background preloader

A Neuroscientist Uncovers A Dark Secret

A Neuroscientist Uncovers A Dark Secret

Somatic markers hypothesis The somatic marker hypothesis (SMH) proposes a mechanism by which emotional processes can guide (or bias) behavior, particularly decision-making.[1][2] This hypothesis has been formulated by Antonio Damasio. Hypothesis[edit] When individuals make decisions, they must assess the incentive value of the choices available to them, using cognitive and emotional processes. When the individuals face complex and conflicting choices, they may be unable to decide using only cognitive processes, which may become overloaded. The amygdala and VMPFC are essential components of this hypothesized mechanism and therefore damage to either structure will disrupt their proposed action in mediating the development and action of somatic markers. Research background[edit] Patients with frontal lobe damage (e.g., Phineas Gage) provided the first evidence that the frontal lobes were associated with decision-making and social conduct. Working mechanism[edit] Evolutionary evidence[edit] Experiments[edit]

The Top 10 Psychology Studies of 2010 The end of 2010 fast approaches, and I'm thrilled to have been asked by the editors of Psychology Today to write about the Top 10 psychology studies of the year. I've focused on studies that I personally feel stand out, not only as examples of great science, but even more importantly, as examples of how the science of psychology can improve our lives. Each study has a clear "take home" message, offering the reader an insight or a simple strategy they can use to reach their goals , strengthen their relationships, make better decisions, or become happier. If you extract the wisdom from these ten studies and apply them in your own life, 2011 just might be a very good year. 1) How to Break Bad Habits If you are trying to stop smoking , swearing, or chewing your nails, you have probably tried the strategy of distracting yourself - taking your mind off whatever it is you are trying not to do - to break the habit. J. 2) How to Make Everything Seem Easier J. 3) How To Manage Your Time Better M. J.

Weird Wired Science Austrian physician Franz Joseph Gall sought to understand the mind of murderers and other criminals by feeling the outside of their skulls. This practice, which he first used in 1796, later came to be called Now largely discredited, it turned out that neither Gall nor anyone could systematically link the bumps and lumps on the head to any regular patterns of behavior, criminal or otherwise. Psychologists no longer need to use scalp massages as diagnostic tools. They can now look at what's happening inside the skull using one of several types of brain scans. The most successful of these methods is the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan, particularly the functional MRI (or fMRI). Patients are placed within a scanning device that causes nuclei within the cells to produce a rotating magnetic field detected by the scanner. Brain scans are clearly an advance over phrenology, but they also have their limitations. The "wow" factor is only part of the story.

Scientists study serial killers to understand what lies behind their crimes They are fascinating and terrifying in equal measure, but for many people understanding what motivates serial killers to murder many times over can be difficult to grasp. Psychologists and neuroscientists are starting to build up a picture of the disturbing minds behind some of the most shocking crimes to have come to light in recent decades. They have discovered surprising similarities between these mass murderers and have even found evidence that suggests a genetic abnormality that may act as a trigger. While most people may be quick to dismiss serial killers as simply monsters, scientists are now attempting to understand what causes them to commit mass murder by studying their brains and their DNA. Dr Helen Morrison, a forensic psychiatrist based in Chicago, has studied and interviewed 135 serial killers, according to an infographic compiled by the website Best Counseling Degrees. Serial killer 'Son of Sam' arrested after NYC murder spree Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% MinimizeExpandClose

How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs Think Like a Shrink Yes, you too can see through the defenses people hide behind. To guide you, just consult the handy primer below. Put together by psychiatrist Emanuel H. I have always thought it horribly unfortunate that there is such a tremendous gap between psychiatry and popular culture. To some degree, we've gotten just what we deserve. Most patients come to psychiatrists because they recognize that, to some degree, their perceptions contain some distortions. In my practice, I've engaged in a kind of educational psychotherapy, explaining simply to patients what they are doing and why they are doing it. Ideas and principles can be introduced directly without the jargon psychiatrists normally hide behind in professional discussions. The core of what we do as psychotherapists is strip away people's protective strategies. Here, then, are some general principles to help you think like a shrink. 1. There are at least three key things you want to know: 2. 3. 4. This leads nicely to... 5.

Brain waves can cut braking distances, researchers say 29 July 2011Last updated at 09:44 By Judith Burns Science reporter, BBC News Volunteers wearing EEG caps used a driving simulator Tapping into drivers' brain signals can cut braking distances and avoid car crashes, according to scientists. Researchers at the Berlin Institute for Technology attached electrodes to the scalps of volunteers inside a driving simulator. The system detected the intention to brake, and cut more than 3m (10ft) off stopping distances, the team report in the Journal of Neural Engineering. The team's next aim is to check the system in a series of road tests. The 18 volunteers were asked to keep 20m (66ft) behind the simulated car in front, which braked sharply at random intervals. Scientists used a technique called electroencephalograhy (EEG) to analyse the drivers' brain signals. The system was able to pinpoint the intention to brake 13 hundredths of a second before the driver applied pressure to the brakes. "We were surprised it is so predictive. 'Point of no return'

Le retour du criminel né ? Après de brillantes études de psychologie à Oxford et à York, Adrian Raine émigre en Californie en 1987. Deux raisons motivent ce choix, explique-t-il avec la spontanéité qui le caractérise : le climat… et la plus grande accessibilité des criminels à des fins de recherche que dans son Angleterre natale. « Neuro-criminologue » autoproclamé, l’universitaire britannique séduit par le soleil californien est surtout le premier chercheur à avoir eu l’idée de « scanner » le cerveau de criminels. En 1994, il utilise le PET scan* pour enregistrer l’activité cérébrale de 41 prisonniers américains. Aujourd’hui professeur de criminologie à l’université de Pennsylvanie, Adrian Raine clame invariablement sa théorie d’un fondement biologique du crime. Génétique de la violence La marque de Caïn ? Mais Raine ne s’en tient pas à la génétique. Il faut concéder une chose à Adrian Raine : sa thèse n’est pas manichéenne au point de rejeter l’influence de l’environnement social sur la criminalité.

Sexual orientation – wired that way In a recent post, I presented the evidence that sexual preference is strongly influenced by genetic variation. Here, I discuss the neurobiological evidence that shows that the brains of homosexual men and women are wired differently from those of their heterosexual counterparts. First, we must consider the differences between the brains of heterosexual males and females. These differences are extensive and arise mainly due to the influence of testosterone during a critical period of early development (see Wired for Sex). They include, not surprisingly, differences in the number of neurons in specific regions of the brain involved in reproductive or sexual behaviours as well as differences in the number of nerve fibres connecting these areas. But they also involve areas not dedicated to these types of behaviours, such as the cerebellum, for example, which is involved in motor control among other things, and which shows a very large difference between men and women. Swaab DF (2008).

Related: