Science of the Spirit


Feeling down? Melancholy tunes can have beneficial emotional effects

Participants in the study revealed that most of the sad songs they listen to are slow in tempo and some of the most popular titles chosen, included: Beethoven’s Midnight Sonata, Ah Bing’s Moon Reflected in the Second Spring and Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Mr Barber is pictured left and Beethoven is illustrated right.
  • Researchers at the Free University of Berlin discovered that nostalgia rather than sadness is the most frequent emotion evoked by sad music
  • Melancholy music can improve a person's emotional wellbeing, they said
  • People experience more than three emotions when listening to sad songs
  • Most of us choose to listen to sad music when feeling lonely or distressed
Turn up those tearjerkers and dig out your Radiohead albums, because scientists claim that melancholy music can actually lift your spirits. A new study has revealed that listening to sad songs can improve a person's emotional well-being as well as make us feel at peace and nostalgic.

It found that most people experience more than three emotions when listening to sad songs, which provoke a more complex reaction than happy pop songs.

Music and brain researchers Liila Taruffi and Stefan Koelsch, of the Free University of Berlin, surveyed 722 people across the globe to understand how often they listen to miserable tracks and how they feel at the time. 'For many individuals, listening to sad music can actually lead to beneficial emotional effects,' they wrote in their study, which is published in the journal Plos One. 'Music-evoked sadness can be appreciated not only as an aesthetic, abstract reward, but [it] also plays a role in well-being, by providing consolation as well as regulating negative moods and emotions.'

The study says that sad music stirs up a mixture of complex and 'partially positive' emotions, including nostalgia, peacefulness, tenderness, transcendence, and wonder, Pacific Standard reported. 'Results show four different rewards of music-evoked sadness: reward of imagination, emotion regulation, empathy, and no "real-life" implications,' the study says. Surprisingly, nostalgia rather than sadness is the most frequent emotion evoked by sad music. Nostalgia was the most common emotion experienced by listeners in Europe and the US, while people in Asia mostly reported feeling a peace.

Comment: See also:
  • Music as medicine for your brain

Try it for yourself! Above are some renditions of the pieces used in the study.


May she rest in Peace: Death-with-dignity advocate Brittany Maynard's voluntary death confirmed


Death-with-dignity advocate Brittany Maynard and husband Dan Diaz at their wedding
Brittany Maynard dies 'as she intended,' agency says

Brittany Maynard, the terminally ill 29-year-old who said she moved to Oregon to use the Death with Dignity Act, has died, a nonprofit group working with the family confirmed Sunday.

Maynard died Saturday in her home in Portland, according to a statement from the agency.

"She died as she intended - peacefully in her bedroom, in the arms of her loved ones," the statement reads.

Compassion & Choices also posted Maynard's obituary, which listed her husband, mother and step-father among surviving family.

People Magazine reported that Maynard took her own life Saturday after posting a final farewell message on Facebook.

"Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me ... but would have taken so much more," Maynard wrote in her final Facebook post.

Comment: Brittany Maynard: Why I scheduled my death for November 1st


How unconditional love helps kids with setbacks

© David Pereiras/Shutterstock
Teens who spend some time thinking about situations in which their peers thought well of them, no matter what they did, may have an easier time coping with setbacks, new findings show.

Adolescents in the study who wrote an essay about a time when they felt "unconditional regard" from their peers had fewer negative feelings about themselves after getting a bad report card than kids who wrote about a time when they felt their peers' regard was "conditional," the researchers found.

"We studied this in early adolescence - a time when negative self-feelings peak, and when children often experience conditional regard from peers," said Eddie Brummelman, who was a Ph.D. candidate in developmental psychology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands when he helped conduct the study. "Although we did not study the actual provision of unconditional regard, our findings do suggest that helping children feel accepted and valued without conditions (for example, by reminding them of unconditionally accepting others) might help them buffer their negative self-feelings."

"Unconditional regard" is similar to the more-familiar "unconditional love," and it means that others accept and value you without reservations or conditions. "Conditional regard refers to others making their regard conditional upon the participant's actions, performances or abilities," Brummelman said.

Subconscious manipulators: Subliminal messages easily bypass conscious perception

The idea of someone or something controlling our every thought and action is so 1980s. Let's face it, we live out our modern, technological lives with access to instant communication and information that allows us to enjoy greater control and freedoms of thought and expression than at any point in recorded human history; right?

Each of us draws comfort from the decisions we make, sure in the knowledge that we are individuals, masters of our own destiny. We mock those that aren't as under the thumb, as easily lead, or weak. Underlying this attitude is the principle that no person or system has the right to influence or determine the free will of another. This may be true, but what if this truth was naive; that even the strong-minded could not trust the direction their thoughts were taking them?

Comment: The author's closing statement, the subconscious mind throws up answers that our conscious cannot even predict, begs the question do we know ourselves? Are we aware of our own thoughts? Are we really masters of our own destiny? Or... are we, as the author suggests, easily manipulated? Easily swayed by subliminal messages? Passive to authority and lacking intuition? For more insightful information about this topic read the forum thread: The Adaptive Unconscious and check out the two following books:
In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation - each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives - and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic.

