Create an Account CourseStreet Log in  Connect with Facebook
Home Blog
 

NRSC 2100 Blog

A GROUP WEBLOG FOR NRSC 2100 SUMMER NRSC 2100

Showing entries tagged behavior.  Show all entries

May 31, 2019

Food and Culture


Today, the diet of the USA population is a combination of numerous cultures and cuisines. Currently, Mexican Americans, Asian Indians, and African Americans are among the most widely spread and numerous ethnic groups of the US society, defining American nutrition. African Americans make over 15 percent of the total population of the USA. African Americans have their traditional nutrition habits, which are mostly different from the typical American diet. Nutrition traditions are best understood through the prism of the cultural context. Simultaneously, a better understanding of African American nutritional habits may provide avoidance of ethnocentric assumptions. In this regard, traditional nutritional habits of numerous minority groups of the USA, their common food habits, and interaction between the chosen cultures have to be examined in detail.
Traditional Food Habits
The nutrition habits of modern African Americans are based on certain health beliefs traced from generation to generation since their early settlement on the territory of the USA. Traditional African American food, which is also called "soul food", has been developed on the basis of numerous practices and traditions. Core commodities of the African American diet are represented by cornmeal, pork, and molasses, along with wheat flour and lard. Representatives of this ethnic group use flour for baking their traditional biscuits. However, flour has become cheap enough for regular purchases just recently. The most popular type of pork is commercially packed bacon, but a fat one.
Some families prefer to cook simple meals. For example, they slice a bacon or salt pork thin and cook it in fireplaces. Mixing bacon grease with molasses, they make a so-called "sap", which is eaten with meat and cornbread. Cornbread is made of cornmeal and water and baked on a griddle. In most cases, African Americans bake bread and fry meat. The preference for meat frying is usually given due to a short time of cooking; in summer, this feature is rather practical. Sometimes, in winter or late autumn, African Americans eat sweet potatoes and pork. Some families cook an opossum dinner. The carcass is seasoned with red pepper and baked with sweet potatoes in a pot. People of this ethnic group prepare crackling bread by frying it till a brittle condition. Then, they mix it with water, cornmeal, salt, and soda and bake it all. Oftentimes, African Americans eat turnips or cabbage boiled with pork fat.
Talking about spices, it should be mentioned that most African American dishes are heavily seasoned and salted. Members of the African American community widely use chilies and hot peppers, along with garlic, curry, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, and sesame seeds. Seasonings made of ground seeds (for example, cotton and melon) and dried mushrooms are also rather common in the African American food. In the African-American community, breakfast meals are commonly light and lunch is usually represented by fast food. The dinner meal usually consists of one or several traditional dishes. Studies have shown that African Americans have from four to five meals per day with the largest one in the afternoon.
African Americans brought to the USA some foods, which are associated with superstitions. For example, the African diaspora brought black-eyed pea to the New World. Until today, a celebration of the New Year without black-eyed peas is deemed inferior and at least not lucky. Dried black-eyed peas have two physical properties, which symbolize good things: a significant increase in size when cooked and the guarantee of germination when planted. For historical reasons, eating black-eyed peas ensures good fortune, as stated in the Jewish Talmud.
Besides their beliefs into the good fortune of some products, modern rural African Americans also believe that some foods are capable of healing various illnesses. For example, in order to treat diabetes, they consume such dietary products as vinegar, lemon juice, teas made of roots and leaves, and herbal supplements from healthy food shops. Vinegar and lemon juice, for instance, are applied in order to reduce the level of sugar in the blood. Besides, many other natural remedies are used by African Americans for the treatment of numerous diseases. In order to treat the urinary tract infection, bearberry is used. Rheumatism, menstrual pain, and discomfort are eliminated by means of black cohosh or black snakeroot, while blue cohosh is appropriate for uterine contractions during work. At seizures, it is advised to use wild comfrey in the African American community and chamomile is used for poison ivy treatment and sleep aid. Sweet potato provides nausea relief during pregnancy.
Being an ancient ethnic group, African Americans have their own feasts and holidays, for which peculiar celebratory dishes are characteristic. For example, dishes containing peanuts, seeds, collard greens, sweet potatoes, and spicy sauces are traditionally cooked for Kwanzaa, one of the major non-religious holidays intended to honor African culture and inspire African Americans, whose labor has made a great contribution to the progress of the USA. In addition, the celebratory table also contains vegetables, fruits, and nuts symbolizing the harvest, which nourished the African people. African Americans also cook appetizers from black-eyed peas, peanut soup, fruit salads, and coconut pie and drink green tea with mint or ginger beer.
Undoubtedly, understanding of the interconnection between religion and food can help better understand the African American community, especially taking into account the fact that African Americans are very religious Christians and Catholics. Scientists mark that Christian faith makes significant transformations in their diet habits of the African American community. For example, eating crackers is an important part of Christianity because they are transformed into Christ's body. The Christmas Day breakfast usually contains such traditional for this ethnic minority dishes as eggs, ham, biscuits with butter and syrup, grits, and sausages. Other core dishes served for religious holidays usually include baked ham, green vegetables, candied yams, baked macaroni, baked chicken, cornbread, rice, and fruitcakes or apple pies for a dessert.
Adaptation of African American Diet to the USA
Several studies have shown that in the African American community the process of acculturation to the USA culture plays a crucial role in shaping their attitudes, cultural behavior, and, undoubtedly, dietary habits. Scientists have noticed that acculturation to the American culture is associated with unhealthy diet behaviors among African Americans. Acculturation to the American culture has led to shifts from traditional healthy foods containing whole grains, meats, and vegetables to more sugary, processed, and high-fat foods, which are currently rather popular and widely spread in the U.S. community.
Acculturation to the U.S. dietary style was not a difficult process for a long time. From the beginning, acculturation was inhibited by the elderly generation of African Americans who honored and highly valued their native traditions. However, new generations of the African American community strove to adapt to the cultural environment they were born and lived in. As a result, African Americans' acculturation to the U.S. dietary habits supposed partial or total acceptance of foods classified as "American". Thus, eating fast-food, for example, pizza or hamburgers and frequent ignorance of traditional long-cooked dishes, has become a consequence of these ethnic minority members becoming American and assimilating to their peers.
Experts argue that the dietary habits of African Americans are likely to take a turn for the worse due to the increase of the African Americans' length of residency on the territory of the USA. Eventually, African American ethnic minority groups will assimilate with the U.S. culture because with the course of time they obtain a broader variety of food options, thus becoming more likely to eat both healthy and unhealthy native and American foods. Moreover, African Americans have obtained more opportunities to expand their traditional menu and try exotic foods, which were unavailable for them in their motherland. Nonetheless, African Americans are likely to change their dietary behavior if they are limited in access to ingredients required for cooking their national dishes. As a result, they will slowly assimilate to the American unhealthy diet, straying away from homemade meals.
Food and Health Relations
The preference for a certain type of diet, a so-called "soul food", has caused numerous health problems among African Americans. Soul food usually includes a lot of fatty meats, sugar, and fried foods served with rich gravies, regular consumption of which leads to high rates of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and obesity. In comparison to the white American population, the African American ethnic group is characterized by higher incidences of hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer. High incidences of cancer among African Americans are caused by low consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Thus, obtaining lower amounts of vitamins, magnesium, and calcium and consuming a great number of calories from the saturated fat, members of this community have the highest rates of obesity in the USA. Moreover, some studies have shown that African American men experience the most frequent incidences of hypertension and prostate cancer in the world.
Like any other diet, soul food has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, this type of food is rich for nutrients since it contains leafy yellow and green vegetables (collard greens, for instance), potatoes, legumes, rice, and beans. In most cases, many products required for cooking traditional African American dishes are cheap enough in the USA and, thus, available to African Americans with different levels of income. Having brought many local products with them during slavery times from Africa to the USA, African Americans have contributed to the expansion of the U.S. food market supply. On the contrary, soul food is poor in fiber, potassium, calcium and has a high level of fat. High levels of fat and cholesterol cause numerous diseases, including obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart attacks, etc. Moreover, not all ingredients necessary for this diet are easily accessible on the territory of the USA or in particular states. Experts recommend to boil or bake some products instead of frying in order to decrease the fat amount. Focusing on fruit can help to enrich an organism with fiber and necessary vitamins, hence saving human health. Moreover, some heavily available ingredients can be replaced with other products with lower prices that are healthier and easily accessible.

Taking into account the above-mentioned information, it should be noted that the African American diet represents a combination of numerous cultural influences. As a result of stable acculturation, soul food has turned from healthy dishes for early slaves to an unhealthy diet for modern African Americans. African American foods contain a lot of fat and are mainly cooked by means of frying, resulting in numerous diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, etc. Nonetheless, some products are widely used for the treatment of numerous diseases. African Americans have many dishes associated with religion, superstitions, and traditional celebrations. Thus, soul food is a cultural heritage of the people who have saved its traditions until today despite a strong influence of the U.S. community.

About the Author
Hailie dreams to be a famous writer. She almost finished her book. Hailie also writes for https://bestwritingservice.co.uk/movie-review-essay.html . She is a communicative and positive person.
Posted by      Hailie H. at 4:32 AM MDT
displaying most recent comments (6 ommitted) | Comments (9)
  john smith  says:
Thanks for letting us know about this. Some time at last moment of our studies we prefer PhD dissertation writing services for our thesis writing.
Posted on Mon, 28 Oct 2019 12:48 AM MDT by john s.
  shawn joseph  says:
People define their food with their culture and some of the define their culture through food but the real thing is that food is the thing that usually cooked or prepared every where so the theory are kind of wrong. However, people use to share these type of article through Essay writing, Assignments and Dissertation help online, feel free to visit us for any query we are one of the best academic writers in all over UK
Posted on Mon, 25 Nov 2019 10:27 AM MST by shawn j.
  milan joy  says:
It was so nice to see this article that describes the details regarding the Bus Accident Lawyer food and culture over here. The food and culture are correlated and we can see its impact everywhere. I am looking for further updates from here. Keep up the good work.
Posted on Fri, 6 Dec 2019 10:32 AM MST by milan j.

December 5, 2011

Vegas Checklist: Casinos, Clubs, and... Sleep?


In the City of Sin, sleep might be your last priority, yet could sacrificing slumber cost you even more than the unfavorable odds of gambling already predict? According to researchers at Duke University, sleep deprivation results in a strategy alteration toward gain seeking behavior as opposed to protecting against loss during risky decision making. Numerous studies have established that insufficient sleep results in impaired attention, working memory, and learning. In this study, Vinod Venkatraman and his colleagues demonstrated that inadequate sleep also produces a bias in decision-making that is distinct from the general effect of diminished cognition due to the poor vigilance associated with sustained wakefulness.

Twenty-nine adult males, with an average age of 22.34 years, participated in this study. The subjects were presented with a number of complex mixed five-outcome gambles, with each outcome consisting of two positive monetary outcomes, a neutral reference outcome, and two negative financial loss outcomes. The outcomes fell under two categories: Gain-focus trials, and Loss-focus trials. For outcomes offered in the gain focus trials, participants could either choose to maximize their gain by increasing the value of the highest offered outcome (Gmax) or choose to improve their overall probability of winning money compared to losing money (Pmax). In the loss-focus trials, participants were able to either choose the Pmax option or choose to minimize their loss by decreasing the amount of their most negative outcome (Lmin). Following the presentation of all the trials, a few of the gambles were arbitrarily chosen and calculated to an actual monetary loss or gain, which were then shown to the subject. Each participant completed the task after a full night of sleep and again after being forced to remain awake for 24 hours, both times while being imaged by using fMRI technology. The participants were also required to complete the Psychomotor Vigilance task every hour throughout the night when they were forced to remain awake, in order to gather a measure of continual attention.

The results of the study revealed that in the sleep deprived state, participants demonstrated a greater inclination toward seeking gain, witnessed by the larger ratio of Gmax Vs. Pmax choices in the gain-focus trials and a decreased proportion of Lmin Vs. Pmax decisions in the loss-focus trials. Sleep deprivation did bring about decreased psychomotor vigilance in the subjects, yet the extent of the bias shown in risky decision-making did not correlate with the level of reduction in attention. Compared to judgments made following a normal night of sleep, sustained wakefulness resulted in increased activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and decreased activation of the right anterior insula. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex has been correlated with gain-seeking behavior, and the anterior insula has been associated with loss- averse behavior. Combined, the imaging results suggest that sleep deprivation causes individuals to be less troubled by losses and more interested in behaving with the intent of capitalizing gain.

In sum, inadequate sleep causes a prejudice in valuation by augmenting the importance afforded to profit gain as compared to preventing losses. In light of the finding that such judgmental impairment exists independent of measured vigilance, consideration must be given to the possibility that conventional treatments to maintain performance during prolonged wakefulness (i.e. stimulants) may be ineffective. Such treatments might succeed in enhancing attention, yet may not influence separate features of cognition. Thus, for financial sake, perhaps the appointment of a designated decision-maker is as important as the designated driver, when setting out on multiple sleepless nights in Vegas.

