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Tue, 16 Oct 2018
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Chess

Chess grandmasters enjoy same longevity advantage as elite athletes

chess master
Discovering a fountain of youth has been part of human history dating back centuries. The name most closely linked to the search is that of 16th century Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who reportedly thought it would be found in Florida, where St. Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S., was founded.1 Although the story makes for good a legend, scholars now believe Ponce de Leon was interested in political gain and not longevity.2

The search for antiaging elixirs and remedies has not abated. Science got closer in the 1930s when telomeres were first discovered.3 In 1973, Alexey Olovnikov discovered telomeres shorten with time as they fail to replicate completely with each cell division.4 This means, as you get older, your telomeres get shorter. In 1984, Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D., from the University of California San Francisco, discovered how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.5

But the scientific explanation for longevity in individual populations continue to remain elusive. In studying different groups of individuals who live to 100, researchers agree there's no specific pattern. That said, scientists have identified several factors that improve your chances for living longer. A recent study has now demonstrated chess grandmasters enjoy the same longevity advantages as elite athletes.6

Comment: The only real idea explored here is that chess grandmasters live as long as Olympic athletes because they take care to exercise and eat right. That's certainly possible, but one possibility that isn't explored in the above article is that the relationship between healthy mind and healthy body goes both ways. There is more and more evidence coming to light that physical strength and fitness has a beneficial effect on the brain. Perhaps the relationship is mutual - a physically fit mind leads to a physically fit body.


Light Saber

The Child is the Father to the Man: 9 Foundational habits young men should start now to raise themselves right

Young Man
A while back I was driving through the place where I grew up - Edmond, Oklahoma - and happened to pass by my old high school. This wasn't an unusual event; I now live just an hour and a half from Edmond and my parents still reside there, so I'm back fairly frequently and sometimes pass the school. But this time something was different. On past occasions, I would be hit with a rush of nostalgia and memories of my days there would vividly come back to me. This time, however, I felt...nothing. Cognitively I thought, "There's my old high school," but no emotional wires were tripped. It seemed like just another building - my feeling of strong personal connection to it had disappeared.

As I drove on and contemplated this change and the distance I realized I now felt towards my youth in general, a quote from Theodore Roosevelt I had read years earlier came back to me: "The child is father to the man." When I first came across the quote, it had puzzled me. I couldn't really grasp what it meant. But as I drove past the home of the Edmond North Huskies, I began to understand it.

Question

Expectations: Exploring the invisible forces that shape human behavior

expectations
Do you think that the private thoughts in your head could influence how other people - or creatures - act? The answer is "Of course not," right? Because to say yes would be to admit you believe in mind control or telekinesis or some other phenomenon usually reserved for superhero comic books.

But early in his career, a research psychologist named Bob Rosenthal wasn't so sure. So to test his hypothesis, he designed a devious experiment.

Late one night he crept into his research lab and hung signs on all the rat cages. Some signs said that the rat inside the cage was incredibly smart, while others said that the rat inside was incredibly dumb (even though neither of these things was true). "They were very average rats that you would buy from a research institute that sells rats for a living," says Rosenthal.

Comment: How other people's unspoken expectations control us


Red Pill

Getting to know how others see you can help you see yourself

self reflection
© llustration: Jon Krause
We don't always correctly read how the outside world reads us; new research shows what we can do to improve our perception and the benefits we'll see

Most of us are not as self-aware as we think we are.

Research shows that people who have a high level of self-awareness - who see themselves, how they fit into the world and how others see them clearly - make smarter decisions, raise more mature children and are more successful in school and work. They're less likely to lie, cheat and steal. And they have healthier relationships.

Tasha Eurich, an organizational psychologist from Denver, spent three years conducting a study on self-awareness and has a new book on it titled "Insight." When it comes to self-knowledge, she says there are three types of people: those who have it, those who underestimate how much they have (she calls them "underraters") and those who overestimate how much they have ("overraters"). Underraters beat themselves up unnecessarily. Overraters believe they do everything well. She found no gender differences in her research.

People

The liking gap: Do people enjoy your company more than you think?

friends
In our social lives, we're constantly engaged in what researchers call "meta-perception," or trying to figure out how other people see us. Do people think we're boring or interesting, selfish or altruistic, attractive or not?

After we have conversations with new people, our conversation partners like us and enjoy our company more than we think, according to findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"Our research suggests that accurately estimating how much a new conversation partner likes us-even though this a fundamental part of social life and something we have ample practice with-is a much more difficult task than we imagine," explain first authors Erica Boothby, a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University, and Gus Cooney, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University.

