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Sat, 18 Sep 2021
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How cunning women can cope better than men when faced with threats

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© Alamy
Women may be more cunning than men, helping them cope better with an aggressive situation

When the going gets tough, it seems women get tougher.

The fairer sex are more cunning and competitive than men when faced with a threatening situation, research shows.

Previous studies have suggested that men are more physically and verbally aggressive than women.

But it could be the case that women are instead using a different strategy to come out ahead.

Experts say they tend to rely more on subtle forms of aggression, such as socially excluding someone from a group if they are seen as a threat.

Black Cat

Depersonalization Disorder - a Hidden Mental Health Epidemic

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Did you ever feel unreal and disconnected from your emotions and other people? These are symptoms of a rarely discussed psychiatric condition called Depersonalization Disorder (DPD) - the third most common mental health condition, after depression and anxiety.

According to Jeffrey Abugel, medical journalist, DPD survivor, and patient advocate, up to 70 percent of college students have had symptoms at one time or another (recreational drug use is a common trigger). And many creative people, such as Poe, Sartre, and Deuce Bigelow director Harris Goldberg, have suffered from DPD. For some people, DPD comes and goes. For others it just stays - with troubling consequences for their health, happiness, and success in life.

Abugel explains that human neurology is designed with a protective mechanism that enables us to "leave our bodies" during moments of extreme trauma, such as a car crash or a brutal rape. Our emotions deaden, time stands still, and we feel as if we're in a dream. "DPD sufferers, however, don't just 'snap out of it' after the initial trigger," he says. Instead, they continue to feel as if they are outside of their body and alienated from life.

Evil Rays

Listening to music is biological

music
© Unknown
Music is listened in all known cultures. Similarities between human and animal song have been detected: both contain a message, an intention that reflects innate emotional state that is interpreted correctly even among different species. In fact, several behavioral features in listening to music are closely related to attachment: lullabies are song to infants to increase their attachment to a parent, and singing or playing music together is based on teamwork and may add group cohesion.

In the study of University of Helsinki and Sibelius-Academy, Helsinki, the biological basis of music listening was examined. Data consisted of 31 Finnish families with 437 family members. The participants of the study were 8 - 93 years old from professional or amateur musicians to participants with no music education. To dissect listening habits further, active and passive listening of music were separately defined and surveyed using questionnaire. Active listening was defined as attentive listening of music, including attending concerts. Passive listening was defined as hearing or listening to music as background music. All participants were tested for musical aptitude using three music tests and a blood sample was taken for DNA analysis.

Eye 1

Book Review: Unnatural: The Heretical Idea of Making People By Philip Ball

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Around 30,000 years ago, while the sun was setting on the last Neanderthals in Spain, people in what is now Germany carved figurines from mammoth tusks. The known examples include a bird, sufficiently naturalistic as to suggest a cormorant, and a couple of figures that seem to combine human bodies with lions' heads. Deep in the prehistory of art, even as people taught themselves to represent natural creatures, they channelled their creativity into images of unnatural beings. We can only speculate on what these images meant, but we can hardly doubt that they meant a great deal.

The theme reappears in classical times: Daedalus the inventor designs the labyrinth that imprisons the Minotaur, product of an unnatural union between a bull and a woman that Daedalus helped engineer by luring the bull with an artificial cow. He makes wings of feathers and wax, which melts when his son Icarus flies too close to the sun, showing that trying to outsmart nature is a dangerous game. In the 1920s, the muscularly ironic scientist JBS Haldane took Daedalus as the title for an essay foreseeing a future in which only a minority of babies would be "born of woman"; most would be conceived and gestated in vitro.

He remarked that biological inventions were almost invariably regarded as perversions, "indecent and unnatural". This was indeed how in vitro fertilisation was greeted, as Philip Ball discusses at length in the second half of Unnatural, having set the scene by exploring the myths and fantasies that still shape contemporary debates about reproductive technologies.

Haldane, a biologist with a classics degree and an abiding interest in mythology, might have emitted a harrumph of approval for the breadth of Ball's classical reference, which extends to the neologism "anthropoeia": "making people". Labelling Ball a science writer sells his writing short, for its value lies above all in a range that dissolves the awkward silences between science and the larger culture of which it is part. JBS might also have acknowledged a productivity that echoes his own copious output. Although Unnatural reveals no hint of haste, it's only a year since the publication of Ball's previous and equally substantial book, The Music Instinct.

Cookie

Planning and visualization lead to better food habits

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© Unknown
Study by McGill psychology researcher suggests simple ways of improving the way we eat.

If you want to improve the way you eat, the best way to do so is to both make an action plan and visualize yourself carrying it out, according to McGill researchers.

"Telling people to just change the way they eat doesn't work; we've known that for a while," says Bärbel Knäuper of McGill's Department of Psychology."But research has shown that if people make a concrete plan about what they are going to do, they are better at acting on their intentions. What we've done that's new is to add visualization techniques to the action plan."

In a study recently published in Psychology and Health, Knäuper and her students asked 177 students at McGill's New Residence Hall to set themselves the goal of consuming more fruit for a period of seven days. All the students in the study ended up consuming more fruit over the course of the week than they had before hand. But those who made a concrete plan, wrote it down and also visualized how they were going to carry out the action (i.e. when, where and how they would buy, prepare and eat fruit) increased their fruit consumption twice as much as those who simply set out to eat more fruit without visualizing and planning how they were going to do it.