Original article can be found at: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/31/10/3712.full
Posted by      Anjali C. at 8:23 PM MST
  peter pen  says:
Such the informative article just use the web and get the full news how do i change my font size in windows 10 i am here you full guide any where and any time free and with out any problem thanks.
Posted on Sat, 27 Apr 2019 4:20 AM MDT by peter p.
  Anthony Anson  says:
Interesting. From the sources of dba writing help in Dubai, sleeping disorder is not a specific disease, it causes because of the life circumstances. It is becoming more common in the younger generation because of their work schedule and sleeps get sacrificed. If a person is diagnosed with the sleep apnea, they shall be prescribed to use a special breathing machine while sleeping.
Posted on Wed, 7 Aug 2019 2:44 AM MDT by Anthony A.
  Raveer Sing  says:
I agreed that insufficient sleep results in impaired attention, working memory and learning. According to career booster reviews it may affect our professional and personal life by losing attention on important things. Proper sleep makes your life healthy and balance.
Posted on Sat, 10 Aug 2019 5:25 PM MDT by Raveer S.

What will they think of next?


Who knew? In the 1960's up until the 1970's ablative stereotactic surgery was used to treat neurologic disorders and neuropsychiatric illness. This treatment was largely abandoned after the 70's due to the development of highly effective drugs to treat these problems, for example, "Levodopa" to combat Parkinson's disorder. Today there seems to be a virtual renaissance of similar techniques used to help those suffering.

The technique being employed uses high-frequency electrical deep brain stimulation (DBS) on specific targets to negate some disorders. Compared to the traditional ablative stereotactic surgery, which consists of lesions and very invasive brain surgery (irreversible), DBS is much less invasive in some respects. By applying high-frequency electrical stimulation to specific brain structures a similar (but different) effect of a lesion is essentially observed. Ever since this technique's rise in popularity (starting in the 1990's) people have the option of a "less permanent". These electrical pulses are delivered by electrodes chronically implanted into a persons brain at specific regions. The exact mechanism of action for DBS still isn't fully understood and clear, but the affects and benefits to patients are both lasting and clear.

Some of the diseases mentioned in the article include Parkinson's, Tourettes syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. Patients receiving DBS to treat Tourettes syndrome had a >70% decrease of vocal or motor tics with disappearance of sensory urges. 35-70% of patients receiving DBS to treat OCD were benefitted by a significant reduction in obsessive and compulsive thoughts.

In my opinion, and it seems to be the case with most neurosurgical operations, DBS is the latest and greatest treatment available. Anytime patients can avoid a permanent/irreversible effect such as a lesion the better. My reasoning behind is vast. For example if a patient is suffering from body dissociation disorder and doesn't identify with their right arm and right leg and wants to have these two limbs removed. This persons could amputate these limbs without fully understanding the long term consequences involved or even without any benefit mentally. Or perhaps, the doctor could try a different technique, such as lesioning a brain region located using fMRI thought to be triggering body dissociation disorder. There is a chance the lesion might not properly treat the disorder or not treat it at all. Also the lesion may impair the individual in a more negative way in the long run, and since lesions are practically irreversible, the person is worse off. If DBS was used (tmi could be used as a pre-emptive mapping tool) the patient could be treated for their disorder in a non permanent way and avoid negative, unforeseen, long term issues.

I'm not entirely sure how invasive DBS is but the article made it out to be much less invasive as previous surgeries. Which to me makes sense since over time medical practices should become more and more efficient. Something haunts me about the fact little is truly known and fully understood about DBS and TMI. Little red flags go up in my head every time that fact is mentioned. Whether or not it is effective and beneficial I would prefer to know exactly why it is effective and beneficial before doctors implanted electrodes in my brain to deliver pulses of high-frequency electricity. This honestly sounds like something out of a science fiction story but the real freaky part is it seems to actually work. The big question is: Would you ever have DBS performed on yourself? My answer is yes.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S089662730600729X
Posted by      Dylan R. at 5:42 PM MST
displaying most recent comments (4 ommitted) | Comments (7)
  bonniee mary  says:
This is a very useful service, I really like it, thanks for the information you share! webnovel
Posted on Thu, 24 Oct 2019 3:32 AM MDT by bonniee m.
  seo services  says:
Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It‚??s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! http://thwoneor.blogspot.com/p/stratospheric-aerosol-geoengineering.html
Posted on Thu, 28 Nov 2019 6:11 AM MST by seo s.
  seo services  says:
Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with extra information? It is extremely helpful for me. http://urlm.co.uk/www.iicph.org
Posted on Wed, 4 Dec 2019 9:23 PM MST by seo s.

Optimism: Is too much a bad thing?


We've all been told at one point or another in our lives to look on the brighter side of a given situation. Most of the time we do because the brighter side brings some sort of happiness and therefore when look on the brighter side of a situation, it helps us by easing the negative feeling we have towards that situation. And so by looking on the brighter side, we keep ourselves positive and our stress levels down a bit. But how can you still be optimistic even though there is information that goes against what you believe? As I go through the article, How unrealistic optimism is maintained in the face of reality, I will hopefully answer this question.
In this article, Sharot et. al. tries to explain why it is that some of us are so optimistic and could it be a bad thing? The article focuses on the events in which people do not take the necessary precaution they need to in order to protect themselves, that being the underestimation of future negative events, and why they were adamant about not changing (Sharot et. al.). So the way the experiment was conducted was Sharot et. al. took participants and told them to estimate the probability that an event would happen to them and then measured their brain activity. There was a total of eighty events that were "tested" all of which were adverse life events such as house hold accident, adultery, owing a large amount of debt, etc. They then combined a learning task with fMRI. This allowed Sharot et. al. to identify how blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signals track estimation error in response to whether the information given lead to optimism or pessimism (Sharot et. al). To determine estimation error, they used the equation: estimation error = estimation - probability presented. They also used questionnaires to see if people changed their beliefs of an event based off of some kind of emotional arousal, how bad an event is, if they were familiar with the event, or if they have encountered such an event before.
Their results were that there was this region of the brain, right inferior frontal gyrus, in which showed a reduction for neural coding of undesirable error regarding the future for people who were optimistic. They also found that the reason there was this asymmetry in people changing their beliefs was due to a reduced expression of an error signal in the region implicated in processing undesirable error regarding the future (Sharot et. al.). The questionnaire that was administered showed that people didn't change their beliefs due to the severity of the event, if it is familiar or not, or if they have encountered it or not. The BOLD signal tracking showed that people with the largest optimistic update bias failed to show any undesirable error meaning the relationship between undesirable error and BOLD signaling was close to zero, where as people who did not show a selective updating in belief showed a strong relationship between undesirable error and BOLD signaling.
So it didn't matter whether how bad the future event was going to be, whether it was familiar or not, or if it has been encountered before but due a lack of not being able to code and process this undesirable error regarding the future. So really being optimistic or being optimistic even after information has disproved your belief isn't in your absolute control because if your brain fails to code and process it you can't really do much about it. Though you possibly could in theory but that raises questions for another time.

Sharot, Tali, Christoph W. Korn, and Raymond J. Dolan. "How Unrealistic Optimism Is Maintained in the Face of Reality." Nature Neuroscience. Nature America, Inc., 9 Oct. 2011. Web. 3 Dec. 2011. .
Posted by      Kou X. at 4:15 PM MST
displaying most recent comments (49 ommitted) | Comments (52)
  Susan Moore  says:
Thanks for what you done here this highly fantastic data right here commerce inspector
Posted on Sun, 1 Dec 2019 4:42 PM MST by Susan M.
  Tina Jones  says:
Magnificent data and beneficial website I really loved it playline review
Posted on Tue, 3 Dec 2019 7:07 PM MST by Tina J.
  Linda Keaton  says:
It is wonderful and satisfying post and precious topic right here bucket wheel excavators
Posted on Mon, 9 Dec 2019 10:42 PM MST by Linda K.

Why Keep A Promise?


It is interesting to see the importance humans place on a promise. A promise is not visible or tangible yet it still seems to have a strong, compulsory quality to it. Why is that? The truth of the matter is humans have the exceptional capacity to establish social norms and create understood cooperation among each other that is not seen elsewhere in the animal kingdom. Before society's infrastructure of rules and laws existed, promises were still made as a way to ensure trust, teamwork and partnership. Furthermore and perhaps the most intriguing aspect of a promise is that it is a verbal, nonbinding agreement. Yet despite the lack of concrete liability we still make promises every day.

Some research looking into the systems of the brain involved in nonbinding agreements has been done but there are still more questions than answers regarding of this topic. Using promises as a premise for research opens a unique door because promises can either be kept or broken. They can be made for many reasons but there are two justifications for keeping a promise. The first is to ensure future trust and cooperation and is referred to as an instrumental reason. The second rational is because it is the right thing to do and is called the intrinsic reason. The study in this paper focuses on the latter of these two explanations.

Each trial of the experiment had two subjects, a trustee and an investor. The trustee's brain activity was measured. First the trustee promises the investor to always, mostly, sometimes, or never keep their promise. In this study to be trustworthy means sharing the money made equally. The investor could choose to invest or not and then the trustee could choose to keep or break their promise to share the money. The trustee could choose both the strength of their promise and whether or not to keep their promise. These freedoms of choice led to two main groups of trustee subjects: both groups almost unanimously promised to "always" keep their promise but when it came to keeping the promise the subjects split into either the group who honored their promise or who was dishonest.

This study was the first to create a design looking at three different processes that play a role in promises. The first stage is the promise stage where the promise is made, then there is what is called the anticipation stage while they wait for the commitment of the investor, and finally the decision stage where the promise is either kept or broken. Researchers could differentiate subjects who will keep their promise and who will break it by brain activity during the promise stage, when the deceitful act is already planned.

This study found that all stages of the paradigm revealed different, highly specific activation patterns in the brain. The promise stage is where the dishonest act may be already planned but not yet implemented and researchers hypothesize if the subject already plans to break a promise, this misleading gesture will induce an emotional conflict. This emotional clash shows activity in parts of brain involved in conflict and negative emotional process such as the anterior cingulated cortex or amygdala. The anticipation stage showed parallels in brain activity to personality traits such as depression and neuroticism, both of which are associated with negative expectations of the future. When the subject had to decide to keep or break the promise, breaking the promise showed similar brain activity to the emotional process of telling a lie and the guilt that that involves. This study showed plausible evidence tying nonbinding agreements to emotional and logical processes of the brain. This evidence is critical in explaining why humans value and venerate the simple idea of a promise.



Baumgartner, Thomas, Urs Fischbacher, Anja Feierabend, Kai Lutz, and Ernsty Fehr. "Broken Promises." Neuron 64.5 (2009): 756+. Science Direct. Elsevier Inc, 10 Dec. 2009. Web. 5 Dec. 2011. .
Posted by      Bethany B. at 10:48 AM MST
  Sarah Bennet  says:
Amazing blog and very emotional. A promise is not a concrete thing but it has feelings and quality to bond two people with trust. Everyone should need to read this and learn the important message from this. dba writing help
Posted on Wed, 3 Jul 2019 3:34 AM MDT by Sarah B.

December 4, 2011

Neuropsychiatric Disorder Models: Improvement Needed!


Neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder are serious health problems. They have substantial negative affects on a significant subset of the population and are still largely not understood. While the molecular targets of many psychotherapeutic drugs have been successfully reverse engineered, this was done in the 1960's. Despite ongoing efforts to further understand these disorders, little progress has been made since then. This raises the question: why? Two scientists, Eric J Nestler and Steven E Hyman have published an article in the journal Nature Neuroscience seeking to find a solution to this. In their paper, Animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders, they claim that the primary thing holding back research in the field is the difficulty of creating animal models of human psychiatric diagnoses. The authors then seek to contribute to the field by doing an analysis of the currently used models and discussing which ones are most likely to be valid and productive.

It can be very difficult to translate between animal and human thoughts and feelings. Whenever one does so they risk unfairly anthropomorphizing. Since animals are incapable of reporting their feelings researchers need to find round-about ways to determine what is actually going on within an animal's head. The typical methodology then used to study animal behavior and use it as a proxy for mental activity. However for most of the neuropsychiatric disorders that are professionally addressed what constitutes a legitimate disorder is not clearly separated from what constitutes normal variation. Furthermore, the same neuropsychiatric diagnose can be proscribed to two completely different sets of symptoms. This leaves researchers in a position where they must decide for themselves what constitutes a legitimate disorder, how to define it, and the subsequently how it can be represented in behavioral models.

