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U.S. researchers map emotional intelligence of the brain

U.S. researchers map emotional intelligence of the brain
We tend to think of reason and emotion as being two different things, but it turns out that there may not be a choice between the heart and the head. A University of Illinois team, led by neuroscience professor Aron Barbey, has made the first detailed 3D map of emotional and general intelligence in the brain, that shows a strong overlap of general and emotional intelligence. Reason and emotions aren’t opposites, but rather two types of intelligence or, perhaps, two aspects of one intelligence. Reason comes under the heading of general intelligence. That covers higher-order mental processes that include reasoning, attention and perception, and memory and language. There are a number of theories about how general and emotional intelligence are related. Relationships between general and emotional intelligence The study was based on computed tomography (CT) scans taken of the brains of 152 US Vietnam War veterans. In the video below, Aron Barbey discusses the study. Related:  The Neuroscience of EmotionsNeuroscience & Consciousness

Why Emotion Will Usually Outweigh Logic In The Audience’s Brains | Horace Mann League Blog Many people like to think that business is all about logic, and that customers behave having rationally analysed all available data, considered the various pros and cons of different courses of action and come to a logical conclusion. Although it’s very difficult for very logical people to understand (e.g. accountants, engineers, IT professionals), this could not be further from the truth, as the quote above from Buck Rogers of IBM demonstrates (and he was talking about mainframe computers!). The reality is that a high percentage of the time people make decisions based purely on emotion. They may well rationalise that decision afterwards by using logic, but the decision itself is made on emotion. ay in the centre of the brain and is primeval. The Neocortex is a much more recent development, in evolutionary terms. However, a lot of the time this route ‘short circuits’ and emotions are triggered automatically, with the Cortex being left out.

Faulty braking system leads to depression The brain’s neurotransmitters act either as accelerators or as brakes in the internal communication between neurons. If an accelerator or a brake isn’t working, the communication gets out of control. This leads to cell death and depression. (Illustration: Colourbox) Antidepressant drugs in the shape of SSRIs, such as Citalopram or Prozac, do not have the desired effect on all patients. Science cannot really explain why this is so, and if fact not a lot is known about how these drugs actually affect our brains. But new, ground-breaking animal studies have made researchers a little wiser. Nerve cells need to be under control It has long been known that depression is caused by an imbalance in the brain’s neurotransmitter system, the function of which is to optimise the communication between the brain’s nerve cells, known as neurons. Some neurotransmitters activate the neurons while others inhibit them. If the brain is healthy, it can push either of these pedals down as needed. Kimmo Jensen

The Upside of Pessimism The theory of defensive pessimism suggests that imagining—and planning for—worst-case scenarios can be more effective than trying to think positively. I have pretty low expectations for this article. Oh sure, I spent a lot of time on it, and I personally think it’s a great read. But I’m kind of worried that you will hate it. Worse yet, I’m afraid you’ll hate me for writing it. You might take to Twitter and call me a featherbrained, elitist millennial. Or at least, that’s how I would start out thinking if I were prone to defensive pessimism, a phenomenon in which people imagine worst-case scenarios in order to manage their anxiety. This type of negativity might sound like apostasy by American standards. I recently spoke with Norem, a pioneer of the defensive pessimism theory. A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows, and you can take a test to find out if you’re a defensive pessimist here. Olga Khazan: What is defensive pessimism? Khazan: How would I apply this in real life?

Nothing to fear but suffocation | Body & Brain Not all fear is the same. A woman who laughs at horror movies, grabs dangerous snakes and calmly deals with knife-wielding men nonetheless surrenders to terror at a single puff of suffocating carbon dioxide. This woman, known as SM, has a disease that damaged her amygdala, a brain structure implicated in fear. But the new results involving her and two others with the same disease, published online February 3 in Nature Neuroscience, show that a certain kind of danger signal can bypass the amygdala, hitting the panic button in other parts of the brain. The need to breathe is one of the most fundamental requirements for survival. Feinstein and colleagues work with SM and other patients who suffer from a rare genetic disorder called Urbach-Wiethe disease. A breath of gas that is 35 percent carbon dioxide can immediately provoke a strong, panicky fear. "It’s automatic,” says Feinstein, who has subjected himself to the procedure multiple times. But the scientists were wrong.

David Eagleman: The human brain runs on conflict This article was taken from the May 2011 issue of Wired magazine. Be the first to read Wired's articles in print before they're posted online, and get your hands on loads of additional content by subscribing online. Throughout the 60s, pioneers in artificial intelligence worked late nights trying to build simple robotic programs capable of finding, fetching and stacking small wooden blocks in patterns. The society-of-mind framework was a breakthrough, but, despite initial excitement, a collection of experts with divided labour has never yielded the properties of the human brain. When someone offers you chocolate cake, you are presented with a dilemma: some parts of your brain have evolved to crave sugar, while others care about potential consequences, such as a bulging belly. Consider this lab experiment: if you put both food and an electric shock at the end of a pathway, a rat will pause a certain distance from the end. David Eagleman is a neuroscientist and writer.

First-Ever Incredible Footage of a Thought Being Formed The Neuroscience of Looking on the Bright Side Ask a bride before walking down the aisle “How likely are you to get divorced?” and most will respond “Not a chance!” Tell her that the average divorce rate is close to 50 percent, and ask again. Would she change her mind? Unlikely. Even law students who have learned everything about the legal aspects of divorce, including its likelihood, state that their own chances of getting divorced are basically nil. Psychologists have documented human optimism for decades. To answer these questions we have investigated optimism by using a recent, burgeoning approach in neuroscience: Describing neural activity related to complex behavior with the simple concept of “prediction errors.” The concept of prediction errors was initially put forward in research on artificial intelligence. How have neuroscientists employed the idea of prediction errors to study brain activity? How can prediction errors help us to understand optimism? Still, a word of caution to avoid being too optimistic is warranted.

