Excess Noise Knowledge Base

Definitions for those who work in communications and perception

Knowledge Base


You have received a cluster of signals. You are cognizant or aware of them because they are within your sensory limits. Now what? What happens with all the signals your senses send to your brain?

Those signals combine with what is already there to ultimately become a concept.

Every time you walk into a room, the first time or the next, you notice what’s there. You notice the broken armrest, the dirty window, the faded carpet and the overheating. But that’s not enough to form a concept. What ultimately does make the concept is the combination of all this information with your stored memories, attitudes…

This is where it gets interesting.

How exactly does your mind interpret the signals you receive? How does your mind decide to like or dislike? What incites you to act, or not?

Do you feel the same entering a noisy bar as you do entering a fine restaurant? If you were to hear a gunshot, right now, would you sit motionless? How about going into a bedroom when you know someone special is waiting for you? Do you remember going into class on the day of an exam? Why was going into the same class you had gone into every day, for several months, different that Tuesday? Were the chairs a different color? Was the teacher wearing a whig?

Going into class that day, to take that important exam, you felt different because your brain was filled with much more than just the signals of the room. It was filled with your human drive to succeed. You remembered your parents’ warning: “you had better get a good grade, or else…” Your brain was aware of the consequences of failure. It was aware of the other students’ tension. That room looked very ominous that day for reasons far beyond immediate sensory signals.

Another way of looking at signals, cognizance and concepts is that the signal is the letter, cognizance is the word and the concept is the complete sentence.

A concept can be the interpretation of a building, a corporation, a service, a store, a government, an organization, a city, a region, a person, an event or any other ‘reality’ that emits signals that the human senses can receive and which the brain can interpret.

If there is reality there are signals, if you can sense the signals there is cognizance or awareness, the complete picture is the concept.

But how exactly does the brain ‘decipher,’ ‘interpret’ or ‘pass judgment on’ those signals, cognizance and concepts? What makes us like or dislike a concept? What incites us to react to a concept? When you enter that noisy bar what makes you render a positive or negative judgment? Why do we choose one brand over another? Are the best sports cars really red?

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This glossary of definitions is not intended as an academic reference. It is an exercise in thinking on our part. We hope to grow it and welcome any suggestions you may have.