In order to usefully discuss the efficacy of studies relating to these neuropsychiatric disorders, the authors of the article referred to a framework for validating studies with the components construct, face and predictive validity. Construct validity is a measure of how well a model's construction is relevant to a disease. Face validity is a measure of how well a model reiterates the physical and behavioral features of a human disease. Predictive validity is a measure of how well a model's response to treatments compares to patients actual responses to these same treatments.

The article then discusses different things that can be modeled in schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder and the validities of potential models. For schizophrenia, it is stated that blunted affect, asocial behavior, diminished motivation and deficits in working memory and/or conscious control of behavior are all symptoms that a behavioral model should seek to measure. The article claims that a good way to creat constructively valid models is to use genetic animal models with highly penetrant human mutations, although it doesn't consider these models to be perfect. It also states that a good (but not sufficient on its own) measure of face validity is a deficit in prepulse inhibition (PPI) of a phenomenon where weak starting stimuli reduce a startle response produced by a following more intense stimulus.

For depression it's stated that neurovegetative symptoms such as abnormalities in sleep, appetite, weight and energy along with psychomotor agitation or retardation are all potential indicators. With the caveat that no abnormality has proven sufficiently robust or consistent enough to validate an animal model the paper claims that chornic social defeat stresses along with chronic mild and chronic unpredictable stress are all capable of inducing states of depression which have some face value. These methodologies are criticized however as potentially setting off an anxiety disorder with similar symptoms instead of modeling depression. The authors suggest that measures of other homeostatic symptoms such as alterations in sleep, circadian rhythms and feeding with attendant metabolic parameters would strengthen claims of depression in animal models.

For bipolar disorder it's stated that the diagnosis comes from periods of mania with or without depression. The article states that transgenic mice have exhibited manic-like behavior when they were programmed to over express glycogen synthase kinase-3beta. These mutants are assesd to meet partial criteria for face validity along with predictive validity. However they failed to meet requirements for contruct validity. The article suggests that mania investigative studies use a broad range of behavioral tests and interpret their data cautiously.

Finally, the article listed some generalized recommendations towards researchers. These recommendations included listing the specific aspects of the illness meant to be model and stating the types of validators applied to the model. The researcher also noted that construct validity is most compelling of the different validities and that it's best to use a broad range of behavioral assays.

It's clear that research into these neuropsychiatric disorders still faces a great deal of hurdles, especially when it comes to assessing bipolar disorder. However, as this paper shows, there is constructive focus being brought to the forefront of this area. With genetic and technological advances combined applied to models with clearly stated rationales and sober discussion of validity significant progress can potentially be made in the field.
Posted by      Michael A. at 11:54 PM MST
  Michael Asnes  says:
Nestler, Eric J., and Steven E. Hyman. "Animal Models of Neuropsychiatric Disorders." Nature Neuroscience 13.10 (2010): 1161-169. Print.
Posted on Sun, 4 Dec 2011 11:54 PM MST by Michael A.

Your mom was right: Videogames rot your brain.


Okay, so maybe the title is a little over the top; video games don't actually cause your brain to rot, but they do appear to have a negative affect on the function of certain parts of your brain. The area of research surrounding this topic has been in the limelight over the course of the last couple of years. Some individuals were even so vehemently opposed to the presence of violent videogames in households with young children that the topic was brought in front of the Supreme Court last year. However, there has been little, if any, scientific findings that substantiated these claims until now.

The groundbreaking research behind this new assertion was conducted by members of the Wang Lab in the Department of Radiology and Imaging at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Here's how Dr. Wang described his most recent results: "For the first time, we have found that a sample of randomly assigned young adults showed less activation in certain frontal brain regions following a week of playing violent video games at home." He also stated that the aforementioned brain regions play important roles in the regulation of aggressive behavior and emotion.

In his study, Wang studied 28 healthy males between the ages of 18 and 29 that had very little previous exposure to violent video games. These males were split into two groups with one group being assigned to play 10 hours of shooting games per week, while the other group functioned as a control (no video games). Each individual was imaged using fMRI at the start of the study, and then once each week for the next two weeks. While they were undergoing the fMRI, the subjects participated in an emotional interference task, where they pressed buttons depending on the color of the words that were shown on a screen. Words that had violent connotations were displayed occasionally between nonviolent action words. Furthermore, the men engaged in a cognitive inhibition counting task.

The results of these studies indicated that after the men played just one week of violent videogames that they had decreased activation in the left inferior frontal lobe during the emotional interference task and that they displayed less activity in the anterior cingulate cortex while they were performing the cognitive inhibition counting task, when compared to the controls. These areas have been linked to control of aggression and emotion.

While the results of this study may be pretty convincing, I think it's going to take a few more studies with similar results before people are willing to give up their beloved violent videogames. Also, if these results do prove to be valid, who would want to try to separate the gamers from their videogames, what with their propensity for increased violence and all?
Posted by      Justin E. at 10:08 PM MST
  Justin Eagles-Soukup  says:
Tom A. Hummer, Yang Wang, William G. Kronenberger, Kristine M. Mosier, Andrew
J. Kalnin, David W. Dunn & Vincent P. Mathews (2010): Short-Term Violent Video Game Play by
Adolescents Alters Prefrontal Activity During Cognitive Inhibition, Media Psychology, 13:2, 136-15
Posted on Sun, 4 Dec 2011 10:09 PM MST by Justin E.

Dopamine: Dictating Dangerous Decisions


Decisions shape lives. Every day in the news, we are berated with stories of people who‚??s lives were changed due to decisions they made, both good and bad. It seems plausible that the most rewarding outcomes are often accompanied by a risk of adverse consequences. So what is it that dictates how humans evaluate risk and reward? How do people decide if something is ‚??worth the risk‚??. Why are some people seemingly better at making decisions than others? A study published on November 30th 2011 in the Journal of Neuroscience provides some insight into how different dopamine receptor subtypes are involved in evaluating risk behavior and making decisions.
The experimenters investigated the role which dopaminergic subunits may play in helping people to evaluate scenarios and make beneficial decision. For example, they found that by systematically activating D2-like receptors in rats, risk taking behavior was substantially diminished. Unlike D2 receptors, activating D1-like receptors had no significant effect on risk taking behavior in the rats. Additionally, lower levels of D2 mRNA in the dorsal striatum were associated with increases in risk taking behavior among the rats being tested.
The experiment provided the rats with a choice between a small reward with minimal risk as opposed to a large reward with greater risk. The greater risk for the large reward was presented in the form of electric shocks to the rats feet. Rat‚??s who received the shock also received three times as much sucrose as the rats who settled for a third as much sucrose with no shock. Motivational tests were used to attempt to ensure that the rats desired the higher dosage of sucrose more than the lower dose. D1 and D2 probes were used to analyze mRNA expression in the rats.
This type of experimental procedure can be problematic because there is a high degree of variability in the preferences of rats in relation to risk and reward. Although certain correlations drawn by the experimenters may be considered questionable for this reason, the experiment does attempt to relate the experimental results to risk=-taking behavior. Unlike previous works which found rat performance to be stable, this experiment found that rat performance could change in nature ranging from strongly risk averse to strongly risk taking. The procedure was complicated and based on many experimental procedures which were not well explained. For example, what baselines did the experimenters use in their motivational tests and how were these type of arbitrary statistical markers determined? Throughout this paper, there were manipulations which were apparently done systematically, yet without more information on what ‚??systematically‚?? means in specific scenarios, it is difficult to draw conclusions regarding the legitimacy of the procedures, and thus their actual relevance to risk taking.
Regardless of these concerns, this experiment does attempt to further investigate how the dopamine signaling pathway is involved in risk taking. Understanding the implications of these pathways may provide explanations as to how decision making processes can be altered in the cases of psychological disorders. These types of disorders are often classified by abnormalities in decision making and risk taking behavior, and consequently, individuals who suffer from them often have a very hard time making the decisions or performing the behaviors necessary to succeed in their endeavors. Furthermore, if more is determined about these pathways, it may also be possible to investigate why drugs cause people to make bad decisions from a scientific perspective. For now, when conflicted with a tough choice, each person still must use their personal preferences and insights to determine what decision to make. Perhaps, further research can help to discover exactly how dopamine receptors can be manipulated in order to assist struggling individuals in their decisions.
Posted by      Aaron R. at 5:15 PM MST
  Aaron Ramras  says:
Simon, Nicholas W., Karienne S. Montgomery, Blanca S. Beas, Marci R. Mitchell, Candi L. LaSarge, Ian A. Mendez, Christina Banuelos, Colin M. Vokes, Aaron B. Taylor, Rebecca P. Haberman, Jennifer L. Bizon, and Barry Setlow. "Dopaminergic Modulation of Risky Decision-Makin." Journal of Neuroscience 31.48 (2011): 17460-7470. Web. 4 Dec. 2011. .
Posted on Sun, 4 Dec 2011 5:26 PM MST by Aaron R.

The Joy of Laughter


Laughter. Its something we humans do almost on a daily basis in order to express pleasure yet it is composed of a series of grimaces and loud shrieks. How is it that such a strong, blissful emotion can be connected with such obtuse behaviors? Furthermore where does this feeling of joy come from? The scientists at Stanford say they have it all figured out.

In the December 4 2003 issue of Neuron a study done by the Stanford University School of Medicine asserted that laughter and humor activate the mesolimbic dopaminergic reward system. In this study sixteen adult subjects viewed 42 funny and 42 non-funny cartoons in a random order and were asked to press a button depending on if they found the cartoon funny or not. Prior to the experiment a separate group of subjects with a background similar to the test group chose 42 of the funniest cartoons from a selection of 130 cartoons. 42 non-funny cartoons were then found to match these.

In order to find the areas of the brain that were active when a cartoon was presented to the subject an event related fMRI (efMRI) was used. The areas were determined active if there was an increase in blood flow in that region of the brain. The unpredictable nature of random efMRI designs, the fact that activation was examined on a subject-by-subject and cartoon-by-cartoon basis, an the use of post scan humor ratings ensured that pure reward was being measured while consideration and measurement of individual differences in humor were taken into a account.

The researchers discovered that the regions activated included the ventral tegmentum area, nucleus accumbens, and amygdala, all which are vital to the mesolimbic dopaminergic reward system. Other areas such as the supplementary motor area, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, and inferior frontal gyrus (including Broca's area) were also activated in the left hemisphere which suggests that this hemisphere plays a large role in the processing of reward and positive emotional stimuli. It also suggests that this hemisphere is responsible for the physical display of humor such as smiling and laughter.

Thus when we laugh, we do so because of the release of dopamine which causes the feel good feeling and stimulates the necessary areas that cause the actual behavior of laughing. Dopamine also keeps us laughing due to the reward system it employs.

These discoveries make it is possible to further studies on the use of laughter as medicine. One possible way to study if laughter has beneficial effects is through the use of optogenetics. By activating the areas discovered here with optogenetics, it would be possible to measure the effects laughter has on the immune and cardiovascular systems. It would also be possible to see if laughter could be used to effectively treat forms of depression that are due to a lack of dopamine release within the brain. Another, more necessary study using optogenetics would be to simply test if these areas alone account for humor or if it is the combination of the areas that make something appear funny. By doing these tests it would be possible to see if laughter really is the best medicine or if it is simply a social construction that promotes good feelings.

Citation:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=MiamiImageURL&_cid=272195&_user=10&_pii=S0896627303007517&_check=y&_coverDate=2003-12-04&view=c&_gw=y&wchp=dGLzVlS-zSkzV&_valck=1&md5=2af750b3e08a955b3e8f9c81abfaadc2&ie=/sdarticle.pdf
Posted by      Mari W. at 4:31 PM MST

December 3, 2011

Drinking on the Job: How Flies get Drunk


Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night... I know what you're thinking. No class till Monday, no work, what a great night to get ahead on studying and up to date with all the problems in the world. However, I must point out this plan is not the first thing that pops into everyone else's mind (at least those outside the world of the poor soul who is reading this neuroscience blog). Much of western society is based around the beverage/drug/poison we've come to know as alcohol. It has come to the attention of neuroscientist that our race is not the only one that takes pleasure in consuming firewater. It turns out some researchers were playing with the old 160 proof lab ethanol when they came upon an astounding discovery.

