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Sun, 05 Feb 2023
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The Word is Spreading: The Ruling Psychopaths Among Us

© Unknown
I always wondered why some people - particularly politicians - are cruel to the extent of committing genocide and wanting to inflict more pain on humanity until a friend introduced me to the term ponerology - a term coined by Polish psychiatrist Andrew Lobaczewski to describe the study of the causes of periods of social injustice.

Ponerology seeks to explain phenomena that include aggressive war, ethnic cleansing, genocide and police states (Wikipedia). Studies in this discipline have shown a tight link between social injustice and psychopathy - the ability to lie, steal, cause great harm or kill with virtually no remorse.

To understand what animal a psychopath is, Lobaczewski in Political Ponerology: A Science of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes says: "Imagine - if you can - not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members.

"Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.

"And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.


UK: Rare amnesia leaves mother with 17 year memory gap

© Caters
Naomi Jacobs, 32 woke up in 2008 believing she was just 15
A mother-of-one has told of being struck by a rare form of amnesia which left her convinced she was just 15 years old.

Naomi Jacobs, 34, woke up in 2008 but believed she was just about to sit her GCSE exams in the summer of 1992.

The last thing she could remember was falling asleep in her bunk bed as a schoolgirl. She was horrified to learn she was living in the 21st century, and was even mother to an 11-year-old boy she did not recognise.

Doctors revealed that Naomi had been under so much stress that part of her brain had simply closed down, erasing many memories of her life.

She was left baffled by the internet, and flummoxed by her mobile phone as she struggled to get to grips with modern life.

Today, three years after waking up in the future, Naomi has finally regained most of her memory, and has written a book about her experiences.


Kids' anxiety, depression halved when parenting styled to personality

© Unknown
When it comes to rearing children, just about any parent will say that what works with one kid might not work with another. Parents use all sorts of strategies to keep kids from being cranky, grumpy, fearful or moody, while encouraging them to be independent and well-adjusted.

But which parenting styles work best with which kids? A study by University of Washington psychologists provides advice about tailoring parenting to children's personalities.

At the end of the three-year study, the psychologists found that the right match between parenting styles and the child's personality led to half as many depression and anxiety symptoms in school-aged children. But mismatches led to twice as many depression and anxiety symptoms during the same three years.

The study was published online Aug. 1 in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

"This study moves away from the one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, and gives specific advice to parents on how to mitigate their child's anxiety and depression," said Cara Kiff, lead author and psychology resident at the UW School of Medicine. "We're considering characteristics that make children vulnerable to anxiety and depression, and factoring in how that shapes how kids react to different parenting approaches."

"We hear a lot about over-involved parents, like 'tiger moms' and 'helicopter parents,'" said co-author Liliana Lengua, a UW psychology professor. "It is parents' instinct to help and support their children in some way, but it's not always clear how to intervene in the best way. This research shows that parenting is a balance between stepping in and stepping out with guidance, support and structure based on cues from kids."

Magic Wand

A Fertile Ground for a Quantum Word Salad so prevalent in the New Age Community: Physicists show that quantum ignorance is hard to expose

© Unknown
The quantum world allows you to answer questions correctly when you don't even have all the information you should need.

No-one likes a know-it-all but we expect to be able to catch them out: someone who acts like they know everything but doesn't can always be tripped up with a well-chosen question. Can't they? Not so. New research in quantum physics has shown that a quantum know-it-all could lack information about a subject as a whole, yet answer almost perfectly any question about the subject's parts. The work is published in Physical Review Letters.

"This is something conceptually very weird," says Stephanie Wehner of the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore, who derived the theoretical result with PhD student Thomas Vidick at the University of California, Berkeley, United States. It's a new phenomenon to add to the list of philosophical conundrums in quantum physics - as strange as the quantum superposition or the quantum uncertainty principle. But the work also has practical motivation: understanding how information behaves in the quantum context is important in emerging technologies such as quantum cryptography and quantum computation.

To frame the problem, consider the example of someone answering questions about a book they have only half-read. If someone has incomplete knowledge about a book as a whole, one expects to be able to identify the source of their ignorance somewhere in the book's pages.


Does Imagining a Goal Make You Less Likely to Achieve It?

© Amy Fries
A common theme among self-help teachings and new age spiritual ideas, such as "The Secret," is that you have the power within you to make your "dreams" come true by focusing your mental energy, your "intent," on them. Then, they will come to you. But some new research claims that doing so can actually make you less likely to achieve what you wish for.

The research says that fantasizing about achieving goals makes you less likely to achieve them because it drains the energy you need to pursue them. I think the research is as flawed and distorted as "The Secret" and similar teachings, but for very different reasons. Let's take a look.

This study, from New York University's Motivation Lab, found that "positive fantasies" predict poor achievement because they don't generate the energy to pursue the desired future. That is, if you create idealized images of future outcomes, your fantasized ambitions are less likely to become reality. That's because positive fantasies are de-energizing.

The research contains so many confused ideas and faulty assumptions that it's hard to know where to begin. But it does, indirectly, open a door to understanding some important elements for turning your goals into reality.


'Mirroring' might reflect badly on you: Not always smart to mimic a person's body language

© Courtesy Piotr Winkielman, UC San Diego
A person was judged as less competent when mimicking an unfriendly interviewer. When the mimicry was obscured from view, the reputational cost disappeared
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but clueless copycatting comes at a cost.

