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Fri, 10 Jul 2020
The World for People who Think

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Bulb

Associative Memory -- Learning At All Levels

"Green" means "go," but what does "red" mean? Just about everybody says "stop" since we all have learned to imbue certain colors with meaning (or we would be road kill by now). Long thought to be limited to higher levels of information processing, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies successfully traced this type of associative learning to early stages of the visual processing pathway.

"Sensory neurons in the visual cortex that handle incoming information are very plastic and what they 'see' is determined by our experience in the world," says lead investigator Thomas D. Albright, director of the Vision Center Laboratory. Their findings, reported in the March 14 issue of the journal Neuron, will help scientists to better understand how such learning takes place in the brain based on our daily experiences.

Human memory relies mostly on association and objects frequently seen together to become linked in our mind; when we try to retrieve information, one thing reminds us of another, which reminds us of yet another, and so on. Not surprisingly, neurobiologists have been trying to uncover the underlying mechanisms for decades.

Key

British research suggests 50% of business managers could be psychopaths

British research suggests that up to 50 per cent of business managers could have psychopathic or similar tendencies.

The study carried out by the British Psychological Society says such managers are often articulate and confident, but can be unpredictable, self indulgent and lacking in empathy.

Health

Listeria poisoning alert over 220,000 canteen sandwiches

A food poisoning alert has been issued over ready-made sandwiches sold through hospitals, schools, council sports centres and canteens.

The Food Standards Agency raised the alarm yesterday, after a very small number of samples tested positive for listeria during routine checks.

However, the suspect sandwiches have already been eaten because they were sold during a three-week period in February and March.

Listeria is known to be a risk for pregnant women, the elderly and sick, who tend to have a weaker immune system.

Symptoms of infection can take up to 90 days to appear after exposure and may start with a fever, flu-like illness and diarrhoea.

Book

Recognising Anti-Smoking Types

In a section of his book 'Dissecting Antismoker Brains' Michael J McFadden deals with the different type of antismokers' and their various personality traits and behaviours.

Below is a condensed summary of the nine types of anti-smokers identified in Michael McFadden's book, "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains. While the description of antismokers is only a small part of his book overall, it lays an important groundwork for understanding them and learning how to fight against them.

Ambulance

Anti-smoking guru dies of lung cancer

An anti-smoking guru who has helped millions of smokers kick the habit has died from lung cancer.

Allen Carr, 72, quit his 100-a-day habit 23 years ago, before going on to become a millionaire by advising people on how to stop smoking.

Heart

Laughter May Boost Altruistic Behavior

A good laugh may not only lift your mood, but can make you more cooperative and altruistic towards strangers, according to a new study.

Laughter, a universal human behavior, has been shown in previous studies to act as a "social lubricant" and promote group cohesiveness. In this new study, researchers tested whether this sense of closeness would promote altruistic behavior.

Study participants watched either a funny or a serious video, and then played a game with strangers to see how laugher affected the balance between group interest and self-interest during the game-play.

Each person was given a small sum of money (about $5) and told they could invest it in either a private fund or a group fund - they would get back whatever they put in the private fund, while whatever was contributed to the group fund would be doubled and split evenly among group members, regardless of how much each person put in.

Bulb

Technology used to measure empathy

Researchers in Boston used technology to measure empathy between psychotherapists and their patients.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study of the physiology of shared emotions during live psychotherapy sessions," said Carl Marci, the Harvard psychiatrist who led the study. "We were pleased to find evidence for a biological basis of empathic connections. Our results suggest that therapists perceived as being more empathic have more positive emotional experiences in common with patients."

Marci said research has shown that lack of empathy is the biggest predictor of a poor outcome for patients in psychotherapy. Still, empathy isn't everything, he said.

Wolf

They love to make you mad

Some people find angry looks from others so rewarding they go out of their way to encourage them, Michigan researchers said.

"It's kind of striking that an angry facial expression is consciously valued as a very negative signal by almost everyone, yet at a non-conscious level can be like a tasty morsel that some people will vigorously work for," said Oliver Schultheiss, University of Michigan associate professor of psychology.

His study may explain why some people like to tease each other, he said.

Recycle

Dog, cat food recalled after pet deaths

WASHINGTON - A major manufacturer of pet foods sold throughout North America under dozens of store names is recalling millions of containers of its products while working to determine what caused kidney failure and some deaths of cats and dogs.

Menu Foods said Saturday it is recalling dog food sold under 46 brands and cat food sold under 37 brands and distributed throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. The pet foods were sold by major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Kroger and Safeway.

Stop

Antidepressant may not ease compulsive shopping urges

An antidepressant thought to be effective in treating compulsive buying has yielded inconclusive results in a recent study, leaving researchers to suggest the disorder may have more complex biological roots than suspected.