As in the Byron’s book Testosterone Inc.: Tales of CEOs Gone Wild, Scientific American found common ground for narcissistic, insane, exscentric and tyrannic bosses’ and politics’ behaviour – testosterone.
If you’ve been blaming reckless men for the collapse of America’s leading investment houses and the plunging markets, you may be on to something. High levels of testosterone are correlated with riskier financial behavior, new research suggests.
Overconfidence has long been noted by historians and political scientists as a major cause of war. However, the origins of such overconfidence, and sources of variation, remain poorly understood. Mounting empirical studies now show that mentally healthy people tend to exhibit psychological biases that encourage optimism, collectively known as ‘positive illusions’. Positive illusions are thought to have been adaptive in our evolutionary past because they served to cope with adversity, harden resolve, or bluff opponents. Today, however, positive illusions may contribute to costly conflicts and wars. Testosterone has been proposed as a proximate mediator of positive illusions, given its role in promoting dominance and challenge behaviour, particularly in men. To date, no studies have attempted to link overconfidence, decisions about war, gender, and testosterone. Here we report that, in experimental wargames: (i) people are overconfident about their expectations of success; (ii) those who are more overconfident are more likely to attack; (iii) overconfidence and attacks are more pronounced among males than females; and (iv) testosterone is related to expectations of success, but not within gender, so its influence on overconfidence cannot be distinguished from any other gender specific factor. Overall, these results constitute the first empirical support of recent theoretical work linking overconfidence and war.
Narcissists work on a big scale and are drawn to risky decisions. They go for large spending and investment, and love a merger or acquisition. The financial results under their leadership, the study found, are more extreme.
Must see documentary Sweet misery- A poisoned world ( “Excellent documentary showing how dangerous artificial sweetner Aspartame is. From its history, to its effects this video is enough to shock anyone into really looking at there food labels next time they shop. Aspartame is a toxic food that came into the world as an investment By Donald Rumsfeld, while ignoring the deadly effects the tests showed. Take a good look at this video, it could save lives. ” and book Sweet poison about Artificial sweetener Aspartame, which despite so much harmful effects on health it is still in use in food industry. (The FDA Commissioner’s original team of scientific experts was against approval of aspartame because the brain tumor data was so “worrisome.” ).
The only think we can do is not to use it. Interesting enough, the players are again the same. Donald Rumsfeld has been the CEO of the company G.D. Searle (see bellow) and he lobbied for FDA approval. G.D. Searle has been acquired by Monsanto, well known about its genetically modified food. Is this the way how to decrease the world population? Scarry!
In 1977, Donald Rumsfeld (a former member of the U.S. Congress and the Chief of Staff in the Gerald Ford Administration) was hired as President and CEO of G.D. Searle. Attorney James Turner, Esq. has alleged that G.D. Searle hired Rumsfeld to facilitate the aspartame approval difficulties that they were experiencing.
Rumsfeld’s first action was to hire John Robson as Executive Vice President. Robson was a former lawyer with Sidley and Austin (Searle’sLaw Firm) and had also served as chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board (then connected with the Department of Transportation). Rumsfeld also brought on Robert Shapiro as General Counsel. Shapiro had been Robson’s Special Assistant at the Department of Transportation. Rumsfeld’s next task was to hire William Greener, Jr., as Chief Spokesman. Greener was a former spokesman in the Gerald Ford White House.
At the time that Rumsfeld became President and CEO he was on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Tribune. Shortly after Rumsfeld became CEO of Searle he wrote an effusively positive article about the NutraSweet Company.
On January 10, 1977, it was recommended to the U.S. Attorney that a grand jury be set up to investigate G.D. Searle for violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, U.S.C. 331(e), and the False Reports to the Government Act, 18 U.S.C. 1001. G.D. Searle and Company and three of its responsible officers were investigated for willful and knowing failure to make reports to the Food and Drug Administration and for hiding pertinent facts and making false statements in reports of the animal studies that were conducted to establish the safety of the drug Aldactone and the food additive Aspartame.
There were two studies where the violations committed by G.D. Searle appeared to be especially grievous. The two studies investigated were the previously mentioned 52-week toxicity study on infant monkeys performed by Dr. Waisman (G.D. Searle withheld important information from the FDA) and a 46-week toxicity study of hamsters (G.D. Searle had taken blood from healthy animals at the 26th week and claimed that the tests had actually been performed at the 38th week). Apparently many of the animals from this study were dead by the 38th week.
On January 26, 1977, G.D. Searle’s law firm, Sidley & Austin, requested a meeting with the U.S. Attorney prior to a grand jury convening. A representative of Sidley & Austin who was present at that meeting was Newton Minow (also on the Board of Directors at the Chicago Tribune at that time).
On April 13, 1977, a memo from the U.S. Justice Department urged U.S. Attorney Samuel Skinner to proceed quickly with the grand jury investigations of G.D. Searle. The memo clearly shows that the Statute of limitations on prosecution was going to expire soon (October 10, 1977 for the Waisman study and December 8, 1977 for the other study).