As anyone who has been subjected to the mocking playground game knows, parroting can be annoying. Yet gentle mimicry can act as a kind of "social glue" in human relationships. It fosters rapport and trust. It signals cohesion. Two people who like each other will often unconsciously mirror each other's mannerisms in subtle ways - leaning forward in close synchrony, for example - and that strengthens their bond.

The benefits of body-language mimicry have been confirmed by numerous psychological studies. And in popular culture, mirroring is frequently urged on people as a strategy - for flirting or having a successful date, for closing a sale or acing a job interview. But new research suggests that mirroring may not always lead to positive social outcomes. In fact, sometimes the smarter thing to do is to refrain.

2 + 2 = 4

Learning by experiment is all in a day's play: Rudiments of the scientific method seen in four-year-old children

© MBI / Alamy
Children can design simple experiments to explore their world
Preschool children spontaneously invent experiments in their play, according to research published this month in Cognition. The findings suggest that basic scientific principles help very young brains to learn about the world.

Psychologists have been drawing a comparison between cognitive development and science for years -- an idea referred to as 'the child as scientist'. But recently scientists have been trying to discover whether this is more than just a neat analogy.

In the latest study, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge and Stanford University in California presented four- to five-year-old children with a specially designed toy that lit up and played music when the child placed certain beads on it.

In cases in which the children didn't know which beads made the toy play, the researchers found that the kids tested each possibility in turn in order to find out -- much like the way in which scientists devise their experiments to test individual variables separately. Laura Schulz, one of the researchers from MIT, explains that it's the same idea that you use when trying to find out which of your keys opens a door: "You might change the position of the key, you might change the key, but you're not going to change both at once," she says.

Magic Wand

Out-of-the-blue panic attacks aren't without warning - body sends signals for hour before

Panic attacks that seem to strike sufferers out-of-the-blue are not without warning after all, according to new research.

A study based on 24-hour monitoring of panic sufferers while they went about their daily activities captured panic attacks as they happened and discovered waves of significant physiological instability for at least 60 minutes before patients' awareness of the panic attacks, said psychologist Alicia E. Meuret at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

In a rare study in which patients were monitored around-the-clock, portable recorders captured changes in respiration, heart rate and other bodily functions, said Meuret, lead researcher on the study.

Comment: For people who are traumatized to the point of disconnecting from the signals their body is sending, or from the emotions that arise after being triggered by an external stimuli, indeed Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) isn't an adequate solution. But there are other solutions. One of them is Somatic Experience, as described In Peter Levine's book In An Unspoken Voice. The other is Éiriú Eolas breathing program. Both focus on bringing awareness to what ever trauma and stress that are locked in the body, and by gentle and careful exercises work on releasing the accumulated pressure, which in its dissociated and suppressed state leads to panic attacks, diseases or chronic maladaptive behavior.


Where Is Now? The Paradox Of The Present

© Manu Mejias/ESO
The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile captured this striking view of the nebula around the star cluster NGC 1929 within the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way separated by a mere 179,000 light years.
The night sky is a time machine. Look out and you look back in time. But this "time travel by eyesight" is not just the province of astronomy. It's as close as the machine on which you are reading these words. Your present exists at the mercy of many overlapping pasts. So where, then, is "now"?

As almost everyone knows, when you stare into the depths of space you are also looking back in time. Catch a glimpse of a relatively nearby star and you see it as it existed when, perhaps, Lincoln was president (if it's 150 light-years away). Stars near the edge of our own galaxy are only seen as they appeared when the last ice age was in full bloom (30,000 light-years away). And those giant pinwheel assemblies of stars called galaxies are glimpsed, as they existed millions, hundreds of millions or even billions of years in the past.

We never see the sky as it is, but only as it was.

Stranger still, the sky we see at any moment defines not a single past but multiple overlapping pasts of different depths. The star's image from 100 years ago and the galaxy image from 100 million years ago reach us at the same time. All of those "thens" define the same "now" for us.


Innate Tendency of Humans to Appreciate Another's Hospitality: Scholars Study the Evolution of Human Generosity

© Michele Desubleo
Ancient Greek Hospitality depicted in Homer’s Fable The Odyssey.
Imagine you're dining at a restaurant in a city you're visiting for the first - - and, most likely the last - - time. Chances are slim to none that you'll ever see your server again, so if you wanted to shave a few dollars off your tab by not leaving a tip, you could do so. And yet, if you're like most people, you will leave the tip anyway, and not give it another thought.

These commonplace acts of generosity - - where no future return is likely - - have long posed a scientific puzzle to evolutionary biologists and economists. In acting generously, the donor incurs a cost to benefit someone else. But choosing to incur a cost with no prospect of a compensating benefit is seen as maladaptive by biologists and irrational by economists.

Comment: Maladaptive and irrational only from a point of view of those who've been ponerized, and thus unable to make the distinction between healthy and pathological thought processes and logic. True human kindness and generosity doesn't require a reason or an incentive.

If traditional theories in these fields are true, such behaviors should have been weeded out long ago by evolution or by self-interest. According to these theories, human nature is fundamentally self-serving, with any "excess" generosity the result of social pressure or cultural conformity.

Comment: To learn more on the sacred rite of hospitality and how it's both the host and the guest responsibility to respect it in order to establish close and cooperative relationship, read Cassiopaea forum's thread The Odyssey - question for all!