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.
Have just read the article “Why the brain follows the rules? (see it bellow) and what really intrigued me was not exactly the question why the brain follows the rules but why there are some differences among people…or say it differently….Why some brains don’t follow the rules?
It’s brought me back to the question of psychology of power as influence of personal/genetic traits and the influence of enviroment(omnipresent corporate culture which declare itself as a person but without human traits) which shapes people’s mind through language/values and perception.
And here Niccolò Machiavelli comes on stage. To helps us figure out either opportunistic and selfish behaviour is indeed result of someones brain (dis)function or it could be simply acquired during socialization. The field is well studied but with no final answer. So i gonna speculate as well. Cos i did extensive study for myself to catch just the tail of the problem. The whole body of the problem is yet to be researched.
Take a minute to find your score on Machiavelli personality test . It’s fun and while doing it you can get pretty clear idea what it’s all about (and what i am talking in the rest of the post). To be socially successful in this world, you would mark the answers which are not really close to your true nature but you would definitely pass better at work or on social situation (not friends) if you behave lake that. Thinking about that is already opportunistic. And here is evident the whole problem. It is kind of adaption mechanism or survival strategy. But still…to which extent? We all do it. But than, why some of them can easily take the last exit of human morality and try to dominate other people. We all don’t do it. That’s clear. Some of us have different goals than money and dominance. Beauty of every moment, for example.
And going further, for example, I can’t simply believe that all people from “elite” families are genetically so the same that they follow the same Machiavelli’s rules. They’ve been taught, i guess. But the range of people who came to the position of manipulating and are not part of taught elite, could be so diverse. From psychopath traits to the ones who simply found out by chance how to come to the position of dominance and manipulation. Although they were just good, nice , ordinary people before. Did they hide those traits or did the system change them? As one research showed the level of serotonin rises as person comes to the higher position. The Standford experiment is great example for that. But unfortunately, the end result is the same as it would be inherited case. Brain is very plastic, seems so. And it changes a lot during the life.
As some researches show, machiavellism and primary psychopathic traits are highly correlated, but the question remains: Was it there before or was it learned…Some researches show that correlation doesn’t exist. That Machiavellians are just well adopted people with high survival instincts. Is it possible that their social status and wealth diminishes the treat of punishment and that’s why their brain shows all signs of disinhibition which is characteristic for psychopaths?
See bellow the traits of psychopaths, machievillists, correlations and what scans of the brain say about. One is sure. Orbitofrontal cortex is playing a great role. Was it that kind at their birth or was it changed during the life time as adaption strategy, is the real question to be answered.
PRIMARY PSYCHOPATHS do not respond to punishment, apprehension, stress, or disapproval. They seem to be able to inhibit their antisocial impulses most of the time, not because of conscience, but because it suits their purpose at the time. Words do not seem to have the same meaning for them as they do for us. In fact, it’s unclear if they even grasp the meaning of their own words, a condition that Cleckley called “semantic aphasia.” They don’t follow any life plan, and it seems as if they are incapable of experiencing any genuine emotion.
SECONDARY PSYCHOPATHS are risk-takers, but are also more likely to be stress-reactive, worriers, and guilt-prone. They expose themselves to more stress than the average person, but they are as vulnerable to stress as the average person. (This suggests that they are not “fully psychopathic.” This may be due to distinctive genetic variations.)
They are daring, adventurous, unconventional people who began playing by their own rules early in life. They are strongly driven by a desire to escape or avoid pain, but are unable to resist temptation. As their anxiety increases toward some forbidden object, so does their attraction to it. They live their lives by the lure of temptation. Both primary and secondary psychopaths can be subdivided into:
DISTEMPERED PSYCHOPATHS are the kind that seem to fly into a rage or frenzy more easily and more often than other subtypes. Their frenzy will resemble an epileptic fit. They are also usually men with incredibly strong sex drives, capable of astonishing feats of sexual energy, and seemingly obsessed by sexual urges during a large part of their waking lives. Powerful cravings also seem to characterize them, as in drug addiction, kleptomania, pedophilia, any illicit or illegal indulgence. They like the endorphin “high” or “rush” off of excitement and risk-taking. The serial-rapist-murderer known as the Boston Strangler was such a psychopath.
CHARISMATIC PSYCHOPATHS are charming, attractive liars. They are usually gifted at some talent or another, and they use it to their advantage in manipulating others. They are usually fast-talkers, and possess an almost demonic ability to persuade others out of everything they own, even their lives. Leaders of religious sects or cults, for example, might be psychopaths if they lead their followers to their deaths. This subtype often comes to believe in their own fictions. They are irresistible.
Sociopaths have always existed in varying form and to various degrees. They have been known by various titles. They have been studied using various techniques, and through the years their ailment has been blamed on various causes. But one thing never varies: all sociopaths share three common characteristics. They are all very egocentric individuals with no empathy for others, and they are incapable of feeling remorse or guilt.[The Sociopath Rebecca Horton (April 1999)]
Bellow are some explanations what mechiavellisem means psychologicaly and MRI (brain scans) how it can be explained neurologically:
The term refers to Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince (1513) and to the hypothesis that the techniques which lead to certain kinds of political success within large social groups are also applicable within smaller groups, including the family-unit. The term “everyday politics” was later introduced in reference to these various methods. These arguments are based on research by primatologists such as Nicholas Humphrey (1975).
Machiavelli’s teachings continue to influence all levels of Western society. Take for example a situation presented by Michael Walzer: An elementary school needs a new roof. Simple as it may seem, much of Machiavelli’s theories will be put to use. Money from a budget must be allocated by officials, each of them lobbying for what they think is most important. Even then, if money is allocated towards a new roof, a construction contractor must be hired. One must consistently consider, What is behind this lower estimate for the construction work? Why does this company want this small contract? Many questions must be asked in order to identify deception. In the end, all anyone can ever do is “strive to make an informed decision based on the best evidence, and then act accordingly, even though the best evidence will never guarantee certainty.”
Machiavellian intelligence may be demonstrated by behaviors including:
Machiavellianism is the term that some social and personality psychologists use to describe a person’s tendency to deceive and manipulate others for personal gain. The concept is named after Renaissance diplomat and writer Niccolò Machiavelli, who wrote Il Principe(The Prince). In the 1960s Richard Christie and Florence L. Geis developed a test for measuring a person’s level of Machiavellianism. This eventually became the MACH-IV test, a twenty-statement personality survey that is now the standard self-assessment tool of Machiavellianism. People scoring above 60 out of 100 on the MACH-IV are considered high Machs; that is, they endorsed statements such as, “Never tell anyone the real reason you did something unless it is useful to do so,” (No. 1) but not ones like, “Most people are basically good and kind” (No. 4). People scoring below 60 out of 100 on the MACH-IV are considered low Machs; they tend to believe, “There is no excuse for lying to someone else,” (No. 7) and, “Most people who get ahead in the world lead clean, moral lives” (No. 11). In a series of studies undertaken by Christie and Geis and Geis’s graduate assistant David Berger, the notion of machiavellianism was experimentally verified.
High Machs tend to take a more detached, calculating approach in their interaction with other people. In terms of Big Five personality traits, Machiavellians tend to be low on agreeableness and high in conscientiousness.
Scholars and researchers have attempted to find a correlation between Machiavellianismand narcissistic personality disorder and psychopathy. It could be understood that psychopaths and sociopathshave a similar disposition that could be identified with Machiavellianism, for sociopaths are known for manipulation and cunning. Psychopaths, however, generally have difficulty realizing or understanding the concepts of right and wrong, and tend not to have much regard for consequences. On the other hand, High Machs perhaps more or less view as Machiavelli did, and simply believe that while right and wrong have reality (at least to most people), that it is impractical to be ethical all the time, and that perhaps there is a difference between outright deception or exploitation, and subtle spins on the truth for the sake of what is seen (subjectively) as a more important cause that is not recognized by both parties. However, it may be difficult to distinguish between the two, because both types exhibit similar tendencies, often while considering it important to mask or misrepresent their motives. Furthermore, true High Machs (as opposed to sociopaths) tend to take consequences very seriously, and when dedicated to a course of action which may backfire, it is usually because the potential consequences have been weighed quite carefully and the High Mach is prepared to be responsible if blame cannot be deflected sufficiently.
