May 31, 2005
Neurophysiology of Romantic Love
The New York Times featured an article today entitled Watching New Love as It Sears the Brain.
Excerpts from the NYT article are below.
In an analysis of the images appearing today in The Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers in New York and New Jersey argue that romantic love is a biological urge distinct from sexual arousal.
It is closer in its neural profile to drives like hunger, thirst or drug craving, the researchers assert, than to emotional states like excitement or affection. As a relationship deepens, the brain scans suggest, the neural activity associated with romantic love alters slightly, and in some cases primes areas deep in the primitive brain that are involved in long-term attachment.
In a series of studies, researchers have found that, among other processes, new love involves psychologically internalizing a lover, absorbing elements of the other person’s opinions, hobbies, expressions, character, as well as sharing one’s own. “The expansion of the self happens very rapidly, it’s one of the most exhilarating experiences there is, and short of threatening our survival it is one thing that most motivates us,” said Dr. Aron, of SUNY, a co-author of the study.
For a fascinating related book on the subject of neuroscience and romantic love, I recommend A General Theory of Love , by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon.
May 30, 2005
Spontaneous Navigation for TV, from Hillcrest Labs
Hillcrest Labs has developed a new way to navigate TV.
Their product, a new kind of remote control and navigation system, looked really usable, and I can’t wait to have one myself.
Dan Simkins, CEO, demonstrated the product at the D3 conference, organized by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher (from the Wall Street Journal). My raw notes from the demo are below.
May 29, 2005
More thoughts on digital media after D3 conference
My friend Matt Hurst appreciated my comments on the blog and newspaper
panels but asked for more of my thoughts about the issues raised during the
D3 conference. This note is a start at such a response.
When users access content through a branded source (either a print
publication or an online destination), the path by which they reached the
content plays a strong role in setting expectations for the credibility of
the content. Users increasingly access news content through search
engines. This has the effect of giving random access to content. In some
cases, users who click on search results can equally well find themselves
reading an article in a high school newspaper or the Washington Post.
However, while there is some potential for deceptive publications to mislead
readers, the content itself gives many clues about credibility. Many people
want higher quality content that has been put through a reviewed process and
are willing to pay for this with their attention or their dollars. This
point was expressed well at D3 by the newspaper publishers and by Barry
Diller. The new access to additional voices seems to me to be purely
additive and will not detract from the role or business of mainstream media.
As concerns quality reviewed content itself, a larger threat to newspapers
(and to all mainstream publishers) is that high-quality media professionals
(like Dan Gilmoor) can exploit the new publication and distribution
landscape to go out on their own. To the extent that readers identify with
the brands of content (experts, shows) more than the brands of publishers
(newspapers, labels, TV networks), this disintermediation can result in a
massive transfer of value and control. Mel Karmazin, the Chief Executive of
Sirius Satellite Radio, said he believes the users will identify with the
content, which motivated his investment in exclusive licensing of Howard
Stern to Sirius radio. Moreover, small players can focus on narrower topics
that add higher value to niche audiences than does mainstream media. Steve
Jobs gave a demo of podcasting, which will both add new voices and offer
disintermediation for established content.
With this shift in economics, it is not obvious what is the best way for
mainstream media to respond. Intermediaries clearly have to serve as good
infomediaries and focus on usable packaging and editorial selection make it
easy for users to find quality content they want. However, mainstream
publishers are traditionally not set up to provide editorial selection with
respect to the long tail of content. I think the struggle to be relevant to
more narrow segments is what motivated major newspaper publishers to puchase
internet aggregators like Topix.net and About.com. It also is driving the
shift in music (and now video) from branded networks and publishers like ABC
and CBS to narrowcast technology providers like Sirius Satellite Radio and
Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Mel Karmazin, suggested that prospects for the
old networks are limited in the new media world. If so (still a big if),
the strategy for newspaper publishers may depend on the extent to which
people want to read news they can discuss with other readers vs. the desire
to have news that is most uniquely of interest to themselves.