Eye 1

Staring Contests Are Automatic: People Lock Eyes to Establish Dominance

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© Unknown
Imagine that you're in a bar and you accidentally knock over your neighbor's beer. He turns around and stares at you, looking for confrontation. Do you buy him a new drink, or do you try to outstare him to make him back off? New research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that the dominance behavior exhibited by staring someone down can be reflexive.

Our primate relatives certainly get into dominance battles; they mostly resolve the dominance hierarchy not through fighting, but through staring contests. And humans are like that, too. David Terburg, Nicole Hooiveld, Henk Aarts, J. Leon Kenemans, and Jack van Honk of the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands wanted to examine something that's been assumed in a lot of research: that staring for dominance is automatic for humans.

Arrow Down

The Midlife Crisis Is a Total Myth

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He - the person is usually depicted as a "he" - turns off the alarm, stares into a bowl of soggy cereal, puts on a tired-looking suit and goes to the office for more of the same drab routine. And so it continues until one day, usually the day he realizes he is mortal (or starting to lose his hair), he goes berserk: He bangs his secretary, quits his job and buys a red convertible.

And we all nod, acknowledging the inevitable midlife crisis. One made Monica Lewinsky famous, another won an Academy Award for "American Beauty," and the concept is as embedded in our culture as the belief in the power of positive thinking.

But the idea that midlife crises are common is a myth, experts say.

"It makes for good novels or good movies, but it is not really accurate," said psychologist Margie Lachman of Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

"There is no specific time in life that predisposes you to crisis," said Alexandra Freund, a life-span researcher at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

"There can be times when things crystallize as very problematic, a very deep disturbance in your life," Freund told LiveScience. "People experience these types of crises, but they are not at all related to age."

Instead, Lachman said, crises are usually spurred by some event that can happen at most any age, such as a career setback, the death of a friend or relative, or an illness.

Epidemiologists have found no spike in negative events - such as career disillusionment - in middle age, Freund explained.

So if the revitalized libido and sudden hankerings for sports cars are purely the stuff of Hollywood, then what does happen to a person during these years?

Chalkboard

Language May Play Important Role in Learning the Meanings of Numbers

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© Jupiterimages Corporation
Nicaraguan homesigners surrounded by hearing individuals who deal with large numbers all of the time do not have a complete understanding of numbers greater than three. Researchers conclude this is because they are not being taught numbers or number words. Here, American sign language for "three," "seven" and "eight" are shown.
View videos (video1, video2) showing examples of deaf Nicaraguans communicating with self-developed gestures called "homesigns."

New research conducted with deaf people in Nicaragua shows that language may play an important role in learning the meanings of numbers.

Field studies by University of Chicago psychologist Susan Goldin-Meadow and a team of researchers found deaf people in Nicaragua, who had not learned formal sign language, do not have a complete understanding of numbers greater than three.

Researchers surmised the lack of large number comprehension was because the deaf Nicaraguans were not being taught numbers or number words. Instead they learned to communicate using self-developed gestures called "homesigns," a language developed in the absence of formal education and exposure to formal sign language.

"The research doesn't determine which aspects of language are doing the work, but it does suggest that language is an important player in number acquisition," said Betty Tuller, a program director in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, which funded the research.


Eye 1

Can Dreams Predict the Future?

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© Gaetan Charbonneau/Getty Images
Many people report that they have had premonitions of disasters in their dreams.
When disaster strikes, people often claim that they foresaw the tragedy. But are such premonitions really possible? In an extract from his new book Paranormality, psychologist Richard Wiseman explains how our sleeping minds can trick us.

Aberfan is a small village in south Wales. In the 1960s, many of those living there worked at a nearby colliery that had been built to exploit the large amount of high-quality coal in the area. Although some of the waste from the mining operation had been stored underground, much of it had been piled on the steep hillsides surrounding the village. Throughout October 1966 heavy rain lashed down on the area and seeped into the porous sandstone of the hills. Unfortunately, no one realised that the water was then flowing into several hidden springs and slowly transforming the pit waste into soft slurry.

Just after nine o'clock on the morning of 21 October, the side of the hill subsided and half a million tonnes of debris started to move rapidly towards the village. Although some of the material came to a halt on the lower parts of the hill, much of it slid into Aberfan and smashed into the village school. A handful of children were pulled out alive during the first hour or so of the rescue effort, but no other survivors emerged. One hundred and thirty-nine schoolchildren and five teachers lost their lives in the tragedy.

Psychiatrist John Barker visited the village the day after the landslide. Barker had a longstanding interest in the paranormal and wondered whether the extreme nature of events in Aberfan might have caused large numbers of people to experience a premonition about the tragedy. To find out, Barker arranged for a newspaper to ask any readers who thought they had foreseen the Aberfan disaster to get in touch. He received 60 letters from across England and Wales, with over half of the respondents claiming that their apparent premonition had come to them during a dream.

Cult

The Pathocrats

The concepts in the following video, even the term "Pathocrat", is taken from the seminal book Political Ponerology: A Science of Evil Adjusted for Political Purpose by Andrew Lobaczewski. We find it curious that this book is not even mentioned in the video.


An evolutionary perspective on psychopaths in power.
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Political Ponerology: A Science on The Nature of Evil adjusted for Political Purposes, by Dr. Andrew Lobaczewski

Here's a link that discusses the book.