiday season, I'm sure you've received gifts that excited your brain — and others that you already want to resell on an auction site."

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Sorting Mechanism (5, Informative)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237151)

The thing to note here is that value remains subjective. The actual test didn't show subjects diamond rings or big houses. It showed them simple images of neutral value that then paid off in varying amounts when selected. It was the amount of the payoff that influenced the subject's perception of the object. An object that paid off at $10 generated a stronger response than an item that had paid off at $0.10.

So the concept of a diamond ring registering more highly than junk depends on the "eye of the beholder." The images in the study were associated with receiving a reward. So a guy might not associate a diamond ring with a rewaed, but might see a pile of junk and think of all the fun he could have by building neat stuff with it.

They talk about how this research may give insight into addiction, but I really think it's just a sorting mechanism. It's our way of training ourselves from experience how to pick the most likely target from the herd, sort the best fruits from the pile, etc., in the shortest possible time.

Re:Sorting Mechanism (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237185)

Right. this has biological applications as well. For example, this is a lot like how women see dicks.

When a woman of any color sees a black dick, her eyes will light up and her pupils will dialate to the size of dinner plates. Then she will "pschaw" her head away because she is pretending publically that she hasn't been made sopping wet through her arousal of the huge dick.

When a woman sees a white or hispanic dick she'll break an honest, light-hearted smile and say, "Wow, that's a big weenie you have there!" but the corners of her mouth will quickly fall afterward as she changes the subject.

When a woman sees an Asian dick she says, "Woo-HOO-ha ha ha haaaa! Hee hee ho hoo hahahahahaHAAAAAAA!" which is Mandarin Chinese for , "Hmm, we'll have to use your fist instead".

Re:Sorting Mechanism (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237227)

Yeah I don't know about the Asian dick thing, even the skinny ass Asian trannies have big dicks: http://www.fat-fuck-bbw.com/picgallery/ladyboy/shower/index.html [fat-fuck-bbw.com]

Re:Sorting Mechanism (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237617)

Once you consider they're all 4 feet tall, you quickly realize that these "huge asian dicks" are still only 3 inches erect.

Re:Sorting Mechanism (1)

mewshi_nya (1394329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26239187)

Most guys do, in fact, associate diamond rings with reward - getting laid is a reward XD

Re:Sorting Mechanism (0)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237257)

I have to agree totally. To me a old piece of steel ( think antique tool passed down thru the family, with no real 'market value' ) is more valuable to ME then a shiny Ferrari.

Re:Sorting Mechanism (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237475)

Well sir, I would like to see the sort of chicks you can pick up with your antique family trowel. Wait, no I probably wouldn't.

Re:Sorting Mechanism (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237631)

Pretty much anything is valuable to some extent if you can find a buyer for it.

OMG I feel so informed (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 5 years ago | (#26239195)

in other news, a shiny new Lamborghini stand out in a school parking lot. Seriously how is it news that something expensive (i.e. typically rare) stimulates the brain more. Anything that's rare, out of place, or new typically grabs more of our attention. It's a natural response from our neocortex.

Re:Sorting Mechanism (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237259)

Agreed. There's an old saying that says 'one man's junk is another man's treasure.' And it's 100% true. Try walking through a flea market sometime. Needless to say, most /.ers might go 'meh' at the piles of jewelry and coins laying on the tables, but when we get the used computer parts vendor, our eyes immediately start sorting out the good stuff -- the parts we have use for -- and the junk -- the stuff we'd never touch. The price doesn't matter so much -- value is entirely subjective. For example, I might not find any use for that pile of old Token Ring adapters, but a guy who works on IBM mainframes might.

Re:Sorting Mechanism (1, Funny)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237641)

I might not find any use for that pile of old Token Ring adapters, but a guy who works on IBM mainframes might

False. A guy who worked on token-ring IBM mainframes would have long since killed himself in self-pity after one-too-many nights of "find the sputtering node".

Good god, token ring was such a bastard system in hindsight. Thank god for point-to-point topology!

Re:Sorting Mechanism (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237987)

Well, I know you're (half) joking, but I really worked in a place about 10 years ago that still had IBM mainframes and some PC terminals hooked via token-ring.

Re:Sorting Mechanism (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26239247)

Of course, their monthly hydro bill alone could probably cover the cost of a cheap PC server that can do everything the old mainframe does.

