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Science Finds Caual Link Between Brain Damage and Trupazoidism!

Now we know what Trumpazoids fly into firs of mouth lathering rage at the merest mention of truth!

At least Football Players come by their brain damage honestly.

Chumphism is a religion.

Image result for stupid trump followers

Study finds link between brain damage and religious fundamentalism

new study published in the journal Neuropsychologia has shown that religious fundamentalism is, in part, the result of a functional impairment in a brain region known as the prefrontal cortex. The findings suggest that damage to particular areas of the prefrontal cortex indirectly promotes religious fundamentalism by diminishing cognitive flexibility and openness—a psychology term that describes a personality trait which involves dimensions like curiosity, creativity, and open-mindedness.

Religious beliefs can be thought of as socially transmitted mental representations that consist of supernatural events and entities assumed to be real. Religious beliefs differ from empirical beliefs, which are based on how the world appears to be and are updated as new evidence accumulates or when new theories with better predictive power emerge. On the other hand, religious beliefs are not usually updated in response to new evidence or scientific explanations, and are therefore strongly associated with conservatism. They are fixed and rigid, which helps promote predictability and coherence to the rules of society among individuals within the group.

Religious fundamentalism refers to an ideology that emphasizes traditional religious texts and rituals and discourages progressive thinking about religion and social issues. Fundamentalist groups generally oppose anything that questions or challenges their beliefs or way of life. For this reason, they are often aggressive towards anyone who does not share their specific set of supernatural beliefs, and towards science, as these things are seen as existential threats to their entire worldview.

Since religious beliefs play a massive role in driving and influencing human behavior throughout the world, it is important to understand the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism from a psychological and neurological perspective.

To investigate the cognitive and neural systems involved in religious fundamentalism, a team of researchers—led by Jordan Grafman of Northwestern University—conducted a study that utilized data from Vietnam War Veterans that had been gathered previously. The vets were specifically chosen because a large number of them had damage to brain areas suspected of playing a critical role in functions related to religious fundamentalism. CT scans were analyzed comparing 119 vets with brain trauma to 30 healthy vets with no damage, and a survey that assessed religious fundamentalism was administered. While the majority of participants were Christians of some kind, 32.5% did not specify a particular religion.

Based on previous research, the experimenters predicted that the prefrontal cortex would play a role in religious fundamentalism, since this region is known to be associated with something called ‘cognitive flexibility’. This term refers to the brain’s ability to easily switch from thinking about one concept to another, and to think about multiple things simultaneously. Cognitive flexibility allows organisms to update beliefs in light of new evidence, and this trait likely emerged because of the obvious survival advantage such a skill provides. It is a crucial mental characteristic for adapting to new environments because it allows individuals to make more accurate predictions about the world under new and changing conditions.

Brain imaging research has shown that a major neural region associated with cognitive flexibility is the prefrontal cortex—specifically two areas known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). Additionally, the vmPFC was of interest to the researchers because past studies have revealed its connection to fundamentalist-type beliefs. For example, one study showed individuals with vmPFC lesions rated radical political statements as more moderate than people with normal brains, while another showed a direct connection between vmPFC damage and religious fundamentalism. For these reasons, in the present study, researchers looked at patients with lesions in both the vmPFC and the dlPFC, and searched for correlations between damage in these areas and responses to religious fundamentalism questionnaires.

According to Dr. Grafman and his team, since religious fundamentalism involves a strict adherence to a rigid set of beliefs, cognitive flexibility and open mindedness present a challenge for fundamentalists. As such, they predicted that participants with lesions to either the vmPFC or the dlPFC would score low on measures of cognitive flexibility and trait openness and high on measures of religious fundamentalism.

The results showed that, as expected, damage to the vmPFC and dlPFC was associated with religious fundamentalism. Further tests revealed that this increase in religious fundamentalism was caused by a reduction in cognitive flexibility and openness resulting from the prefrontal cortex impairment. Cognitive flexibility was assessed using a standard psychological card sorting test that involved categorizing cards with words and images according to rules. Openness was measured using a widely-used personality survey known as the NEO Personality Inventory. The data suggests that damage to the vmPFC indirectly promotes religious fundamentalism by suppressing both cognitive flexibility and openness.

