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Mon, 03 Oct 2022
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England 21 Jun 2011 Druids Celebrate Summer Solstice for First Time as Mainstream Faith

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© Unknown
When robed Druids gather at Stonehenge for the summer solstice in 2011, they will be worshipping at the prehistoric stone-circle monument for the first time as members of an established religion under British charity law. The classification means members of the ancient pagan tradition, which some see as a curiosity of Britain's ancient past, have mainstream status equal to the Church of England. The change of status, which is controversial, gives them tax advantages.

People

Extraverts More Likely to Believe in Free Will

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A new study finds deep thinkers who are warm and extraverted are more likely to believe that free will remains a viable concept, even if research suggests our behavior is largely determined by unconscious impulses.
Philosophers' views on freedom and moral responsibility are influenced by inherited personality traits. If they can't be objective, can anyone?

Philosophers are trained to think things through logically, and reach conclusions based solely on reason. But as science provides increasing evidence for the interconnectivity of mind, body and emotions, is that sort of intellectual objectivity truly possible?

A newly published study suggests the answer is no - at least when it comes to addressing one fundamental issue. It finds deep thinkers with a specific type of personality - warm and extraverted - are more likely to believe that free will remains a viable concept, even in the light of research suggesting our behavior is largely determined by unconscious impulses.

Family

Childhood trauma linked to higher rates of mental health problems

New research has shown that children's risk for learning and behavior problems and obesity rises in correlation to their level of trauma exposure, says the psychiatrist at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital who oversaw the study. The findings could encourage physicians to consider diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder rather than attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which has similar symptoms to PTSD but very different treatment.

The study examined children living in a violent, low-income neighborhood and documented an unexpectedly strong link between abuse, trauma and neglect and the children's mental and physical health: It reported, for instance, that children experiencing four types of trauma were 30 times more likely to have behavior and learning problems than those not exposed to trauma.

"In communities where there is violence, where children are exposed to events such as shootings in their neighborhoods, kids experience a constant environmental threat," said senior author Victor Carrion, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford. "Contrary to some people's belief, these children don't get used to trauma. These events remain stressful and impact children's physiology."

People

Authorities fail to recognize emotionally scarred brothers and sisters of child abuse victims

Brothers and sisters of abuse victims often help cover up or even commit abuse.

In many cases, when abusive parents with multiple children target just one child for emotional or physical cruelty, authorities often remove the abused child from the home and return the non-abused siblings.

But brothers and sisters of abused children can suffer lifelong emotional scars from helping parents conceal the abuse or, in extreme cases, from being forced to participate in torturing their siblings, according to a study published in the current issue of the Journal of Emotional Abuse.

While psychologists have repeatedly studied the lifelong emotional carnage of untreated abuse victims, scant attention has been paid to their siblings, according to author Jane Hollingsworth, a licensed clinical psychologist and executive director of the Child Abuse Program at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters.

"Many children survive by becoming callous to the suffering or even torture of their brothers and sisters," Hollingsworth. "Those children require therapy, but don't get it."

Eye 2

This Charming Psychopath: How to spot social predators before they attack

L'homme derrière le masque
Jeffrey Dahmer. Ted Bundy. Hannibal Lecter. These are the psychopaths whose stunning lack of conscience we see in the movies and in tabloids. Yet, as this report makes abundantly clear, these predators, both male and female, haunt our everyday lives at work, at home, and in relationships. Here's how to find them before they find you.

She met him in a laundromat in London. He was open and friendly and they hit it off right away. From the start she thought he was hilarious. Of course, she'd been lonely. The weather was grim and sleety and she didn't know a soul east of the Atlantic.

"Ah, travelers' loneliness," Dan crooned sympathetically over dinner. "It's the worst."

After dessert he was embarrassed to discover he'd come without his wallet. She was more than happy to pay for dinner. At the pub, over drinks, he told her he was a translator for the United Nations. He was, for now, between assignments.

They saw each other four times that week, five the week after. It wasn't long before he had all but moved in with Elsa. It was against her nature, but she was having the time of her life.

Still, there were details, unexplained, undiscussed, that she shoved out of her mind. He never invited her to his home; she never met his friends. One night he brought over a carton filled with tape recorders; plastic-wrapped straight from the factory, unopened; a few days later they were gone. Once she came home to find three televisions stacked in the corner. "Storing them for a friend," was all he told her. When she pressed for more he merely shrugged.

Bulb

Attention and Awareness Aren't The Same

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Paying attention to something and being aware of it seem like the same thing -they both involve somehow knowing the thing is there. However, a new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that these are actually separate; your brain can pay attention to something without you being aware that it's there.

