Science of the Spirit
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Airplane

Passengers who survived terrifying flight help psychologists uncover new clues about post-traumatic stress vulnerability

© Humberta Augusto
A Canadian Air Transat plane lies on the tarmac of the Lajes airport in the Azores Terceira island after an emergency landing, Friday, Aug. 24 2001, in the north Atlantic Portuguese archipelago.
An extraordinary opportunity to study memory and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a group of Air Transat passengers who experienced 30 minutes of unimaginable terror over the Atlantic Ocean in 2001 has resulted in the discovery of a potential risk factor that may help predict who is most vulnerable to PTSD.

The study, led by researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences, is published online this week in the journal Clinical Psychological Science -- ahead of print publication. It is the first to involve detailed interviews and psychological testing in individuals exposed to the same life-threatening traumatic event. By necessity, other trauma studies involve heterogeneous events as experienced in different situations.

This opportunity was enhanced by the fact that one of the researchers, Dr. Margaret McKinnon, was a passenger on the plane. Heading off on her honeymoon in late August 2001, Dr. McKinnon's flight departed Toronto for Lisbon, Portugal with 306 passengers and crew on board. Mid way over the Atlantic Ocean, the plane suddenly ran out of fuel. Everyone onboard was instructed to prepare for an ocean ditching, which included a countdown to impact, loss of on-board lighting and cabin de-pressurization. About 25 minutes into the emergency, the pilot located a small island military base in the Azores and glided the aircraft to a rough landing with no loss of life and few injuries.

"Imagine your worst nightmare -- that's what it was like," said Dr. McKinnon, who initiated the study as a postdoctoral fellow at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute. She is now a clinician-scientist at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and Associate Co-Chair of Research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University in Hamilton.
Chart Pie

The difference between successful and unsuccessful people

© Capitolismisfreedom.com
Everyone strives to be successful, but it doesn't always come easily. The people who do end up reaching their highest potential always possess certain qualities and habits that allowed them to get there which separate them from those who don't. Here are 10 differences between successful and unsuccessful people!

1. Embrace change vs. Fear change

Embracing change is one of the hardest things a person can do. With the world moving so fast and constantly changing, and technology accelerating faster than ever, we need to embrace what's coming and adapt, rather than fear it, deny it or hide from it.

2. Want others to succeed vs. Secretly hope others fail

When you're in an organization with a group of people, in order to be successful, you all have to be successful. We need to want to see our co-workers succeed and grow. If you wish for their demise, why even work with them at all?
Galaxy

Why the Universe is always on your side

Hologram Universe
© The Daily Galaxy
One way to think of the Universe is like a grand resonating drum, reverberating in the field of consciousness. Like a cave that responds to sound waves with an echo, the universe actually responds to thoughts and intentions as well as actions. It's important to realize that more than just echoing these back to you in the precise form you sent them, the Universe collaborates with you.

Open Your Eyes And Expand Your Vision

As your partner in the projects you want to realize, the experiences you want to attract and the goals you want to achieve, the Universe may have different options or interpretations to offer which could differ from what you expect. This is why it is necessary to be open minded and trust in this process. In fact, it can help to consider, what if the Universe has plans for me that are even better than the ones I can imagine? You'll never find out unless you can let go of some of that control and expand your vision.

Many people have a narrow view when it comes to their goals and desires, keeping a tight grip on their initial vision: "My future job/partner/project must look exactly like X, or I will not accept. I met this expectation of myself."
Hearts

Face life with Éiriú Eolas, a stress relief program

On a planet gone crazy, there is a stress-relief program that helps you face life. Used by thousands of practitioners world-wide, Éiriú Eolas helps to effectively manage the physiological, emotional, and psychological effects of stress, helps to clear blocked emotions, and helps improve thinking ability.

Try it for yourself. Do it for the people you love. Do it for the future.


Learn more about how to do Éiriú Eolas for free, and what makes it so effective, here.
Info

Human brain subliminally judges 'trustworthiness' of faces

Untrustworthiness
© Ronald Grant Archive
People associate features such as a furrowed brow with untrustworthiness.
The human brain can judge the apparent trustworthiness of a face from a glimpse so fleeting, the person has no idea they have seen it, scientists claim.

Researchers in the US found that brain activity changed in response to how trustworthy a face appeared to be when the face in question had not been consciously perceived.

Scientists made the surprise discovery during a series of experiments that were designed to shed light on the the neural processes that underpin the snap judgments people make about others.

The findings suggest that parts of our brains are doing more complex subconscious processing of the outside world than many researchers thought.

Jonathan Freeman at New York University said the results built on previous work that shows "we form spontaneous judgments of other people that can be largely outside awareness."

The study focused on the activity of the amygdala, a small almond-shaped region deep inside the brain. The amygdala is intimately involved with processing strong emotions, such as fear. Its central nucleus sends out the signals responsible for the famous and evolutionarily crucial "fight-or-flight" response.
Butterfly

True story: Native american awakes from war trauma speaking Russian, paints like dead Russian artist

kandisky

Right: Russian painter Vassily Kandinsky (1866–1944). (Wikimedia Commons) Image of a soldier's silhouette via Thinkstock and image of a tunnel via Shutterstock
The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In "Beyond Science" Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide.