These findings are important because they suggest that impaired functioning in the prefrontal cortex—whether from brain trauma, a psychological disorder, a drug or alcohol addiction, or simply a particular genetic profile—can make an individual susceptible to religious fundamentalism. And perhaps in other cases, extreme religious indoctrination harms the development or proper functioning of the prefrontal regions in a way that hinders cognitive flexibility and openness.

The authors emphasize that cognitive flexibility and openness aren’t the only things that make brains vulnerable to religious fundamentalism. In fact, their analyses showed that these factors only accounted for a fifth of the variation in fundamentalism scores. Uncovering those additional causes, which could be anything from genetic predispositions to social influences, is a future research project that the researchers believe will occupy investigators for many decades to come, given how complex and widespread religious fundamentalism is and will likely continue to be for some time.

By investigating the cognitive and neural underpinnings of religious fundamentalism, we can better understand how the phenomenon is represented in the connectivity of the brain, which could allow us to someday inoculate against rigid or radical belief systems through various kinds of mental and cognitive exercises.

 

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Stupidty And Racism

One of my favorite saying is “Racism will make you stupid”…

Turns out it is the other way around.

Jeffrey Tindle defends his noose and Confederate flag (screen grab)

Does low intelligence make you prejudiced?

Humans may be prejudiced by nature, but a new study has found that who we choose to hate may depend on our overall intelligence. The finding reconfirms the idea that it may be human nature to dislike those who are different from us — including those who look and think differently.

According to the study, people of lower intelligence, as measured by cognitive ability, tend to be prejudiced against non-conventional or liberal groups, as well as groups that have little choice in their status, such as people defined by their race, gender, or sexual orientation. On the other hand, individuals of higher intelligence were likely to be prejudiced against groups considered conventional and groups perceived to have “high choice” in their associations, such as conservatives.

“People dislike people who are different from them,” study authors Mark Brandt and Jarret Crawford told Broadly. “Derogating people with different worldviews can help people maintain the validity of their own world view.”

The duo’s findings are based on the results of a questionnaire completed by 5,914 volunteers. Brandt and Jarrett measured the volunteers’ intelligence and then asked them whether or not they believed a specific stereotype about a group was justified.

The reason for these differences in stereotypes, however, is more complicated than simply not liking those who are different from you. For example, the researchers explained that less intelligent people often like to view other groups as being distinctly different from them as a way to help see them as distant and therefore less of a threat.

Sadly, people of both high and low intelligence showed the same amount of prejudice, just toward different groups. But all hope is not lost. Another recent study found that prejudice, particularly prejudice against transgender individuals, can be reduced with a simple 10-minute conversation with someone from the marginalized group.

 

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Light-Up Device Lets You ‘Talk’ to Fireflies

 

What every kid is going to want for summer vacation, or visiting out in the country!

Prepare your wallets, parents!

A handheld device lets users communicate with fireflies by producing light pulses in patterns that mimic actual firefly signals.

Source: Light-Up Device Lets You ‘Talk’ to Fireflies

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Afrofuturism

Fascinating…

The Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership, now on permanent display at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC

 

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If You Lived on the Moon

This would be your view…

Gorgeous New NASA Image Shows Earth ‘Rising’ Over The Moon

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2015 in General, Uncategorized

 

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“Ya’ll All Look Alike To Me!”

That racial misidentification thing can get folks into trouble. I remember in Junior High School, in which there were 7 black students the first year (5 girls, 2 boys) of integration out of about 2,000, the Principal announcing over the PA System “BTx and/or Hobert report to the office.” Hobert being the other black male. Seems that Hobert had gotten into a tiff with one of his classmates, and the teacher claimed not to be able to tell which of us was which – so he called both of us down. That particular teacher was later fired when found to be failing every black student in her class, automatically giving them “Fs” on everything we submitted, including in my case a paper written by one of my white classmates, who had straight A’s when we did a paper swap to test her fairness. He got an A for submitting my paper.

She apparently knew “It was one of them black boys” in the scrap.

Not that I never did anything to get in trouble…So I, in truth, cannot plead total innocence to all Junior High Schooler stupidity.

I will admit to working hard to be able to tell the difference with some accuracy between Asian peoples.

