The Dark Side of Oxytocin, the Hormone of Love - Ethnocentrism Yes, you knew there had to be a catch. As oxytocin comes into sharper focus, its social radius of action turns out to have definite limits. The love and trust it promotes are not toward the world in general, just toward a person’s in-group. Oxytocin turns out to be the hormone of the clan, not of universal brotherhood. A principal author of the new take on oxytocin is Carsten K. In a report published last year in Science, based on experiments in which subjects distributed money, he and colleagues showed that doses of oxytocin made people more likely to favor the in-group at the expense of an out-group. These nationalities were chosen because of a 2005 poll that showed that 51 percent of Dutch citizens held unfavorable opinions about Muslims, and other surveys that Germans, although seen by the Dutch as less threatening, were nevertheless regarded as “aggressive, arrogant and cold.” Well-socialized Dutch students might be unlikely to say anything derogatory about other groups. In Dr.
Hunting Alzheimer’s Early Signs - Science in 2011 Todd Heisler/The New York Times FAMILY DISEASE Carlos Alberto Villegas is looked after by his wife, Blanca Nelly Betancur. He is one of the many members of a Colombian clan who have a genetic mutation that leads them to develop dementia. Scientists now know Alzheimer’s attacks the brain long before people exhibit or cognitive decline. If drugs could be given sooner, tailored to specific biological changes, or biomarkers, in the brain, treatment, or even prevention, might be more successful. “We’re trying to go earlier and earlier in the course of the disease,” said Neil Buckholtz, chief of the Dementias of Aging branch at the National Institute on Aging. Several research projects are expecting to make strides next year. One involves the world’s largest family to experience Alzheimer’s disease, an extended clan of about 5,000 people in Colombia, many of whom have inherited a genetic mutation that guarantees they will develop , usually in their 40s. While Dr. The team, also led by Dr.
Think Different: How Perception Reveals Brain Differences PERCEPTUAL PSYCHOLOGY and the brain sciences emphasize the communality in the way that people experience reality. Leaving aside cases of brain damage or mental disease, we all see the sun rise in the east, enjoy the scent of a rose and experience a jolt of fear when we are woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of breaking glass. This is a reflection of the great similarities of our brains compared with the brains of our close cousins on the evolutionary tree, the great apes. Laboratory science reinforces this bias by lumping together the performance of its subjects on any one experiment and reporting only the average and the variation around this mean. This conflation is also true for the telltale hot spots that show up in functional magnetic resonance brain images that we are used to seeing in newspapers, in magazines such as this one, on television and in the movies. Yet as we know from our own life, each one of us has his or her own preferences, likes and dislikes.
Neuroticism Emotional stability At the opposite end of the spectrum, individuals who score low in neuroticism are more emotionally stable and less reactive to stress. They tend to be calm, even-tempered, and less likely to feel tense or rattled. Although they are low in negative emotion, they are not necessarily high on positive emotion. Being high on positive emotion is an element of the independent trait of extraversion. Measurement Like other personality traits, neuroticism is typically viewed as a continuous dimension rather than distinct. Extent of neuroticism is generally assessed using self-report measures, although peer-reports and third-party observation can also be used. Lexical measures use individual adjectives that reflect neurotic traits, such as anxiety, envy, jealously, moodiness, and are very space and time efficient for research purposes. Statement measures tend to comprise more words, and hence consume more research instrument space, than lexical measures.
Cognitive Enhancement Versus Drug War Cognitive enhancement is not about future generations playing video games via neural implants and thought interfaces. Presently, it is about a large fraction of the worlds scientist shortening their lives (speak about lifespan enhancement) via caffeine, nicotine, and sugar intake that leads to diabetes and cardio vascular illnesses via hypertension with high blood pressure and heart troubles, teeth grinding, frequent urination, and so on. Coffee is a must at all conferences. No brew, no chance of surviving afternoon talks in a fully conscious state. The irony should be obvious: In a world with Modafinil and methylphenidate and where the cardio-toxic problems from caffeine are well known, exactly those who should know best, the scientists, are collectively ignorant. Why? Paul Erdös created mathematics with the help of Ritalin and amphetamines without becoming addicted over 25 years. Jewish Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdös Or do we need special citizen science?
