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thinkahol *

YouTube - The Psychology of Religion-Steven Pinker (part I) - 0 views

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    In an illustration more typical of Pinker's cultural taste, he quotes the opening scene of Woody Allen's movie Annie Hall, when the young Alvy Singer tells a psychiatrist that he won't do his homework because the universe is expanding. If the universe is going to fall apart, he says, what is the point of human existence? "What has the universe got to do with it?" his mother wails at him. "You' re here in Brooklyn! Brooklyn is not expanding!" That kind of reductionism is confusing two levels of analysis," Pinker says. "We have meaning and purpose here inside our heads, being the organisms that we are. We have brains that make it impossible for us to live our lives except in terms of meaning and purpose. The fact that you can look at meaning and purpose in one way, as a neuro-psychological phenomenon, doesn' t mean you can' t look at it in another way, in terms of how we live our lives." The collection of genes known as Steven Pinker made the point most forcibly in How The Mind Works, where he explained his own decision not to have children - which apparently runs counter to the demands of evolution - and says that if his genes don't like it, "they can take a running jump." http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,3926387,00.html Steven Pinker
thinkahol *

Why do depressed people lie in bed? A surprising theory | Psychology Today - 0 views

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    So this alternative theory turns the standard explanation on its head. Depressed people don't end up lying in bed because they are undercommitted to goals. They end up lying in bed because they are overcommitted to goals that are failing badly. The idea that depressed people cannot disengage efforts from failure is a relatively new theory. It has not been much tested in research studies. However, the idea is well worth exploring. It fits well clinically with the kinds of situations that often precipitate serious depression -- the battered wife who cannot bring herself to leave her troubled marriage, the seriously injured athlete who cannot bring himself to retire, the laid off employee who cannot bring herself to abandon her chosen career despite a lack of positions in her line of work. Seeing these depressions in terms of unreachable goals may be useful clinically, and may help us better understand how ordinary low moods can escalate into incapacitating bouts of depression.
nat bas

Thinking literally - The Boston Globe - 0 views

  • Metaphors aren’t just how we talk and write, they’re how we think. At some level, we actually do seem to understand temperament as a form of temperature, and we expect people’s personalities to behave accordingly. What’s more, without our body’s instinctive sense for temperature--or position, texture, size, shape, or weight--abstract concepts like kindness and power, difficulty and purpose, and intimacy and importance would simply not make any sense to us.
  • Put another way, metaphors reveal the extent to which we think with our bodies.
  • "The abstract way we think is really grounded in the concrete, bodily world much more than we thought,” says John Bargh, a psychology professor at Yale and leading researcher in this realm.
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  • Friedrich Nietzsche scornfully described human understanding as nothing more than a web of expedient metaphors, stitched together from our shallow impressions of the world. In their ignorance, he charged, people mistake these familiar metaphors, deadened from overuse, for truths. "We believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers,” he wrote, "and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things--metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities.”
  • people asked to recall a time when they were ostracized gave lower estimates of room temperature than those who recalled a social inclusion experience.
  • subjects who took the questionnaire on the heavier clipboards tended to ascribe more metaphorical weight to the questions they were asked
  • we actually unconsciously look upward when we think about power
  • subjects, after handling sandpaper-covered puzzle pieces, were less likely to describe a social situation as having gone smoothly
  • people who were told to move marbles from a lower tray up to a higher one while recounting a story told happier stories than people moving them down
  • subjects who recalled an unethical act acted less guilty after washing their hands.
  • something as simple as sitting on a hard chair makes people think of a task as harder
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    this is a wonderful essay: how metaphors shape the world we see.
seth morris

A Different Kind of Euphoria with a Legal Pot - 4 views

Looking for a legal pot that is totally intense without getting a hangover the next day is hard to find. But with Herbal Highs Online, we have found the right one. As we were browsing through the p...

pot Psychology brain science health Happiness

started by seth morris on 02 Jun 11 no follow-up yet
Erich Feldmeier

Michel Poulin The Neurogenics of Niceness - UB NewsCenter - 0 views

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    "It turns out that the milk of human kindness is evoked by something besides mom's good example. ..The study, co-authored by Anneke Buffone of UB and E. Alison Holman of the University of California, Irvine, looked at the behavior of study subjects who have versions of receptor genes for two hormones that, in laboratory and close relationship research, are associated with niceness. Previous laboratory studies have linked the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin to the way we treat one another, Poulin says... "
Heather McQuaid

BPS Research Digest: The new science of "Phew!" - 0 views

  • Roughly half the group described a "near-miss" kind of relief - rather like fearing that you've locked yourself out and then realising that you haven't. The other half described a kind of "task-completion" relief, in which a negative experience had come to an end.
  • near-miss relief was associated with having more thoughts about how much worse things could have been and feeling more socially isolated
  • xcessive rumination can be harmful to close relationships. Experience of task-completion relief, by contrast, was associated with more thoughts about how things could have been even better.
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  • "Experiencing near-miss relief could increase the likelihood that people will act to avert an unfavourable fate in the future" Sweeny and Vohs said. "In contrast, task-completion relief allows people to focus on the positive emotional experience with minimal distraction from downward counterfactual thoughts. This process might reinforce satisfaction in the completion of a job well done ... and therefore increase the likelihood that people will repeat the unpleasant experience."
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    It's better to complete a scary task than to have the sense of relief of a "near miss"
nat bas

