tagged w/ Mind
* Almost everyone has a tendency to imagine the mind continuing to exist after the death of the body.
* Even people who believe the mind ceases to exist at death show this type of psychological-continuity reasoning in studies.
* Rather than being a by-product of religion or an emotional security blanket, such beliefs stem from the very nature of our consciousness.
Everybody’s wonderin’ what and where they all came from.
Everybody’s worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go when the whole thing’s done.
But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me.
I think I’ll just let the mystery be.
It should strike us as odd that we feel inclined to nod our heads in agreement to the twangy, sweetly discordant folk vocals of Iris Dement in “Let the Mystery Be,” a humble paean about the hereafter. In fact, the only real mystery is why we’re so convinced that when it comes to where we’re going “when the whole thing’s done,” we’re dealing with a mystery at all. After all, the brain is like any other organ: a part of our physical body. And the mind is what the brain does—it’s more a verb than it is a noun. Why do we wonder where our mind goes when the body is dead? Shouldn’t it be obvious that the mind is dead, too?
And yet people in every culture believe in an afterlife of some kind or, at the very least, are unsure about what happens to the mind at death. My psychological research has led me to believe that these irrational beliefs, rather than resulting from religion or serving to protect us from the terror of inexistence, are an inevitable by-product of self-consciousness. Because we have never experienced a lack of consciousness, we cannot imagine what it will feel like to be dead. In fact, it won’t feel like anything—and therein lies the problem.
The common view of death as a great mystery usually is brushed aside as an emotionally fueled desire to believe that death isn’t the end of the road. And indeed, a prominent school of research in social psychology called terror management theory contends that afterlife beliefs, as well as less obvious beliefs, behaviors and attitudes, exist to assuage what would otherwise be crippling anxiety about the ego’s inexistence.
According to proponents, you possess a secret arsenal of psychological defenses designed to keep your death anxiety at bay (and to keep you from ending up in the fetal position listening to Nick Drake on your iPod). My writing this article, for example, would be interpreted as an exercise in “symbolic immortality”; terror management theorists would likely tell you that I wrote it for posterity, to enable a concrete set of my ephemeral ideas to outlive me, the biological organism. (I would tell you that I’d be happy enough if a year from now it still had a faint pulse.)
Yet a small number of researchers, including me, are increasingly arguing that the evolution of self-consciousness has posed a different kind of problem altogether. This position holds that our ancestors suffered the unshakable illusion that their minds were immortal, and it’s this hiccup of gross irrationality that we have unmistakably inherited from them. Individual human beings, by virtue of their evolved cognitive architecture, had trouble conceptualizing their own psychological inexistence from the start.
The problem applies even to those who claim not to believe in an afterlife. As philosopher and Center for Naturalism founder Thomas W. Clark wrote in a 1994 article for the Humanist:
Here ... is the view at issue: When we die, what’s next is nothing; death is an abyss, a black hole, the end of experience; it is eternal nothingness, the*****CONTINUESKey Concepts * Almost everyone has a tendency to imagine the mind continuing to... more
The flow of information is becoming faster as information increases in volume. How can our cognitive system cope with this rythm and what can we do ourselves?The flow of information is becoming faster as information increases in volume. How can... more
It's no secret that you can sweat your way to more sculpted abs and a stronger heart, but new research finds you can also build a better brain. "For about 400 years, scientists viewed the brain as a complex machine, and that meant it couldn't grow new parts," says Norman Doidge, M.D., author of The Brain That Changes Itself. "But recent studies and imaging technology show that it's more like a muscle—or a group of muscles working together—that bulk up when exercised." Much like a football player who cross-trains to improve his performance (think: sprinting, weight-lifting, and stretching), cross-training your head with different tasks boosts your mental fitness by increasing your brain's neural connections, blood flow, and even weight. Try playing a few of Dr. Doidge's mind games to strengthen your mental muscles.It's no secret that you can sweat your way to more sculpted abs and a stronger... more