It all started when one turned to the other and croaked, "I'm drunkk frog haha." The other slurred back, "weelll thenn, gooood thing I'm not a fly huh?" That's when it hit them. "Eureka!" piped the first. "Oh my god!" yelled the second. "Let's" get the flies wasted!" the second hollered back. They quickly spun off their lab stools and bustled for the fly room stumbling and tripping the whole way. When they got to the room they immediately grabbed the first beaker of flies, ripped out the cork and filled it full of the powerful booze, instantly killing all the flies inside. Once they realized the horrendous massacre they had just committed in front of all the hundreds of thousands of other flies in the room their drunken smiles slipped off. The beaker was placed on the counter as the two somber scientists held each other with silent tears streaming down their cheeks. Then one started laughing; irritated, the other muttered, "How can you laugh at a time like this? We just killed them, in front of their families... drowned them, squashed them like flies... "Look, that one's drunk," the other researcher pointed at a fly that was clearly not adhering to the standard sober drosophila flight pattern. They watched the fly for nearly two hours, they sat on the fly room floor entranced by the fly's drunken escapades. Then as its flight pattern began to return to normal it headed back to the beaker full of booze, and began gulping down, without a thought to the dead brothers, sisters, cousins and children floating on top. Gleeful laughter burst from the researchers as they cheersed and began taking large quaffs of their own. Quickly forgetting their bloody hands they then began pulling the corks of the other beakers, filling up petri dishes with ethanol, and pipetting small volumes of ethanol in for the larvae--so no one was left out. They spent the whole night at the lab with their new found drinking buddies and had a gay old time. A few days later after their handover was gone they decided to write a paper.

It was determined drosophila liked the inebriation caused by excessive consumption of ethanol. Like us, the flies were experiencing their pleasure through the activation of the dopamine pathway. Activating this pathway induced LTP in the flies. Looking further into the flies' neural circuitry the researchers determined the rewarding memories the flies experienced (or the lack of memory if they got too plastered from not getting enough sugar before) were localized, accessed and retrieved with a distinct set of neurons in the mushroom body. With the vast number of flies they got drunk the researchers' found some flies didn't come back to drink. The experimenters were obviously offended and quickly squashed them. However, they didn't stop there; they proceeded to analyze the DNA so they could breed out the bad gene and make sure no other flies would be lame. They found mutations in scabrous were responsible. They commonly call it the party pooper gene around the lab. "This gene encodes a fibrinogen-related peptide that regulates Notch signaling, disrupted the formation of memories for ethanol reward" (Kaun, 2011). The experimenters have been thought to have had a little bit too much fun drinking with the flies, but they have felt the public pressure. Now they're looking into how this research will help their own species and we will undoubtedly be hearing more from them soon.

Hope you enjoyed the read, sincerely Charlie Stewart

"A Drosophila model for alcohol reward"
Karla R Kaun, Reza Azanchi, Zaw Maung, Jay Hirsh & Ulrike Heberlein
Nature Neuroscience April 17th 2011
Posted by      Charlie S. at 8:15 PM MST
  peter pen  says:
Such the great post i really to visit the best way for installing free windows dvd player software and must be thanks for the really update thanks.
Posted on Sat, 27 Apr 2019 4:14 AM MDT by peter p.
  Julian Julian  says:
We all happy to get neuro science classes to know how to get drunk services. The following resources you can easily gather for the review of papersowl.com writing service media entries. Then after we will get the most useful neuro science responses.
Posted on Sat, 14 Sep 2019 9:20 AM MDT by Julian J.
  tonny ken  says:
Your feedback helps me a lot, A very meaningful event, I hope everything will go well run 3
Posted on Tue, 22 Oct 2019 10:55 PM MDT by tonny k.

December 2, 2011

Resonance among corporeal bodies: it might just exist in humans


"Self-construal" refers to how individuals view and make meaning of the self; at least two subtypes have been identified. Interdependent self-construal is a view of the self that includes relationships with others, and independent self-construal is a view of the self that does not include others. An individual's adoptive cognitive processing style with regard to context sensitivity is thought to be affected by the priming of these two types of self-construal. Simply put, the way a person thinks is influenced by how sensitive they are to their immediate context; priming interdependent or independent self-construal affects an individual's contextual sensitivity and by extension how an individual consequently thinks.


We affect how we think.


Okay, so that's not something new. The interesting thing is the notion that context sensitivity affects motor resonance among corporeal bodies. Yes, I'm talking about the human body and yes, we exhibit resonance. Apparently.


If you're having a hard time swallowing that idea for the first time (or if you're like me and find it intriguing in a nerdy way), perhaps a better way of thinking about it is a sort of 'subconscious chatter' of an individual's behavior emanating out from their body and, depending on how responsive we are to these continuously sent little packets of information, we subconsciously "resonate" the chatter in our own bodies in a social setting. It seems to me that resonance is another way of looking at the nonconscious mind and its effects on our behavior in a way we wouldn't normally think about.


A recent article published in The Journal of Neuroscience presents the case that motor resonance occurs between corresponding muscles in two individuals (at least in a passive observation activity conducted in the study). Ten participants (five male, five female; age range 18-39 years) were subjected to focal transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of contralateral motor cortex while watching a video superimposed by an interdependent self-construal prime word, independent self-construal prime word, or no prime word. Focal contralateral motor cortex TMS elicited motor-evoked potentials (MEPs, amplitudes adjusted to ~1 mV at baseline fixation-cross control condition) measured from the abductor pollicis brevis (APB) muscle [the muscle of your palm attached to your thumb] of the participant's right hand. The 'motor resonance' part of the study was the passive observation of the video that showed a model contracting the APB muscle to squeeze a rubber ball between the index finger and thumb. Interdependent priming-elicited MEPs with a greater amplitude than the unprimed action showed greater motor resonance (presumably due to increased context sensitivity), and independent priming-elicited MEPs with a smaller amplitude than the unprimed action showed less resonance (presumably due to decreased context sensitivity).


They found that observation of the videos regardless of the priming condition facilitated MEPs of greater amplitude compared with the baseline fixation-cross condition (no-priming and interdependent priming condition MEP increases > independent priming condition). Little surprise there; watching a video rather engages more thought than watching fixed crosshairs. Interdependent self-construal priming facilitated motor cortical outputs beyond the unprimed-induced facilitation, and independent self-construal priming relatively suppressed unprimed-induced facilitation. Interdependent self-construal priming effects motor resonance; independent self-construal somewhat depresses motor resonance.


That's pretty interesting. So how does that tie to the whole corporeal resonance-subconscious body-to-body chatter thing?


The underlying idea is behavioral mimicry in social settings; 'contextual motor resonance sensitivity' mediates nonconscious mimicry in social settings, presumably involving the mirror neuron system (appropriately named). We resonate with other individuals on some level depending on our sensitivity to those around us. This implies that the reason why we imitate or mimic other individuals' behaviors and actions is not necessarily because we might under the influence of something and more sociable (disinhibited) from how we normally act or but rather being brought to a more resonance-receptive state/less resonance-unreceptive state; how we are brought to a more receptive state is through priming (by ourselves, others, quotes, environment, etc.). Conversely, priming also takes us farther from resonance reception/stronger resonance resistance. This article concludes that the study therefore supports the idea that motor resonant systems in the human brain mediate behavioral mimicry.


A little more on the mirror system. Complications with the mirror neuron system whether deficits or other abnormalities may play a role in disorders of excessive or reduced social influence, such as individuals with autism spectrum disorders, compulsive imitation, or psycho-pathic personality traits. Novel therapeutic interventions based on the findings of this study may benefit such patients greatly, and may even benefit us as well. Inducing interdependent self-construal could potentially make learning by observation more efficient.


Do you think resonance is the reason why we feel smarter when certain people stand next to us (or is that a bit too far of a stretch...)?



Link to the article: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/31/41/14531.full
Edited by      Patricia W. at 10:09 PM MST
  peter pen  says:
It is the best inform here i am playing the generate unlimited imvu credits online card game here more the online players play this game free.
Posted on Sat, 27 Apr 2019 4:17 AM MDT by peter p.

Online NRSC 2100- Is it a Good Idea?


Over the last semester we have all participated in a class with a very different learning format from that which we are used to. Whether we signed up for an online class or not, almost all of the educational content of this class has been presented online. Independent, online learning, presents a very different learning experience than the traditional university course. Rather than seeing and hearing a professor lecture and discussing our learning in a social, classroom setting we have obtained most of our information through online textbooks, tutorials and videos and have discussed it using Facebook, Hootcourse and this blog. The question is: Is this new form of education that does not revolve around the face-to-face social experience between a teacher and a classroom bring the same benefits? Is social interaction important for learning? Do the social capabilities of the internet (i.e. Facebook) sufficiently replace in-person communication?
In her article, "The Developing Social Brain: Implications for Education, (http://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(10)00173-X )" Sarah-Jayne Blakemore explores the research that has been done on the role of social interaction in learning. Humans have a social brain; we are capable of intuitively knowing what certain facial expressions and body language mean. Babies developing language skills depend on social interaction for learning. Blakemore highlights a study (Kuhl et al., 2003 ) in which American babies are exposed to Chinese Mandarin through three different methods: 1) social interaction (reading and playing) with a native speaker, 2) videos of that same speaker or 3) audio recording of that same speaker. The only group that displayed the learned ability to distinguish between Chinese sounds was the group that experienced social interaction. The benefits of social interaction in learning are not yet understood. It could be that the infants are more motivated by social interaction or that the adult speaker is able to tailor their behavior to the child's needs in a social experience.
This doesn't necessarily point to the absolute necessity of social interaction for academic learning; language acquisition is different from the type of learning done in a university classroom and the age of the participants and their brain development is significantly different from that of the typical student enrolled in this class. Blakemore explores one of these issues by examining the difference in brain activity in adults and adolescents. The brain undergoes significant changes in Medial Prefrontal Activation during adolescence. This area is active in social cognition tasks. Research suggests that the development of social learning skills is still taking place late into adolescence and that continuing to learn and have real-life social interactions during this period is crucial for the development of the brain.
She concludes her exploration with more questions and an analysis of implications of this research for education. It is clear that some types of learning do require social interaction and that this is true even into late adolescence (and perhaps beyond?). For now, the question as to whether classes such as this one are as educationally valuable for the human brain is waiting on more research . For now, we get to be the judges of that.
Posted by      Megan M. at 5:36 PM MST
displaying most recent comments (2 ommitted) | Comments (5)
  Anna Shetty  says:
I am glad to see this brilliant post. all the details are very helpful and useful for us, keep up to good work. https://cmgames.io/game/run-3
Posted on Tue, 26 Feb 2019 11:47 PM MST by Anna S.
  life time  says:
My writing skills are really questionable but I still managed to get A+ in all of my writing assignments. All thanks to livepaperhelp, the best writing expert service.
Posted on Fri, 9 Aug 2019 11:50 PM MDT by life t.
  sophie nike  says:
I have attended some educational conferences all around US as I am the owner of the USA's leading dissertation formatting help company, many different writers and academic helpers came at the event to learn new features for their businesses.
Posted on Sat, 23 Nov 2019 1:09 AM MST by sophie n.

October 24, 2011

Caught in a Lie: The Role of the Brain in Detecting Deception


Vital to everyday social and economic interactions is the ability to accurately discern whether other individuals are being honest or deceitful. While recognizing dishonesty is no easy matter, it is nonetheless possible even in the absence of signals from facial expression, through careful attention to nonverbal cues. Researcher Julie Grèzes and her colleagues have identified the brain mechanisms that underlie detection of deceptive intent through the use of fMRI technology.

The study involved imaging 11 participants as they viewed videos of actors with blurred faces lifting boxes, and evaluated whether the actors were attempting to deceive them regarding the weight of the box. The results from this experiment were compared to the results from a previous study in which participants were asked to judge whether actors' expectations of a box's weight were false. The key contrasting variable was the judgment of of deceptive intent in the current study, versus the judgment of a false belief resulting in accidental deception in the previous study.

Their research concluded that the amygdala and rostral anterior cingulate cortex were both significantly activated when the participants judged the actors as being intentionally deceptive, yet not when the actors were judged to have unknowingly erroneous beliefs that led to accidental deception.

The amygdala is known to be a critical aspect of the neural circuitry concerning emotion and value appraisal. Additionally, the anterior cingulate cortex is activated when there is intent to directly communicate with the participant, indicated by eye contact and use of the participant's name. Based on such, the researchers speculate that activation of the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex may be suggestive of the observers' valuation of social intentions towards themselves, and could thereby reflect an emotional response to being misled.

Whether activated by an internal sense of fairness or rather an assessment of social intention, the amygdala and rostral anterior cingulate cortex are working together to help catch liars everywhere, red handed.

The original paper can be viewed at: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/24/24/5500.full?sid=4dc151cf-6709-4dae-b031-69ba24dc61c4
Posted by      Anjali C. at 12:00 AM MDT
  Gino Ciarroni  says:
Interesting Anjali,
I find this article to be very intuitive. I question if the concept of deception is an evolved basic instinct. The Amygdala and and rostral anterior cingulate cortex both are triggered in basic survival based learning. The dorsal and rostral areas of the ACC both seem to be affected by rewards and losses associated with errors. The rostral ACC seems to be active after an error commission, indicating an error response function.