"We wanted to ask, can things attract your attention even when you don't see them at all?" says Po-Jang Hsieh, of Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore and MIT. He co-wrote the study with Jaron T. Colas and Nancy Kanwisher of MIT. Usually, when people pay attention to something, they also become aware of it; in fact, many psychologists assume these two concepts are inextricably linked. But more evidence has suggested that's not the case.

2 + 2 = 4

Meditation can help unclutter the mind

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Meditation once was thought to be a mysterious practice reserved for Buddhist monks or hippie types. But now we see articles about meditation and the benefits to our health in magazines and on television, and we hear people talking about their own practice of meditation.

In our culture, which often views multi-tasking as a sign of competence, focusing your attention on one thing can seem unproductive. But members of many Eastern religions long have realized the benefits of meditation. In Western civilization, it could be compared to some of the benefits we are familiar with during times of silence, appreciation of nature or prayer.

As long ago as 1968, Dr. Herbert Benson and his colleagues at the Harvard Medical School started putting meditation to the test. Since then, researchers have found the practice successful in the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure, heart disease, migraine headaches and autoimmune diseases such as diabetes and arthritis. In the mental health profession, it has proven to be helpful in curbing obsessive thinking, anxiety, depression and anger.

Magic Wand

Cheap Shot! APS sez: Depression and Negative Thoughts: Refocusing and Stronger Working Memory Are the Key

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We all have our ups and downs - a fight with a friend, a divorce, the loss of a parent. But most of us get over it. Only some go on to develop major depression. Now, a new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests part of the reason may be that people with depression get stuck on bad thoughts because they're unable to turn their attention away.

People who don't recover from negative events seem to keep going over their troubles. "They basically get stuck in a mindset where they relive what happened to them over and over again," says Jutta Joormann, of the University of Miami. She co wrote the new study with Sara Levens and Ian H. Gotlib of Stanford University.

"Even though they think, oh, it's not helpful, I should stop thinking about this, I should get on with my life - they can't stop doing it," she says. She and her colleagues thought people with depression might have a problem with working memory. Working memory isn't just about remembering a shopping list or doing multiplication in your head; it's about what thoughts you keep active in your mind. So, Joormann thought, maybe people who get stuck on negative thoughts have problems turning their mind to a new topic.

Comment: A better answer to depression would be to read Peter A. Levine's book "In An Unspoken Voice." The above is a cheap shot fired by pathological science at the true suffering of normal humans trying to make their way in a psychopathic world.


Heart

Brain, heart and gut minds

vagus nerve innervation

Vagus nerve and it's many connections to our organs highlighs the importance it has on the functioning and well-being of our system.
We have always expressed love and emotion from the heart and intuition from the gut; hence, the expressions heartfelt and gut feeling. Research suggests that they may have scientific explanations.

It seems both heart and gut have minds of their own. Besides communicating with the brain, they might also be helping it develop, reducing depression and increasing the level of the individual's well-being.

The gut mind

On an average, the brain has 100 billion neurons; it is the seat of all our thinking. The gut or the digestive system has close to 500 million nerve cells and 100 million neurons and is almost the size of a cat's brain. Not only does the gut 'talk' with the brain by releasing chemicals which are transported to the brain but also by sending electrical signals via the vagus nerve, one of the longest nerves in the body whose purpose is to relay the information of internal organs to the brain. It starts from the head and ends near the anus.

Comment: Based on breathing exercises that stimulate the vagus nerve, the Éiriú Eolas program is easy to learn, and with few minutes of practice each day can effect the vital balance between brain, heart and gut minds.


Magic Wand

How our focus can silence the noisy world around us

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How can someone with perfectly normal hearing become deaf to the world around them when their mind is on something else? New research funded by the Wellcome Trust suggests that focusing heavily on a task results in the experience of deafness to perfectly audible sounds.

In a study published in the journal Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, researchers at UCL (University College London) demonstrate for the first time this phenomenon, which they term 'inattentional deafness'.

"Inattentional deafness is a common everyday experience," explains Professor Nilli Lavie from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL. "For example, when engrossed in a good book or even a captivating newspaper article we may fail to hear the train driver's announcement and miss our stop, or if we're texting whilst walking, we may fail to hear a car approaching and attempt to cross the road without looking."

Professor Lavie and her PhD student James Macdonald devised a series of experiments designed to test for inattentional deafness. In these experiments, over a hundred participants performed tasks on a computer involving a series of cross shapes. Some tasks were easy, asking the participants to distinguish a clear colour difference between the cross arms. Others were much more difficult, involving distinguishing subtle length differences between the cross arms.