Brain is certainly the most amazing part of human body. It becomes more interesting when it does not work the way you expect it should. Psychology frequently establishes our intuitions about how human mind works, but it reveals a number of surprises as well…Brain is certainly the most amazing part of human body. It becomes more interesting... more
School sucks and there is scientific evidence why! This article studies the problems of the current educational system and offers some proposals as to how to solve them.School sucks and there is scientific evidence why! This article studies the problems... more
One of the most recent studies into the psychological phenomenon of synaesthesia (mixing of senses, such as associating certain colours with certain letters) has revealed that far more of us may be synaesthetes than previously thought. It was found that self-described non-synaesthetes often nonetheless associated the smell of certain foods with certain (non-obvious) colors and textures, for instance, more people than through pure chance associated the smell of mushrooms with the colours blue or yellow, while lavender elicited the colour green and the texture of sticky liquid, and ginger was perceived as black and sharp.One of the most recent studies into the psychological phenomenon of synaesthesia... more
n previous postings I have presented evidence supporting the following claims: (1) Children's instincts to play and explore on their own provided the foundation for education during our long history as hunter-gatherers (August 2 posting). (2) Children today can and do educate themselves very well, without coercion or adult prodding or direction, if they are provided with an environment that supports their instincts to play and explore (August 13 posting). (3) Conventional schools are what they are today because of historical circumstances that led people to devalue play, believe that children's willfulness must be broken, and believe that everything useful, including learning, requires toil (August 20 posting).n previous postings I have presented evidence supporting the following claims: (1)... more
Various thoughts on the science of economy, its relation with psychology and its current paradigm with the goal of the introduction of a renewal in the field that comes in accordance with the current findings in cognitive science.Various thoughts on the science of economy, its relation with psychology and its... more
"Chen-Bo Zhong is an assistant professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. In recent years, he’s explored a wide variety of topics, from the benefits of relying on the unconscious to generate creative insights to the reasons people often use temperature metaphors (“icy stares,” “cold shoulders,” and so on) when describing acts of social rejection. Mind Matters editor Jonah Lehrer chats with Zhong about his latest research.
LEHRER: You recently demonstrated that being socially excluded from a group can make people feel colder, so that they believe a room is colder and prefer warm drinks and snacks, such as hot coffee and soup. What made you interested in this line of research?
ZHONG: I came across this popular 1970s song on YouTube called Lonely This Christmas written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. It goes, “It'll be lonely this Christmas, lonely and cold, it'll be cold so cold, without you to hold.” It just occurred to me that maybe what the song describes is more than a metaphor but a real psychological connection between loneliness and coldness. Indeed, my collaborator Geoffrey Leonardelli [a professor of organizational behavior at the University of Toronto] and I found that people not only use coldness-related terms to describe social rejection (for example, “cold shoulder”), but also experience rejection as physical coldness: feeling cold becomes an integral part of our experience of being socially isolated. This research is consistent with recent theories on embodied cognition as well as general research on the connection between mind and body.
LEHRER: What are some other examples of how seemingly abstract thoughts, such as feeling excluded, can have physical manifestations?
ZHONG: Another example would be the relation between morality and physical cleanliness. In my early work “Washing Away Your Sins: Threatened Morality and Physical Cleansing” in collaboration with Katie Liljenquist [a professor of organizational behavior at Brigham Young University], we discussed how metaphors such as “dirty hands” or “clean records” may have a psychological basis such that people make sense of morality through physical cleanliness.
When people’s moral self image is threatened, as when they think about their own unethical past behaviors, people literally experience the need to engage in physical cleansing, as if the moral stain is literally physical dirt. We tested this idea in multiple studies and showed that when reminded of their past moral transgressions, people were more likely to think about cleansing-related words such as “wash” and “soap”, expressed stronger preference for cleansing products (for instance, a soap bar), and were also more likely to accept an antiseptic wipe as a free gift (rather than a pencil with equal value).