While the Amygdala, as part of the limbic system, deals with emotional learing, memory modulation, and social interaction. In regards to social interaction, The amygdala volume correlates positively with both the size (the number of contacts a person has) and the complexity (the number of different groups to which a person belongs) of social networks. Individuals with larger amygdalae had larger and more complex social networks. These people were also better able to make accurate social judgments about other persons' faces. It is hypothesized that larger amygdalae allow for greater emotional intelligence, enabling greater societal integration and cooperation with others. Can Deception be a survival interpretation of where or not we see a stimuli/person as threatening or benefiting? I wonder using the basic parameters, if animals can detect deception.

The amygdala processes reactions to violations concerning personal space. These reactions are absent in persons in whom the amygdala is damaged bilaterally.[42] Furthermore, the amygdala is found to be activated in fMRI when people observe that others are physically close to them, such as when a person being scanned knows that an experimenter is standing immediately next to the scanner, versus standing at a distance
Posted on Fri, 28 Oct 2011 12:02 PM MDT by Gino C.

October 23, 2011

Plugged In: The Brain-Computer Interface


Imagine playing your favorite video game and controlling it just through thought. Sounds impossible right? Actually this technology already exists and is currently being used for therapeutic purposes. This amazing technology is called neurofeedback. It works by measuring an individual's brain waves at different states of being through the use of an EEG and then trains the brain to emulate those waves present in the desired state of the individual.

However this technology is very specific to each individual due to the fact that different people engage in different areas of their brain when they are in a particular state of being. Therefore two people who are in the same state will most likely have brain waves that are different from one another due to the difference in the neuronal circuits themselves and the way in which the neurons fire within the individual brains. Essentially the level of specificity is due to the fact that no two people think alike.

This makes it extremely important to achieve baseline measurements of brain activity for each individual. These baseline measurements are necessary in order to determine what area of the brain is active at a particular state of being and at what frequency do the brain waves in that area need to be at in order to improve that person's state of being. Another way of thinking about it is looking at these scans in order to finding the part of the brain in which the neurons are not optimally synapsing or working together. From this it can determine which brain functions need to be targeted in order to improve a particular state of being.

All of this baseline information is used to calculate the frequency range that the individual's brain waves need to be in for optimal functioning. Once that information is plugged into the computer, the individual trains their brain to work at the frequency through the use of videogames. Sensors that measure brain waves are placed on the person's head above the area of the brain that needs to show improvement. These sensors are connected to a computer that measures the brain waves and controls the game accordingly. For example, if a person achieves the determined brain wave range a space ship will go faster however if they start to get out of the range the ship slows down. If they are no where near the correct range a black fog engulfs the ship until that brain frequency is achieved again. Without this repetitive training it is impossible to effectively alter the neural synapses that dictate the state of being a person is in.

It's easy to see how this incredible technology could help people with autism, ADD, or ADHD to focus, relax, and improve their daily functioning. Not surprisingly it can also be used to help improve the concentration and functioning of people with normal brain activity as well because this technique focuses on optimizing the way in which the neurons synapse. Essentially, this technology is used to condition and train the brain to function in a particular manner.

But this begs the question, why not use this technology to brainwash people or to train soldiers? For one this technology is highly specific to each individual; not everyone has the same brain waves and neural connectivity. Another huge problem is the fact that this technology requires a participant that is willing to do the exercises to train their brain to work in this particular way. If the person isn't willing to put in the practice, their brain won't emulate the desired wave patterns and frequencies.

The only potential way in which this technology may be used for brainwashing is if a general picture of the population's brain waves could be imaged at various states of being and placed into a generic video game. The characters in the game would only move when a particular brain wave range associated with a predetermined state of being was emulated in the player. Thus the population could essentially be brainwashed if the game was engaging enough for the participant to want to play repeatedly, the fact that the player is being brainwashed is unknown to him/her, and the sensors on their head were placed above the area in which the brain waves were being altered.

For this reason neurofeedback technology is highly regulated and restricted to mainly therapeutic purposes only. So while it is possible to play basic videogames with just your mind, the ultimate gaming experience is just out of reach due to the plasticity of the human brain and the ethical questions that lie within it.

All information was taken from:
http://www.isnr.org/uploads/1995%20Abarbanel.pdf
http://www.eeginfo.com
*videos, research papers, and articles from this site were used
Posted by      Mari W. at 10:07 PM MDT
  peter pen  says:
I must say thanks you very much for really great post and if you need the how to screenshot on windows more information then just a single click and get the information thanks.
Posted on Sat, 27 Apr 2019 4:18 AM MDT by peter p.

Technology: Virtue or Vice to Our Brains?


It is undeniable that our daily lives are inundated with technology. Our society and this world work hand in hand with technology on a close, almost dependent level. It is only in the last few decades that we have become so co oriented with technology, and it is becoming a more pressing issue than ever that we question the effects of this change. As humans, who we are is shaped by our experiences, and knowing and acknowledging this fact means we have to question both the pros and cons of such a new and close relationship with technology. When looking at this relationship it is not a question of whether or not humans are being affected by technology but how technology is affecting us.

Technology includes a multitude of different things and cannot be considered one single entity. Because it is so multidimensional it is not necessarily a good or a bad thing; a greater breakdown is necessary to determine potentially harmful technology from proven positive facets of technology. It is verified that technology as a whole has the ability to manipulate mood and arousal. It has also been proven that attention, and vision and motor skills can be enhanced while using technology. These improvements are highly dependent based on the type of technology being used and whether or not there is active or passive interaction.

Television has been around for more than sixty years but it's relevance to everyday lives and learning has never been so great. There are learning benefits to technology but three reoccurring traits have surfaced in accordance with being wired. Studies have shown that people are more likely to be violent, exhibit addictive behavior, and get distracted easier. Once again the context of the technology must be taken in to consideration. Influences of technology are starting at earlier and earlier ages these days. In children the television show Telletubbies, research showed a decrease in language proficiency in children who watched this show. However, there was a language proficiency increase seen in children who watched Dora the Explorer.

These numerous concerns and detrimental findings in research also have a flip side. New research shows indications that playing video games is associated with a number of improvements in attention, cognition, vision, and motor control. Playing video games heightens ability to pinpoint small details in chaotic scenes. Playing video games and improving these skills has shown to help people in careers such as pilots or surgeons.
Part of making technology more beneficial than detrimental is learning how to use it and how to allow it to challenge and improve our brains as opposed to letting it become a route to mindlessness. We are seeing that the attractive features of video games such as emotional context, arousing experiences, and richly structured scenarios are what boost our intellectual brain and educational technology tends to exploit the repetitive nature of practice makes perfect. Making moves to shift educational technology toward the more interactive nature of technology could only improve our relationship with technology. It is difficult to study the ways that technology affects the human brain but considering the growing reliability and interaction humans have with it, research in this field is both necessary and critical to society.

Full article can be found at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627310006781
Posted by      Bethany B. at 9:41 PM MDT
  Joseph Crawford  says:
The post explores technology: virtue or vice to our brains. The article mentions that it is confirmed that technology as a whole has the capability to influence mood and arousal. It has also been verified that concentration, and vision and motor skills can be improved while using technology.

Thanks,
https://essayschief.com
Posted on Thu, 2 May 2019 5:29 AM MDT by Joseph C.

How You Mother Has Eyes on the Back of Her Head


By all accounts Katie Joe McDonough was the least likely woman to rear progeny. She was independent, stubborn, and adventurous; nothing would hold her back. Her twenties were a thrill ‚?? packed with adventures to India and Nepal, learning French and moving overseas to work for a French oil company, the pursuit and completion of a PhD in Geophysics, and countless hiking, trekking, and boating trips. Katie Joe would not ‚??settle down.‚?? My Dad can attest to this ‚?? he barely got her through the chapel door. Pregnancy didn‚??t change anything ‚?? my mom was in denial for the first four months she was pregnant with me. But the day that I was brought naked and screaming into this world my Dad describes an incredible change that came over my mom. She softened. The minute her senses registered my existence all hesitance was gone. She became uncharacteristically tender. ‚??She got boring!‚?? my brothers and I describe with delight. She became a mother.
Evolution favors this kind of maternal transformation in new mothers ‚?? especially among mammalian females. As soon as the babies arrive, Mom‚??s senses must kick into overdrive. She now has much more to worry about than her own survival. She is now responsible for feeding, protecting, and teaching her offspring, and that takes a massive amount of increased brain function. Adi Mizrahi and his colleagues from the University of Jerusalem have begun to investigate some of these changes in the brains of mouse mothers. Through research on sensory integration between auditory and olfactory neurons in the brain, Mizrahi et al has uncovered evidence that suggests that specific brain plasticity is triggered in mouse females in response to their offspring. Sound familiar? I don‚??t know about yours, but my Mom can always tell when my hand is reaching into the cookie jar ‚?? even without turning around.
So what is responsible for this increased vigilance in new mothers? Mizrahi‚??s experiments demonstrate that in mouse mothers, specific sensory neurons exhibit increased plasticity in response to stimuli from mouse pups. This plasticity causes increased integration between sensory systems leading to hyper-vigilance in the mother. In the Mizrahi experiment, over 400 auditory neurons in new mouse mothers were tested for excitation in response to a variety of frequencies in the presence of (a) fresh air and (b) in the presence of their pups‚?? odor. Mizrahi‚??s findings demonstrate an overwhelming increase in the auditory neurons of new mothers in the presence of pup odor. In addition, the auditory neurons tested did not show the same increased responsiveness to neutral sounds. Instead increased activity in the neurons was triggered by the specific frequencies of mouse pup distress calls. This integrated response to pup calls and odors was not found in virgin female mice. But interestingly, the virgins did begin to show increased integration after prolonged exposure to mouse pups. This suggests that sensory integration plasticity in mice is not triggered by the actual act of birthing offspring, but may instead be linked to exposure to mouse pups. Maybe a similar phenomenon is responsible for the uncontrollable ‚??Awww!‚?? that pours from my mouth every time I see a picture of Jared Polis‚?? s new baby.
Posted by      Stephen B. at 4:47 PM MDT
  Stephen Blaskowski  says:
Source: Lior Cohen, Gideon Rothschild, Adi Mizrahi; http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627311007409
Posted on Sun, 23 Oct 2011 4:50 PM MDT by Stephen B.
  Christina Uhlir  says:
Stephen,

I must admit to a certain degree of confusion, was there no mention of oxytocin in the article you read?
Posted on Sun, 23 Oct 2011 5:21 PM MDT by Christina U.

Flies Like to Get Drunk As Well?


Well, it is unclear whether they get "drunk" or not but they do display hyperactivity after being exposed to intoxicating vapors of ethanol which is similar to that of what humans do after drinking too much. A recent study done by Karla R. Kaun et al shows that flies are attracted to ethanol just as much as humans are. Although humans have various reasons for ingesting alcohol, flies on the other hand, are attracted the rewarding effects that ethanol has on the brain. This attraction towards ethanol and the rewarding effects are so great; one could say that they are addiction to ethanol.
In the study done by Karla R. Kaun et al, they wanted to test whether or not flies displayed addition like behavior such as that in humans. They conditioned flies to be attracted ethanol by various means and tested them for addition like behavior by administering 100 V and 120 V shocks. They found that even after administering shocks to the flies, they were drawn to ethanol. Another test was done with the same voltages except ethanol was replaced with sucrose. This time, the flies only tolerated the 100 V shock and not the 120 V shock. This higher tolerance towards ethanol than sucrose could mean that they associate ethanol as giving them a more rewarding feeling than sucrose and that ethanol is worth the pain.
The flies were, as one could say, addicted to ethanol but why was this? Well, as we know, dopamine plays a role in the reward system and "ethanol amplifies the dopaminergic responses to natural reward and reward-related environmental cues" which causes this attraction and who can blame them, we all like to feel good (Karla R. Kaun et. al, pg. 3). Not only does dopamine play a role in the reward system, but so does memory of that good feeling. Karla R. Kaun et. al also found that the mushroom body and scabrous gene were required for the ethanol reward memory. By blocking various synaptic transmissions in the mushroom body, they found that the formation of ethanol reward memory "may be mediated by dopaminergic innervations of the őĪő≤ neurons (Karla R. Kaun et al, pg 5)." Karla R. Kaun et al also found that within the mushroom body, there was the scabrous gene that was required for the ethanol reward memory. It plays a role in this reward memory in that scabrous sends signals to Notch in which Notch mediates the reward memory. And so with the brain releasing chemicals that make you feel good and memories of that good feeling, who wouldn't be addicted to something that made you feel this way?
So why does studying flies and their addiction towards ethanol matter? Well, by studying flies and what influences them in their addictions, it could help researchers better understand human addiction and possibly allow researchers to find ways to help people with these addiction such as finding genes or circuits that makes a person more susceptible to being more addictive to various substances. By being able to identify these factors that influence a person's addiction, there will be better ways of treating a patient who has a drug abuse/addiction problem and better ways of treating the side effects of going off the drug such as withdrawal.