David Paladin's true story is one so full of hardship, perseverance, and metaphysical mystery, that it has captured the imagination of many over the past 70 years.

"Have you ever heard a story so powerful that it reverberated loudly through your interior landscape? Or it stopped you cold in your tracks and made you think - hard - about your life? I did in 1994, and it's still with me today," wrote Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D., in a Selfgrowth.com post, referring to Paladin's story told to her by author Caroline Myss. "For weeks and weeks after attending a professional conference where I first heard this story, I told everyone I encountered this tale. And I mean everyone."
Snakes in Suits

Can one simple question identify narcissistic people?

© Credit: © lunamarina / Fotolia
Scientists have developed and validated a new method to identify which people are narcissistic: just ask them.
Scientists have developed and validated a new method to identify which people are narcissistic: just ask them.


In a series of 11 experiments involving more than 2,200 people of all ages, the researchers found they could reliably identify narcissistic people by asking them this exact question (including the note):

To what extent do you agree with this statement: "I am a narcissist." (Note: The word "narcissist" means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.)

Participants rated themselves on a scale of 1 (not very true of me) to 7 (very true of me).

(How narcissistic are you? Take the test here.)

Results showed that people's answer to this question lined up very closely with several other validated measures of narcissism, including the widely used Narcissistic Personality Inventory.

Comment: To become more informed on the subject of narcissism read:

Narcissism Victim Syndrome - a new diagnosis?

You can also review the following articles to gain a better understanding of the 'nature of the beast':

5 things you didn't know about Narcissistic personality disorders
Do Narcissists Dislike Themselves "Deep Down Inside"?
Hurting you isn't something narcissists do by accident

Arrow Down

Using brainwaves to predict audience reaction is a marketer's dream

Brainwaves
© Thinkstock
A study conducted at the City College of New York (CCNY) in partnership with Georgia Tech looks to have found a highly reliable way to predict audience reaction to TV shows and commercials. The method involves studying the brainwaves of only a few individuals as they watch the content. According to the researchers, these observations of brain activity reflect with considerable accuracy how larger audiences will respond to the same content.

In the Nature Communications study, researchers explain how they analyzed the brainwaves of sixteen people who were connected to EEG electrodes as they watched mainstream television productions - namely scenes from The Walking Dead series and several commercials from the 2012 and 2013 Super Bowls.

The main indicator of engaging and appealing content was that different people's brains responded in the same way upon viewing. When similar brain activity was noted, it was when watching something that had a record of being popular with audiences based on social media data provided by the Harmony Institute and ratings from USA Today's Super Bowl Ad Meter. For example, very similar brainwaves were observed in participants as they watched a 2012 Budweiser commercial that featured a dog that fetched beer.

The public had previously voted the ad as their second favorite that year. On the flip side, there was much less "brain agreement" when those taking part saw a GoDaddy commercial featuring a kissing couple, which rated among the worst ads in 2012. The accuracy with which the method could predict reaction to Super Bowl commercials was put at an impressive ninety percent.
Arrow Down

The DIY neuroenhancers hacking their brains with electricity

Brain Simulation_2
© Motherboard
The discussion around neuroenhancement, especially the kind you might be able to try at home, has largely centred around brain-boosting chemicals. But smart drugs aren't the only way that more intrepid transhumanists are trying to spur their cognitive function.

On Tuesday night, I went along to meet a few neuroenchancement enthusiasts at London Hackspace, where they introduced me to their homebrew variety of a method of brain stimulation called transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS. This experimental technique applies a small electrical current to your head to try to stimulate certain areas of your brain. It's literally an attempt to jolt your neurons into firing.

I came across Dirk Bruere on a transhumanist subreddit, where he posted about the meeting. He explained in an email that he was trying to get a group together, ultimately to look into "less mainstream stuff like low intensity patterned magnetic fields, cold laser stimulation and the effects of modulated IR and microwaves," but that he'd bring his homemade tDCS kit along that evening.

The equipment was very simple; Bruere said part of the point was to show how cheap and easy it could be. Two wires came out of a black box with an LED and a tempting big red button. On the end of the red wire was an anode, on the end of a blue a cathode. Two small sponge pads fit the copper electrodes, and were soaked in salt water before being applied to the user's head. A Nike sweatband held them in place.
Question

The mind gap: theories that seek to explain consciousness

© Credit: agsandrew/Shutterstock.com
Probably for as long as humans have been able to grasp the concept of consciousness, they have sought to understand the phenomenon.

Studying the mind was once the province of philosophers, some of whom still believe the subject is inherently unknowable. But neuroscientists are making strides in developing a true science of the self.

Here are some of the best contenders for a theory of consciousness.

Comment: For more on the subject of consciousness and information theory and related phenomena, read Pierre Lescaudron and Laura Knight-Jadczyk's new book, Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection.

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