Science of the Spirit
Sun, 29 Jan 2017 10:08 UTC
Research on those who have had "near death" experiences suggests that the phenomenon rarely involves flashbacks in chronological order, as happens in Hollywood films.
Participants said that there was rarely any order to their life memories and that they seemed to come at random, and sometimes simultaneously.
Often, the mind played tricks - with people reliving their own experiences from the point of view of others who had been involved.
Comment: Could it be that all life is lessons, and those lessons are reviewed upon death when one reaches a timeless/spaceless 'rest zone'?
But it comes with a tradeoff. Companionship is an asset for human survival, but its mirror twin, isolation, can be toxic.
Loneliness is associated with higher blood pressure and heart disease — it literally breaks our hearts. A 2015 meta-review of 70 studies showed that loneliness increases the risk of your chance of dying by 26 percent. (Compare that to depression and anxiety, which is associated with a comparable 21 percent increase in mortality.)
Comment: Loneliness: The deadly truth
Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00 UTC
It's easy to judge others based on the types of addictions they might form to various substances, including caffeine, alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, and even food. What most people don't understand, however, is that there are deep, underlying reasons some are more prone to becoming addicts than others.
The following animated video, which was created by Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell and is adapted from Johann Hari's New York Times best-selling book 'Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs', explains why everything we, as a society, thought we knew about addiction is wrong.
Drumming has been an integral part of traditional healing rituals worldwide since time immemorial. In fact, in a previous article, entitled 6 Ways Drumming Heals Body, Mind, and Soul, we explore the evolutionary roots of drumming behavior (percussive musicality) that goes so far back in time, as to be found in other species, such as chimpanzees and even insects.
Recently, there has been renewed interest in drumming as a therapeutic intervention in a wide range of disease; a development, no doubt, related to the failure of conventional, drug-based therapies to decelerate in any meaningful way chronic diseases. But more specifically, drumming may be an ideal therapeutic modality for addressing psychospiritual and emotional issues that are difficult, or we would say, impossible to treat chemically; that is to say, if we mean by "treat" heal, and not simply suppress symptoms. Learn more by reading our recent report, "Group Drumming Better Than Prozac, Study Suggest."
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 22:07 UTC
Split brain refers to the result of a corpus callosotomy, a surgical procedure first performed in the 1940s to alleviate severe epilepsy among patients. During this procedure, the corpus callosum, a bundle of neural fibres connecting the left and right cerebral hemispheres, is severed to prevent the spread of epileptic activity between the two brain halves.
While mostly successful in relieving epilepsy, the procedure also virtually eliminates all communication between the cerebral hemispheres, thereby resulting in a 'split brain'.
This condition was made famous by the work of Nobel laureate Roger Sperry and Michael Gazzaniga. In their canonical work, Sperry and Gazzaniga discovered that split-brain patients can only respond to stimuli in the right visual field with their right hand and vice versa.
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 15:53 UTC
The natural reaction when arguing with someone is to contradict them. However, showing people a very extreme version of their own deeply held opinions can make them think again.
It seems that the absurdity of extreme agreeing helps to foster a rethink.
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:37 UTC
Published research has demonstrated that the practice of regular meditation can increase brain density, boost connections between neurons, decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, provide clarity of thought, and increase positive mood endorphins. Other published studies have shown meditation can improve physical functioning, decrease chronic disease risks, and enhance overall quality of life.
In this randomized controlled trial, 60 older adults with subjective cognitive decline (SCD), a condition that may represent a preclinical stage of Alzheimer's disease, were assigned to either a beginner meditation (Kirtan Kriya) or music listening program and asked to practice 12 minutes/day for 12 weeks. As detailed in a paper recently published by the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, both the meditation and music groups showed marked and significant improvements in subjective memory function and objective cognitive performance at 3 months. These included domains of cognitive functioning most likely to be affected in preclinical and early stages of dementia (e.g., attention, executive function, processing speed, and subjective memory function). The substantial gains observed in memory and cognition were maintained or further increased at 6 months (3 months post-intervention).
Berkeley University of California
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 18:30 UTC
Extraverts are happier, and so are the emotionally stable, personality researchers tell us. It also pays to be more open to new experiences, more agreeable, and more conscientious. What does that mean for the rest of us—the introverts, the neurotics, the disorganized?
You may recognize these personality dimensions as part of the Big Five, the traits that researchers are often referring to when they talk about personality. According to a 2008 review, the Big Five explain anywhere from 39 to 63 percent of the variation in well-being between people.
That's enough to be discouraging, if you don't fall into one of the "beneficial" categories. But don't lose heart yet, the authors of a new study say. Each Big Five domain can be divided into two "aspects"—enthusiasm and assertiveness rather than simply "extraversion," for example—and, it turns out, one of each pair is more predictive of well-being than the other.
Wed, 25 Jan 2017 01:05 UTC
Researchers said they found a striking correlation between structural brain differences and five main personality types.
"The shape of our brain can itself provide surprising clues about how we behave -- and our risk of developing mental health disorders," said a statement from the University of Cambridge, which took part in the study.
Psychologists have previously developed a "Big Five" model of main personality types: neuroticism (how moody a person is), extraversion (how enthusiastic), open-mindedness, agreeableness (a measure of altruism) and conscientiousness (a measure of self control).
Using brain scans from over 500 people aged 22 to 36, the new study looked at differences in the cortex -- the wrinkly outer layer of the brain also known as grey matter. Specifically it focussed on combinations of thickness, surface area, and the number of folds in different people.
In truth, over the years, the findings of the relationship between intelligence and psychopathy have been inconsistent; still, though, the stereotype persisted. Why? Because much of the research conducted on the matter was biased from the get-go, mainly focusing on people who were well-educated and from the upper and middle class. These kinds of samples are not necessarily representative of the general population.
The current study — authored by Olga Sanchez de Ribera, Nicholas Kavish, and Brian Boutwell at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory — was a meta-analysis of 97 previous studies involving over 9,000 participants in total. They found one small but interesting correlation: Those who scored higher for psychopathic traits often scored lower on measures of IQ. To further debunk the myth that psychopaths are smarter than most of us is the fact that there may be more variation in intelligence than we ever knew among psychopaths, who are sometimes divided into "primary" and "secondary" based on how inhibited they are.