Low Machs tend to take a more personal, empathic approach in their interaction with other people. They tend to be more trusting of others and more honest. They believe humans are essentially good natured. At the extreme, low Machs tend to be passive, submissive, highly agreeable, dependent and socially inept; in contrast with those who are more Machiavellian, they also tend to believe that everyone has a good and bad side.
Previous research has demonstrated a relationship between Machiavellianism and a preference for business occupations. The present study tested the hypothesis that this Machiavellian-business connection is mediated by other personality characteristics. Support was obtained for predictions that, compared to Non-Business High Machs, Business High Machs would (i) differ little on Neuroticism (low) or Pchoticism (high), but (ii) score significantly higher on Extraversion, as measured by the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. The links between sociability (Extraversion), toughmindedness (Psychoticism) and skills in interpersonal manipulation (Machiavellianism) are discussed in terms of their complementary implications for effective business behaviour.
Machiavelli’s (1513/1902) work The Prince provided the basis of the Machiavellian personality type coined by Christie and Geis (1970). The traditional Machiavellian perspective advocates that the leader’s main goal is to be in power at all costs, whereby the end justifies the means as long as power is retained.
The Machiavellian personality type has been researched extensively. Initial research found individuals who were strong in the Machiavellian disposition to be controlling, manipulative, and ruthless (Christie & Geis, 1970). However, recent research has shown that individuals higher in the Machiavellian disposition are more flexible in their choices of influence tactics than individuals lower in the Machiavellian disposition (Grams & Rogers, 1989), and are more likely to exhibit self-monitoring behaviors (Snyder, 1974). The Machiavellian personality has been positively correlated with certain types of planning for communication in interpersonal situations, indicating that high Machiavellians give thought to how to influence others (Allen, 1990).
Those who score high on a Machiavellian assessment instrument would be more flexible in choosing influence tactics most likely to lead to follower compliance (Carpenter, 1990). Those scoring low on a Machiavellian assessment would be less likely to strategically alter their behavior. Another factor contributing to the high Machiavellian’s flexibility of behavior might be the ability to use self-monitoring to read and use environmental cues to determine behavior. Research has shown a strong relationship between Machiavellianism and self-monitoring (Leone, 1994; Snyder, 1974).
Under the situational model, a high Machiavellian disposition would affect the relationship between an individual’s motivation source and influence tactic choice, because he or she would be able to alter behavior according to the situation. By contrast, the dispositional model indicates that the low Machiavellian is less likely to alter behavior. Therefore, the situation does not become a factor in that individual’s influence behavior, demonstrating again that the individual’s motivation source has a direct relationship with his or her influence tactic choice.
Machiavellianism in Initial and Repeated Influence Attempts
Machiavellians display superb negotiation skills, and their ability to influence is impressive (Christie & Geis, 1970). Kets de Vries and Miller (1985) related narcissism to the Machiavellian personality when they described the self-deceptive variety of narcissism. Narcissistic individuals were said to display a lack of empathy and fear of failure and were considered “ideal-hungry,” preoccupied with their own needs, and strongly desirous of being loved, as well as having a transactional/instrumental orientation.
Grams and Rogers (1989) examined influence tactics and personality characteristics and found that the choice of influence tactic differs dramatically according to whether a person is high or low in the Machiavellian disposition. Individuals with a high Machiavellian disposition are more motivated to succeed, more assertive, and less manipulative. Additionally, resistance from the target changes the leader’s influence strategy. Those high in the Machiavellian disposition prefer to use indirect (emotion) and non-rational (reward) persuasion techniques. High Machiavellians display positive emotional techniques (flattery, friendliness) that aid in their influence attempts. Individuals high in Machiavellianism want to succeed by using the least obtrusive means possible but are willing to resort to stronger or harder tactics if necessary.
The dark triad of traits are the self-obsession of narcissism, the impulsive, thrill-seeking and callous behaviour of psychopaths and the deceitful and exploitative nature of Machiavellianism. “We have some evidence these traits may represent a successful evolutionary strategy,” Dr Jonason told New Scientist magazine.
People are incredibly social beings, and we rely heavily on our interactions with others to thrive, and even survive, in the world. To avoid chaos in these interactions, humans create social norms. These rules and regulations establish appropriate and acceptable ways for us to act and respond to each other. For instance, when waiting in line, we expect people also to wait their turn. As a result, we get upset when someone decides to cut in line: they violated a social norm.
But how are social norms maintained? And what makes us comply with social norms? Primarily, the answer is that, if we don’t follow the rules, we might get in trouble. Numerous studies demonstrate that, when the threat of punishment is removed, people tend to disregard social norms. The neat and orderly line disintegrates.
It remains unclear, however, how the brain processes the threat of punishment when deciding whether or not to comply with a social norm. A recent study conducted by neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer and his colleagues at the University of Ulm in Germany and the University of Zurich in Switzerland tried to shed light on this mystery. The researchers put 24 healthy male students in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner to see what parts of the brain were activated during a two-person social exchange with real monetary stakes.
In this game, a research participant (“Person A”) was given money, and had to decide how much he wanted to give to another person (“Person B”) and how much he wanted to keep. In one variation of the game—the “punishment threat condition”—Person B could punish Person A if he or she believed that Person A had divided the money unfairly, or violated the “fairness social norm.” In another situation, there was no punishment threat and Person A could act freely without worrying about the consequences. The researchers sought to find out how much more money Person A would give to Person B under the threat of punishment, and what brain circuits are associated with this change in behavior.
Not surprisingly, the threat of punishment made people act more fairly. In the “punishment threat condition” people split the money close to equally. However, when Person B had no recourse, the people given the money acted very differently and gave away, on average, less than 10 percent of the money.
One of the interesting things about social norm compliance, however, is that there is tremendous individual variation. Some people would never cut in line or act unfairly, whereas others don’t think twice about it. Using a questionnaire, the researchers measured each participant’s “Machiavellism,” a combination of selfishness and opportunism, which is often used to describe someone’s tendency to manipulate other people for personal gain. Sure enough, the people with high Machiavellism scores gave less money away when there was no punishment threat and were best at avoiding punishment when the threat of punishment was present. Therefore, these individuals earned the most money overall.
When the researchers looked at the brain activity of people playing this simple game, they found a consistent pattern. One region in the frontal lobes, the orbitofrontal cortex, seemed to be responsible for evaluating the potential for punishment. In other words, it figured out whether or not violating the social norm would get us in trouble. A second brain region, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, was responsible for inhibiting the natural tendency to keep most of the money (this would be the greedy thing to do) if this action might lead to future punishment. Interestingly, these brain areas only were activated when the threat of punishment came from a real person, and not a computer that was programmed to act like a real person.
Furthermore, just as Machiavellism personality traits influenced how people behave, these traits also relate to what is happening in the brain. The orbitofrontal cortex was most activated in the more self-interested, opportunistic people. This finding makes sense because, if the orbitofrontal cortex is helping people detect and evaluate threats, then it should be most active in people who are worried about getting punished. This study can also help us understand what might be happening in the brains of people who struggle to follow social norms, which is what happens in mental illnesses such as psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder.
Of course, many different variables not studied in this experiment can also affect social norm compliance. Even a norm as seemingly straightforward as “fairness” can get pretty complicated pretty quickly. The social norm of fairness, after all, does not always mean an equal distribution of goods. Someone may deserve more based on effort, talent or simply the feeling of entitlement that comes from social status. For instance, one could argue that in the non-punishment situation, Person A was put in a position of power, because he or she was given complete control of the money. On the other hand, when Person B is given the right to punish Person A, Person B is now put in a superior position of power. And accordingly, the social norm for Person A changes: it is no longer acceptable for him to keep all the money for himself. This adjustment suggests that the brain activity evident in the Spitzer study could, in part, be related to changes in power and status between the punishment and non-punishment condition. In fact, in a recent study, we found that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was more activated when interacting with a person who is in superior social position.
