Tag Archives | Psychology

Video Games Change How You Dream, Increase Lucid Dreaming

video games Are video games dreaming practice? The Verge writes:

Gackenbach is a psychologist at Canada’s Grant MacEwan University and arguably the world’s preeminent expert on how video games can impact dreaming. “The major parallel is that, in both instances, you’re in an alternate reality, whether a biological construct or a technological one,” she says.

In her most recent paper, published in the latest issue of Dreaming, Gackenbach and her colleagues solidified a key earlier finding: that so-called “hardcore” gamers (characterized by regular playing sessions of more than 2 hours, several times a week, since before the third grade) were more likely than their peers to experience lucid dreams.

With subsequent studies she has also found that during lucid dreams, gamers had control only over themselves as a character. They were also able to toggle between first and third-person point-of-view.

She’s also noted in other studies that some heavy gamers seem to be non-plussed by dreams that would qualify as nightmares.

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Walking Through A Doorway Makes You Forget

doorwayPassing across a real or virtual threshold erases some of your memories, Scientific American writes:

This “doorway effect” appears to be quite general. It doesn’t seem to matter, for instance, whether the virtual environments are displayed on a 66” flat screen or a 17” CRT. In one study, Radvansky and his colleagues at Notre Dame tested the doorway effect in real rooms in their lab. Sure enough, memory was worse after passing through a doorway than after walking the same distance within a single room.

The doorway effect suggests that there’s more to the remembering than just what you paid attention to, when it happened, and how hard you tried. Radvansky and colleagues propose that walking through a doorway is a good time to purge your “event models” because whatever happened in the old room is likely to become less relevant now that you have changed venues.

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The Hidden Emotion World: Some Personal Examples

Understanding the realm of emotions is beset by an elemental difficulty: the meaning of words that refer to emotion are so ambiguous that we hardly know what we are talking about. Virginia Woolf stated it succinctly: “The streets of London have their map; but our passions are uncharted” (1922). Compared to maps of the material world, and studies of behavior, thoughts, attitudes, perception, and beliefs, the realm of emotions is still terra incognita. One way of approaching this chaos is to examine one’s own emotions.

Image: Daniel (CC)

Image: Daniel (CC)

 

I became interested in studying emotion because of a series of unanticipated incidents in my own life. At the time my interests were focused on a more conventional topic in my discipline, the sociology of mental illness. When I was 40, I began exploring a new field because of experiences with my own emotions. I had just gotten divorced, and my ex had taken our children to Hawaii for a year.… Read the rest

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Seeing The American Flag Shifts Beliefs Toward Republicanism Up To 8 Months Later

flagAssociation for Psychological Science on a study revealing the American flag logo as a powerful psychological tool:

A study found that exposure to the American flag led to a shift toward Republican beliefs, attitudes, and voting behavior.

Psychological scientists Travis Carter (University of Chicago), Melissa Ferguson (Cornell University), and Ran Hassin (Hebrew University) challenge the notion that subtle cues in the environment can’t (or don’t) significantly alter people’s political judgments.

Volunteers were asked to complete various surveys on their voting intentions and opinions on the Republican and Democratic parties and their leaders. Some volunteers were subtly exposed to an American flag while others were not. Results found that a single exposure to the American flag shifted volunteers’ voting intentions, behavior, attitudes, and beliefs toward the Republican end of the spectrum, and some of these effects even lasted 8 months after the initial exposure.

To test whether the flag creates a shift specifically toward Republicanism rather than toward whichever party is currently in control, a second experiment was conducted in the spring of 2010 while the Democrats had the majority in both houses and control of the White House.

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False Memories Occur Even Among Those with Superior Memory

400px-Neuron_Hand-tuned.svgRick Nauert writes at Psych Central News:

Some people have the unique talent of being able to remember daily details of their lives from decades past.

But surprising new research finds that even among this select group of memory experts, false memories occur at about the same frequency as among those with average memory.

False memories are the recollection of an event, or the details of an event, that did not occur. UC Irvine psychologists and neurobiologists created a series of tests to determine how false information can manipulate memory formation.

In their study they learned that subjects with highly superior autobiographical memory preformed similar to a control group of subjects with average memory.

“Finding susceptibility to false memories even in people with very strong memory could be important for dissemination to people who are not memory experts.

“For example, it could help communicate how widespread our basic susceptibility to memory distortions is,” said Lawrence Patihis.