Source:https://cuvpn.colorado.edu/neuro/journal/v14/n5/pdf/,DanaInfo=www.nature.com+nn.2805.pdf
Posted by      Kou X. at 3:14 PM MDT
  Christina Uhlir  says:
Kou,

What is the mushroom body, scabrous gene, and Notch?
Posted on Sun, 23 Oct 2011 5:48 PM MDT by Christina U.

October 19, 2011

Well that's Surprising...ly Negative


Have you ever been surprised to be let down? Or in other words, have you ever expected a certain outcome only to be surprisingly disappointed? Well if you have, ladies and gentlemen, then do not fear; for your dorsal anterior cingulate cortex is functioning properly! And what's that? There's unified model for the long disputed function of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex? That's right! Both of these birds were hit by the same stone recently when Alexander and Brown produced a computational model "tour de force" to illustrate how negative surprise signals drive dACC (dorsal anterior cingulate cortex) and mPFC (medial prefrontal cortex) responses.
Many theories have been concocted as to what the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex may be responsible for, such as error detection, error likelihood prediction, and conflict monitoring primarily, and even more such as reinforcement-guided decision making, negative reinforcement learning signals, and action value prediction error. Could the dACC be responsible for all of this in the brain? Well, Alexander and Brown's model seems to narrow our spectrum a bit and put an end to this controversy.
While their model agrees with previous theories that the dACC and mPFC predict action-outcome situations, it is uniformly different in the sense that these regions are responsible for multiple predictions for action-outcome situations in parallel, and then these predictions are scaled to their probability of their occurrence. When the predicted outcome doesn't happen, learning rates are modified in order to update action-outcome predictions to the degree necessary to learn from mistakes and find a better solution.
Another important point of this model's representation of multiple predictions of action-outcomes is that different ongoing predictions could account for heterogeneity of neural responses usually observed in single-unit studies. So basically, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex can encode different outcomes simultaneously for the same situation that are being encoded in different groups of neurons! Pretty impressive eh?
So let's just recap. The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex analyzes a particular action, predicts an outcome for this action, and if the action-outcome prediction is negated, then the dACC modifies learning rates so that the brain can learn from its mistakes. And the dACC and mPFC can do this multiple times at once!
So while Alexander and Brown's model is reasonable and presents much more concise data, it is obviously provoking new questions and controversy. Seeing as how consequences of positive and negative surprises are the same according to this new model, what makes a negative surprise more significant or important than a positive surprise? If the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex is responsible for negative surprise predictions and reactions, what is responsible for positive surprise monitoring? As for these questions, we shall see what new models of these mysterious brain regions are presented and what will be discovered for the tasks we perform in daily life. Regardless of what is discovered in the future, we'll all be surprised!

main article:http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v14/n10/full/nn.2932.html
Posted by      Mark A. at 4:19 PM MDT
  Christina Uhlir  says:
Mr. Alsberg,

Could you kindly explain the mechanism by which the "tour de force" operates?
Posted on Sun, 23 Oct 2011 2:20 PM MDT by Christina U.

August 1, 2011

Beauty is only... flesh-deep?


Everyone cares about their appearance to a certain extent. Animals groom themselves while people wear makeup, get piercings, and tattoo themselves to enhance their appearance. Shows like The Swan, Nip/Tuck and Extreme Makeover convey how the use of cosmetic surgery has escalated in this country. Despite the agreement that everyone wants to look good, there is a growing concern that this drive for a certain physical appearance can stem from mental illness rather than social persuasion.
Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental illness in which one is obsessed with what they think is a flaw in their appearance, a flaw that is either insignificant or imagined. With BDD people seek out cosmetic surgery to change their appearance, however, some are never satisfied. About one third of those who desire rhinoplasty (a "nose job") have been found to have BDD symptoms and scarcely 2 percent need rhinoplasty for exclusively medical reasons.
One of the more disturbing forms of BDD is Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID). BIID is a condition where someone desires to have a missing limb. One man with BIID interviewed by FOXNews.com claimed that he fantasized about loosing a limb from the age of about 4 years old. Now as an older man, he has admitted to his wife and the public his curious need to "get a leg lopped off." People with BIID have indeed gotten rid of limbs and claimed they feel better and "more complete" afterwards. They say their condition is a lot like what used to be called Gender Identity Disorder (when someone is born male and they feel as if they are female, and vice versa). Surprisingly, the medical community leaves people with BIID very few options. People with BIID have been known to use prosthesis to pretend they have an amputation or will even mutilate their unwanted limbs. A popular example of this is a man who put his legs in 100 pounds of dry ice for six hours until they turned black, then went to the hospital where a surgeon had no choice but to remove the mans legs. Surgeons refuse to surgically remove limbs from people with BIID, and up until May 2011, there has been no medical treatment alternative to surgery.
The first successful long-term psychotherapy to treat BIID was done at the clinical center of the Goethe University in Frankfurt. Up until this introduction to using psychotherapy on BIID patients, there was no medication that seemed to help with the disorder and the only successful treatment for BIID known to work was removal of the limbs. During psychotherapy a 37 year-old man who wanted to amputate both his legs the origin and meaning of the desire to amputate were uncovered. The psychologists concluded that by using psychodynamic oriented therapy in conjunction with cognitive-behavioral elements, further treatment could then be developed to help with the disorder.
There is no consensus by neuroscientists as to why people have BIID, however, one possibility discussed is that something went wrong in the body-mapping regions of the cerebral cortex. One part of the cerebral cortex is the primary somatosensory cortex where sensory information of touch is relayed from the body. In front of this region is the primary motor cortex, the region involved in movement. BIID might have come from lesions or a disruption in these parts of the brain.
The drive people feel to look a certain way can develop with errors and can cause a person to reach such lengths as mutilating their own body to ease their psychological illness. Despite the fact that we should all respect other peoples desire to do what they want with their own body, the medical community should seek out and encourage alternatives that are less physically invasive.

Main article: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2008/05/28/cutting-desire.html
Posted by      Alma S. at 10:06 PM MDT
displaying most recent comments (3 ommitted) | Comments (6)
  seo services  says:
I was surfing the Internet for information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. Avenue South Residence
Posted on Tue, 12 Nov 2019 9:13 AM MST by seo s.
  seo services  says:
Im no expert, but I believe you just made an excellent point. You certainly fully understand what youre speaking about, and I can truly get behind that. sagame66 ŗł™ŗłĻŗł?ŗł£
Posted on Mon, 18 Nov 2019 9:40 PM MST by seo s.
  seo services  says:
Great Information sharing .. I am very happy to read this article .. thanks for giving us go through info.Fantastic nice. I appreciate this post. Ž®ĻŪ??ž??ž≤ī
Posted on Tue, 19 Nov 2019 6:29 AM MST by seo s.

July 31, 2011

Subjective Diagnosis


As the teacher speaks in front of the class, the majority of the students are attentive and taking notes. But there is one student in the classroom looking out the window daydreaming about being outside and able to run around, free, not trapped in his chair. He has attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD). More and more students are being diagnosed with this disorder. Why? Does it have to do with our genes, the environment? Is this just a reflection on our society always needing an answer and diagnosis for why we are different or is it the doctors wanting more money?

Currently the only way to diagnose this disorder is through a series of physiological tests and accounts from your teachers and parents. These methods are very subjective and may be leading to over diagnosis of children and overmedicating (2). These students may just need to learn discipline and learn how to motivate themselves to sit in a classroom and listen to a lecture or study for an exam. Just like many other psychological disorders the most logical answer to this is to study the differences between the brain structures of those with ADHD and those without.

In a recent study (1), the researchers were after the answer to see if there is a significant difference in the adolescent brain with ADHD with and without medication and without ADHD. The researchers wanted to determine if using an MRI of a child's brain would lead to better diagnosis of ADHD. The researchers studied the participants for ten years and took a total of four MRI's for each child. The researchers concluded that there is a significant difference in brain volume and specifically the white matter and the caudate nucleus. These two differences were seen to be developed at a young age due to genetics or environment and the growth of the brain paralleled the control participants. This means that as a child you have ADHD and do not generally develop it later in life.

According to the results even though there are differences in the anatomical brain structure, this still is not a clear answer to whether or not an MRI will be able to diagnose anyone with ADHD any time soon. The limitations to the study are the participants themselves. They are unable to keep still for the MRI and many of the images had to be thrown out because of movement. Also the lack of twin and sibling studies in the topic cause us to not be able to determine how much of the differences are die to environmental or genetic influences or if it is merely a correlation.

Similarly to other imaging discussions about the validity of the images and what they tell us we are unable to definitively say. At this point much more research needs to be done on the topic of ADHD and how brain imaging can enhance one's ability to be diagnosed with ADHD and allow the subjective tests to be replaced by a more concrete method of diagnosis.

1. http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/288/14/1740.full.pdf+html
2. http://www.hs-zigr.de/~wirsing/ASH%20Sozialmedizin09/ABPapersPDF/ADHD1%20Kopie.pdf
Posted by      Jayme N. at 11:38 PM MDT
  Matthew Jennings  says:
Thanks for the nice blog. It was very online essay service useful for me. I'm happy I found this blog.
Posted on Thu, 11 Jul 2019 7:03 AM MDT by Matthew J.
  Rebecca Morris  says:
We'll give graphic design service in Australia for you that looks and capacities incredible. You will get a versatile well disposed, ecommerce web design service in Australia. 52 percent of all web action in the US starts from cell phones, and Google is revealing their portable first calculation. A site that drives leads utilizing app development service in Australia system and propelled client encounters to drive your guests to activity. An enhanced business that is developed starting from the earliest stage help of PPC marketing service in Australia best practices as a main priority.
Posted on Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:12 AM MDT by Rebecca M.

Trust Me. It'll Feel Good.


Trustworthiness has always been a revered personality trait. So much so that most of us are willing to look past any number of distasteful attributes if somebody proves to be 'trustworthy.' Ask the next person you see what they're looking for in a partner, plumber, or political candidate and they're guaranteed to put trust near the top of the list.

Trust is an emotion that's difficult for most people to define; like love. People just know when they feel it. No doubt, most of us would include words like 'truthful,' 'ethical, and 'dependable' in our definitions of what it means to be trustworthy. Such words, though, are themselves abstractions that don't define what it means to trust another person.

How is it, then, that we know when we can trust somebody? What do people do that earns them the distinction of being trustworthy? Why is it that some people are awash with trust, and others reserve the emotion for only a few, select people? And what is it about trust that makes it such an exalted trait?

Like so many other neuropsychological questions, the answers appear to lie within our good friend, dopamine: the ever-present, ever-pervasive, and always welcomed neurotransmitter that provides its host with a strong sense of reward and pleasure. It's the magic brain-gravy that's responsible for things like our desire to eat high-calorie foods and our motivation to perform self-benefiting tasks. According to some recent research, though, dopamine may also be responsible for the establishment of trust between two people.

A team of neuroscientists, Brooks King-Casas and Read Montague, et. al., designed an experiment that centered on a simple economic game in which receiving a reward required participants to trust one another with their money. If a player was feeling a bit greedy, he or she could steal from the pot at any time and, in doing so, erase the trust that had been established. By using a technique called 'hyper-scanning,' researchers were able to monitor subjects' brains as they interacted with other subjects in separate fMRI scanners. It wasn't long before the scientists were able to predict whether or not a player would steal from the pot several seconds before the theft actually took place. The secret to the researchers' clairvoyance was found in imaging of the caudate nucleus during gameplay.

The c-shaped caudate nuclei - found in both of the brain's hemispheres - play key roles in memory formation and the processing of external feedback. They are also heavily innervated by dopamine neurons. As each player participated in the game, it was the caudate nuclei that monitored the actions of the other players.

Initially, the caudate didn't activate until the subjects actually trusted one-another. It was then that each player received their dopamine reward and the caudate nuclei came alive. However, the caudate began to expect those rewards and started firing long before the player received any money from the other participants. The bonds of trust would then strengthen every time the player received their money; reassuring them that they weren't going to be let down.

These findings suggest that trust may not be such a noble trait after all. It appears that the highly regarded emotion may be little more than a gluttonous system designed to satisfy our primitive dopaminergic needs. When I say that someone is trustworthy, I'm really saying that they reliably satisfy some need I have. If you show that you are willing to satisfy that need - thereby flooding all the right parts of my brain with happy juice - I will trust you. And trust me, it feels good.

Main Article: http://www.hnl.bcm.tmc.edu/articles/Read/Getting_TO_Know_You2005.pdf
Posted by      Nicholas M. at 11:30 PM MDT

Is Altruism Really Selfless?


It has long been assumed that altruism is something that we humans posses that other animals don?t. That our capacity for empathy applies only to us because we have such an overdeveloped cortex capable of higher-level processing. However, what if this is not true? What if primates, our evolutionary predecessors also had this capacity? What does this mean about our sense of selflessness and morality? The ideas presented by Frans De Waal in his article Putting the Altruism Back into Altruism: The Evolution of Empathy could have larger societal implications than just an explanation for morality. The ideas in this article question religious ideas and bring us one step closer to primates by suggesting that empathy evolved from primates. Instead of thinking of our ideas of altruism and morality as being handed down to us from up above (like religious ideas claim) maybe we should think of them as being passed up from below.