Re:Sorting Mechanism (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26238513)

Heh, I was reading and I got to Token Ring and I read it as Tolkien Ring. I thought, I'd totally take one of those "Tolkien Rings" :-)

Re:Sorting Mechanism (1)

WAG24601G (719991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237295)

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by sorting mechanism, but I'm thinking that these results suggest varying detail in encoding. It's already well known that we 'store' very little about the things we see, and largely employ categories and expectations when reconstructing memories. It would stand to reason that identifying something valuable is more useful than identifying the usual junk, and so more detail is stored for future comparison.

Just my 2 cents worth of speculation...

And TFA agrees! (1)

WAG24601G (719991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237395)

now that I've actually RTFA:

"Though it is too early to say how this relates to perception," said Serences, "it raises the intriguing possibility that we see things we value more clearly - much like the way the brain responds to a bright object versus a dimly lit one."

Hope that clears up my bumbly explanation

Re:Sorting Mechanism (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237479)

Just my 2 cents worth of speculation...

Pennies!

Re:Sorting Mechanism (1)

WAG24601G (719991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237501)

I know Congress isn't in session now, but don't you have work to do?

Re:Sorting Mechanism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237299)

The thing to note here is that value remains subjective.

Indeed [youtube.com] .

Re:Sorting Mechanism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237415)

I haven't put my finger on it just yet but I'm almost certain that this study somehow validates the brilliance of the Burger King marketing campaign:"the Whopper Virgins"

Behaviourism (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237975)

The images in the study were associated with receiving a reward.

Which amounts to simple behaviourism. Nothing new here.

Re:Sorting Mechanism (1)

Jay L (74152) | more than 5 years ago | (#26238255)

That answers the questions I was about to ask: Did diamonds stimulate more than non-valuable shiny objects, was there a cultural bias, how did 100 years of "Diamonds are Forever" affect the results, etc...

Re:Sorting Mechanism (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26239775)

Sounds good and all, but historically, we've not hunted animals - herd animals, at least - on a "which one looks better" - ie, historically, we were not trophy hunters. That is a reasonably new occurrence in our societies. Historically (and even today, throughout most of the world and even where trophy hunting is common) hunters will take the least valuable animals - they hunt to provide food, yes, but also to cull the herd and sustain the food. They'll take the older, sickly animals to retain the health of the herd (and to keep predators at a minimum). That, I think, is a large part of the impetus behind the stigma against killing a small, young animal: it's wasteful, because it is yet to fulfill it's role/value.

Re:Sorting Mechanism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26240029)

The moment any psychologist uses mri these days, their experiment suddenly becomes "interesting", even if it's really no great shakes - as if locating the physical part of the brain that mediates a response somehow yields understanding of the response (phrenology in new garments?). The described research is really little different in principle from the plethora of rat/lever/reward studies of the past. Yawn.

Much like (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237159)

A while ago [goatse.fr] , while browsing around the downtown library, I had to take a piss.

Re:Much like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26238541)

I bet you got a lot of pleasure from the grand dragon.

Dear God (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237163)

Why is the story title red?

WHATS GOING ON?!??

Re:Dear God (4, Funny)

sveard (1076275) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237225)

You must have bought a subscription while drunk

I know I was

Re:Dear God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237927)

Damn, and I thought my credit card number had been compromised. Turns out it was malt liquor and cooking wine.

Re:Dear God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26238663)

I think I was stoned!

Whose brains, exactly? (2, Interesting)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237179)

So would all people find a Ferrari more stimulating (neurologically speaking) than a Nano or does it depend on culture?

If it is inbuilt and not a cultural difference perhaps it is possible to extrapolate an idealised design of an object people will perceive as 'valuable'. Could be useful for marketing purposes.

Re:Whose brains, exactly? (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237421)

If it is inbuilt and not a cultural difference perhaps it is possible to extrapolate an idealised design of an object people will perceive as 'valuable'.

I believe we call very close approximations to this ideal "art."

Re:Whose brains, exactly? (1)

WAG24601G (719991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237539)

Actually, we call them "cash incentives." TFA states that the values of objects (or, rather, pictures of said objects) were directly manipulated by associating monetary rewards with each one.

Re:Whose brains, exactly? (1)

internetcommie (945194) | more than 5 years ago | (#26238027)

I live in Los Angeles, not far from Beverly Hills and all that. Around here Ferraris are about as common as palmtrees. I think I'd pay a lot more attention if I saw a Tata Nano.