Actress Lucy Liu (l), Journalist Lisa Ling(r)

Knowing a Southeast Asian from an East Asian visually, is automatic to many Asians I have met. But I have to admit, one of the things which made it harder was growing up in a community where there was exactly one Asian family. One of the things the Civil Rights Act did was to eliminate (or at least reduce some of the most egregious aspects) of discrimination against Asian peoples immigrating to America, resulting in very very small, homogenous populations concentrated primarily in various “Chinatowns” in major cities. That changed, and now Asians make up about 7% of the US population – meaning the opportunity to meet Asian people has increased, and hopefully our ability to recognize people. To be honest, I think I might still miss this one, if I had never met one of the women in question. Hairstyle, eyebrows, forehead, skin color (accounting for the different backgrounds), and nose are pretty close…

What do you think?

 

The Science Behind ‘They All Look Alike to Me’

The outcry was immediate and ferocious when a white New York City police officer tackled James Blake, the retired biracial tennis star, while arresting him this month in a case of mistaken identity. The officer mistook Mr. Blake for a black man suspected of credit card fraud, according to the police.

Racism, pure and simple, some said.

But was it?

RACHEL L. SWARNS

Does Condo look like Rachel?

Scientists, pointing to decades of research, believe something else was at work. They call it the “other-race effect,” a cognitive phenomenon that makes it harder for people of one race to readily recognize or identify individuals of another.

It is not bias or bigotry, the researchers say, that makes it difficult for people to distinguish between people of another race. It is the lack of early and meaningful exposure to other groups that often makes it easier for us to quickly identify and remember people of our own ethnicity or race while we often struggle to do the same for others.

That racially loaded phrase “they all look alike to me,” turns out to be largely scientifically accurate, according to Roy S. Malpass, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Texas at El Paso who has studied the subject since the 1960s. “It has a lot of validity,” he said.

Looking for examples? There is no shortage — in the workplace, at schools and universities, and, of course, on the public stage.

Lucy Liu, the actress, has been mistaken for Lisa Ling, the journalist. “It’s like saying Hillary Clinton looks like Janet Reno,” Ms. Liu told USA Today.

Samuel L. Jackson, the actor, took umbrage last year when an entertainment reporter confused him with the actor Laurence Fishburne during a live television interview.

“Really? Really?” said Mr. Jackson, chiding the interviewer. “There’s more than one black guy doing a commercial. I’m the ‘What’s in your wallet?’ black guy. He’s the car black guy. Morgan Freeman is the other credit card black guy.”

Not even close!

And as a Washington correspondent, I managed a strained smile every time white officials and others remarked on my striking resemblance to Condoleezza Rice, then the secretary of state in the Bush administration. (No, we do not look alike.)

Psychologists say that starting when they are infants and young children, people become attuned to the key facial features and characteristics of the those around them. Whites often become accustomed to focusing on differences in hair color and eye color. African-Americans grow more familiar with subtle shadings of skin color.

“It’s a product of our perceptual experience,” said Christian A. Meissner, a professor of psychology at Iowa State University, “the extent to which we spend time with, the extent to which we have close friends of another race or ethnicity.”

(Minorities tend to be better at cross-race identification than whites, Professor Meissner said, in part because they have more extensive and meaningful exposure to whites than the other way around.)

“It’s embarrassing, really embarrassing,” Professor O’Toole, the director of the university’s Face Perception Research Lab, said. “I think almost everyone has experienced it.”

But as Mr. Blake’s case has demonstrated, the other-race effect can have serious consequences, particularly in policing and the criminal justice system. (None of the experts interviewed condoned the white officer’s rough handling of Mr. Blake. “He shouldn’t have been treated that way,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.)

Professor Malpass, who has trained police officers and border patrol agents, urges law enforcement agencies to make sure black or Hispanic officers are involved when creating lineups of black and Hispanic suspects. And he warns of the dangers of relying on cross-racial identifications from eyewitnesses, who can be fallible.

The good news is that we can improve our cross-racial perceptions, researchers say, particularly if there is a strong need to do so. A white woman relocating to Accra, Ghana, for instance, would heighten her ability to distinguish between black faces, just as a black man living in Shanghai would enhance his ability to recognize Asians. (Mr. Malpass believes that people who need to identify those of other races — in the workplace or elsewhere — are more likely to be successful than people who simply have meaningful experiences with members of other racial groups.)

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Concussions Likely Cause of Degenerative Brain Disease in Football Players

This one has been stewing for a while. The league began to take things more seriously a few years ago, banning certain types of hits, and upgrading helmets and rules.