Further, physical cleansing may actually be effective in mentally getting rid of moral sins. In another study, in which participants who recalled unethical behaviors were either given a chance to cleanse their hands or not, we found that washing hands not only assuaged moral emotions such as guilt and regret but also reduced participants’ willingness to engage in prosocial behaviors such as volunteering Thus physical washing can actually wash away sins. Perhaps this effect is why most world religions practice some form of washing rituals to purify souls. We should be cautious, however, knowing that if our sins are so easily “washed away” we might not be as motivated to engage in actual compensatory behaviors to make up for our mistakes."
Continues ..."Chen-Bo Zhong is an assistant professor at the Rotman School of Management at... more
Why credit cards make us lose money? Why lotteries are a losing game? Why neurons can be the future of economic and political research? Why credit cards make us lose money? Why lotteries are a losing game? Why neurons can... more
Surely death is a matter that concerns us all. Since the dawn of time man has created any kind of crazy theory about what goes on after death. Is there an after-life? Science tries to answer this question for the first time by taking a closer look at near-death experiences.Surely death is a matter that concerns us all. Since the dawn of time man has created... more
This list of 100 herbs and medicinal plants can help you do it. Please keep in mind, however, that not all herbal supplements are appropriate for all people, so check with your doctor to see if you're in the clear.This list of 100 herbs and medicinal plants can help you do it. Please keep in mind,... more
Let's say a patient walks into my office and says he's been feeling down for the past three weeks. A month ago, his fiancee left him for another man, and he feels there's no point in going on. He has not been sleeping well, his appetite is poor and he has lost interest in nearly all of his usual activities.
Should I give him a diagnosis of clinical depression? Or is my patient merely experiencing what the 14th-century monk Thomas A Kempis called " the proper sorrows of the soul"? The answer is more complicated than some critics of psychiatric diagnosis think.
To these critics, psychiatry has medicalized normal sadness by failing to consider the social and emotional context in which people develop low mood - for example, after losing a job or experiencing the breakup of an important relationship. This diagnostic failure, the argument goes, has created a bogus epidemic of increasing depression.
In their recent book "The Loss of Sadness" (Oxford, 2007), Allan V. Horwitz and Jerome C. Wakefield assert that for thousands of years, symptoms of sadness that were "with cause" were separated from those that were "without cause." Only the latter were viewed as mental disorders.
(more at link)Let's say a patient walks into my office and says he's been feeling down for... more
The article speaks of Read Montague and how his discoveries concerning dopamines can provide the explanation of all things psychological, economic and social. Something of course that can raise criticism, might can really be true.The article speaks of Read Montague and how his discoveries concerning dopamines can... more
Many reports of near-death experiences sound the same: a welcoming white light and a replay of memories. But now scientists aim to study what really happens to the brain and consciousness when someone is on the verge of dying.
In a new study called AWARE (AWAreness during REsuscitation), doctors will examine patients in hospitals in Europe and North America who reach a state called cardiac arrest. Many reports of near-death experiences sound the same: a welcoming white light and a... more
The September edition of The Psychologist has two articles that deal with tales in psychology. Like all sciences, psychology has its own historical experiments. Their stories, however, have been blurred with unbased facts. This is not restricted to psychology. Physics for example has the popular tale of the apple falling on Newton's head. However, in physics, such tales are harmless. In psychology, they are really myths turned into reality for psychologists accross the globe.The September edition of The Psychologist has two articles that deal with tales in... more
The greek newspaper To Vima publishes once a week, a magazine along with the newspaper called vimagazino. I was reading the other day and I found a very funny article which shows how utterly stupid sometimes psychiatrists can be.The greek newspaper To Vima publishes once a week, a magazine along with the newspaper... more
Subliminal messaging, subliminal advertising and subliminal learning are all part of popular culture and cognitive science. This article tries to seperate the truth from the fiction.Subliminal messaging, subliminal advertising and subliminal learning are all part of... more
There is a connection between the following: creativity, madness, dopamine, schizophrenia and schizotypy. This article studies them all.There is a connection between the following: creativity, madness, dopamine,... more