But to me they are about equally valuable; I wouldn't want either.

also works with... (5, Insightful)

ctk76 (531418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237195)

slashdot headlines... informative and interesting ones stimulate my brain far more than non-news events that just clutter the main page.

Re:also works with... (1)

Ender_Stonebender (60900) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237791)

About a year back, I noticed that almost ALL of the stories on the main page were (as far as I was concerned) non-news events that just cluttered the main page. I had actually been considering giving up reading slashdot. Instead, I changed my preferences to put EVERYTHING from the sections on the main page. I have a much more enjoyable slashdot experience now.

Re:also works with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237967)

I've had a much more enjoyable experience with slashdot since I embraced Jesus Christ and Chicken Cloaca Stimulation. It does wonders for the mind, body, spirit, and cock.

this is unprecedented (0, Troll)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237199)

This is important news! I think these scientists should be commended for their efforts. Just having the audacity to pursue funding for such an outrageous and fringe topic is surely a rarity in scientists these days. After all their hard work it must be gratifying to have their results come to such a clear and decisive conclusion that will likely impact humankind for generations. Bravo!

Re:this is unprecedented (1, Insightful)

routerl (976394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237291)

Exactly! And while we're being sarcastic, let's chastise all those people who spent years studying fruit flies. This is how science works, buddy. Slow, seemingly insignificant steps following well-established research programs, only some of which possibly lead to larger discoveries in the future.

Re:this is unprecedented (1)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237585)

I'm aware of how science works. All the little steps add up to huge advancements.

I'd posit that things have value because we desire them, rather than we want things because they are valuable. Maybe that viewpoint stems from thinking too much of economies these days.

Re:this is unprecedented (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237611)

And a bit shout out to the lads and lasses working in the field of logical fallacies. False analogies FTW!

Re:this is unprecedented (1)

routerl (976394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237983)

@SoupGuru: Some things obviously have intrinsic value (e.g. food and water) whereas other things obviously have value assigned to them by different groups (e.g. sports cars). This study had to do with the actual neural response to perceived value, which makes its result non-trivial, regardless of how well it meshes with common-sense.

@Rogerborg: I don't really get what you're calling a "false analogy", but I'm assuming you meant my comparing the parent's attitude to Palin's absurd comments about genetic research on fruit flies, since that was the only analogy employed. And I have some time to kill, so... There is no such thing as a "false analogy", only bad analogies. Analogies can be drawn between any two things that share any similarity, and any two things may share some feature. And any analogy, no matter how good, never lends itself to perfect deductive inference, so that all analogies can be regarded as "logical fallacies". Oh, and by the way, they're called logicians. Oh, and you misspelled "big". Dick.

Damn. I've gone and gotten pedantic on the internets again... stupid alcohol.

Re:this is unprecedented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26238205)

This is silly, of course there's more brain activity occurring when you tell someone it's worth a lot of money. The subjects have been conditioned by life to place value on money. When they learn something has value, the immediate response would be to think about what could be done with that money. Learning something has no monetary value causes little further thought about the item, unless the item has significant value to the individual.

So, people think more when they learn things have more monetary value. What, exactly, needed experimentation to prove there? Where, exactly, is even the small scientific advance?

No, I don't think OP was belittling small scientific advances. I think he was belittling a meaningless experiment that can barely even be called scientific, due to it's complete ignorance of many of the variables. I think he was belittling the idea that his tax dollars supported something so half-assed.

In Japan... (0, Flamebait)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237205)

The Japanese have an 'eye' for quality. They seem to unconsciously detect poor quality in things such as cars, clothes, furniture etc. Details on a new car that would escape a Westerner are prime suspects to the Japanese consumer, without their making much of a conscious effort to decide.

Food is considered more for presentation than taste. They ask themselves how the meal makes them feel when they look at the arrangement of the plates, cups and consumables. This is one reason westerners often comment that Japanese food is typically bland.

This seems in contrast to their buildings which are so frequently torn down that they've apparently lost interest at that level.

Re:In Japan... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237379)

The Japanese have an 'eye' for quality. They seem to unconsciously detect poor quality in things such as cars, clothes, furniture etc.