On July 1, 1977, U.S. Attorney Samuel Skinner left his U.S. Attorney position to work for the G.D. Searle law firm of Sidley & Austin. Thomas Sullivan became Samuel Skinner’s successor. Assistant U.S. Attorney William Conlon convened a grand jury, but he allowed the Statute of Limitations to run out on the aspartame study charges.
Just over a year later, Conlon also accepted a job with G.D. Searle’s law firm, Sidley & Austin.
Robert McConnell was the Director of G.D. Searle’s Department of Pathology and Toxicology, the department that oversaw most of the aspartame research. Mr. McConnell was specifically named in the initial recommendation for investigation. According to McConnell’s attorney, his client was given a $15,000 bonus and it was requested he take a 3-year sabbatical (he received $60,000 for each year). He was deemed a “political liability.”
On January 21, 1981, the day after Ronald Reagan became the 40th President of the United States, G.D. Searle reapplied for the approval of aspartame. G.D. Searlesubmitted new studies along with their application. Reagan was expected to replace Jere Goyan, the FDA Commissioner. G.D. Searle President & CEO, Donald Rumsfeld’s connections to the Republican Party were also thought to be connected to Searle’s decision to reapply for aspartame’s approval at that time.
According to a former G.D. Searle salesperson, Donald Rumsfeld told his sales force that, if necessary, “he would call in all his markers and that no matter what, he would see to it that aspartame would be approved that year.”
Meanwhile, there were FDA scientists who were very concerned about specific problems linking aspartame with brain tumors, brain lesions, and general brain chemistry. Another concerned neuroscientist, Dr. John Olney studied aspartame extensively and he expressed his concern about the serious negative health effects aspartame consumption had on the human body.
The concerns of these top scientists were of no consequence to Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld made the decision to solve this problem politically – not scientifically.
On October 15, 1982, G.D. Searle petitioned the FDA for approval of aspartame use in soft drinks and children’s vitamins.
On October 1, 1982 an amendment was attached to the Orphan Drug Act. This act encourages the development of drugs for rare diseases. The amendment extended the patent on one product — aspartame — by 5 years, 10 months and 17 days. The amendment did not mention aspartame or G.D. Searle specifically and there was no debate or discussion on this amendment.
This amendment was proposed by Senator Howell Heflin, brought up for vote by Senator Robert Byrd, and pushed through by Representatives Henry Waxman and Orrin Hatch. G.D. Searle requested Senator Heflin sponsor the amendment. Heflin reportedly received $9,000 in campaign donations from G.D. Searle company executives shortly after this amendment was approved. Senator Byrd received a $1,000 campaign contribution from the CEO of G.D. Searle (Rumsfeld) before the amendment was proposed. Representative Waxman received a $1,500 campaign contribution from the soft drink political action committee. Senator Hatch also received $2,500 from the soft drink political action committee prior to his re-election and $1,000 each from Daniel Searle, Wesley Dixon (Daniel Searle’s brother-in-law), and William Searle. Senator Hatch has blocked hearings looking into the safety of aspartame many times.
In 1985, G.D. Searle was sold to the chemical company, Monsanto. Monsanto then created the NutraSweet Company as a separate subsidiary from G.D. Searle.
In 1992, NutraSweet signed agreements with the Coca-Cola and PepsiCo stipulating that The NutraSweet Company was their preferred supplier of aspartame. The patent for aspartame expired on December 14, 1992. This opened up the market to other companies.
In light of all of this information, it is not at all surprising that most health-conscious people now believe avoiding NutraSweet is a prudent practice. At some future point, if a scientific consensus finally concludes that aspartame puts most consumers at risk, it will be much too late. The best thing is to eat safely now.
Some of the symptoms of aspartame poisong include:
- Headaches/Migraines, Dizziness, Seizures, Nausea, Numbness, Muscle spasms, Weight gain, Rashes, Depression, Fatigue, Irritability, Tachycardia, Insomnia, Vision Problems, Hearing Loss, Heart palpitations, Breathing difficulties, Anxiety attacks, Slurred Speech, Loss of taste, Tinnitus, Vertigo, Memory loss, Joint Pain
Because aspartame metabolizes into a poison and other dangerous chemicals (despite the claims of the manufacturer to the contrary), it is believed that it can trigger or worsen the following conditions:
- Brain tumors, Arthritis, Multiple sclerosis, Epilepsy, Chronic faigue syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Mental retardation, Lymphoma, Birth defects, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, Thyroid Disorders
Movie deals with tricking nature of two basic corner stones of our mind: memory and imagination. Invented past as anchor for future. But lately research shows that the same brain structures are responsible for memories and imagination. And that believing can be seeing – Context Dictates What We Believe We See. Pretty visionary movie though.
“You might look at it as mental time travel–the ability to take thoughts about ourselves and project them either into the past or into the future,” says Kathleen McDermott, Ph.D. and Washington University psychology professor. The team used “functional magnetic resonance imaging” — or fMRI — to “see” brain activity. They asked college students to recall past events and then envision themselves experiencing such an event in their future. The results? Similar areas of the brain “lit up” in both scenarios.
