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Sun, 23 Feb 2020
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Beaker

What Your Brain Looks Like After 20 Years of Marriage

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© Getty Images
Contrary to popular opinion, people who say they are still madly in love with their spouses after more than two decades are not crazy. At least, some of them aren't. And in answer to your next question, apparently they're not lying either. This is the proposition of a new study published in the December issue of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience that took brain scans of long-married people who claimed to still be besotted with their marital partner.

The prevailing theory on romantic love is that it more or less serves the same purpose as the booster rocket in expeditions into outer space. The initial tingly can't-think-about-anything-else swooning launches the couple into orbit, but falls away after the spacecraft reaches a certain altitude, to be replaced by "companionate love," a more regulated, less passionate affection that binds two people together, bolted together a bit with shared history and interests.

Info

New Psychic Test Claims Future Events Can Predict Past Events

I wrote this article and published it on suite 101; it is copyrighted to me. You have republished it without permission, and now Google is directing readers to this site instead of mine to read it. That means I make no income on it - you are stealing my living! Please could you remove my article from your site.
Cathy Anne Smith


Comment: No problem. We have removed it, removed the link to the original, and displayed your notice to our one million daily readers.

The article that Cathy Anne Smith wrote about (we won't use the word plagiarize), is published by Psychology Today magazine and can be read in the original HERE. We apologize for foolishly thinking that we could help out by presenting Ms. Smith's work to a wider audience.


Oscar

The Allure of Narcissistic Spirituality

Several months ago, my wife and I attended a prayer service at a synagogue that is well known for its spiritual, and spirited, approach. As we entered, the rabbi was leading a meditation. "Close your eyes and breathe in the peace of Shabbat [the Sabbath]." she said. "And on the out-breathe imagine that you are sending healing love to all beings." We passed a man who appeared to be deep in meditation. His eyes were closed, and through a slightly opened smile he slowly breathed in and out. As we moved to our seats, I accidentally stepped on his toe. He quickly turned toward me; his smile vanished and he angrily hissed, "Hey, watch it, buddy!"

In the irony of a person being angry at a stranger for accidentally interrupting his meditation about universal, unconditional love, this man demonstrated the disturbing, alluring and all-too common phenomenon of "spiritual narcissism."

To understand spiritual narcissism we must first understand the word "spirituality." My acting definition is, "The experience of a transformative connection." In other words, spirituality is experienced -- it is not a concept or construct. It transforms us. It changes how we act, think and feel in all environments. And it is a connection -- a profound contact with something and someone outside of our selves.

All three of these components are needed in order for spirituality to occur, but the most essential is that it be a connection -- between a person and the Divine, or between one person and another. Spiritual practices are designed to facilitate these connections, and begin with the knowledge that we have two selves: an ego-self and a true-Self. The ego-self is built on our strategy for ensuring that we are physically safe, stemming from our interpretation of the experiences of our lives (primarily our childhood) in which we determined what was required in order to survive. The ego-self may need to impress, dominate or control and sees others as either threats or tools. There is nothing inherently wrong with the ego-self; it is a necessary structure put in place so that we can survive in physical reality. But it is not who we really are, and we can not make a spiritual connection from it. Our true-Self, however, which is often referred to as our soul, contains the very purpose that we incarnated, and is in constant connection with Spirit/Consciousness/Creation/God. It sees others as fellow souls with equally needed purposes, and has compassion for the suffering that comes from the ego-self's attachment to things.

Comment: The Éiriú Eolas Stress Control, Healing and Rejuvenation Program is a method using meditation and deep breathing that enables one to detox both body and mind. Working through past emotional and psychological trauma can help with narcissistic wounding and enable one to embrace a true spirituality.


Attention

I'm a psychopath! BBC presenter Michael Mosley's shocking discovery thanks to a revolutionary brain scan

Michael Mosley
© Lee Wilson/Getty
Why do we behave the way we do? What really makes us tick?

These questions have traditionally been left to philosophers and theologians but now scientists have come along with machines that can probe our brains in ways we never dreamed possible.

Their work has led to discoveries that are often surprising and sometimes disturbing.

Until recently, if you wanted to really understand what made someone tick, you would have had to rely on their own account of themselves, or perhaps guess what they were really like by close observation.

Question

What is Happening in Our Society That We Need to Drug Five-Year-Old Children?

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© GETTY CREATIVE
Attention deficit disorder can be hard for parents
A report in today's newspaper says that children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD) can't switch off the default mode network (DMN) in their brains, the daydreaming function. Stimulant drugs such as methylphenidate may help to switch off this DMN, turn down the volume, as it were, and enable the ADHD sufferer to focus on a task.

These findings are interesting, but they do not address the question of why so many children are suffering from the condition in the first place. We've reached a point where plenty of us know a child personally who's being medicated to improve his or her behavior. Half a million prescriptions for Ritalin - one version of methylphenidate - are filled every year. That is worrying in itself of course, the dosing-up of so many young children with drugs that alter their behavior. But even more alarming is just to think of the changes in society that are creating disturbed children in such numbers. Especially, it is staggering to contemplate the casual neglect and abandonment of children that occurs.