Um, what? Anyone can get an eye for quality once trained, educated, or what they grew up with. For instance, I think most American windows, locks, and doors (anything readily available at HD or Lowes) are rather inferior quality (and engineering design) to European versions (some servicemen deployed oversees residing in foreign built building tell me the same if they notice) -- but it's a matter of me having grown up their half the time, not some innate knowledge. If you don't know better, then it just becomes a question of price which isn't always the best measurement (anybody buying cheap crap only to throw it away 1 week later can attest).

This is one reason westerners often comment that Japanese food is typically bland.

I don't know. Going by my local Japanese restaurant, it's some of the best food I ever had. I assume it's true to original cuisine as it's mostly frequented mostly 1st and 2nd generation Japanese in the area (going back to knowing quality by having grown up with it). Assuming it's true to the typical fare, perhaps the visitors don't like seafood.

I stopped bring people there because many Americans hate seafood beyond basic tuna, shrimp, or lobster, et al. Sushi is definitely a no-no to many.

Re:In Japan... (0, Flamebait)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237899)

I stopped bring people there because many Americans hate seafood beyond basic tuna, shrimp, or lobster, et al. Sushi is definitely a no-no to many.

I'm surprised how many people have not eaten or will not eat sushi. A good piece of sushi is a treat no matter what culture you're from. You just have to get over that it's raw.

BTW (and this is more to the GP), the only time I've ever thought Japanese food was bland was AFTER I went to Tokyo and had sushi (and other food) in the fish market there. Every piece of sushi I've had back in here in the states hasn't even come close to the same flavors I had there. I'm sure part of that comes from the fact that I couldn't understand sushi chef enough to actually know what I was eating, but damn it was good :)

Or (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237209)

does it have to do with quality?
Would a picture of say an inexpensive home stimulate a persons brain more or less than say an image of a sports car?
Or what about a run of the mill airliner to say a Ferrari?

Re:Or (1)

slash.duncan (1103465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26239373)

I suppose the comments above noting how the experiment was done weren't there (or at least weren't scored so high) when you commented, and of course, who RTFAs? Well, I RTFAed (acronyms in past tense, yay!), and you... obviously didn't.

What they did is show people images, some of which were worth 10 cents (for a total of $10 if you got them all right), some of which were worth nothing.

Then they used an MRI on the volunteers while having them review the images and found those images that had been associated with the value before now caused much more activity in the area of the brain responsible for processing images than those which had been worth nothing. Apparently, the study had randomized the images assigned value so that it remained constant per person, but controlled for pre-associated value.

Thus, it was sampling the arbitrary value dynamically assigned during the study and quality vs pre-study-associated-value had nothing to do with it.

It's a short yet interesting read, with possible future value as I'm sure the ad agencies (among others) will be all over it, so I expect we'll soon be dealing with the results and it should be helpful to know how they're trying to manipulate and more effectively program their targets to buy even more stuff they don't need and can't really afford. (Hmm, doesn't seem to be working so well in this economy, tho, maybe they need a new advertising trick!)

This website continues to suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237211)

Will one of you please fix this ongoing problem.

Re:This website continues to suck (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26238897)

It's on my list.

Not at all surprising. (4, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237215)

Humans pay more attention to more salient or novel stimuli. Something valuable, or more desired, is going to pop out.

In evolutionary terms, food sources that were more scarce--food 'worth' more, you can say--would definitely demand more attention that random vegetable matter, be it prey or fruits or so on. Same thing with water, or more attractive mates, or perhaps good sources of shelter, or so on.

The result of this experiment is entirely what you would expect.

Obvious, but did you think of it? (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237289)

Well, that's interesting. It's as if our brains spend more effort when the task is to determine how valuable something is to us, as opposed to determining how worthless it is. It seems obvious, and probably is, but still, it shows that we treat "value" as more important to precisely define, as "lack of value."

If something is junk, it makes no sense to waste time thinking about just how devoid of value is actually is.

How old of a brain? (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237297)

I would guess that this is part of brain formation, as the brain learns what is valuable and what is not. I would expect that the same results would NOT be found in younger brains.

Re:How old of a brain? (3, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237487)

To a young brain, anything that somebody else picks up instantly becomes immeasurably valuable.

One person's "junk" is another person's treasure (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237321)

  How, exactly, did they determine what qualifies as "junk" and what doesn't? Monetary rewards? Doesn't that invalidate their experiment by restricting it to people who regard money as a means to an end?

SB

Re:One person's "junk" is another person's treasur (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237533)

The value was set via the study; some objects were associated with a higher payoff than others. In other words, they separated out the question of what makes something valuable and studied what happened once objects were already invested with differential monetary values. So they tried at least to control for the issue raised in your question.

