A ball of dough can “learn.” What’s Donald Trump’s excuse?

By Seriously Science | October 27, 2016 8:02 pm

journal-pone-0165269-g001This study definitely falls squarely into our “WTF” category. These researchers set out to determine whether a ball of electroconductive dough (basically flour, water, table salt, vegetable oil, and lemon juice) can be “conditioned” to respond to a stimulus. They hooked up the doughball to jumper cables and exposed it to flashes of LED light paired closely in time with a current. After this training, they then exposed the dough to light with no current, and found that its spectral density resembled that of doughballs that had been shocked. They also saw differences in the dough’s microscopic structure after this training process. The researchers interpret these results to mean that the dough had been conditioned to respond to light by expecting a shock, in the same way that Pavlov’s dogs were conditioned to drool in anticipation of food after hearing a bell. Critics question whether this can really be defined as “learning”, but we do know one thing: this ball of dough is smarter than Donald Trump.

Experimental Evidence of Classical Conditioning and Microscopic Engrams in an Electroconductive Material

“Synthetic experimental substrates are indispensable tools which can allow researchers to model biological processes non-invasively in three-dimensional space. In this study, we investigated the capacities of an electroconductive material whose properties converge upon those of the brain. An electrically conductive material composed of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, ions, water, and trace amounts of other organic compounds and minerals was classically conditioned as inferred by electrophysiological measurements. Spectral densities evoked during the display of a conditioned stimulus (CS) probe were strongly congruent with those displayed during the conditioned-unconditioned stimulus pairing (CS-UCS). The neutral stimulus consisted of the pulsed light from a LED. The unconditioned stimulus was an alternating current. Interstimulus intervals >130 ms did not result in conditioned responses. Microscopic analysis of the chemically-fixed substratum revealed 10–200 μm wide ‘vessel structures’ within samples exposed to a stimulus. Greater complexity (increased fractal dimensions) was clearly discernable by light microscopy for stained sections of fixed samples that had been conditioned compared to various controls. The denser pixels indicated greater concentration of stain and increased canalization. Implications for learning and memory formation are discussed.”

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  • http://satsapienti.com Steve Mittelstaedt

    Essentially what has been created is a programmable sensor. Calling it learning is a rather elastic use of the term.

    • joseph2237

      Like the term “elastic use”! Liberties too formal and stretch of the imagination is dull.

  • OWilson

    Presumably the ball of dough contains yeast, and can be considered alive. At least as alive as the average American voter.

    It also probably has primitive political tendencies too. But how to discern them?


    Drag a dollar bill across the floor. If there is a significant bulge to that side, it is a Hillary supporter.

    Have a beautiful women walk by, and if she raises a lump it could be a Trump supporter OR a Hillary supporter.

    Further study would be needed to determine why a Hillary supporter would react to feminine charms. Perhaps it is in sympathy with her husband’s own proclivities, or even, gasp!, her own secret desire!

  • joseph2237

    It works because of presence of Dark Dough.

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    Flash drives persist in state after like training; memristors, ferroelectrics; any high aspect ratio divided conductors loaded to critical contact density in a viscous dielectric medium. They line up and “remember.”

    OK, be political. I deny Saul Alinsky and his politics of saturation violent lies. Our future is not in the palsied hands of Grandma Clinton and her satyr husband (impeached and disbarred) as her beard.

  • http://www.unsigned.com/SuperPredator Chris H

    I’m pretty sure that every artical I have read tells me who the researcher(s) are, could the title be the reason why they are not mentioned.
    And why the title, obviously Trump can learn, he’s running for President, and a Billionaire, and a father, and a businessman, and I’m sure he can cook some things ,and repair others, sounds like he has grasped reality and has learned to manipulate it just fine.

    hillbilly on the other hand, seems to have failed to learn right from wrong, we’ll leave it at that.


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