Basically, what's happening is that some people carelessly have children, don't look after them properly and then someone else - the state, the care system - takes over. The process of abandonment combined with lack of love and maltreatment is actually altering the young brains of these children - causing brain damage, really. That's how you get disorders like ADHD: the odd behaviors point to something having changed in the chemistry of the brain, perhaps even in its structure.

Heart

Explaining Why Meditators May Live Longer

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© Juzant via Getty Images
The image of the ancient but youthful-looking sage meditating on a mountaintop might be closer to reality than you think, according to a new study that found that after a three-month stay at a meditation retreat, people showed higher levels of an enzyme associated with longevity.

The study is preliminary and didn't show that meditation actually extends life, but the findings suggest a possible means by which it could.

Researchers led by Tonya Jacobs of the University of California-Davis compared 30 participants at a meditation retreat held at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado with matched controls on a waiting list for the retreat. Participants meditated six hours per day for three months. Their meditation centered on mindfulness - for instance, focusing solely on breathing, in the moment - and on lovingkindness and enhancing compassion towards others.

Yoda

Journal's Paper on ESP Expected to Prompt Outrage

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© unknown
One of psychology's most respected journals has agreed to publish a paper presenting what its author describes as strong evidence for extrasensory perception, the ability to sense future events.

The decision may delight believers in so-called paranormal events, but it is already mortifying scientists. Advance copies of the paper, to be published this year in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, have circulated widely among psychological researchers in recent weeks and have generated a mixture of amusement and scorn.

The paper describes nine unusual lab experiments performed over the past decade by its author, Daryl J. Bem, an emeritus professor at Cornell, testing the ability of college students to accurately sense random events, like whether a computer program will flash a photograph on the left or right side of its screen. The studies include more than 1,000 subjects.

Pills

Newer Antipsychotic Drugs Are Overused

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© unknown
Many people taking powerful psychiatric medications that increase their risk of weight gain and diabetes are prescribed those drugs when there's little evidence that they will get any benefit from them, a new study shows.

What's more, experts say that even when these drugs, which are known as atypical antipsychotics, are prescribed as recommended, they may not be safer or more effective than the less expensive, older medications that they've apparently replaced.

"Atypical agents were once thought to be safer and possibly more effective," says study researcher G. Caleb Alexander, MD, an assistant professor in the department of medicine at the University of Chicago Hospitals. "And what we've learned over time is that they are not safer, and in the settings where there's the best scientific evidence, they are no more effective."

Blackbox

Tears in Her Eyes: A Turnoff for Guys?

Men rarely jump at the chance to catch the latest tear-jerker with their wives or girlfriends, although some grudgingly oblige. And there might be a biological reason for their hesitation.

New research suggests that women's tears emit chemical signals that turn men off.

After sniffing odorless tears from women who cried during a sad movie, men in a study were less attracted to the opposite sex and less sexually aroused, as assessed by self-reports, physiological measurements and neuroimaging tests, than men who sniffed saltwater. Their testosterone levels also sank, according to the study, published in Science Express.

The authors, led by Noam Sobel, associate professor of neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, suggested that this tear-borne "chemosignal" represents a novel, functional role for crying.

Shedding tears has long been considered a form of human communication. Babies, who can't ask for food, cry when they're hungry. And even among speaking adults, tears can provoke empathy and sympathy. But whether emotional tears themselves serve a function has long been a mystery.

Gear

The Uncomfortable Truth About Mind Control: Is Free Will Simply a Myth?

Hitler 1938
© Getty Images
Hitler addressing the Hitler Youth in 1938
In the Sixties, a groundbreaking series of experiments found that 65 per cent of us would kill if ordered to do so.

We have vain brains; we see ourselves as better than we really are. We like to think that we exercise free will, that put into a situation where we were challenged to do something we thought unacceptable then we'd refuse. But, if you believe that, then you are probably deluded.

I make this claim, based partly on the work of psychologist Stanley Milgram. Milgram devised and carried out ingenious experiments that exposed the frailty and self-delusion that are central to our lives. He showed how easy it is to make ordinary people do terrible things, that "evil" often happens for the most mundane of reasons.

I first read about Milgram's work when I was a banker in the Seventies, working in the City. I was so fascinated by his ideas that I re-trained as a doctor, with the intention of becoming a psychiatrist. Instead I became a science journalist. Recently I got the chance to make The Brain: A Secret History, a television series which reveals how much we have learnt about ourselves through the work of some of the 20th century's most influential, and deeply flawed, psychologists.

In the course of making the series we found rare archive and first-hand accounts of the many inventive and sometimes sinister ways in which experimental psychology has been used to probe, tease, control and manipulate human behaviour. High on the list of psychologists I wanted to learn more about was Stanley Milgram.

The son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Milgram struggled to understand how it was that German soldiers in the Second World War were persuaded to take part in barbaric acts, such as the Holocaust. As he once wrote: "How is possible, I ask myself, that ordinary people who are courteous and decent in everyday life could act callously, inhumanely, without any limitations of conscience."

Milgram was working as an assistant professor at Yale University in 1960 when he dreamt up an experiment that would try to answer that question. It was beautifully designed to reveal uncomfortable truths about human nature. Milgram described the moment he had the idea as "incandescent".