Damage to the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in humans has been associated with disinhibited or socially inappropriate behaviour and emotional changes. Some of the changes may be related to difficulty in responding correctly to rewards and punishers, in that these patients have difficulty in learning to correct their choice of a visual stimulus when it is no longer associated with reward. We extend this fundamental approach by investigating the relationship between frontal dysfunction and impulsive behaviour, the behavioural, emotional and personality changes seen in patients with prefrontal cortex damage, and thus in addition illuminate the cognitive and biological processes that are impaired in impulsive people. OFC patients (n = 23) performed more impulsively on both self-report and cognitive/behavioural tests of impulsivity, reported more inappropriate ‘frontal’ behaviours, and performed worse on a stimulus-reinforcement association reversal task, than non-OFC prefrontal cortex lesion control (n = 20) and normal control (n = 39) participants. Further, OFC patients experienced more subjective anger than non-OFC and normal participants, and less subjective happiness than normals; and had a faster subjective sense of time (overestimated and underproduced time intervals) than normal controls, while non-OFC patients did not differ from normals. Finally, both OFC and non-OFC patients were less open to experience than normal participants. There were no differences between OFC patients, non-OFC lesion patients and normal controls on all other personality traits, most notably extraversion. In a spatial working memory task, the non-OFC group, most of whom had dorsolateral prefrontal cortex lesions, were impaired in that they repeatedly returned to previously chosen empty locations (‘within errors’), whereas OFC patients were not impaired on this measure. Thus there is a dissociation between the effects of OFC damage which does not affect this measure of spatial working memory but does affect impulsive and inappropriate behaviour, reversal, personality, time perception and emotion; and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex damage which does affect this measure of spatial working memory, but not impulsive and inappropriate behaviour, reversal, personality, time perception and emotion. The effects of OFC damage on impulsive and related behaviours described here have implications for understanding impulsive behaviour.
By Jennifer S. Beer, Oliver P. John, Donatella Scabini and Robert T. Knight
The role of the orbitofrontal cortex in social behavior remains a puzzle. Various theories of the social functions of the orbitofrontalcortex focus on the role of this area in either emotional processing or its involvement in onlinemonitoring of behavior (i.e., self-monitoring). The present research attempts to integrate these two theories by examining whether improving the self-monitoring of patients with orbitofrontaldamage is associated with the generation of emotions needed to guide interpersonal behavior. Patients with orbitofrontal damage, patients with lateral prefrontal damage, and healthy controls took part in an interpersonal task. After completing the task, participants’ self-monitoring was increased by showing them a videotape of their task performance. In comparison to healthy controls and patients with lateral prefrontal damage, orbitofrontaldamage was associated with objectively inappropriate social behavior. Although patients with orbitofrontaldamage were aware of social norms of intimacy, they were unaware that their task performance violated these norms. The embarrassment typically associated with inappropriate social behavior was elicited in these patients only after their self-monitoring increased from viewing their videotaped performance. These findings suggest that damage to the orbitofrontalcortex impairs self-insight that may preclude the generation of helpful emotional information. The results highlight the role of the orbitofrontal cortex in the interplay of self-monitoring and emotional processing and suggest avenues for neurorehabilitation of patients with social deficits subsequent to orbitofrontal damage.
Was on Massive Attack’s concert today. And was massively attacked. Great concert not only because of their music (i like very much from their beginnings) and visual effects but because their concert had a message. Clear message. As there were a lot of meaningful words rolling on a big screen behind about war, all articles for impeachment of J.W. Bush, prisoners without a trial, quotes about freedom and democracy (No man is above the law and no man below it) the whole message can be summed up: “Fear is not a natural state of civilized people.”(Aung San Suv Kyi)” People have to be aware what is going on, have to think, have to be critical toward democracy preachers otherwise other will think instead of them. Fear paralyses, fear change brain’s gray matter, puts you into inferior position,…
Not talking about normal human response on adrenalin rush; i am talking about damaging effect of constant, invisible, omnipotently present fear without a real bases, which we are hearing about through media every day. Either terrorism or global warming or damaging diseases or god… They might attack you at the moment you expect the least, so be rather afraid. Very afraid. Constant fear makes you run instead of fight. (see 2. The Power of Nightmares, subtitled The Rise of the Politics of Fear of Adam Curtis)
There is a lot of them who are more than willing to comfort you but for some return. Like exchange of true freedom for fake freedom. Like putting your worries into their hands to take care of them. As quote from Massive Attack’s big screen says: “Freedom is never free.”
Like this guys who have the power to rise the awareness among masses accompanied with great music. It’s a food for emotions and mind.
Watched lately documentary Secret rulers of the world and if the half of what they’re saying is true, than this world is scary place for a living. But if people don’t know they take everything as granted.
Reminded me on very good Paul Auster ‘s book In The Century of last Thing. A world, narrowed to pure survival, trapped into corrupted system which imprisoned people. It’s a good portrait of devastation of either outher or inner person’s world. Once you are within the system, the possibility to escape is limited almost to zero. The only thought to keep you alive is that there , outside this system is another world, better one, the one you still keep in your memories. Or the one your desperate hope has built.
In In the Country of Last Things Paul Auster offers a haunting picture of a devastated world – futuristic world – but one which chillingly shadows our own. – Faber and Faber.
I’m a little curious of you in crowded scenes
And how serene your friends and fiends
We flew and strolled as two eliminated gently
Why don’t you close your eyes and reinvent me
You know you’ve got that heart made of stone
You should have let me know
You could have let me know
We’ll go ’till morning comes
And traffic grows
And windows hum
Speding all week with your friends
Give me evenings and weekends
Evenings and weekends
I could be yours
We can unwind
All these have flaws
All these have flaws
You’d agree it’s a typical high
You fly as you watch your name go by
And once the name goes by
Not thicker than water nor thicker than mud
And the eight k thuds it does
Sunset so thickly
Let’s make it quiet and quickly
It taste’s better on the way back down
I could be yours
We can unwind
All these have flaws
All these have flaws
All these have flaws
Will lead to mine
We can unwind
All these have flaws
All these have flaws
Will lead to mine
Will see to
All these have flaws
All these have flaws
Will see to
All these have flaws
Will lead to mine
We can unwind all our flaws
We can unwind all our flaws
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
The movie, The Experiment (Experiment, Das, 2001), shocked me a lot when i firstly saw it. I’ve heard as psychology student before about Stanford Prison Experiment, where Philip Zimbardo randomly assigned Stanford undergraduates to act as prison guards or prisoners—an extreme kind of power relation. The prison guards quickly descended into the purest forms of power abuse, psychologically torturing their peers, the prisoners. Movie is well done story about this experiment.
Social system determines our behaviour in a big way. Every position in social system has internally defined code of behaviour toward others and toward self as well. Was writing lately how our brain is great organ but so vulnerable and it generalise and simplifies so fast. Before we even know we are caught (see post: Brain makes decision before we even know it). We behave as we think that is required to behave on that position/role. Code of behaviour specifically role requires could be obtained from parents, peers, media.
Why most of the people tend to submise in front of person on position of power? Is it conditional response? Why there is so many stupid bosses who manage smart employees? What kind of aura does bring position? Subordinate or boss has clear meaning of category and responses to it in our mind. We’ve been learned about this from early childhood on. You have to respect the president, you have to respect boss. Why? Is he/she worth of respect? Of following? No, he/she symply deserve respect because is a president, boss, …Pure tautology. Political language is full of tautologies as well.
What is their drive? How they’ve come there? What is their psychological structure? How would they behave if they would be put back, quite low on social system hierarchy?
Does position corrupt or corrupted people seek for position? Is it possible that lack of empathy and ego-centrism, lack of mature consciousness, enviousness, competitiveness and grandiosness of this people show that our civilization is ruled by nuts with substantial Narcissistic personality’s disorder? They are builders of social system and its rules and roles. Is that why the whole civilisation shift itself into narcissism? (see narcisstic personality disorder traits). The last video, guy hit by car, left on the street, is typical example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQjdaEUcTAE
Video about Bush Family Fortune or “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”(Lord Acton)
Why is it said that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely? What is it about the psychology of power that leads people to behave differently — and too often, badly?
Those are some of the questions intriguing a group of social scientists, many of them at Stanford University and UC Berkeley. In the past few years, their research has zeroed in on what an intoxicating elixir power can be.
And one thing has become clear: The phrase “drunk with power” is often a dead-on description. These new studies show that power acts to lower inhibitions, much the same as alcohol does.