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Can Facebook Status Updates Indicate Psychopathy?

newsAnyone could certainly compose a valid argument that Facebook is a key indicator of narcissism, but it’s hard to say that liking the musical works of Phil Collins more than Huey Lewis and the News is genuinely indicative of psychopathy. Of course, for those who do not have a Facebook page, you can rest assured that you are just as likely to be psychopaths as well!

VIA Daily Mail

For most people, most of the time, Facebook is a bright and breezy place where they share holiday and baby photos and brag about great parties they’ve been to.

But the social media site has a darker side, because a new study reveals that status updates can reveal a range of personality traits, including if someone has psychopathic tendencies.

Researchers from Sahlgrenska Academy and Lund University in Sweden found that status updates that indicated psychopathy could concern prostitutes, decapitation, pornography and butchers.

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Synchro-missity

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Carl Jung called meaningful coincidences and parapsychological occurrences by the term “synchronicity,” but noted that some things are merely attributable to “probability of chance.” Writing on Reality Sandwich, Nick Meador wonders: do we know how to tell the difference?

In recent times the term “synchronicity” has become one of the trendiest words in circles that self-identify as conscious or transformative. The Internet contributed to this, no doubt, by exposing so many of us to schools of thought like Jungian psychology (the origin of synchronicity) that had been partially or totally omitted from general education programs. However, common discussion and application of the term doesn’t take into consideration the fact that the Internet and connected technologies are constantly influencing our perception of supposed synchronicities. When we evaluate these phenomena more closely, it becomes unclear whether we’re identifying them correctly or interpreting them in a useful way.

The word “synchronicity” first appeared in the 1950s, when Carl Jung brought it forth in the development of archetypal psychology.

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The World of Hidden Emotions

Machine Elf 1735 (CC)

Machine Elf 1735 (CC)

Emotions are important, but there is the massive confusion in both popular and scientific conceptions of even what they are.  There is also a sizable structure of erroneous assumptions, such as venting anger “gets it off your chest.”

There seem to be at least four defenses against confronting emotions directly:

1. Ignore.

2. Generalize (using only abstract terms: emotions, affect, arousal, etc.).

3. Disguise: use one of the vast number of alternative words that hide emotional content, such as “an awkward moment.”

4. Confuse: especially in English, the most important emotion terms are at least ambiguous and often misleading.

The elaborate hiding of shame studies by the use of alternative words is described in detail. Approaches to emotion that allow them to be noticed and discussed openly and directly are probably important us as individuals and for our whole civilization.

Understanding the realm of emotions is beset by an elemental difficulty: the meaning of words that refer to emotion are so ambiguous that we hardly know what we are talking about.… Read the rest

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Electrode-Wearing Writer May Reveal Neurological Roots of Creativity

Picture: Michael Neagle (C)

Picture: Michael Neagle (C)

Dutch novelist Arnon Grunberg is participating in a neuroscience experiment that will shed some light on how art is created and experienced:

New York Times:

Over the past two weeks, Mr. Grunberg has spent several hours a day writing his novella, while a battery of sensors and cameras tracked his brain waves, heart rate, galvanic skin response (an electrical measure of emotional arousal) and facial expressions. Next fall, when the book is published, some 50 ordinary people in the Netherlands will read it under similarly controlled circumstances, sensors and all.

Researchers will then crunch the data in the hope of finding patterns that may help illuminate links between the way art is created and enjoyed, and possibly the nature of creativity itself.

“Will readers of Arnon’s text feel they understand or embody the same emotions he had while he was writing it, or is reading a completely different process?” said Ysbrand van der Werf, a researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, who designed the experiment with Jan van Erp of the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research.

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Black Friday Isn’t Even the Best Day to Get a “Deal”

dawn_of_the_dead_1978_404_303_photos121This won’t be news to most disinfonauts, but here are some details you can share with your less informed friends and family.  Tiffany Hsu writes at the Los Angeles Times:

As the hardiest of shoppers prepare for the annual Black Friday consumption frenzy, many are convinced it’s their one shot at a great deal.

But “that’s not even close to the truth,” said Matthew Ong, senior retail analyst at online personal finance company NerdWallet Inc. Bargain hunters can — and, in some cases, should — avoid the Black Friday weekend crush, several experts said. Many characterize the shopping bonanza as an expertly marketed ploy to capitalize on shoppers’ fear of missing out. By dangling a small batch of irresistible savings, stores land hordes of hopeful shoppers all scheming to score the retail version of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. Yet only a tiny percentage of customers end up with the most desirable deals.
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