Frans De Waal is the director of a primate research institute in Atlanta Georgia. He argues that his primates regularly display altruistic behavior and therefore there has to be some sort of mechanism in the brain that is already wired to create altruistic behavior or is in place to learn altruistic behavior. In a radio interview Dr. De Waal tells stories of chimpanzees sharing treats so that everyone in the pack gets a little. He also cites instances where children have fallen into gorilla enclosures and the female gorillas have comforted the children and brought them to areas where they could be rescued by zookeepers as empathetic behavior. In his article, De Waal introduces some cognitive models of empathy. He proposes the ?Perception Action Mechanism? where motor neurons in a subject mirror the state of an object. And the ?Russian Doll Model? where empathy is a result of our higher-level cognition that uses a hard-wired basis to create empathy. Frans De Waal argues that being altruistic could have had evolutionary advantages that caused the trait to be selected for. A simple explanation would be if a primate was part of a pack and they hurt other members they would be ostracized and die without reproducing. But those who were good and able to work as a unit as opposed to as an individual would be kept under the protection of the pack. The mechanisms suggested above are the biological mechanism by which these traits are passed on evolutionarily.

De Waals points are intriguing but what really intrigues me is the social implications this article has. First of all, it is one more example of how similar we are to primates. The larger implication is that not only are we more similar, but we are more similar in a behavioral aspect that we humans had previously thought was part of our higher-level cognition: we thought empathy and altruistic thoughts were too complex for primates. Along with this implication comes a fear. If in fact there is a specific mechanism in the brain that controls altruistic behaviors what could happen if we were able to identify it? People could be tested to see if this area was underdeveloped, or abnormal in some way that would make them a hazard to society. Could we start condemning people to horrible, immoral acts before they happen based on their brain makeup? And, if we could, would this be a moral thing to do?

De Waal, Frans B.M. "Putting the Altruism Back into Altruism: The Evolution of Empathy." Annual Review of Psychology 59.1 (2008): 279-300. PubMed. Web. 31 July 2011. .

http://www.radiolab.org/2007/aug/13/
Posted by      Eileen E. at 11:15 PM MDT

Synthetic Telepathy: The Army's Bold Plan


Many controversies on the table for neuroscience look at the emerging role of neuroscience, and how it will fit into our futures. This article by time magazine, '''The Army's Bold Plan to Turn Soldiers Into Telepaths''' hones in on the idea that the ways in which neuroscience could impact us are ever growing. Although at first neuroscience seems to find general roles in our emerging everyday lives, soon it will also fill in very specific corners and responsibilities; such as being used in the Army as a means of increasing our variability of weapons.

The article starts by bringing attention to the fact that the concepts associated with the future of neuroscience are just that- very futuristic. Many of the ways in which neuroscience and its findings could be applied to everyday life are concepts that have been talked about for generation but seem to be 'too far out' to be realistic and plausible. The foundations of these roles also need to be reestablished. For instance, the article points out that at first one might think a mind reading individual would be going through ones thoughts collecting memories and associations, when in fact the mind reader can be collecting information which will help protect him or help him protect a fellow solider. This idea is coined by the article as part of a U.S. Army project which is building "thought "helmets' (1).

The basis of synthetic telepathy is relying on research which is currently looking into which regions of the brain are responsible for the various processes of storing and processing thoughts. The overall goal of the US Army project would be to build a helmet which would be embedded with such technologies that can scan a brain similar to in the large scale fashion which are used for the research to identify these regions. The technology that would be embedded into the helmet would be able to carry out such functions as to be able to "target specific brain waves, translate them into words, and transmit those words wirelessly to a radio speaker or an ear piece worn by other soldiers" (1).

The idea and basis for the thought helmets and synthetic telepathy originated from the science fiction book Skylark of Space, a 1946 classic which was read by Elmar Schmeisser. The concepts and potential that neuroscience hold have been around forever, it is now taking the courage f individuals to speak up and realize that these ideas are plausible which is moving neuroscience both in a forward and controversial direction. Schmeisser began to progress with his idea of the thought helmet after a 2006 lecture when he realized the up and coming world of recording individual neurons and extracting signals from the surface of the brain. Although at first the army thought it to be hallucination that such an idea could work, they asked for evidence of its proof and Schmeisser and others are most definitely delivering results. After research results and new findings in the field, Schmeisser had won over many individuals and organizations and began working more in depth on the thought helmet for the Army.

Ultimately Schmeisser wanted to produce answers to big neuroscience questions which would in turn allow future researchers to capture complicate thoughts and ideas (1). He realized though that the rudimentary though helmet, capable of discerning commands, would be a valuable achievement and a step in the right direction to continue to gain supporters and funding for such a project. This point in the article paves way to where most neuroscience controversies come from- the ideas they are based on are as ever growing as the field. Many of the applications of neuroscience to real life open doors for more and more complex application to be found, and therein lies why the topics become so controversial.

Schmeisser himself points out that in actuality little is known about how the brain really functions, more so just about all the players that are present, contributing or not. "This project is attempting to make the scientific breakthrough that will have application for many things. If we can get at the black box we call the brain with the reduced dimensionality of speech, then we will have made a beginning to solving fundamental challenges in understanding how the brain works- and, with that, of understanding individuality" (1).

(1) http://discovermagazine.com/2011/apr/15-armys-bold-plan-turn-soldiers-into-telepaths
Posted by      Jamie S. at 9:37 PM MDT
  Anna Martin  says:
The issue with telepathy is that exclusive particular sorts of contemplations can be transmitted. It is by all accounts a Linear as opposed to Parallel sort flag - that resembles discourse is direct, time-wise, and pictures are "parallel" This is the reason numerous images or pictures when sent by means of clairvoyance, turn out looking increasingly like VERBAL DESCRIPTIONS of the picture as opposed to the first image itself. www.essaytigers.co.uk/
Posted on Wed, 6 Feb 2019 12:54 AM MST by Anna M.
  Phil Danny  says:
Thank you for sharing such beautiful information. I must say am highly overwhelmed by your whole story. It‚??s not easy to get such quality information online nowadays. I look forward to staying here for a long time.
https://custompaperswritinghelp.com/blog/1-Chicago-and-Annotated-BibliOgraphy.html
https://thesis-dissertationwritinghelp.com/plagiarism-removal-in-marketing-thesis/
Posted on Sun, 17 Feb 2019 9:37 AM MST by Phil D.

Dancing Cockatoo


It?s doubtful that anyone would find a dancing cockatoo relevant to neuroscience, but we would all be wrong in assuming otherwise. Apparently, YouTube videos of a dancing cockatoo named ?Snowball? not only entertain bored college kids during their classes, (not me of course), but also give neuroscientists new insight about animals? response to music. Kathrine Haycock writes, ?No one had ever documented an animal processing and reacting to the beat of music,? noting that these YouTube videos gave clear evidence that animals could do just that.
Until just recently, understanding music was a trait that only belonged to humans; many believed that we evolved historically with the ability because it somehow helped us to survive, (though it?s hard to think of a way in which music aides in survival). These new videos are giving neuroscientists hope that animals have a circuitry similar to our own when it comes to understanding and responding to music. It?s hard to believe, though, that a simple YouTube video with a dancing bird can prove anything other than the fact that we have too much time on our hands. Ani Patel, a neurologist, apparently felt the same way and conducted an experiment to determine whether Snowball really could react to the beat of the music. By playing the same song at twelve different speeds, nine of which Snowball kept rhythm with; Patel showed that it wasn?t merely coincidence that a bird could possibly be able to understand music.
I couldn?t think of a whole lot that could be done with this information besides playing more music for my neighbor?s dog in hopes that it?d dance instead of bark, but Patel explains otherwise. According to Patel, studies involving music therapy could use the idea that animals can comprehend music to further their investigations by studying animal models as well as humans. Also, Alzheimer?s patients may benefit from these findings through animal models, which could potentially explain patients? ability to remember music rather than their own spouses (must make the spouse feel important).
I?m hoping that by using animal models to further research in these departments some breakthroughs will be found. The notion that Alzheimer?s patients remember music very well throughout the progression of the disease raises the idea that perhaps the part of the brain that stores musical memories isn?t necessarily part of the brain that is primarily affected by Alzheimer?s. Using animal models could possibly provide insight as to where exactly music is understood and stored. On the other hand, assuming that animals can process music exactly like humans just because a cockatoo named Snowball can dance to one song no matter how fast it?s played seems naÔve at best. The significance of this finding is certainly debatable, and neither jumping to conclusions nor writing off the fact that animals can understand music are good ideas. Just as with any scientific discovery, further research must be done involving animal?s ability to understand and react to music before any conclusions can be drawn. Until then, try to just enjoy the fact that a cockatoo likes to dance.

http://www.allpetnews.com/cockatoo-key-to-breakthrough-discovery-in-neuroscience-and-music-videos
Posted by      Daniel H. at 5:03 PM MDT

Neurotherapeutics: Helpful or Harmful?


Who wouldn't want to take a pill that would enhance their mental capabilities? Instead of studying for hours and hours, how much more enjoyable would it be if you took a pill, enhanced your memory making capabilities and thus only had to spend an hour or two studying for that big cumulative exam? These days research and scientific developments have allowed the range of pharmaceuticals to alter mood, cognition and other cognitive skills such as memory to go beyond what we previously would have believed to be to be impossible. Drugs that have been developed to treat some of the most heinous diseases now bring the promise of, not only treating illness, but enhancing performance. Today, the debate between treatment and enhancement has already begun to be a hot button topic in neuroscience.

According to an article by Paul Root Wolpe, there are two fundamental questions that we must address pertaining to this issue. First, "what do terms such as average or normal functioning or even disease and enhancement mean when we can improve functioning across the entire range of human capability?" Second, "should we encourage or discourage people to ingest pharmaceuticals to enhance behaviors, skills and traits? What are the social implications of using drugs or other neurotechnologies to micromanage mood, improve memory, to maintain attentiveness or improve sexuality?"

Enhancement has been defined by medicine and its implications. Medicine treats disease but what it does not treat is enhancement. So if we begin allowing or encouraging people to take pharmaceuticals in order to enhance their well-being, where do we draw the line? A good example used in this article is the use of Prozac and other anti-depressant drugs. If drugs like Prozac can increase a user's mood, what emotional state then becomes normal? If it becomes normal for everyone to take mood enhancing drugs, than does being in a sad state become taboo? Furthermore, if more people start taking drugs like Prozac, will insurance companies still cover these sorts of drugs? Insurance companies pay for treatments and injurious events, but if everyone is using a drug does this drug then become a commonality such as the use of Advil, which is not covered by insurance companies?

As humans, we have always been able to find techniques to enhance our performance and general functioning. We go to school, take vitamins, and go through training programs. But is it acceptable to bypass all of these "external" strategies and directly alter our brains? Sure, the drugs we have currently developed may help us increase cognitive function but what about the long term side effects? Take the use of drugs that are supposed to treat disabilities like ADD and ADHD. Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin prescribed for attention deficit disorder are becoming more and more popular among students. These drugs boost cognitive function and enable the user to study for hours with full concentration without getting tired or distracted. But at what cost? Long term use of cognitive enhancers like Ritalin cause serious side effects such as severe sleep deprivation and heart problems. More troubling, however, is that these drugs can be highly addictive. Users can get to the point where what we now define as "normal" cognitive function is unachievable without the use of cognitive enhancers. So if drugs like Adderall can have these results, can our pharmaceutical strategies backfire on us and destroy the delicate balance in our brains?

On the other hand, think about a world where we have not only found a cure for degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, but where people in general have a higher standard of living because our brains are functioning at the fullest extent! It's a fine line between helpful and hurtful when it comes to our emerging neurotechnologies and pharmaceuticals.

For more information on this debate check out the article by Paul Root Wolpe at: http://www.chem.arizona.edu/courseweb/081/CHEM4361/reading_pdfs/guest_lecturers/treatment_enhancement.pdf
Posted by      Sherry W. at 11:23 AM MDT
  Matthew Jennings  says:
Amazing Post, Thank you for sharing this essay writing australia post really this is awesome and very useful. Well if you get time you must read more on
Posted on Thu, 11 Jul 2019 7:04 AM MDT by Matthew J.
  Matthew Jennings  says:
I think this is an informative post and it is online essay service
very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article
Posted on Thu, 11 Jul 2019 7:05 AM MDT by Matthew J.

Cosmetic Neuro-tinkering


Altering your body for aesthetic reasons has become social norm in society. What if you could alter your brain functions to improve motor skills, attention, learning, and mood, would you do it? Advances in neuropharmacology are beginning to progress to the point that they are able to use drugs to enhance these abilities. This emerging technology is becoming known as cosmetic neurology.