“It explains why powerful people act with great daring and sometimes behave rather like gorillas,” said psychologist Cameron Anderson, assistant professor at UC Berkeley who has studied power dynamics.
Some evidence also suggests a physiological component: that powerful people experience an adrenaline rush, not unlike that of someone in an emergency who is suddenly able to lift an automobile. Research on monkeys indicates that their levels of serotonin change when they move into the dominant alpha position.
“Disinhibition is the very root of power,” said Stanford Professor Deborah Gruenfeld, a social psychologist who focuses on the study of power. “For most people, what we think of as ‘power plays’ aren’t calculated and Machiavellian — they happen at the subconscious level. Many of those internal regulators that hold most of us back from bold or bad behavior diminish or disappear. When people feel powerful, they stop trying to ‘control themselves.’ “
So when movie star Mel Gibson told the police officer who pulled him over that he “owned” Malibu and that Jews were the source of all the wars in the history of the world, it’s hard to know whether to attribute his irrational hubris to the effects of power or drunkenness, or both.
Research documents the following characteristics of people with power: They tend to be more oblivious to what others think, more likely to pursue the satisfaction of their own appetites, poorer judges of other people’s reactions, more likely to hold stereotypes, overly optimistic and more likely to take risks.
LBJ biographer Robert Caro observed that power doesn’t corrupt; it reveals. Research by UC Berkeley psychology Professor Serena Chen suggests that people who are naturally selfish grow even more selfish if they attain power, while people who are naturally selfless and giving become more so with power.
“I enjoy teaching classes that get students to think more positively about power,” said Roderick Kramer, professor of organizational behavior at Stanford who has studied the biographies of hundreds of powerful people. He notes the flip side of power — that the lowering of inhibitions frees the powerful to shake up organizations, fearlessly challenge the status quo, do the right thing regardless of unpopularity, and follow a more daring vision. Could preacher Martin Luther King Jr. have so profoundly inspired the civil rights movement, could New Jersey homemaker Martha Stewart have become a marketing maven, could a former Austrian bodybuilder have become the governor of California without coasting on the inhibition-lowering fumes of power along the way?
This orientation is exponentially enhanced by the fact that others react differently, more deferentially, to powerful people. Henry Kissinger discerned that power is “the ultimate aphrodisiac.”
The result, as Kramer notes, is that powerful people are likely to find that every mirror held up to them says, in effect, you are the fairest of them all.
Journalist Bob Woodward tells an instructive story about President Bush in his new book “State of Denial.” Gen. Jay Garner, the outgoing chief of post-war planning in Iraq, had determined that the United States was making three big, tragic mistakes, including disbanding the Iraqi army. He met with Bush intending to lay it on the line, and instead ended up telling the intellectually incurious president that he is positively beloved in Iraq, while Bush jokes about how perhaps his next assignment will be the invasion of Iran. Garner says he would prefer Cuba — better rum and cigars, prettier women.
“Of course with all the stories, jocularity, buddy-buddy talk, bluster and confidence in the Oval Office, Garner had left out the headline,” Woodward writes. “He had not mentioned the problems he saw, or even hinted at them. He did not tell Bush about the three tragic mistakes. Once again, the aura of the presidency had shut out the most important news — the bad news. It was only one example of a visitor to the Oval Office not telling the president the whole story or the truth … The whole atmosphere too often resembled a royal court … exaggerated good news, and a good time had by all.”
The point, Kramer would argue, is not just that power reveals but also that it changes people. Such transformation explains why so many powerful people, imbued with talent, luck and leadership skills, tumble in flames like Icarus. The only way to truly harness power is first to understand what it does to you — in other words, the consequences of lowered inhibitions.
One of the simplest and yet most fascinating experiments to test the thesis is the “cookie crumbles” experiment. Researchers placed college students in groups of three and gave them an artificial assignment — collaboration on a short policy paper about a social issue. They then randomly assigned one of the students to evaluate the other two for points that would affect their ability to win a cash bonus. Having set up this artificial power hierarchy, researchers then casually brought to working trios plates containing five cookies.
They found that not only did the disinhibited “powerful” students eat more than their share of the cookies, they were more likely to chew with their mouths open and to scatter crumbs over the table.
Gruenfeld offers a similar example from her career in journalism when she occasionally met with Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner. She recalls that he routinely would swig vodka from a bottle and eat raw onions — without ever offering to share — “and it never even occurred to the rest of us, because it was understood that he had the power and we did not.”
Studies show that while people with less status tend to stand or sit more primly in social and professional situations, powerful people actually stretch out and take up more physical space.
And they take liberties in other ways as well, indulging their childish impulses. Some exercise sexual prerogatives over those less powerful, with the involvement of former Rep. Mark Foley with congressional pages being but the latest example. Some rack up a preposterous number of possessions: Among the bribes former San Diego Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham took was a yacht he christened the Duke-stir, while former Tyco Chief Executive Officer Dennis Kozlowski charged home furnishings to his company, including a $2,000 trash can and a $15,000 umbrella stand.
Other power seekers relish the psychological satisfaction suggested by novelist Amy Tan’s definition of power: “holding someone else’s fear in your hand and showing it to them.” The abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and other atrocities demonstrate a power effect documented three decades ago in Stanford psychology Professor Philip Zimbardo’s simulated jail scenario: Students placed in authority grew increasingly repressive and abusive over their “subjects.”
One study of the kings of England reported that those rulers with the greatest power were far more likely to commit crimes — from theft to murder — than ordinary citizens. A similar impulse may have propelled decisionmakers at Hewlett-Packard to try to plug information leaks by spying on board members and on journalists covering the company.
Another symptom of power is reduced awareness of the way you are perceived by others. Again, research shows that powerful people are less able to accurately read the verbal and facial cues of those around them, and thus more likely to misjudge how they are coming off. Instead of focusing outward, they tend to see others as merely orbiting around them.
One illustrative experiment asked subjects to draw a capital E on their foreheads with a washable marker. The hypothesis was that powerful people, because they care less about how they are perceived, would be less likely to write the E as if someone else would be reading it — and sure enough, the powerful tended to draw E’s in a way that was proper from their perspective but backward to onlookers.
This symptom of power can be ominous: As leaders grow more oblivious to the perceptions of others, they can become dangerously isolated and start to see people merely as means to their own ends. The parables of such isolation abound in history: Movie audiences can watch the downfalls of two very different examples in the French queen Marie Antoinette and Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.
Another axiom of the powerful is that they take risks more than others. Such risk-taking is often richly rewarded, but at some point overconfidence can be disastrous.
When Anderson at UC and co-author Adam Galinsky at Northwestern University undertook a series of studies about the powerful, they discovered that not only were people in power more optimistic about their odds of success, but they underestimated the dangers even in areas over which they had no power whatsoever. In experiments, people made to feel powerful were more likely to minimize their chances of being affected by an accident, more likely to gamble on a lower blackjack hand, more likely to reveal vulnerable information in a job interview, even more likely to engage in sex without a condom, than were people with less power.
“The bottom line is that people in power act in more cavalier ways,” Anderson said. “They really do believe that they’re not going to get caught, and they start to see themselves as above the law. And we know how that turns out …”
So what is required to remain uncorrupted — to handle power with grace?
The experts say that to remain grounded, it takes a deliberate effort, a sense of humor about yourself and a willingness to become more, not less, reflective. Illinois Sen. Barack Obama says he gains more insights into the needs of constituents by flying in coach. High-flying investor Warren Buffet still lives in Omaha in a house that cost $31,000, and continues to play bridge with his same cadre of friends. Presidents John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were masters at a self-deprecating wit that served them well.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity,” said Abraham Lincoln, “but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
“ScienceDaily – Feb. 19, 2008— Scientists at UCL (University College London) have found the link between what we expect to see, and what our brain tells us we actually saw. The study reveals that the context surrounding what we see is all important —sometimes overriding the evidence gathered by our eyes and even causing us to imagine things which aren’t really there.”
“By Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. MacknikIt’s a fact of neuroscience that everything we experience is actually a figment of our imagination. Although our sensations feel accurate and truthful, they do not necessarily reproduce the physical reality of the outside world. Of course, many experiences in daily life reflect the physical stimuli that enter the brain. But the same neural machinery that interprets actual sensory inputs is also responsible for our dreams, delusions and failings of memory. In other words, the real and the imagined share a physical source in the brain. So take a lesson from Socrates: “All I know is that I know nothing.””