"We call this a 'liking gap,' and it can hinder our ability to develop new relationships," study coauthor Margaret S. Clark, the John M. Musser Professor of Psychology at Yale University, told Yale News.

SOTT Logo Radio

The Health & Wellness Show: Where is Your Awareness?

sherlock
Awareness is the ability to directly know and perceive, to feel, or to be cognizant of events. More broadly, it is the state of being conscious of something. It's ephemeral, however; something that we seem to take for granted. Only rarely are we actually aware of our awareness.

Awareness seems to be a spectrum, rather than an on-off switch. Situational awareness is important for knowing what's going on in your immediate environment, where lapses in awareness can be extremely dangerous in some situations. But then there are higher forms of awareness, like self awareness, being aware of oneself, including one's traits, character, feelings, and behaviors. It's the distinction between having an experience (experiential consciousness) and knowing that you are having an experience (meta-awareness). Theoretically, awareness can expand even higher than this.

How much of our time is spent lost in thought, daydreaming or projecting? How aware are we of how we actually come across to others? Is there anything we can do to make ourselves more aware? Join us for this episode of the Health and Wellness Show, where we talk about the many facets of awareness.

Running Time: 01:01:14

Download: OGG, MP3


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Brain

The new science of inner speech

inner speech

What Is Your Inner Voice Saying?
I think, therefore I am,' the 17th-century philosopher René Descartes proclaimed as a first truth. That truth was rediscovered in 1887 by Helen Keller, a deaf and blind girl, then seven years of age: 'I did not know that I am. I lived in a world that was a no world ... When I learned the meaning of "I" and "me" and found that I was something,' she later explained, 'I began to think. Then consciousness first existed for me.' As both these pioneers knew, a fundamental part of conscious experience is 'inner speech' - the experience of verbal thought, expressed in one's 'inner voice'. Your inner voice is you.

That voice isn't the sound of anything. It's not even physical - we can't observe it or measure it in any direct way. If it's not physical, then we can arguably only attempt to study it by contemplation or introspection; students of the inner voice are 'thinking about thinking', an act that feels vague. William James, the 19th-century philosopher who is often touted as the originator of American psychology, compared the act to 'trying to turn up the gas quickly enough to see how the darkness looks'.

Yet through new methods of experimentation in the last few decades, the nature of inner speech is finally being revealed. In one set of studies, scans are allowing researchers to study the brain regions linked with inner speech. In other studies, researchers are investigating links between internal and external speech - that which we say aloud.

Clipboard

Stick Figures: Drawing is a good way to learn

drawing
"I just can't draw." It's a refrain most adults say when confronted with a blank piece of paper. Something happens in our teenage years that makes most of us shy away from drawing, fretting that our draftsmanship skills aren't up to par, and leaving it to the "artists" among us.

But we've been thinking about drawing all wrong, says the design historian D.B. Dowd. In his illuminating new book, titled Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice, Dowd argues that putting a pencil to paper shouldn't be about making art at all.

"We have misfiled the significance of drawing because we see it as a professional skill instead of a personal capacity," he writes. "This essential confusion has stunted our understanding of drawing and kept it from being seen as a tool for learning above all else."

Comment: Read more about the benefits of drawing:


SOTT Logo Radio

The Truth Perspective: From Sinners to Saints: Exploring the Psychology of Good and Evil

russian st george icon
Narcissism. Machiavellianism. Psychopathy. The so-called 'dark triad' of evil personality traits. We have all encountered evil people in our lives, but what does that really mean? Today on the Truth Perspective we look at the psychology of evil, the relation of various measures of such personalities with the Big 5 personality traits, and the correlations with violent, criminal behavior. Is evil just an unfortunate collection of interacting genes? An unfortunate collection of traits on the tail end of the bell curve? Or something else? And finally, what does all this imply for the development of character? Can we transcend our temperament?

Running Time: 01:15:27

Download: OGG, MP3


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Boat

Taking time to pause

Pause
We are starving for stillness and silence in our culture. Doesn't it seem like there is noise and chaos everywhere? The truth is that the world is not going to slow down and get less noisy simply because you want it to. You have to commit to taking time to pause. I've grown to appreciate that pausing truly is golden. Taking breaks settle me in a matter of minutes.

I didn't always feel this way.

I used to surround myself with noise. I'd fall asleep with the television blaring, have pop music playing in my car and home, and talk, talk, talk until my throat was sore. Now I seek silence every day and I encourage you to do the same.

Comment: Attention restoration theory: What happens to our brain when we experience complete silence and peace of mind?