Researchers say besides furthering their understanding of the brain — the findings may help research into amnesia, a curious psychiatric phenomenon. In addition to not being able to remember the past, most people who suffer from amnesia cannot envision or visualize what they’ll be doing in the future — even the next day.”
Another good article, posted in Scientific American Mind, uses Memento to explain the nature of memory.
The Matrix in Your Head
The discovery of place-tracking neurons called grid cells, our experts say, “changes everything”
By James J. Knierim
In the 2001 suspense thriller Memento, the lead character, Lenny, suffers a brain injury that makes him unable to remember events for longer than a minute or so. This type of amnesia, known as anterograde amnesia, is well known to neurologists and neuropsychologists. Like Lenny, sufferers remember events from their life histories that occurred before their injuries, but they cannot form lasting memories of anything that occurs afterward. As far as they recall, their personal histories ended shortly before the onset of their disorders.
The cause of Lenny’s problem was probably damage to his hippocampus, a pair of small, deep-brain structures crucial to memory—and also important to some of today’s most exciting and consequential neuroscience research. Decades of research have made clear that the hippocampus and surrounding cortex do more than just place our life events in time. The hippocampus, along with a newly discovered set of cells known as grid cells in the nearby cortex, traces our movement through space as well. And by doing so, it supplies a rich array of information that provides a context in which to place our life’s events. The picture that is emerging is of historic importance and more than a little beauty.
Exactly how does the brain create and store autobiographical memories? Although that question has fascinated scientists, philosophers and writers for centuries, it was only 50 years ago that scientists identified a brain area clearly necessary for this task—the hippocampus. The structure’s role was made clear in 1953, when William Scoville, a Hartford, Conn., surgeon seeking to relieve the epileptic seizures that were threatening to kill a patient known as H.M., removed most of H.M.’s hippocampus and discovered he had rendered him unable to form new, conscious memories. Since then, the case of H.M., along with extensive animal research, has firmly established that the hippocampus acts as a kind of encoding mechanism for memory, recording the timeline of our lives.
In the 1970s another discovery inspired the theory that the hippocampus also encodes our movement through space. In 1971 John O’Keefe and Jonathan Dostrovsky, both then at University College London, found that neurons in the hippocampus displayed place-specific firing. That is, given “place cells,” as O’Keefe dubbed these hippocampal neurons, would briskly fire action potentials (the electrical impulses neurons use to communicate) whenever a rat occupied a specific location but would remain silent when the rat was elsewhere. Thus, each place cell fired for only one location, much as would a burglar alarm tied to a tile in a hallway. Similar findings have been reported subsequently in other species, including humans.
These remarkable findings led O’Keefe and Lynn Nadel, now at the University of Arizona, to propose that the hippocampus was the neural locus of a “cognitive map” of the environment. They argued that hippocampal place cells organize the various aspects of experience within the framework of the locations and contexts in which events occur and that this contextual framework encodes relations among an event’s different aspects in a way that allows later retrieval from memory. Yet a consensus is emerging that the hippocampus does somehow provide a spatial context that is vital to episodic memory. When you remember a past event, you remember not only the people, objects and other discrete components of the event but also the spatiotemporal context in which the event occurred, allowing you to distinguish this event from similar episodes with similar components. But How?
Despite intensive study, however, the precise mechanisms by which the hippocampus creates this contextual representation of memory have eluded scientists. A primary impediment was that we knew little about the brain areas that feed the hippocampus its information. Early work suggested that the entorhinal cortex, an area of cortex next to and just in front of the hippocampus, might encode spatial information in a manner similar to that of the hippocampus, though with less precision.
This view has now been turned upside down with the amazing discovery of a system of grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex, described in a series of recent papers by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser and their colleagues. Unlike a place cell, which typically fires when a rat occupies a single, particular location, each grid cell will fire when the rat is in any one of many locations that are arranged in a stunningly uniform hexagonal grid—as if the cell were linked to a number of alarm tiles spaced at specific, regular distances. The locations that activate a given grid cell are arranged in a precise, repeating grid pattern composed of equilateral triangles that tessellate the floor of the environment.
Imagine arranging dozens of round dinner plates to cover a floor in their optimal packing density, such that every plate is surrounded by other, equidistant plates; this arrangement mimics the triggering pattern tied to any given grid cell. As the rat moves around the floor, a grid cell in its brain fires each time the rat steps near the center of a plate. Other grid cells, meanwhile, are associated with their own hexagonal gridworks, which overlap each other. Grids of neighboring cells are of similar dimensions but are slightlyoffset from one another.
These grid cells, conclude the Mosers and their co-workers, are likely to be key components of a brain mechanism that constantly updates the rat’s sense of its location, even in the absence of external sensory input. And they almost certainly constitute the basic spatial input that the hippocampus uses to create the highly specific, context-dependent spatial fi ring of its place cells.
This discovery is one of the most remarkable findings in the history of single-unit recordings of brain activity.
JAMES J. KNIERIM is associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, where he studies the role of the hippocampus and related brain structures in spatial learning
DAVID BOWIE (end music from the movie)
FINAL SCENES OF THE MOVIE