Depressive realism Evidence for Evidence against When asked to rate both their performance and the performance of another, non-depressed individuals demonstrated positive bias when rating themselves but no bias when rating others. Criticism of the evidence Some have argued that the evidence is not more conclusive because there is no standard for "reality," the diagnoses are dubious, and the results may not apply to the real world. Because many studies rely on self-report of depressive symptoms, the diagnosis of depression in these studies may not be valid as self-reports are known to often be biased, necessitating the use of other objective measures. See also References Jump up ^ Alloy,L.B., Abramson,L.Y. (1988). Further reading Rachel Adelson (April 2005).
Feelings of Knowing : The Frontal Cortex Clive Thompson has a wonderful article in the NY Times Magazine on Watson, the supercomputer programmed to excel at Jeopardy. Thompson delves into the clever heuristics used to generate singular answers to ambiguous questions. (Watson relies on massive amounts of parallel processing, so that “he” is running thousands of Google searches simultaneously.) While Watson’s performance is certainly impressive, I thought the most interesting part of the story involved the failings of the machine. In more than 20 games I witnessed between Watson and former “Jeopardy!” This anecdote highlights one of the most impressive talents of the human mind. What’s interesting about this mental hiccup is that, even though the mind can’t remember the information, it’s convinced that it knows it. This is where feelings of knowing prove essential. These feelings of knowing illustrate the power of our emotions. The second important feature of these feelings of knowing is their speed.
Madonna–whore complex In sexual politics the view of women as either Madonnas or whores limits women's sexual expression, offering two mutually exclusive ways to construct a sexual identity. The term is also used popularly, often with subtly different meanings. Causes Freud argued that the Madonna–whore complex is caused by oedipal castration fears which arise when a man experiences the affection he once felt for his mother with women he now sexually desires. In order to manage this anxiety, the man categorizes women into two groups: women he can admire and women he finds sexually attractive. Whereas the man loves women in the former category, he despises and devalues the latter group. Psychoanalyst Richard Tuch suggests that Freud offered at least one alternative explanation for the Madonna–whore complex: According to Freudian psychology, this complex often develops when the sufferer is raised by a cold and distant mother. In popular culture See also References Notes Literature John A.
15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Brain Did you know that the belief that people only use 10% of their brains is a myth? Or that a brain has 100,000 miles worth of blood vessels, and over 100 billion neurons? Hit the jump for other interesting facts about the the organ that makes us, human beings, so special. Forer effect A related and more general phenomenon is that of subjective validation. Subjective validation occurs when two unrelated or even random events are perceived to be related because a belief, expectation, or hypothesis demands a relationship. Thus people seek a correspondence between their perception of their personality and the contents of a horoscope. Forer's demonstration On average, the students rated its accuracy as 4.26 on a scale of 0 (very poor) to 5 (excellent). Only after the ratings were turned in was it revealed that each student had received an identical sketch assembled by Forer from a newsstand astrology book. The sketch contains statements that are vague and general enough to most people. In another study examining the Forer effect, students took the MMPI personality assessment and researchers evaluated their responses. The Forer effect is also known as the "Barnum effect". Repeating the study Variables influencing the effect Recent research
Neuro-links - Brain, Self and Society - LSE BIOS now closed The BIOS Centre closed as a research centre of the School on 31 December 2011. The BIOS research group is moving to King's College London as of January 2012 to become the research arm of a new Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine. Nikolas Rose will also be leaving the LSE at that time to become Head of this new Department. Further information and resources Research programmes and other activities previously undertaken in the BIOS Centre: Dunning–Kruger effect In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority comes from the inability of low-ability people to recognize their lack of ability; without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence. On the other hand, people of high ability incorrectly assume that tasks that are easy for them are also easy for other people.[better source needed] Original study In Self-insight: Roadblocks and Detours on the Path to Knowing Thyself (2005), Dunning described the Dunning–Kruger effect as "the anosognosia of everyday life", referring to a neurological condition in which a disabled person either denies or seems unaware of his or her disability. Later studies Underlying issues of Numeracy Popular recognition