Bellow video September 11 clues is a good example to test the theory. Some people claim that attack by planes on WTC never happened. And zillions of videos and pictures repeated over and over again where we saw that the planes were there…hit WTC. What is true? Shall we believe to Bush (see video below)…repeat over and over again …you got to catapult the propaganda ?!?! If bellow movie would be repeated so many times as official ones what would people believe than? Did people see or they’ve been told what to see.
I don’t wanna judge. Both could be real or no-one of them. But i can doubt …either on this video, official one or on both on them… That is the privilege of the observer … Worked on commercial TV, I’ve learned one thing: Frequency sell (either talking about news or commercials). Brains functions are result of evolution in order to successfully adapt the environment. Many times brain simplifies, generalize, categorize …among zillions of stimulus. The stimulus (either true or not–brain actually doesn’t care) which is the most dominant, become anchor for the whole category. PR or advertising guys know this wery well.
A rabbit or a duck? (A plane or a missile?)
And funny video how propaganda is done by President of United States:
Republicans, Lakoff says, understand how “brains and minds work”. If voters are fthinkers and not thinkers, you need to appeal to their emotions. One way to do so is to hitch a ride on a narrative that is already neurally well honed. Some narratives – for example, “rags to riches” – are affective neural superhighways for Americans.
Psychologists have found that thought patterns used to recall the past and imagine the future are strikingly similar.
“Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to show the brain at work, they have observed the same regions activated in a similar pattern whenever a person remembers an event from the past or imagines himself in a future situation. This challenges long-standing beliefs that thoughts about the future develop exclusively in the frontal lobe.”
Watched before both his other movies Basquiat (Jean-Michel Basquiat is “discovered” by Andy Warhol’s art world and becomes a star) and Before Night Falls (life of Cuban poet and novelist, Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), but for me The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is definitely his best. Makes you think after the movie and some scenes come as flash back after you. From the beginning the movie pulls you into main actor’s head and it doesn’t let you go till the end. Schnabel as neo-expressionist” artist/painter brings into his movie excellent visual aesthetic dimension which is missed in many modern movies. Poetical and inspirational. Sensitive photography of deep inner space. Art in motion pictures. Art of flow of words. Must see art.
The story of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: “Elle France editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who, in 1995 at the age of 43, suffered a stroke that paralyzed his entire body, except his left eye. Using that eye to blink out his memoir, Bauby eloquently described the aspects of his interior world, from the psychological torment of being trapped inside his body to his imagined stories from lands he’d only visited in his mind.”
From www.Salon.com: “The quietly stunning film of Jean-Dominique Bauby’s phenomenal memoir, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” was nominated for four Oscars this year. They include directing by Julian Schnabel— an honor he won for the film at the Cannes Film Festival and Golden Globes — and best adapted screenplay by Ronald Harwood, who won an Oscar in 2002 for his adaptation “The Pianist.” “
There is every reason for the film’s success. It recounts the remarkable life of Bauby, the debonair editor of French Elle magazine who in 1995 suffered a massive stroke. He slipped into a coma that lasted 20 days and awoke to find himself paralyzed from head to toe. He was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called locked-in syndrome.
A prisoner inside his useless body, Bauby, 43, could think and reason, smell and hear (though not well). With the only part of his body that he could move — his left eye — he could see and later learn to express himself. His speech therapist and later his friends would read him an alphabet, and Bauby would blink at the letter he wanted. He formed words, phrases and sentences, and ultimately, over the course of two months, working with ghostwriter Claude Mendibil, who took down word for word what he said, he completed his memoir.
The evocative title comes from Bauby’s notion that while his body was submerged and weighted down — impossible to move — his imagination and memory were still free and as light as a butterfly’s wings: “My cocoon becomes less oppressive, and my mind takes flight like a butterfly. There is so much to do. You can wander off in space or in time, set out for Tierra del Fuego or for King Midas’s court.”A few days after the book was published to rave reviews in March 1997, Bauby died of an infection.
Released last spring, the film is a visual knockout. Schnabel draws on Bauby’s fantasies to blast moviegoers with a kaleidoscope of dreamy images — some subtle, some banging loud — and an array of captivating music and sounds. The wonderful script takes the point of view of Bauby himself. The fourth wall between the audience and film has fallen away and the audience experiences the world through his eyes.”
It’s not realy so innocent what going on with our …human mind… how much politics or this neocons games effect our brains….memories, hormons, endorphines…will post next how real and imagined is close and what we see is what we get …
This suggests that really bad experiences may have lasting effects on the brain, even in healthy people,” said Barbara Ganzel, the study’s lead researcher and postdoctoral fellow at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology.
ScienceDaily -Jun. 4, 2008 — Healthy adults who were close to the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, have less gray matter in key emotion centers of their brains compared with people who were more than 200 miles away, finds a new Cornell study.
The study — one of the first to look at the effects of trauma on the brains of healthy adults — is published in the April issue of Neurolmage. It follows a Cornell study by the same authors that found people living near the World Trade Center on 9/11 have brains that are more reactive to such emotional stimuli as photographs of fearful faces. Combined, the two studies provide an emerging picture of what happens in the brains of healthy people who experience a traumatic event.
The smaller volume of gray matter — composed largely of cells and capillary blood vessels — that Ganzel found were in areas that process emotion and may be, Ganzel suggests, the brain’s normal response to trauma. The subjects in the study did not suffer from any mental or physical health disorders. Gray matter, a major component of the nervous system, is composed of the neuron cell bodies that process information in the brain.
About half of Americans experience a trauma in their lifetime, and scientists know a lot about the effects of trauma on the brains of people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but not about people without clinical disorders. And most people, Ganzel said, who experience a trauma don’t get PTSD.
Key brain areas that are smaller are also more responsive to threat, said Ganzel, suggesting that these changes may be a helpful response to living in an uncertain environment.
“We have known for a long time that trauma exposure can lead to subsequent vulnerability to mental health disorders years after the trauma,” Ganzel added. “This research gives us clues about the biology underlying that vulnerability.”
The researchers used two types of magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of 18 people who were within 1.5 miles of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and compared them to scans of 18 people who lived at least 200 miles away at the time. One type showed the gray matter volume, and the other showed the brain’s response to emotional stimuli (pictures of fearful and calm faces). Those who were close to the disaster on Sept. 11 showed more emotional reactivity in the amygdala, a brain area that detects the presence of threatening information.
Combining the brain data revealed that those who were near the World Trade Center had smaller, more reactive amygdalas, and this, in turn, was related to how anxious they were years later. Several other brain regions associated with emotion processing were also smaller in those who were close to the disaster.
The researchers also found that study subjects who had experienced other types of trauma (violent crimes, sudden death of a loved one) showed a similar reduction in gray matter and similar response to emotional faces and anxiety.
“This suggests that the differences we see in the brain and behavior of people who were near the Sept. 11 disaster are not specific to that one event,” Ganzel said. “And it turns out there is a very similar pattern of gray matter volume loss with normal aging, which raises the question of what role trauma plays in the aging brain.”
Co-authors include Elise Temple of Dartmouth College, Cornell graduate student Pilyoung Kim, and Gary Glover of Stanford University.
Adapted from materials provided by Cornell University. Original article written by Sheri Hall.
Magnetic resonance imaging of the brains of healthy adults more than three years after Sept. 11, 2001, shows areas that have less gray matter volume in those who were near ground zero on 9/11, compared with those who were much farther away. This is three views of the brain areas that have lower gray matter volume in the 9/11-exposed group. Notably, all of these areas (which show up brighter in this image) are associated with the processing of emotion. (Credit: Image courtesy of Cornell University)
ScienceDaily (May 8, 2007) — According to a new brain study, even people who seemed resilient but were close to the World Trade Center when the twin towers toppled on Sept. 11, 2001, have brains that are more reactive to emotional stimuli than those who were more than 200 miles away
That is the finding of a new Cornell study that excluded people who did not have such mental disorders as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression. One of the first studies to look at the effects of trauma on the brains of healthy people, it is published in the May issue of the journal Emotion.