Understanding the Anxious Mind - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • But some people, no matter how robust their stock portfolios or how healthy their children, are always mentally preparing for doom. They are just born worriers, their brains forever anticipating the dropping of some dreaded other shoe. For the past 20 years, Kagan and his colleagues have been following hundreds of such people, beginning in infancy, to see what happens to those who start out primed to fret. Now that these infants are young adults, the studies are yielding new information about the anxious brain.
  • Four significant long-term longitudinal studies are now under way: two at Harvard that Kagan initiated, two more at the University of Maryland under the direction of Nathan Fox, a former graduate student of Kagan’s. With slight variations, they all have reached similar conclusions: that babies differ according to inborn temperament; that 15 to 20 percent of them will react strongly to novel people or situations; and that strongly reactive babies are more likely to grow up to be anxious.
  • In the brain, these thoughts can often be traced to overreactivity in the amygdala, a small site in the middle of the brain that, among its many other functions, responds to novelty and threat. When the amygdala works as it should, it orchestrates a physiological response to changes in the environment. That response includes heightened memory for emotional experiences and the familiar chest pounding of fight or flight. But in people born with a particular brain circuitry, the kind seen in Kagan’s high-reactive study subjects, the amygdala is hyperreactive, prickly as a haywire motion-detector light that turns on when nothing’s moving but the rain. Other physiological changes exist in children with this temperament, many of them also related to hyperreactivity in the amygdala. They have a tendency to more activity in the right hemisphere, the half of the brain associated with negative mood and anxiety; greater increases in heart rate and pupil dilation in response to stress; and on occasion higher levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine.
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  • The physiological measurements led them to believe something biological was at work. Their hypothesis: the inhibited children were “born with a lower threshold” for arousal of various brain regions, in particular the amygdala, the hypothalamus and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the circuit responsible for the stress hormone cortisol.
  • At age 4, children who had been high-reactive were four times as likely to be behaviorally inhibited as those who had been low-reactive. By age 7, almost half of the jittery babies had developed symptoms of anxiety — fear of thunder or dogs or darkness, extreme shyness in the classroom or playground — compared with just 10 percent of the more easygoing ones. About one in five of the high-reactive babies were consistently inhibited and fearful at every visit up to the age of 7.
  • By adolescence, the rate of anxiety in Kagan’s study subjects declined overall, including in the high-risk group. At 15, about two-thirds of those who had been high-reactors in infancy behaved pretty much like everybody else.
  • PEOPLE WITH A nervous temperament don’t usually get off so easily, Kagan and his colleagues have found. There exists a kind of sub-rosa anxiety, a secret stash of worries that continue to plague a subset of high-reactive people no matter how well they function outwardly. They cannot quite outrun their own natures: consciously or unconsciously, they remain the same uneasy people they were when they were little.
  • Teenagers who were in the group at low risk for anxiety showed no increase in activity in the amygdala when they looked at the face, even if they had been told to focus on their own fear. But those in the high-risk group showed increased activity in the amygdala when they were thinking about their own feelings (though not when they were thinking about the nose). Once again, this pattern was seen in anxiety-prone youngsters quite apart from whether they had problems with anxiety in their daily lives. In the high-risk kids, even those who were apparently calm in most settings, their amygdalas lighted up more than the others’ did.
  • Behaviorally inhibited children were much more likely to have older siblings: two-thirds of them did, compared with just one-third of the uninhibited children. Could having older siblings, he and his co-authors wondered, mean being teased and pushed, which becomes a source of chronic stress, which in turn amplifies a biological predisposition to inhibition?
  • high-reactive babies who went to day care when they were young were significantly less fearful at age 4 than were the high-reactives who stayed home with their mothers.
  • The predictive power of an anxiety-prone temperament, such as it is, essentially works in just one direction: not by predicting what these children will become but by predicting what they will not. In the longitudinal studies of anxiety, all you can say with confidence is that the high-reactive infants will not grow up to be exuberant, outgoing, bubbly or bold. Still, while a Sylvia Plath almost certainly won’t grow up to be a Bill Clinton, she can either grow up to be anxious and suicidal, or simply a poet. Temperament is important, but life intervenes.
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    This is a good article that looks at how anxiety happens- it is more or less something you are born with, but you learn to live with, if you are intelligent about it. Liked it. Good writing.
José Cavalcante

Why We Like to Keep Busy | World of Psychology - 1 views

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    If idle people remain idle, they are miserable. If idle people become busy, they will be happier, but the outcome may or may not be desirable, depending on the value of the chosen activity. Busyness can be either constructive or destructive. Ideally, idle people should devote their energy to constructive courses, but it is often difficult to predict which actions are constructive...
Borne Mace

Being the Better Person Will Teach People To Treat You Like Crap - 26 views

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