Re:One person's "junk" is another person's treasur (3, Interesting)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237573)

  What about objects that are "valuable" to people without having any monetary value? Art, music... while some people put monetary value on those objects, I doubt that most people do.

  As an example, I have a portrait of myself done by an artist in a bar some years ago; it was done freely and given freely, yet I consider it one of the most "valuable" objects I own. I also have a considerable rock collection - none of it collected for any monetary value, but just for my memories of the trip I collected it on. I daresay many people have similar.

  There are an awful lot of things the people own that have "sentimental" value - value only to themselves, for their own reasons. Putting a monetary value on objects has to have skewed their results considerably.

  I'm no psych researcher, this is just my opinion... which isn't worth much to anyone but me, honestly ;)

Thanks
SB

Re:One person's "junk" is another person's treasur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237627)

Well, they had to put it as monetary value - if, say, they had your rock collection up there, your brain would of course be stimulated but theirs would arguably not be if they have no connection to it. Money is a universal connection (unfortunately), so that makes sense for the basis of this study.

Re:One person's "junk" is another person's treasur (2, Insightful)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237843)

  So what they are actually measuring is how social and cultural stimuli of one sort - money - makes changes in the brain.

  If the concept of value differs from individual to individual - which it does - then what they've measured is only one facet of that sort of stimuli.

  They could put additional images in there, like, say, beautiful members of the opposite (or same) sex, music, art, sunrises and sunsets, and other things that don't necessarily have monetary value; would the results be the same? Would people's brains be stimulated in the same way? I doubt it.

  What they are measuring, as far as I can tell, is how the monetary value of an object stimulates the brain - not anything as general as the concept of "value".

  If they are limiting their concept of "value" to monetary value, then their study really doesn't prove anything, other than that their subjects value money, which as you point out is unfortunately a predisposition of modern society.

  This probably has a lot of relevance to economists, but I fail to see how it has any relevance at all to how the brain works. A rat scurrying across the floor could be seen as valuable to someone who is starving to death. That rat doesn't have monetary value - it has survival value. Perhaps they should have expanded their study a bit.

SB

Re:One person's "junk" is another person's treasur (1)

denttford (579202) | more than 5 years ago | (#26238841)

Yeah, "valuable objects" stimulate me more than some guy's junk.

Mmm. Pretty things.

Re:One person's "junk" is another person's treasur (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237613)

  I guess what I'm really asking is aren't they really finding out how societal and cultural mores affect people, more than how "objects" in general stimulate the brain?

  Enlighten me...

SB

Having eschewed material possesions... (1)

Monkey_Genius (669908) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237387)

This has no effect on me.

Re:Having eschewed material possesions... (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237489)

  You seriously must teach us how you post to slashdot via telepathy ;)

SB

Only (1)

mothore (1382155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237407)

Only a woman could have written this up :P

Causation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237409)

Could it be that the objects are assigned a high value BECAUSE they stimulate our brains?

Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237455)

What about when your wife finds out the fancy Guici purse you bought her is a knock off? She certainly won't be so stimulated by it anymore, but really, what's the difference?

Raccoons and Retards (1)

ErrataMatrix (774950) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237465)

You know Raccoons and Retards are attracted to shiny objects.

they need to do this with pr0n (1)

at10u8 (179705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237483)

This looks like the next in the ongoing series of "fMRI results of the week", but I was already quite sure about this without fMRI because I know how the notion of value maps onto the realm of images of women.

Diamonds ARE junk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237505)

Junk bought by idiots.

Valuable Articles Stimulate Brain More Than Junk (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237509)

Value means that something is inherently important or has become important through previous experience and reinforcement. The source of "value" is irrelevant; anything that is important is so because the experience has primed us to respond. That the brain should reflect such activity is not only trivial, it's well established.

TFA does not examine "value". It examines the effect of reinforcement to an arbitrary choice to subsequent choices. The paradigm used is a "go-no go" design. There's nothing in the study that differentiates value from simple learning and response selection.

Particularly egregious is the author's attempt to connect this poorly designed research to addiction. If this held, then the more something costs the more addictive it should be, and the less valuable it is the less addictive: free heroin is not habit forming.