What is terrifying about this though is that even people who played Pop Warner football as kids may suffer this level of brain damage.

New: 87 Deceased NFL Players Test Positive for Brain Disease

A total of 87 out of 91 former NFL players have tested positive for the brain disease at the center of the debate over concussions in football, according to new figures from the nation’s largest brain bank focused on the study of traumatic head injury.

Researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University have now identified the degenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in 96 percent of NFL players that they’ve examined and in 79 percent of all football players. The disease is widely believed to stem from repetitive trauma to the head, and can lead to conditions such as memory loss, depression and dementia.

In total, the lab has found CTE in the brain tissue in 131 out of 165 individuals who, before their deaths, played football either professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school.

Forty percent of those who tested positive were the offensive and defensive linemen who come into contact with one another on every play of a game, according to numbers shared by the brain bank with FRONTLINE. That finding supports past research suggesting that it’s the repeat, more minor head trauma that occurs regularly in football that may pose the greatest risk to players, as opposed to just the sometimes violent collisions that cause concussions.

But the figures come with several important caveats, as testing for the disease can be an imperfect process. Brain scans have been used to identify signs of CTE in living players, but the disease can only be definitively identified posthumously. As such, many of the players who have donated their brains for testing suspected that they had the disease while still alive, leaving researchers with a skewed population to work with.

Even with those caveats, the latest numbers are “remarkably consistent” with pastresearch from the center suggesting a link between football and long-term brain disease, said Dr. Ann McKee, the facility’s director and chief of neuropathology at the VA Boston Healthcare System.

“People think that we’re blowing this out of proportion, that this is a very rare disease and that we’re sensationalizing it,” said McKee, who runs the lab as part of a collaboration between the VA and BU. “My response is that where I sit, this is a very real disease. We have had no problem identifying it in hundreds of players.”

In a statement, a spokesman for the NFL said, “We are dedicated to making football safer and continue to take steps to protect players, including rule changes, advanced sideline technology, and expanded medical resources. We continue to make significant investments in independent research through our gifts to Boston University, the [National Institutes of Health] and other efforts to accelerate the science and understanding of these issues.”

The latest update from the brain bank, which in 2010 received a $1 million research grant from the NFL, comes at a time when the league is able to boast measurable progress in reducing head injuries. In its 2015 Health & Safety Report, the NFL said that concussions in regular season games fell 35 percent over the past two seasons, from 173 in 2012 to 112 last season. A separate analysis by FRONTLINE that factors in concussions reported by teams during the preseason and the playoffs shows a smaller decrease of 28 percent.

Off the field, the league has revised safety rules to minimize head-to-head hits, and invested millions into research. In April, it also won final approval for a potential $1 billion settlement with roughly 5,000 former players who have sued it over past head injuries.

Still, at the start of a new season of play, the NFL once again finds itself grappling to turn the page on the central argument in the class-action lawsuit: that for years it sought to conceal a link between football and long-term brain disease.

The latest challenge to that effort came two weeks ago with the trailer for a forthcoming Hollywood film about the neuropathologist who first discovered CTE. When the trailer was released, it quickly went viral, leaving the NFL bracing for a new round of scrutiny over past efforts to deny any such connection.

The film, Concussion, starring Will Smith, traces the story of Bennet Omalu, who in 2005 shocked the football establishment with an article in the journal Neurosurgery detailing his discovery of CTE in the brain of former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster. At the VA lab and elsewhere, CTE has since been found in players such as Hall of FamerJunior Seau, former NFL Man of the Year Dave Duerson, and Indianapolis Colts tight end John Mackey, a past head of the player’s union.

While the story is not a new one, for the NFL, it represents a high-profile and potentially embarrassing cinematic interpretation of a period in which the league sought to refute research suggesting football may contribute to brain disease.

From 2003 to 2009, for example, the NFL’s now disbanded Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee concluded in a series of scientific papers that “no NFL player” had experienced chronic brain damage from repeat concussions, and that “Professional football players do not sustain frequent repetitive blows to the brain on a regular basis.”

In the case of Omalu, league doctors publicly assailed his research, and in a rare move, demanded a retraction of his study. When Omalu spoke to FRONTLINE about the incident for the 2013 documentary, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, he said, “You can’t go against the NFL. They’ll squash you.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyhJxVM8v10

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2015 in News

 

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