How Trippy Version of Mariah Carey Christmas Hit Fools the Brain

12/17/2015 - Psychology Professor Petr Janata in New Scientist.

It’s an example of what psychologists call top-down processing, when the brain uses information it already has to try to understand the world around it. I already knew the song: my brain had a template saved that it could match the new sounds to, filling in the non-existent vocals. My expectations shaped my perceptions.

Top-down processing is to our advantage, says Petr Janata, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, Davis. It makes humans and animals more sensitive to potential threats or benefits in the world around them.

Read the full story in New Scientist.