“These people appear to be doing okay, but they may, indeed, be having more sensitive responses to upsetting stimuli,” said Elise Temple, a co-author and assistant professor of human development at Cornell.
More than half the population experiences trauma, which makes people more likely to develop PTSD, depression, anxiety and physical illness later in life, according to other studies. Also, trauma has been found to make the brain’s emotional processing centers — particularly the amygdalae, the parts of the brain that judge emotional intensity and make emotional memories — more sensitive in cases of PTSD.
The findings suggest that events that trigger shock, fear and horror that are within a normal range — may cause similar changes in the brain that traumas do. Victims may experience lingering symptoms (bad dreams, jumpiness, thinking about the incident and avoiding the site of the trauma), but they are not severe. However, the kinds of changes that these traumas cause in the brain, the researchers suspect, create vulnerability to developing future mental disorders.
Specifically, the Cornell researchers found that three years after Sept. 11, 2001, the amygdalae were most sensitive in those who were close to the World Trade Center. These individuals tended to still experience lingering symptoms that were not severe enough to be diagnosed as a mental disorder. Those with lingering symptoms showed significantly more sensitive emotional reactions in the brain when stimulated by photographs of fearful faces.
“Our study suggests that there may be long-term neural correlates of trauma exposure, even in people who have looked resilient,” said lead author Barbara Ganzel, Cornell M.S. ’99, Ph.D. ’02, a postdoctoral researcher in human development at Cornell. “Up until now, there has been very little evidence of that.”
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to see how people’s brains responded to photographs of fearful versus calm faces, the scans of 11 people who were within 1.5 miles of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, were compared with those who were living more than 200 miles away at the time; none of the subjects had psychiatric disorders.
“We know that looking at fearful faces in normal adults tends to activate the amygdalae relative to looking at neutral faces,” said Ganzel. “So we were looking to see if people who have had a very bad experience would have more response to this relatively mild everyday stimulus.”
Indeed, the amygdalae of those who were close to the twin towers were significantly more activated than that of others, even when other factors were controlled for in the analysis.
“People who had experienced traumas that left them with more lingering symptoms were the ones who had higher activity in their fear centers,” said Temple. “We think that the World Trade Center experience was traumatic enough that it left them with hyperactive amygdalae.”
Other co-authors include B.J. Casey, director of the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology at the Weill Cornell Medical College; Henning Voss, a physicist at the CitiGroup Biomedical Imaging Center in New York City, where the fMRI scanning took place; and Gary Glover of Stanford University, who developed the fMRI techniques used.
Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire
I can describe the movie the same as Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal) starts the movie, explaining what dreams are:” Hi, and welcome back to another episode of “Télévision Educative”. Tonight, I’ll show you how dreams are prepared. People think it’s a very simple and easy process but it’s a bit more complicated than that. As you can see, a very delicate combination of complex ingredients is the key. First, we put in some random thoughts. And then, we add a little bit of reminiscences of the day… mixed with some memories from the past….” [adds two bunchs of pasta]. If i would have a gift to make a movies, i would do the same.
Movie is done as a dreams really are… in true Freudian sense. Bit of science, explained on a funny way, romance, blurred border between reality and imagination, dominance of inner world over external one, chaos theory, Parallel Synchronized Randomness, lots of creativity, emotions, real world versus artificial one… and mixed together into very very tasteful dish… Very surrealistic, like modern and funnier version of Bonuel’s An Andalusian Dog.
In spite of varying interpretations, Buñuel made clear throughout his writings that, between Dalí and himself, the only rule for the writing of the script was that “no idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted.” Moreover, he stated that, “Nothing, in the film, symbolizes anything. The only method of investigation of the symbols would be, perhaps, psychoanalysis. Like Gondry says…MICHEL: No, I don’t believe in symbols. I have nothing to do with a book. You can define every image and symbol but it doesn’t mean it’s a symbol that’s universal. Like if you dream about a tree, it represents a penis? That’s bullshit. [Laughs]
Its great idea to use Stephane TV show as a position of an observer of his own events and emotions…just like in dreams where we remember our dreams as observers but we know that we were the main actor as well. … In science, the term observer effect refers to changes that the act of observing will make on the phenomenon being observed. For example, for us to “see” an electron, a photon must first interact with it, and this interaction will change the path of that electron. It is also theoretically possible for other, less direct means of measurement to affect the electron; even if the electron is simply put into a position where observing it is possible, without actual observation taking place, it will still (theoretically) alter its position.
Always amazed me that position: be actor and observer at the same time. But it is not only in dreams…we live the whole life as that…we think and act and feel, we observe our actions, thoughts and feelings, than correct them if they don’t fit into frame…as in Goundry’s Human nature, mouses are Pavlov’s conditioned to eat salad with knifes and forks at the table in order to civilised them. So principles are the same, just with different “rational” involvement.
Watched on Friday on Discovery Science documentary with the same title: The science of sleep. It dealt not what dreams are but with the basics: Why do we dream at all? Why do we need dreams? Dreams occur in REM phase, very funny presented in Goundry’s movie “My eyes walk in dreams”.REM sleep occurs in all mammals and birds. As it not known that animal have language structure (and all symbols categories due that); so dreams have to be very physiological need. Lots of theories have been done, but there is still no one way answer. Amazing…Phoenix has just sent pictures from Mars’s, but our brain is still so locked in mysteries.
Are dreams connected to short -term memories, categorizing emotions into symbols of language structure? Is dreaming like being schizophrenic, deprived from majority of external stimuli and building internal world with daily emotions and stored memories. What is the principle of reality cos everything is real for us while we are dreaming. What is the triger which switch at the end of dreams and tells us that was not real but dreams.
Are dreams and reality same continuum, not two different realities. Like earth’s night and day cycle, once more and once less directly exposed to sun of consciousness” And what is consciousness all about, cos in REM phase we feel, hear, talk, think,…same as in awake state. Are dreams our own reality built from personally acquired symbols cos anyone can understood only its own dreams. We are producer of dreams and their observer. As in movie, sometimes only director understand the symbols and meaning of them.
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleepis normal stage of sleep characterized by rapid movements of the eyes. Criteria for REM sleep include not only rapid eye movements, but also low muscle tone and a rapid, low voltage EEG. REM sleep in adult humans typically occupies 20-25% of total sleep, lasting about 90-120 minutes. A newborn baby spends more than 80% of total sleep time in REM. During REM, the summed activity of the brain’s neurons is quite similar to that during waking hours; for this reason, the phenomenon is often called paradoxical sleep. This means that there are no dominating brain waves during REM sleep. Most of our vividly recalled dreams occur during REM sleep.
REM and Near death experience & Out of body experience
“These findings suggest that REM state intrusion contributes to near death experiences,” said neurologist and study author Kevin R. Nelson, MD, FAAN, of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. “People who have near death experiences may have an arousal system that predisposes them to REM intrusion.”
Nelson said several other factors support this hypothesis. Several features of near death experiences are also associated with the REM state. For example, the feeling of being outside of one’s body has been associated with the REM state and the conditions of sleep paralysis, narcolepsy and seizures. The feeling of being surrounded by light could be based on the visual activity that occurs during the REM state, Nelson said. During the REM state, the muscles can lose their tone, or tension.”
ScienceDaily, Feb. 6, 2008— Four days’ exposure to a REM sleep deprivation procedure reduces cell proliferation in the part of the forebrain that contributes to long-term memory of rats, according to a new study.
The study, authored by Dennis McGinty, PhD, of the V.A. Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, focused on male Sprague-Dawley rats. REM sleep deprivation was achieved by a brief treadmill movement initiated by automatic online detection of REM sleep. A yoked-control (YC) rat was placed in the same treadmill and experienced the identical movement regardless of the stage of the sleep-wake cycle.
According to the results, REM sleep was reduced by 85 percent in REM sleep deprived rats and by 43 percent in YC rats. Cell proliferation was reduced by 63 percent in REM sleep deprived rats compared with YC rats. Across all animals, cell proliferation exhibited a positive correlation with the percentage of REM sleep.