What Makes You Feel Fear? : Shots - Health News hide captionMovies like The Shining frighten most of us, but some brain-damaged people feel no fear when they watch a scary film. However, an unseen threat — air with a high level of carbon dioxide — produces a surprising result. Warner Bros./Photofest Movies like The Shining frighten most of us, but some brain-damaged people feel no fear when they watch a scary film. In shorthand often used to describe the brain, fear is controlled by a small, almond-shaped structure called the amygdala. But it's not quite that simple, as a study published Sunday in Nature Neuroscience demonstrates. One of the best ways to figure out how parts of the brain work is to study people who have damage in those specific areas. A few years ago, SM told Justin Feinstein, then a graduate student at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, that she'd never felt fear, even when she'd been confronted by a knife-wielding assailant. Feinstein put her claim to the test.

The neuroscience of happiness They say money can’t buy happiness. But can a better understanding of your brain? As recent breakthroughs in cognitive science break new ground in the study of consciousness — and its relationship to the physical body — the mysteries of the mind are rapidly becoming less mysterious. But does this mean we’ll soon be able to locate a formula for good cheer? Shimon Edelman, a cognitive expert and professor of psychology at Cornell University, offers some insight in “The Happiness of Pursuit: What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About the Good Life.” Salon spoke with Edelman over the phone about the brain as computer, our cultural investment in happiness, and why knowing how our brains work might make us happier. In the book, you approach neuroscience from a popular perspective, using language and allegories laypeople can understand. Well, I think the principles in question are actually pretty accessible on what you call a superficial level. That’s a really good question.

Neurologist discovers 'dark patch' inside brains of killers and rapists Scans reveal a patch at the front of the brain can be seen in people with records for criminal violenceGerman scientist who made the discovery classifies evil in three groups By Allan Hall In Berlin Published: 15:32 GMT, 5 February 2013 | Updated: 23:29 GMT, 5 February 2013 A German neurologist claims to have found the area of the brain where evil lurks in killers, rapists and robbers. Bremen scientist Dr Gerhard Roth says the 'evil patch' lies in the brain's central lobe and shows up as a dark mass on X-rays. He discovered it when investigating violent convicted offenders over the years for German government studies. Dr Gerhard Roth demonstrates where the 'evil patch' can be identified in the brains of those inclined to violence Scans studied by Dr Roth indicate that the patch he says is associated with wicked behaviour is found at the front of the brain 'We showed these people short films and measured their brain waves,' he said. 'Of course it is not automatic.

Everyday Stress Can Shut Down the Brain's Chief Command Center The entrance exam to medical school consists of a five-hour fusillade of hundreds of questions that, even with the best preparation, often leaves the test taker discombobulated and anxious. For some would-be physicians, the relentless pressure causes their reasoning abilities to slow and even shut down entirely. The experience—known variously as choking, brain freeze, nerves, jitters, folding, blanking out, the yips or a dozen other descriptive terms—is all too familiar to virtually anyone who has flubbed a speech, bumped up against writer’s block or struggled through a lengthy exam. For decades scientists thought they understood what happens in the brain during testing or a battlefront firefight. Select an option below: Customer Sign In *You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content

Neuromarketing | The Persuaders But 30 years after the commercials debuted, neuroscientist Read Montague was still thinking about them. Something didn't make sense. If people preferred the taste of Pepsi, the drink should have dominated the market. What he found was the first data from an entirely new field: neuromarketing, the study of the brain's responses to ads, brands, and the rest of the messages littering the cultural landscape. Neuromarketing, in one form or another, is now one of the hottest new tools of its trade. Getting an update on research is one thing; for decades, marketers have relied on behavioral studies for guidance. That last piece of research is particularly worrisome to anti-marketing activists, some of whom are already mobilizing against the nascent field of neuromarketing. Ruskin might be consoled by the fact that many neuromarketers still don't know how to apply their findings. With Commercial Alert's campaign thwarted for now, BrightHouse is moving forward.

The Neuroscience of Self-Esteem, Self-Criticism and Self-Compassion All the emphasis on self-esteem building in recent decades has done little to instruct people on what to do when they hit a bump in the road. Most of us, research shows, unleash our inner critic – even if the hardship is brought on by age, illness or another inevitable part of life. Recently, scientists such as Paul Gilbert of Kingsway Hospital in the United Kingdom and Kristin Neff of the University of Texas at Austin, have suggested being self-compassionate, rather than self-critical, especially in rough times, is more likely to help us rebound and may lead to greater success and happiness in the long run. This is not just semantics or new-age feel-good fluff. Gilbert associates self-esteem, self-criticism and self-compassion with three interacting emotional systems in the brain, each with their own evolutionary purpose and mediating neurotransmitters. The "drive" system The threat-protection system For many of us, these first two systems dominate. The mammalian care-giving system

Take a deep breath – scientists working on a stress breath test Scientists may someday be able to measure a person's stress levels by analyzing compounds in their breath (Photo: Shutterstock) Most of us are able to let other people know that we’re stressed, simply by telling them. For people such as those suffering from Alzheimer’s, however, it can be difficult to express such a thought. That’s why UK scientists at Loughborough University and Imperial College London are developing a new test that can determine someone’s stress levels by analyzing their breath. In a study involving 10 male and 12 female young adults, test subjects first sat comfortably and listened to soothing classical music, and were then required to perform a Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT), an arithmetic test specifically designed to cause psychological stress. The chemical content of those samples was analyzed via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. A paper on the study was recently published in the Journal of Breath Research. Source: Institute of Physics

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