Appearing on Conan, Louis C.K. brilliantly deconstructs why he hates the technology surrounding us and why he won’t allow his kids to have smartphones – they become tools for avoiding sadness and loneliness, and thus a true understanding of the self:
Tag Archives | Emotions
I’m guessing this terrifying procedure is nonetheless cheaper than a lifetime on antidepressants. The Atlantic reports:
South Korea has helped paved the way for double-eyelid surgeries, dimple injections, calf reductions and even double-jaw surgery, to name a few. Now South Korean plastic surgeons are taking on surgery that alters the appearance of emotion. A new technique called “Smile Lipt” (whose name combines “lip” with “lift”) carves a permanent smile – the procedure turns up the corners of the mouth.The procedure is increasingly popular among men and women in their 20s and 30s—especially flight attendants, consultants and others in industries aiming to offer service with a smile. The Seoul-based Aone Plastic Surgery has patented the procedure. For $2,000, it now offers patients the chance to be thus transformed:
Android technology may reveal the inner lives of simple and mysterious creatures, in disturbing fashion. Via New Scientist:
Slime mold finds the quickest path between food and has even shown signs of having memory – despite not having a brain.
A human-like robot face has been hooked up so that its expressions are controlled by the electrical signals produced when yellow slime mold shies away from light, or moves eagerly towards food.
Physarum polycephalum is a common yellow slime mold which ranges in size from several hundred micrometres to more than one metre. It is an aggregation of hundreds or thousands of identical unicellular organisms that merge together into one huge “cell” containing all their nuclei.
After over a century, mainstream scientists finally got around to acknowledging something anyone with pets or has watched nature documentaries has known all along – animals are conscious beings.
A year ago at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference, evidence of this obvious conclusion was presented by self-congratulatory scientists, despite the fact that only one of them had actually bothered to do any field research into wild animals and that field researchers had already made the same conclusion years before. As Michael Mountain at the Nonhuman Rights Project, which seeks to change the common law status of some nonhuman animals as “things”, stated: ”Science leaders have reached a critical consensus: Humans are not the only conscious beings; other animals, specifically mammals and birds, are indeed conscious, too.”
Two of the primary reasons why it has taken so long for the scientific establishment to come to such self-evident conclusions are the nature of the study of psychology and consciousness itself, and the historical cultural values towards animals in the Western world.… Read the rest
Will this form of brain damage be an opt-in surgery available in the future? Via the Telegraph:
A man who suffered a stroke can no longer feel sadness because the part of his brain controlling the emotion was destroyed. Malcolm Myatt, 68, who spent 19 weeks in hospital and lost the feeling in his left side, was told by doctors that the stroke had hit the frontal lobe of his brain.
He has since noticed a number of changes, but believes that the loss of sadness from his emotional repertoire is a positive.
Dr. Clare Walton explained: “While we haven’t heard before of stroke survivors completely losing the ability to feel a particular emotion, many stroke survivors find it very difficult to control their emotions following a stroke and may cry or laugh at inappropriate times.”
His wife added: “Malcolm’s very childish now. It’s infectious. When he starts laughing everyone in the room does.
Neurology has always interested me, and I still remember learning in my undergrad neuropsychology class that the almond-shaped portion of the brain know as the amygdala was responsible for the emotion of fear. Like so many things we grow up hearing, the truth is a little more complicated, as BoingBoing science writer Maggie Koerth-Baker learns in her interview with scientist Paul Whalen. It turns out that fear is just easier to study.
Maggie Koerth-Baker: Your research shows that the amygdala does a lot more than just make us afraid. In fact, your research suggests that the idea of “fear” involves a lot more than just reacting to something scary. But where did these ideas come from, to begin with? Why do we think of the amygdala as a “fear center”?
Paul Whalen: In the early 1980s, the psychologists who wanted to study emotion had to pick one, and fear is the easiest to study in a human or animal.
People who report leading happy but meaningless lives experience unhealthy genetic changes similar to those found in the chronically stressed. Via the Atlantic, Emily Esfahani Smith writes:
Many studies have noted the connection between a happy mind and a healthy body — the happier you are, the better health outcomes we seem to have.
But a new study, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, challenges that picture. It specifically explored the difference between a meaningful life and a happy life, on the biological level.
Researchers Cole and Fredrickson found that people who are happy but have little to no sense of meaning in their lives have the same gene expression patterns as people who are responding to and enduring chronic adversity. That is, the bodies of these happy people are preparing them for bacterial threats by activating the pro-inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation is, of course, associated with major illnesses like heart disease and various cancers.
Should your doctor be giving you books of poetry? Expressing your emotions via writing literally makes your body heal more quickly, a new University of Auckland study suggests. Via PubMed:
In this randomized controlled trial, 49 healthy older adults were assigned to write for 20 minutes a day either about upsetting life events (Expressive Writing) or about daily activities (Time Management) for 3 consecutive days.
Two weeks postwriting, 4-mm punch biopsy wounds were created on the inner, upper arm. Wounds were photographed routinely for 21 days to monitor wound reepithelialization.
Participants in the Expressive Writing group had a greater proportion of fully reepithelialized wounds at Day 11 postbiopsy compared with the Time Management group, with 76.2% versus 42.1% healed.
This study extends previous research by showing that expressive writing can improve wound healing in older adults and women. Future research is needed to better understand the underlying cognitive, psychosocial, and biological mechanisms contributing to improved wound healing from these simple, yet effective, writing exercises.
Psychedelic Frontier reports on another study pointing to the immense power (and hazards) of psychedelics:
A new study of mice published in Experimental Brain Research shows that low doses (but not high doses) of psychedelics increase the rate of neuron creation in the hippocampus, and help the mice to rapidly unlearn conditioned fear responses.
Mice injected with low doses of PSOP [psilocybin] extinguished cued fear conditioning significantly more rapidly than high-dose PSOP or saline-treated mice. PSOP facilitates extinction of the conditioned fear response, and this, and similar agents, should be explored as potential treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.
Research continues to confirm psychedelics’ ability to reduce the conditioned fear response, enabling patients to confront fearful stimuli without the usual baggage of anxiety and defense mechanisms.
With the right therapeutic approach, psychedelics allow us to rewire our brains in a positive manner. On the flip side, reckless use of these substances may cause lasting negative changes in the brain.
Depressive realism is the proposition that people with depression actually have a more accurate perception of reality, specifically that they are less affected by positive illusions of illusory superiority and optimism bias.
Studies by psychologists Alloy and Abramson (1979) and Dobson and Franche (1989) suggested that depressed people appear to have a more realistic perception of their importance, reputation, locus of control, and abilities than those who are not depressed.
Depressed people may be less likely to have inflated self-images and see the world through “rose-colored glasses” thanks to cognitive dissonance elimination and a variety of other defense mechanisms that allow [individuals] to ignore or otherwise look beyond the harsh realities of life.
This does not necessarily imply that a specific happy person is delusional nor deny that some depressed individuals may be unrealistically negative.