Re:Valuable Articles Stimulate Brain More Than Jun (1)

WAG24601G (719991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237581)

Particularly egregious is the author's attempt to connect this poorly designed research to addiction. If this held, then the more something costs the more addictive it should be, and the less valuable it is the less addictive: free heroin is not habit forming.

On the contrary, heroin is addictive because it directly stimulates reward pathways, instead of using a secondary reinforcer (such as money). The researchers used money because it's a relatively universal secondary reinforcer, which is easier and more ethical than rounding up a dozen heroine addicts and giving them heorin as a reward. This study may open some doors for research on addictive behavior: How does visual perception for an addict differ from a non-addict, specifically with relationship to items/locations associated with the addictive agent?

Christmas is not a holiday season (4, Insightful)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237541)

In this holiday season, I'm sure you've received gifts that excited your brain -- and others that you already want to resell on an auction site."

Actually I received gifts for Christmas, not this holiday season, you insensitive clod! We have holidays all year round. Why should Christmas be recast as an entire holiday season (gift giving is irrelevant as far as calling it a holiday season) in its own right, other than for being able to ignore its existence by not calling it by name?

Mod me down if you want but only if you have good reason to; disagreement is not a valid reason. If this comment wasn't geared toward Christmas then it shouldn't have been posted the day after but instead near Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, but no one ever pays attention to those holidays anyway, at least, the retailers don't pay attention to them when they advertise sales. Their excuse for using "holiday season" is to falsely state their inclusion of other holidays. I guess lies don't matter as long as you turn a profit. What's your excuse for using "holiday season"?

Re:Christmas is not a holiday season (2, Insightful)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237605)

The "holiday season" around the winter solstice and its attendant celebrations pre-date Jesus by thousands of years.

Christmas, unlike Easter, was a minor feast until the Roman Catholic Church decided to do something about all the former pagans who still carried on many of their former traditions, rather than contributing all of their wealth to the Church. Whether many of those older traditions included gift giving is hard to say since the Church's agents tended to destroy pagan writing and other artifacts (except for a very few Greek and Roman texts), so it is possible that that part of the holiday season tradition is mostly (not strictly) Christian. More likely, the whole thing was cooked up by the merchant classes as a way to just make more money and people fell for it.

Re:Christmas is not a holiday season (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26238601)

Christmas, unlike Easter, was a minor feast until the Roman Catholic Church decided to do something about all the former pagans who still carried on many of their former traditions

Similarly, Hanukkah was a pretty minor holiday but because of its proximity to christmas it has become significantly more recognized. Thus the "holiday season" is appropriate as a term to refer to the time roughly from Diwali through Chinese new year. That range will also cover Eid al-Adha (but not Eid al-Fitr).

After all it is a season of holidays, not just a single holiday.

Re:Christmas is not a holiday season (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26238245)

Not everyone is Christian (and several religions have holidays around this time of the year.) And for many Christians around the world, Christmas is 12 days long. Look up the Twelve Days of Christmas on Wikipedia if you must.

Also, many people receive "gifts" which are not material (in the physical sense) which have no *real* monitary value. Ironically, many of these "gifts" have a monitary value attached to avoiding said gifts, such as drunken, slobby kisses from that one person on New Years.

Re:Christmas is not a holiday season (2, Informative)

Veggiesama (1203068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26238379)

Even fanatical Christians celebrate New Year's and Christmas Eve, so "holiday season" is an accurate term to describe a number of separate single days usually associated with revelry and gift-giving. Some people even use these days for traveling and vacationing.

Since my birthday also falls in December, and since we got off school for weeks at a time, as a child I assumed the whole month of December was one big holiday.

Notice: I didn't even have to talk about the winter solstice, Roman festivals, Jews, Africans, or the War on Christmas to dispel your arbitrary outcries.

Not so, for me (1)

mombodog (920359) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237595)

"our brain has stronger reactions when we see a diamond ring than we look at junk."

I get off more at a computer swap meet looking at junk hardware than going to De Beers any day of the week, I guess it all depends on who they test.

Not surprising, but answer this... (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237615)

The human response to an object is based on something. It exists, so it pretty much has to be, right? But *what* is it based on? Where do the "values" come from when we see an object? Are they the result of a conscious decision, based on a series of choices, derived from the ability to think and choose and also based on memories of the past? Or are these values simply "embedded" into us as we experience things, and experienced again in their triggering upon the sight of such objects?