It might seem that self-knowledge is a central topic in psychology.In some ways it is; from Freud onward, psychologists have been fascinated by the extent to which people know themselves, the limits of this knowledge, and the consequences of failures of self-insight. Surprisingly, however,self-knowledge has not been a mainstream topic in academic psychology. There are few college courses on self knowledgeand few books devoted to the topic, if we ruleout self-help books and ones from a psychoanalytic point
of view.

I think this is about to change. In recent years there has been an explosion of scientific research on self-knowledge that paints a different portrait from the one presented by Freud and his followers. People possess a powerful, sophisticated,adaptive unconscious that is crucial for survival in the world. Because this unconscious operates so efficiently out of view, however, and is largely inaccessible, there is a price to pay in self-knowledge. There is a great deal about ourselves that we cannot know directly, even with the mostpainstaking introspection. How, then, can we discover our nonconscious traits, goals, and feelings? Is it always to our advantage to do so? To what extent are researchers in academics discovering Freud and psychoanalysis? How can self-knowledge be studied scientifically, anyway? These are the questions to which I turn in the following pages. The answers are often surprising and have direct, practical, implications for everyday living. ...


Sense of disgust is '95 percent accurate' predictor of whether you're liberal or conservative

Woman disgusted by something
Scientists say they can predict "with 95 percent accuracy where you'll fall on the liberal-conservative spectrum by showing you just one picture" and then studying how your brain responds to the image. Furthermore, studies show that political orientation may be as inheritance-based as height.

According to New Scientist, increasing evidence indicates that the sense of disgust is closely aligned with a person's political orientation. People who land on the conservative end of the spectrum have a more easily aroused sense of disgust than their liberal counterparts.

A team of scientists at Virginia Tech led by researcher Read Montague found that people who are more likely to sit on the right side of the political spectrum have a higher sensitivity to disgusting pictures like bodily waste, gore or the remains of dead animals.
Snakes in Suits

A psychopathic trait: The science of 'charismatic voices'

liar in chief

A charismatic voice perhaps - but a psychopath nonetheless!
When a right-wing Italian politician named Umberto Bossi suffered a severe stroke in 2004, his speech became permanently impaired. Strangely, this change impacted Bossi's perception among his party's followers - from appearing authoritarian to benevolent.

Now researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles think they know why. Probing the vocal presence of charisma across cultural divides, the scientists found speakers with a wide range of frequency variation in their voices were more likely to be perceived as dominant. They also found that speakers with a low fundamental rate of vocal fold vibration, called fundamental frequency or F0, are perceived as more dominant than speakers with a high fundamental frequency.

Charismatic voices are made up of two fundamental components, said Rosario Signorello: one biological and one based on language and culture. Signorello is a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA's Bureau of Glottal Affairs who will be speaking on Thursday about his current research at the 168th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), which will be held October 27-31, 2014, at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown Hotel.

The biological component of charismatic voice is innate, Signorello said, and consists of a speaker's manipulation of changes in fundamental frequency to be recognized as a group leader. By using a process of speech synthesis called 'delexicalization,' it is possible to remove the subjective influence of a speech's content, allowing a researcher to study the biological component in a controlled fashion.

Comment: For crucial information on psychopathy and the resulting ponerology read Political Ponerology:

Political Ponerology
© © Red Pill Press
Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes


To reap the brain benefits of physical activity, just get moving

Everyone knows that exercise makes you feel more mentally alert at any age. But do you need to follow a specific training program to improve your cognitive function? Science has shown that the important thing is to just get moving. It's that simple.
Everyone knows that exercise makes you feel more mentally alert at any age. But do you need to follow a specific training program to improve your cognitive function? Science has shown that the important thing is to just get moving. It's that simple. In fact, this was the finding of a study conducted at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM), an institution affiliated with Université de Montréal, by Dr. Nicolas Berryman, PhD, Exercise Physiologist, under the supervision of Dr. Louis Bherer, PhD, and Dr. Laurent Bosquet, PhD, that was published in the journal AGE (American Aging Association) in October.

The study compared the effects of different training methods on the cognitive functions of people aged 62 to 84 years. Two groups were assigned a high-intensity aerobic and strength-training program, whereas the third group performed tasks that targeted gross motor activities (coordination, balance, ball games, locomotive tasks, and flexibility). While the aerobics and strength-training were the only exercises that led to physical fitness improvements after 10 weeks (in terms of body composition, VO2 max, and maximum strength), all three groups showed equivalent improvement in cognitive performance.

Sleep apnea may affect memory of everyday events

© Sleep Apnea Health Center
Sleep apnea may affect your ability to form new spatial memories, such as remembering where you parked your car, new research led by NYU Langone Medical Center sleep specialists suggests.

The study, published online Oct. 29 in Journal of Neuroscience, demonstrates through the playing of a specific video game that disruption of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep as a consequence of sleep apnea impairs spatial memory in humans even when other sleep stages are intact.