“Several studies have shown that sleep contributes to brain plasticity in general, and to adult neurogenesis, in particular,” said Dr. McGinty. “Neurogenesis is a concrete example of brain plasticity, suppression of adult neurogenesis is thought to be important in pathologies such as depression. One current question has to do with the relative contribution of the two sleep states, non-REM and REM, which have very different, even opposite, physiological properties. This study showed that REM sleep has a critical role in facilitating brain plasticity. The study does not exclude an equally important role for non-REM sleep. In other recent work, we have shown that sleep fragmentation can also suppress adult neurogenesis. How sleep affects the molecular mechanisms underlying neurogenesis remains to be explored.”
The article “Rapid eye movement sleep deprivation contributes to reduction of neurogenesis in the hippocampal dentate gyrus of the adult rat” was published in the February 1 issue of the journal Sleep.
“But, when we looked in the sleep deprived subjects, instead, what we found is a hyperactive brain response,” he says.
And what’s more, in the sleep-deprived subjects, Walker discovered a disconnect between that over-reacting amygdala (a region of the brain) and the brain’s frontal lobe, the region that controls rational thought and decision-making, meaning that the subjects’ emotional responses were not being kept in check by the more logical seat of reasoning. It’s a problem also found in people with psychiatric disorders.
“So you’re saying that you take someone with a severe mental disorder and a person without that disorder, but deprive them of sleep, and the brain scan will look similar?” Stahl asks.
“Their pattern of brain activity was not dissimilar. So I think what it forces us to do really now is to appreciate more significantly the role that sleep may be playing in mental health and in psychiatric diseases. And I think that could be one of the futures of the field of sleep research,” Walker replies.
Walker says most of us need seven and a half to eight hours of sleep every night.”
FREUD RETURNS? LIKE A BAD DREAM
By J. Allan Hobson
Sigmund Freud’s views on the meaning of dreams formed the core of his theory of mental functioning. MarkSolms and others assert that brain imaging and lesion studies are now validating Freud’s conception of the mind. But similar scientific investigations show that major aspects of Freud’s thinking are probably
erroneous. For Freud, the bizarre nature of dreams resulted from an elaborate effortof the mind to conceal, by symbolic disguise and censorship, the unacceptable instinctual wishes welling up from the unconscious when the ego relaxes its prohibition of the id in sleep. But most neurobiological evidence supports thealternative view that dream bizarreness stems from normal changes in brain state. Chemical mechanisms in the brain stem, which shift the activation of various regions of the cortex, generate these changes. Many studies have indicated that the chemical changes determine the quality and quantity of dream visions, emotions and thoughts. Freud’s disguiseand-censorship notion must be discarded;no one believes that the ego-id struggle, ifit exists, controls brain chemistry. Mostpsychoanalysts no longer hold that the disguise-censorship theory is valid.
Without disguise and censorship, what is left of Freud’s dream theory? Not much—only that instinctual drives could impel dream formation. Evidence does indicate that activating the parts of thelimbic system that produce anxiety, anger and elation shapes dreams. But these nfluences are not “wishes.” Dream
analyses show that the emotions in dreams are as often negative as they arepositive, which would mean that half our “wishes” for ourselves are negative. And as all dreamers know, the emotions in dreams are hardly disguised. They enter into dream plots clearly, frequently bringing unpleasant effects such as nightmares.
Freud was never able to account for why so many dream emotions are negative.
Another pillar of Freud’s model is that because the true meaning of dreams is hidden, the emotions they reflect can be revealed only through his wild-goosechase method of free association, in which the subject relates anything and everything that comes to mind in hopes of stumbling across a crucial connection.
But this effort is unnecessary, because no such concealment occurs. In dreams, what you see is what you get. Dream content is emotionally salient on its face, and the close attention of dreamers and their therapists is all that is needed to see the feelings they represent.
Solms and other Freudians intimate that ascribing dreams to brain chemistry is the same as saying that dreams have no emotional messages. But the statements are not equivalent. The chemical activation-synthesis theory of dreaming, put forth by Robert W. McCarley of Harvard Medical School and me in 1977, maintained only that the psychoanalytic explanation of dream bizarreness as concealed meaning was wrong. We have always argued that dreams are emotionally salient and meaningful. And what about REM sleep?
New studies reveal that dreams can occur during non-REM sleep, but nothing in the chemical activation model precludes this case; the frequency of dreams is simply exponentially higher during REM sleep.
Psychoanalysis is in big trouble, and no amount of neurobiological tinkering can fix it. So radical an overhaul is
necessary that many neuroscientists would prefer to start over and create a neurocognitive model of the mind.
Psychoanalytic theory is indeed comprehensive, but if it is terribly in error,then its comprehensiveness is hardly a virtue. The scientists who share this view stump for more biologically based models of dreams, of mental illness, and of normal conscious experience than those offered by psychoanalysis.
J. Allan Hobson, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has written extensively on the brain basis of the mind and its implications for psychiatry. For more, see Hobson’s book Dreaming: An Introduction to the Science of Sleep (Oxford University Press, 2003).
The dream reactivates that which escapes forgetting and at the same time brings a work to bear on its elements, a secondary elaboration. As an effect of this secondary elaboration, “the dreams have already been interpreted once before being submitted to our waking interpretation”.8 A text results from this, that of the dream, which is, therefore, in itself an interpretation. Moreover, the dreamer adopts a position in relation to his dream: he exercises an interpretation of the interpretation. When Freud says that the dream is ‘the fulfillment of a wish’,9 he is also making an interpretation of the interpretation which is the dream itself.
In The Direction of the Treatment, Lacan emphasises that Freud is proposing ‘the dream as a metaphor of desire’.10 Something has passed into meaning [sens] in the dream, and, from this passage, results what Freud has called desire. But, as Lacan takes it up again: it is about a ‘desire to have an unsatisfied desire’.11 It is a Wunsch, a wish, about which Lacan says that there are wishes ‘[…] pious, nostalgic, contradictory, farcical’.12 The desire that Freud isolates in the dream reveals the dimension of lack: of the subject’s want-to-be [manque-à-être] which presents itself as a want-to-enjoy [manque-à-jouir].13 Lacan takes up the well-known dream of the ‘beautiful butcher’s wife’ in order to show how a desire refers to another desire, how the dream carries desire to a geometrically progressive power.14 In this reference of one desire to another, Lacan distinguishes — in The Direction of the Treatment and in Radiophonie — two dimensions to this desire of desire which is ordered according to the laws which link the signifying chain: metonymic combination producing displacement and metaphoric substitution with its effect of condensation.15
Watched excellent BBC documentary The Trap:What happened to our dream of freedom of Adam Curtis (author of Happiness machines i was writing about last time). There are three parts and in first part he questions what is freedom all about, what is normality and how mathematical models modeled people and society. Is it true that we are selfish, isolated and suspicious human creatures, constantly monitor and strategies each other, to maximize our own benefit? Measurable predictable androids? For every measurement we need to set a reference. Who is the one who set the reference upon which people should be measured? Is it orchestrated from behind or maybe history by accident takes its mysterious way. Or maybe is mix of both. Did nature equip us with beautiful mirror neurons to understand others in order make the best strategy for maximizing our own result and not for empathy as a base for real humanity !?
Curtis starts with Game theory of John Nash (Beautiful Mind) and how his theory was implemented as a tool in predicting Soviet reaction during the cold war (Nash’s paranoia resonated just well with paranoia of Cold War). And as every idea it found mysterious ways of implementation, far beyond cold war tool. Even faking results to prove its correctness in various situations by those who used it to justify either believes or actions (psychiatry, Vietnam’s war,…)
He continues with psychiatry which defines normality from Freud on. Dark age of psychiatry, colored by electroshocks, followed by anti psychiatric movement (Laing),use of game theory in family dynamics (love is just a strategy to maximize own benefit or dominance over partner). Shame of psychiatric diagnoses due to Rosenhan_experiment ( 8 healthy people were set to mental hospitals. During psychiatric assessment they claimed to be hearing voices that were often unclear, but noticeably said the words “empty,” “hollow” and “thud.” No other psychiatric symptoms were claimed, and apart from giving false names and employment details, further biographical details were truthfully reported. If admitted, the pseudo-patients were asked to “act normally,” report that they felt fine and no longer heard behaved completely normally. 7 of them were diagnosed with schizophrenia, 1 with bipolar disorder. They were all given powerful drugs. They haven’t been allowed to leave the hospital. This was disaster for psychiatric society what lead to rational and quantified questioners to avoid subjective judgment. They set up a list of measurable characteristic (symptoms) on which people answered yes or no, either they have those characteristic or not. Questionnaires have been distributed to ordinary people. Evaluating the results they found that 50% of people have some types of mental disorders. Normal sadness for example became depression.