To put it a different way, does the result of this experiment imply that things which we value are determined, or does it imply that we determine the things that we value? Can you say either way?

Not sure about that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237635)

I get pretty excited when I see Tatas.

Yet another Well Duh scientific discovery. (1)

upuv (1201447) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237693)

This goes into the pile of obvious scientific discoveries.

Like these notable scientific discoveries:
1. Drunk women are more amorous.
2. Eating Chocolate makes us feel better.
3. People with well proportioned faces are better looking.

My junk? (1)

Cipher13 (229685) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237705)

It's news that valuable objects stimulate my girlfriend's brain more than my junk?

duh (3, Funny)

tabby (592506) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237833)

So they are telling us that we are easily dis

Look! A sparkly thingy!

Finally, the Apple Mac effect explained! (0, Flamebait)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237873)

So this is why Mac users have such larger brains than Windows users!

Re:Finally, the Apple Mac effect explained! (1)

toddestan (632714) | more than 5 years ago | (#26239217)

Because overpriced objects stimulate the brain more?

Well Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237915)

Looking at my junk tells her that I'm well endowed, but showing her a diamond ring tells her that I've got money... ... And we all know which of the two stimulates her more!

more valuable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26237929)

More valuable in what sense? Market price value? More colours? How does the brain know that's something is more valuable? How about values changing by simple things, like fashion? Maybe the brain does not get more excited about the object itself, but about the social context, which is placing higher or lower value to objects or any other creatures.

My Precicious - Sméagol had it right!!! (1)

itsybitsy (149808) | more than 5 years ago | (#26237933)

So it wasn't The One Ring's fault after all of that effort! It was the people!

Sméagol had it right, the ring was my precious!!!

Presents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26238125)

I'm sure you've received gifts that excited your brain â" and others that you already want to resell on an auction site."

You guys got presents for Christmas?

Only shallow people with no imagination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26238129)

Smart people can see all the potential uses for "junk".

Diamond rings have very limited utility.

Wrong way around (1)

D_Blackthorne (1412855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26238349)

I think it's the other way around: we place a high "intrinsic" value on certain objects because they stimulate our brains the way they do. Otherwise why should compressed carbon or base metals be worth more or less than anything else? Iron is a more useful metal than gold or silver for making tools, and you can't burn diamonds to keep warm in the winter.

No shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26238565)

Stuff we find stimulating stimulates us more that less stimulating stuff! Fascinating.

Scientists also report that hot babes stimulate the penis more than rocks.

Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26238575)

The first thing that went through my mind after reading this: "duh!"

Wonderful discovery - NOT (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26238607)

Congratulations - they've discovered GREED. Film at 11.

How would you rate OSs? (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26238697)

No this is on topic, for me I sense more value in Linux and it stimulates my brain (thinking of the cool things I can do with it)

Same could go for some fan of Windows compared to other OSs or for that matter OS X compared to the other two.

Value is in the mind of the beholder. For those car analogies I think uniqueness would rate just as high say a $150,000 car vs a genuine DeLoerean. It's all subjective.

I think A Yugo would likely stimulate the brains of people in a remote region that has very little interaction with cars.

Aldous Huxley talked about this years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26239289)

...I believe in his essay "Heaven and Hell" (and other writings) back in the late 1950's when dissecting the reason *why* gems have any value at all to us. If I recall correctly he basically argues that gems and certain other objects (shiny metals, gold/silver, etc) cause our minds to travel slightly off of the normal baseline (to an "antipode" of the mind). He tied this to world religions and their use of gems/gold/silver to represent their versions of where you go when you die. One of the more interesting claims was that cultures that did not have access to gems would express value/beauty in things that "looked like" gems such as flowers and (when it was first made available) glass, and their descriptions of "heaven" would be described in these terms.

He also tied this to art and how the use of colors/light would also cause this effect (hence why we like to look at art or certain art more than others)

I'm pulling this all from memory so I might be a little off...

In other news... (1)

Georules (655379) | more than 5 years ago | (#26239847)

"Is grant money being thrown around?" Tonight at 11.

Tonight, boys and girls, we learn how to say "DUH" (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26240055)

It has been known for decades that the brain responds to visual images of highly desirable things much more strongly than it does to images of ordinary things.

What would have been news is if this "study" had NOT gotten the results that it did.

Seeing as how.. (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241039)

If expensive items stimulate our mnds much more than junk, Wynona Ryder must be stimulated as hell.
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