In an article entitled, "Cosmetic Neuorlogy: The Controversy Over Enhancing Movement, Mentation and Mood," Anjan Chatterjee MD outlines three general categories, motor systems, attention/learning/memory, and mood, that could have a prospect for better bodies and mind.

Chatterjee says that all three of these areas of improvement already have neuophamagological drugs that can improve them. For example, Insulin-like growth factors (IGF) can be given to men over 60 to increase muscle mass, decrease body fat, and improve skin. This in turn improves the quality of life of these people? In addition to IGFs, there are drugs that can improve plasticity, block receptors that cause depression, and decrease unpleasant memories.

Unfortunately, any time you wish to alter the brain there are several ethical dilemmas. In this case safety, individuality, distribution and coercion become the prominent issues.

Safety is a main concern with any form of drug treatment. In disease, a person weights the risks against the potential benefits. Which is why people with terminal cancer are willing to endure toxic chemotherapies to prolong life. Where as in a healthy state any risk is harder to accept because the alternative is "normal" health (Chatterjee 2004). This is where ethics plays in. Is it ethical to treat someone with something that does not save them for something else? Some people think it is, as long as that person is equipped with enough information about the potential side effect. But then again where did the information come from and did the person use it?

Another issue in this cause is individuality; Chatterjee says that a major concern is that chemically changing the brain threatens to eliminate personhood. This then leads into a more ethical issue of if tinkering with brain chemistry is going to threaten what it means to be human?

As in most discussions, who gets them becomes an important question to ask. Because these mind-altering drugs are expensive it is unlikely that the government or insurance companies are going to pay. Does that mean that the rich prevail again? Then we have to ask ourselves? what happens when the rich get stronger, smarter, and sweeter than "normal" people? A critical ethical issue when talking about new drugs is distribution.

Finally, we must look at how choices can evolve into forces of coercion (Chatterjee 2004). One form of this is the common feeling that you want to be better or at least maintain your position in society. As people become smarter, fast, and stronger, pressures increase and smaller groups of people will be competing for larger prizes. Imagine what you could do if you could work 100 hours a week without becoming tired! Another issue is demand for superior performance. Pilots taking donepezil preformed better in emergencies than those on a placebo. Should that then mean that all pilots should take it, or that people will pay more for flights where their pilot takes it?

It does not take much imagination to see how the media will advertise for "better brains." We must look follow these topics and developments. Up until now, I did not realize the extent of these mind-altering substances. Did you?
Posted by      Robin J. at 9:03 AM MDT
  Joshua shua  says:
This is having so many entries on cosmetic neuro tinkering education and emotions. Everything is needed for best rated college paper writing services and entries. That all have been issued for the online users and neuro science learners.
Posted on Wed, 19 Jun 2019 11:58 PM MDT by Joshua s.

July 30, 2011

Saying No to the Death Penalty: The Excuses of Adolescence


Most adolescents spend their time going to school. But some adolescents spend their time murdering people.
Most adults spend their time working. But some adults also spend their time murdering people. In many states, these adults are often executed.
So where, and more importantly, with what reasoning, do we draw the line between adolescent and adult? And, especially in cases of murder, what should that line mean?

Usually in cases such as this we want to turn to scientific evidence. But in issues of law it is never that simple.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court has made many rulings regarding the death penalty, there have been two prominent cases regarding juveniles. Thompson vs. Oklahoma (1988) outlawed the death penalty for individuals who were under sixteen when a crime was committed, and Roper vs. Simmons (2005) outlawed the death penalty for individuals who were under eighteen when a crime was committed. With Roper vs. Simmons, the courts finally had some scientific data (although still not completely conclusive) to work with. But the issue of the death penalty is far from over. That ruling was 5-4.

"Crime, Culpability, and the Adolescent Brain" is an article written for "Science" in 2004 by Mary Beckman, just before the Roper vs. Simmons decision was made. It clearly outlines the neurological data compiled to support the case of Christopher Simmons.
Although there is more data relevant to the case now, this article is particularly interesting because we can look at the 2005 ruling that followed.
His case was quite grisly, involving robbing, tying up, and throwing a woman off of a bridge.

The defense presented the argument that the death penalty was cruel and unusual because the defendant's brain was not functionally identical to that of an adult. The article states, "Structurally, the brain is still growing and maturing during adolescence, beginning its final push around 16 or 17" (Beckman, 2004). Neural connections of adulthood are shaped during the teen years, involving a decrease in gray matter and an increase in white matter. Perhaps the most significant data presented was that on frontal lobe maturation. There is an apparent, "wave of brain change moving forward into the front of the brain", seen using MRIs in an NIMH study (Beckman, 2004). This is integral to the case because the frontal lobe is linked to impulse control. Erratic behavior is also more prevalent in adolescents; "the brain switches from relying heavily on local regions in childhood to more distributive and collaborative interactions among distant regions in adulthood" (Beckman, 2004).

Arguments for and against the death penalty always seem to be a muddled combination of personal belief, religion, experience, science, and history. And to complicate the matter, we're talking about some very grisly crimes. In the 2005 opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, "The age of 18 is the point where society draws the line for many purposes between childhood and adulthood. It is, we conclude, the age at which the line for death eligibility ought to rest" (Kennedy, 2005). There is no doubt that the scientific evidence presented had an effect on the ruling. But, unfortunately, it is not likely that such evidence will ever provide us with an infallible answer. The 2004 article ends with a quote from neuroscientist Elizabeth Sowell of UCLA, "We couldn't do a scan on a kid and decide if they should be tried as an adult" (Beckman, 2004). Six years later we have more data, but this remains true.

Beckman, Mary. "Crime, Culpability, and the Adolescent Brain." Sciencemag.org. AAAS, 30 July 2004. Web. 30 July 2011. .
Posted by      Jessica L. at 8:24 PM MDT
  aidan mary  says:
Ahh that is great thank you ! Good for special needs too !
read more wuxiaworld
Posted on Thu, 15 Aug 2019 9:50 PM MDT by aidan m.
  prisca melda  says:
The backbone of every Information Technology Papers Writing company is its writers and ours are the choicest in the industry to ensure that clients acquire the Best Information Technology Papers and that will make you collect a high-quality Information Technology Papers Writing Assistance.
Posted on Mon, 25 Nov 2019 5:22 AM MST by prisca m.

A Clockwork Character: Molding the Mozg


It is not hard to imagine a futuristic dystopian society. Constructing dystopias seems to be one of the main methods by which those of a sci-fi persuasion can offer poignant social commentary. However, some of these dystopias are far more horrific than others. One would be hard pressed to find a dystopia more controversial than the one presented in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (adapted from Anthony Burgess's novel of the same name); watching Alex DeLarge and his small gang of droogs terrorize futuristic Britain with "ultra-violence" is more than enough to make your insides squirm in revulsion. In perhaps the film's most infamous scene, Alex and his droogs beat a man so severely as to cripple him for life, and then proceed to rape his wife - all while happily singing "Singin' in the Rain". And yet there's hope for this futuristic Britain, a way to clean ultra-violence from the streets by rehabilitating those delinquent youths like Alex: an experimental aversion therapy called the Ludovico technique. If you were in charge of such a dystopia as the one depicted in A Clockwork Orange, where the fabric of society was being viciously ripped apart by rampant ultra-violence, wouldn't you be desperate for a way to stop it? And rather than just locking up criminals and social delinquents, wouldn't it be better if you could help those individuals by eradicating their anti-social behavior? Wouldn't this allow your dystopia to rapidly evolve into a utopia?

For those familiar with the film, we know that it's not just the use of ultra-violence that makes the film so controversial. Controversy also lies in the film's social commentary on morality and behavioral psychology, which is far too deep and expansive of a discussion for the scopes of this post. However, A Clockwork Orange does raise an interesting question (in fact, it raises many interesting questions): how close are scientists to understanding human behavior? Are they close enough to know which parts of the brain are responsible for certain behaviors? Are they close enough to actually control behavior?

The answer: yes. Scientists can switch social behaviors on and off as easily as flicking a light switch, at least in mice.

In an effort to understand what causes social-behavior deficits in humans, particularly those with social disorders like autism and schizophrenia, researchers from Stanford University are using pulses of light to toggle social behaviors on and off in mice. Led by Dr. Karl Deisseroth, researchers used optogenetics to test an established yet untested hypothesis about social dysfunction: that "elevation of in the ratio of cortical cellular excitation to inhibition (cellular E/I balance), for example through increased activity in excitatory neurons or reduction in inhibitory neuron function, could give rise to the social and cognitive deficits observed in diseases such as autism" (Yizhar et al, Nature, 2011). So, "when facing social stimulus people with social disorders experience an imbalance wherein too many excitatory nerves fire (or not enough inhibitory nerves fire) resulting in a kind of over-responsiveness" (Dillow, Popular Science). In order to test this theory, scientists used optogenetics to bioengineer excitatory and inhibitory nerve cells in the parts of the brain responsible for social function to fire on command. Specifically, the researchers looked at excitatory and inhibitory nerve cells in the medial prefrontal cortex, which is involved in processes such as planning, execution, personality and social behavior. When compared to normal mice, the experimental mice exhibited no difference in their anxiety levels, their tendency to move around, or their curiosity about new objects. However, the experimental mice whose medial prefrontal cortex excitability had been optogenetically stimulated lost all interest in engaging with other mice. Their social behavior was largely abolished. Further, the brains of these mice showed the same gamma-oscillation pattern that is observed among many autistic and schizophrenic patients, meaning that this study could have implications in getting to the root of the behavior seen in those with social deficits, like those with autism. It's possible that this research could provide valuable information for finding a treatment for behavioral disorders like autism and schizophrenia.

Researchers at CalTech, too, have been altering mouse behavior. They have located the brain's trigger for aggression, a cluster of cells in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), an area that previous studies have associated with sexual behavior. It's not so surprising that aggressive and sexual behavior stem from the same area of the brain (at least, it's not so surprising when considered in the context of A Clockwork Orange); they come from intermingled yet separate clusters of neurons in the VMH. By identifying these clusters of neurons in the VMH, scientists found that aggression is triggered by a specific tangle of neurons, which they could turn on and off in mice by using light (after making the region photosensitive via a process of inserting custom-made viruses carrying a modified piece of DNA into the brain). When the nerve cluster was excited, no matter what they put in the cage with the experimental mouse, the mouse would attack - be it another male mouse, a female mouse, or even a dummy mouse. The opposite also held true; when the nerve cluster was silenced, the experimental mouse was completely non-aggressive, even in the presence of a threatening male. And, because mice have cognitive function and physiology that is quite similar to ours, then perhaps aggression in humans, too, could be toggled on and off like a light switch.

These findings could have quite the positive potential for us humans. Not only does it allow us to better understand our own minds, but it could offer cures for behavioral disorders like autism and schizophrenia. And in the future, who knows? Maybe scientists will discover switches for other behavioral problems as well, such as anxiety or phobias or OCD or ADHD.

And yet, we shouldn't ignore the warnings provided to us through (albeit potentially paranoid) social commentary. Though A Clockwork Orange offers an extreme example of behavioral modification, it is still an example of behavioral modification nonetheless, and a real possibility of what could happen if scientific advancements are taken out of control and used to pursue corrupt political agendas. On what A Clockwork Orange is all about, Kubrick said the following: that it is "a social satire dealing with the question of whether behavioral psychology and psychological conditioning are dangerous new weapons for a totalitarian government to use to impose vast controls on its citizens and turn them into little more than robots." Again, extreme. We shouldn't live in a paranoid static state of fear that every scientific discovery made could lend itself to ultimately crippling humanity in some manner. The pursuit of knowledge should not be hindered by fear or ignorance; finding cures for behavioral disorders like autism and schizophrenia would be ultimately beneficial, and would help many people live better, more fulfilling lives. However, it should always by the obligation of the scientist to make sure that the truths they discover are not somehow corrupted to advance personal agendas, and to make sure that they educate the public as to their discoveries. To combine the words of Francis Bacon and Spider-man: knowledge is power, and with great power comes great responsibility.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature10360.html
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-07/scientists-switch-social-behaviors-and-mice-shedding-light-human-social-disorders
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-07/caltech-researchers-find-switch-mouse-and-perhaps-human-aggression
Posted by      Caitlin W. at 6:37 PM MDT
  Daniel Smith  says:
Incident Response is the process of investigating a security breach.
Posted on Tue, 26 Nov 2019 7:06 PM MST by Daniel S.
  Daniel Smith  says:
Maxi Dress can be worn on the beach.
Posted on Tue, 26 Nov 2019 7:07 PM MST by Daniel S.




 Copyright © 2007-2016 Don Cooper, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.
  Feed — Subscribe: RSS