186 posts tagged Mind
“I think I’ve only spent about ten percent of my energies on writing,” Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Katherine Anne Porter confessed in a 1963 interview. “The other ninety percent went to keeping my head above water.” While art may be a form of therapy for the rest of us, Porter’s is a sentiment far from uncommon among the creatively gifted who make that art. Why? When Nancy Andreasen took a standard IQ test in kindergarten, she was declared a “genius.” But she was born in the late 1930s, an era when her own mother admonished that no one would marry a woman with a Ph.D. Still, became a psychiatrist and a neuroscientist, and made understanding the brain’s creative capacity her life’s work. Having grown up seeped in ambivalence about her “diagnosis” of extraordinary intellectual and creative ability, Andreasen wondered about the social forces at work in the nature-nurture osmosis of genius, about how many people of natural genius were born throughout history whose genius was never manifested, suppressed by lack of nurture. “Half of the human beings in history are women,” she noted, “but we have had so few women recognized for their genius. How many were held back by societal influences, similar to the ones I encountered and dared to ignore?” (One need only look at the case of Benjamin Franklin and his sister to see Andreasen’s point.)
Watch this: My Mind’s Eye: A Series of Video Interviews on Mind and Brain.
Episode 2 - How Free Is Your Will? An interview with Michael Gazzaniga
Professor of Psychology and the Director for the SAGE Center for the Study of Mind at the University of California Santa Barbara
© 2014 Imaginal Disc
Host: Joseph LeDoux.
Writer-Director: Alexis Gambis.
What Happens to the Brain During Spiritual Experiences?
The field of neurotheology uses science to try to understand religion, and vice versa.
“Everyone philosophizes,” writes neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg in his latest book, The Metaphysical Mind: Probing the Biology of Philosophical Thought. We all speculate about the meaning of all kinds of things, from everyday concerns about dealing with a co-worker to our ultimate beliefs about the purpose of existence. Accompanying solutions we find to these problems, there’s a range of satisfied feelings, from “ah-ha” or light-bulb moments upon solving an everyday problem to ecstatic feelings during mystical experiences. Since everyday and spiritual concerns are variations of the same thinking processes, Newberg thinks it’s essential to examine how people experience spirituality in order to fully understand how their brains work. Looking at the bigger questions has already provided practical applications for improving mental and physical health. Newberg is a pioneer in the field of neurotheology, the neurological study of religious and spiritual experiences. In the 1990s, he began his work in the field by scanning what happens in people’s brains when they meditate, because it is a spiritual practice that is relatively easy to monitor. Since then, he’s looked at around 150 brain scans, including those of Buddhists, nuns, atheists, Pentecostals speaking in tongues, and Brazilian mediums practicing psychography—the channeling of messages from the dead through handwriting. As to what’s going on in their brains, Newberg says, “It depends to some degree on what the practice is.” Practices that involve concentrating on something over and over again, either through prayer or a mantra-based meditation, tend to activate the frontal lobes, the areas chiefly responsible for directing attention, modulating behavior, and expressing language. (via What Happens to the Brain During Spiritual Experiences? - Lynne Blumberg - The Atlantic)
How to Learn to Love Your Doppleganger
Hallucinating yourself can be both a symptom and a tool.
What are you doing running through the streets in your underpants?” asks Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club. “We both use that body.” He is addressing his unnamed doppelganger (German for “double walker”), whose life he has gradually usurped. The movie, a smash hit grossing $100 million, is just one recent example of our long-standing fascination with the idea of double selves, which stretches from ancient Egyptian and Norse mythology, through German folklore (in which it was considered a harbinger of death), into the hands of Edgar Allan Poe, Groucho Marx, and Brad Pitt. Freud was one of the first to attempt to treat doppelgangers scientifically, calling them the “return of the repressed.” He argued that they are an aspect of the psyche that is out of control, and will persist until directly confronted and defeated. Modern science has taught us that, in one sense, he was right: Doppelgangers are the result of a fracture in the process by which we construct our identity.
a worthwhile read..
Which will it be — the berries or the chocolate dessert? Homework or the Xbox? Finish that memo, or roam Facebook? Such quotidian decisions test a mental ability called cognitive control, the capacity to maintain focus on an important choice while ignoring other impulses. Poor planning, wandering attention and trouble inhibiting impulses all signify lapses in cognitive control. Now a growing stream of research suggests that strengthening this mental muscle, usually with exercises in so-called mindfulness, may help children and adults cope with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and its adult equivalent, attention deficit disorder. The studies come amid growing disenchantment with the first-line treatment for these conditions: drugs. In 2007, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, published a study finding that the incidence of A.D.H.D. among teenagers in Finland, along with difficulties in cognitive functioning and related emotional disorders like depression, were virtually identical to rates among teenagers in the United States. The real difference? Most adolescents with A.D.H.D. in the United States were taking medication; most in Finland were not. “It raises questions about using medication as a first line of treatment,” said Susan Smalley, a behavior geneticist at U.C.L.A. and the lead author. In a large study published last year in The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, researchers reported that while most young people with A.D.H.D. benefit from medications in the first year, these effects generally wane by the third year, if not sooner.
How extreme isolation warps the mind
When people are isolated from human contact, their mind can do some truly bizarre things, says Michael Bond. Why does this happen?
Sarah Shourd’s mind began to slip after about two months into her incarceration. She heard phantom footsteps and flashing lights, and spent most of her day crouched on all fours, listening through a gap in the door. That summer, the 32-year-old had been hiking with two friends in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan when they were arrested by Iranian troops after straying onto the border with Iran. Accused of spying, they were kept in solitary confinement in Evin prison in Tehran, each in their own tiny cell. She endured almost 10,000 hours with little human contact before she was freed. One of the most disturbing effects was the hallucinations. “In the periphery of my vision, I began to see flashing lights, only to jerk my head around to find that nothing was there,” she wrote in the New York Times in 2011. “At one point, I heard someone screaming, and it wasn’t until I felt the hands of one of the friendlier guards on my face, trying to revive me, that I realised the screams were my own.” We all want to be alone from time to time, to escape the demands of our colleagues or the hassle of crowds. But not alone alone. For most people, prolonged social isolation is all bad, particularly mentally. We know this not only from reports by people like Shourd who have experienced it first-hand, but also from psychological experiments on the effects of isolation and sensory deprivation, some of which had to be called off due to the extreme and bizarre reactions of those involved. Why does the mind unravel so spectacularly when we’re truly on our own, and is there any way to stop it? (via BBC - Future - How extreme isolation warps the mind)
Things You Cannot Unsee (And What That Says About Your Brain).
We’re going to rewire your brain. Are you ready?
I want to show you something simple your mind can do, which illustrates a fascinating emerging theory about how the brain works. First, look at this logo of the World Cup this year. The idea of the emblem is obvious: This is an illustration of a trophy with an abstract soccer ball on top. The colors—green, yellow, and blue—mirror the host country’s flag. Now consider this tweet from copywriter Holly Brockwell, which got 2,400 thousand retweets: “CANNOT UNSEE: the Brazil 2014 logo has been criticised for ‘looking like a facepalm.’” You know, a facepalm: With this new cue—to see the logo as a facepalm—the yellow part becomes an arm with its hand pressed into a green head. And, as Brockwell indicated, once you see this second possibility, you can’t unsee it.
go read this..