Spatial memory is utilized for everyday tasks, such as remembering the location of a favorite restaurant, remembering how to get home even if you are required to take a detour from your typical route, or remembering where you left an item in your house. This type of memory is particularly affected in Alzheimer disease, and often is the root cause of why afflicted individuals are often found wandering lost by caregivers.

When authors "channel" their books, what can we believe?

© Unknown
Just in time for Halloween, there are several recent books out that are claimed to have been written by dead people through living writers. One is by musician David Young called Channeling Harrison, in which he claims that the spirit of ex-Beatle George Harrison is in contact with him, guiding his songwriting and teaching him life lessons.

There is nothing new about this; so-called "channeled" books were very popular in New Age circles in the 1970s and 1980s. Among the most popular was the 1970s book series Seth Speaks, dictated by Jane Roberts, who claimed that an energy named Seth possessed her body and dictated esoteric information through her about the soul, the nature of consciousness, spiritual truths, higher planes of reality, and so on.

Channeling remains immensely popular among New Agers; hundreds of books, audiotapes, seminars, and DVDs are devoted to the practice.

Comment: It's vital to retain critical faculties when reading any sort of "channeled" material, and there's no reason to run to ghosts or spirits for answers that one can find for one's self.

But mainstream science has gone overboard and proclaimed there is no evidence for channeling, near-death experiences, or anything "higher" than materialism. This is based on a belief system, not the scientific method. See Rupert Sheldrake's "The Science Delusion" talk, and check out the subsequent fallout for his attempt to set science free.


Politics can interact with evolution to shape human destiny: Just look at the horrible decline of society under the rule of psychopaths

© Ninjin Club
The Human Condition
Politics can have unintentional evolutionary consequences that may cause hastily issued policies to cascade into global, multigenerational problems, according to political scientists.

"Most western democracies look at policies as if they are bandages, we fix what we can and then move on," said Pete Hatemi, associate professor of political science, Penn State. "But we need to consider generational policies so that we can fix what we can now, but also be prepared for what comes next."

The researchers said that there is an interaction between political and cultural forces and evolutionary results. Genes can shape culture and political institutions, which in turn can shape biology and physiology, passing on certain traits to future generations. The environment's influence on adaptation and how it changes biology is better known and often easier to observe, said Hatemi, but the way culture can affect gene expressions in future generations is often harder to show and may take longer to reveal itself.

One more obvious way to see how culture affects natural selection is the effect that politically inspired atrocities -- for example, Communist purges in China and USSR and the Nazi Holocaust -- have on genetic diversity, according to the researchers, who released their findings in a recent issue of Advances in Political Psychology.

Comment: Everything is interconnected, and now there is a scientific explanation to the enormous mess we find ourselves in, due to the global infestation by psychopaths. Consider the following information:

The transcript: Well this is something the Cassiopeans have told us. We don't have a full theoretical explanation for all of this. What we have are observations. We can observe that all the planets in our solar system are heating up, the same as our earth is. Now we have the global warming alarmist who say that we have human caused global warming. Well if we have human caused global warming on planet Earth, who is causing it on Mars and Jupiter, on Saturn, on Uranus, on Neptune...the other planets in our solar system? How is that happening? So we have evidence of that.

We also have evidence of great shifts in the magnetic field of our planet. It's fluctuating wildly. We have evidence of strange things going on on our planet. We have sink holes. We have volcanic eruptions. We have the gulf stream behaving irrationally or crazy. I don't know if you saw the picture of those cyclones over the U.S. and the fact that nearly the entire U.S. was covered with snow except for the state of Florida and Hawaii, I believe. Well, I think Hawaii even had snow.

And if you just read the articles we post on SOTT.NET every day and we have categories for these articles. We have a category for earth changes. We have categories for things happening in the sky and cosmos. If you read the scientific reports that come through and put the pieces together, you can see Something BIG is happening. Something BIG is happening!

And we have the Cassiopaeans telling us this explanation for it - this Wave, this change in the cosmic environment. They've talked about the fact that there is a companion star involved and swarms of comets that may or may not devastate the earth. We may get a few; we may get a lot. And I think a lot of that depends on the state of humanity itself at the time of the event. So we have all of that. But what we still need, is that we still need a real theoretical structure into which to place all of these things that we can observe with our eyes.

So that's where science really needs to come in. And, we need to get psychopaths out of science. We need to get science able to really do what they should be doing, which is exploring our reality and our universe and coming up with answers for what is going on. I mean I have my know he is a scientist. We have numerous scientists in our research team. We do the best we can to produce the best work we can, but we need help. There are other kinds of sciences that we don't have necessarily represented in our group. There are things that need to be studied, that need to be researched; tests that need to be done and we don't have the time now. This should have all been done and it's been prevented for millennia by psychopaths.

We are in the condition we are in, in the state of ignorance we are in, in the state of war, the state of economic depression and the state of depletion of the resources of our planet because of the greed of the psychopaths who thought that they could create their own reality - Well look at the reality they created! Just look at it.