Psychiatrist started with screening process due to latent mental illness. They’ve spread a check list among people, so people used new definitions of disorders to compare their behaviour with “normal behaviour”. No elite needed to monitor people anymore, people started to monitor themselves by list of “normality”. And if not “normal”, pharmaceutical companies were more than willing to offer them magical Prozac. To be “normal” and constantly happy. And easier manageable.
Its amazing what kind of results some big ideas of liberalization produced (Sartre, Fanon– liberalisation of itself through violence; Che Guara, Arafat…, suport of dictators to liberalize communistic countries, trainings of contra-revolutionaries, fake evidences, …)
So who we are behind what they told us scientists, politicians, religions, behind all this overwhelming social construction?…How is to feel normally behind “normally as they told and suggested us … Is freedom to heavy burden for current level of human existence or is freedom just part of broader cycle and context and not the universal state itself?
Was another one…great sailing weekend. 10 instead of 25 knots as last time…but still great experience…(less adrenalin,…gonna talk about it next time). So effortless pleasure. We won a medal…but really not important…Its not a medal you get, its a team spirit you had, have, will have… Kind of joint effort and joint pleasure…hard to explain… IT IS A FEELING U CAN NOT GAIN ALONE. Although i like solitude, i like team work equally…it gives me pleasure…different one..but important one.
Caught an article today from New Scientist about Mirror Neurons (and i was talking about last time, just came back from sailing… Maybe there is some synchronicity but i don’t know…”who knows”…, my favorite friend’s saying). Just another prove how mirror neurons play important role in our life. I am waiting further proves cos i am believer that they are one of basic ingredients of our socialising and interdependence among all human beings. Even if you see other people’ straggle only on TV…it moves something within you…
People who are good at interpreting facial expressions have “mirror neuron” systems that are more active, say researchers. The finding adds weight to the idea that these cells are crucial to helping us figure out how others are feeling.
Mirror neurons are brain cells that fire both when you do something and when you watch someone else do the same thing.
Because they allow us to mimic what others are doing, it is thought that these neurons may be responsible for why we can feel empathy, or understand others’ intentions and states of mind. People with autism, for instance, show reduced mirror neuron activity during social cognition tasks.
Now Peter Enticott at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and his colleagues have found evidence supporting this theory. They asked 20 healthy adults to look at pairs of images. In one task, they had to decide if paired images of faces were the same person. In another, they had to decide if both faces were showing the same emotion.
In a separate task, volunteers watched video clips of thumb movement, a hand grasping a pen and a hand while writing, while the activity in the primary motor cortex of the brain, which contains mirror neurons, was recorded.
Now the team had a measure of the “motor potential” in the thumb muscles – for example, how much the thumb was primed to move just by watching another thumb moving. This measure is a proxy for mirror neuron activity, say the researchers.
Enticott’s team found that the volunteers who were better at judging people’s emotions had higher mirror neuron activity in the thumb task. There was no correlation, however, between the ability to recognise faces and mirror neuron activity. This suggests that mirror neurons are involved in understanding emotions as well as in the mimicry of actions.
“[The study] connects the two different functions – the motor aspect with the emotional processing aspect,” says Lindsay Oberman, at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, US. “They show that mirror neurons for motor activity are related to mirror neurons for emotions,” she adds.
And fresh from great sailing weekend, i just can not avoid nice comparison of sailing and yoga (i’ve been practicing it for some while). In both you need a time to realise that you gain the most when you align with the breath, the wind, flow of life…big effort, but suddenly you realise that you gain the most effortless.
And what can i say more than: Push the limits (Enigma)
Basic instincts, social life
Paradoxes side by side
Don’t submit to stupid rules
Be yourself and not a fool
Don’t accept average habits
Open your heart and push the limits
Open your heart
And push the limits
The lowest common denominator of the weekend: wind. Had 5h delay from roundtrip Frankfurt – London” due to strong wind on Friday. Terrible turbulence on air. But than…a lot of time to think and to shop on crowded airport. Bought Gribbin’s book: In search of Schrodinger’s cat and Vonnegut’s A man without country. So Heathrow has positive sides too.
Saturday’s strong wind made the first this year’s regatta almost scary. Up to 30 knots. But this makes sailing so exciting. To challenge yourself and your fear. Sunday resulted in muscle pain, so perfect excuse to read and watch movies all day long.
Researchers at UCLA found that cells in the human anterior cingulate, which normally fire when you poke the patient with a needle (”pain neurons”), will also fire when the patient watches another patient being poked. The mirror neurons, it would seem, dissolve the barrier between self and others.  I call them “empathy neurons” or “Dalai Llama neurons”. (I wonder how the mirror neurons of a masochist or sadist would respond to another person being poked.) Dissolving the “self vs. other” barrier is the basis of many ethical systems, especially eastern philosophical and mystical traditions. This research implies that mirror neurons can be used to provide rational rather than religious grounds for ethics (although we must be careful not to commit the is/oughtfallacy)(http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/ramachandran06/ramachandran06_index.html)
When i started to read the article i’ve remembered immediately the Wim Wender’s movie “Until the end of the world”. Wonderful poetical movie, great soundtrack, one the best of 90s. Wenders made a movie 1991, 4 years after Sky over Berlin (which mesmerized me) an FarAway So Close(1993), which is sequel of Sky over Berlin. Until the End of the World is a beautiful love story within ScFi drama but far more than that. It’s a road movie, it’s changing so many continents with beautiful scenery, traveling around and observations above the world, shows futuristic vision of Tokyo, San Francisco, Paris,…
But beyond that is vision of future and personal travel within, folded into drama of son (Sam Farber, Trevor McPhee , played by William Hurt) who wants to give back his blind mother (Edith,played by Jeanne Moreau) possibility to see their closest family once again. Device (camera) which allows this was invented by his scientific father’ who worked for government which wants device back. Son is hiding in front of them and due to that travels around the world , meets the girl (Claire played by Solveig Dommartin) who has left the husband to follows him, husband (Gene, played by Sam Neill ) follows her… So much symbolism in this movie. No wonder why the rough director’s cut was 20h and original one 8h (source imdb)
Film ends in Australia (Aboriginal concept of dreamtime), where his mother and father live hidden in cave and experiment further how to record their own dreams, memories and watched them lately . What becomes obsession. Escape into dreams, into memories. And finally disillusion of illusions.
So according to article above, 17 years after Wenders’s ScFi movie of watching memories and dreams , dreams might come true. And his vison of future of comunication as well.
I like Wenders cos he is so no ordinary in so many senses, he is so poetical visually and lyrically. He said: “Sex and violence was never really my cup of tea; I was always more into sax and violins.”
It Takes Time
(Patti & Fred Smith,Soundtrack Until the end of the world)
To explain the division of the senses
No sound to reflect
The radiance of time
In the beginningest dream
Halls of disorder
Where we are swept to encircle dawn
Strapped in a low car
Racing thru silence
You could kiss the world
Standing outside the courthouse
In the rain
Seemed like a lost soul
From the chapel of dreams
With a handful of images
Faces of children
Phases of the moon
One little thing you get wrong
Changes the dimensions
Streets, swept memory
Diffused and lost
Like a prayer in the sun
Sometimes you can’t tell
Whether you’re waking up
Or going to sleep
All the games cannot be yours
All the sights, the treasures of the eye
Does the divided soul remain the same?
No equation to explain
Moved, by love
Drawn by the whispering shadows
Into the mathematics
Of our desire
“focus on what u want, passionately
and u’ll become a magnet”
The Law Of Attraction, also known as Cause and Effect or Sowing and Reaping is, like all Universal Laws , extremely important to understand and implement if you are to learn to purposefully and consciously attract the things into your life that you most desire. http://www.7essentiallaws.com/essentiallaws.html
Is it true?..is it just New age? …or is it both? sceptical till the end 🙂