The concept of “poverty poisons the brain” has become a major area of research in neuroscience and the health sciences, and an increasingly utilized metaphor to argue for the importance of addressing inequality and poverty in the United States. This article systematically presents the research behind poverty poisons the brain, which includes the impact of socioeconomic status on human development, the developmental models used to understand how poverty impacts children, and the proximate social factors and brain mechanisms that represent the core causal model behind this research. This overview examines the uses of this research for neuroanthropology, highlighting the impact of inequality and how experience becomes embodied. Nevertheless, a simplistic cause–effect approach and the reduction of the social to the biological often hamper this type of research. A critical approach to how poverty poisons the brain provides the basis for making the shift to a more robust neuroanthropological approach to poverty. Neuroanthropology can utilize social embodiment, the dynamics of stress, and the production of inequality to transform research on poverty and children, and to make policy recommendations, do applied research, and craft and test interventions to deal with the pernicious impact of poverty.
The less people know about important complex issues such as the economy, energy consumption and the environment, the more they want to avoid becoming well-informed, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.
Calculating correlations might seem like a task that could be carried out only in the most "rational" areas of the brain. But it turns out that humans process relationships among variables in a region of the brain called the insula, which processes visceral reactions like disgust and pain. The study also suggests that people learn best about correlation by focusing on long-term trends or sequences, rather than on isolated, salient events.
Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order.
To cut crime, raise education and income levels, and reduce addiction rates among the poor, no program offers more bang for the buck than preschool, as a new study published in Science demonstrates.
"Just funding preschool doesn't mean it's going to be effective," he adds. "You have to follow the principles of quality."
That means having qualified teachers and providing a structured but nurturing environment. In addition to the quality of the program itself, another reason the Chicago preschools may have had such a large impact is that they helped parents feel that they were part of a community and kept them involved with their children's school. This cut the number of parents who frequently moved their children from one school to another by half.
Suppression and dissociation, two psychoanalytic defense mechanisms, are now studied by modern neuroscience.
Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself. —Ludwig Wittgenstein
How much of what you consciously experience in your daily life is influenced by hidden unconscious processes? This mystery is one of the many that continue to confound our understanding of ourselves. We do not know how conscious impulses, desires or motives become unconscious or, conversely, how unconscious impulses, desires or motives suddenly become conscious.
The pervasive yet mistaken idea that neuroscience does fully account for awareness and behavior is neuroscientism, an exercise in science-based faith..... This confusion between necessary and sufficient conditions lies behind the encroachment of “neuroscientistic” discourse on academic work in the humanities, and the present epidemic of such neuro-prefixed pseudo-disciplines as neuroaesthetics, neuroeconomics, neurosociology, neuropolitics, neurotheology, neurophilosophy, and so on.
Gossip is a form of affective information about who is friend and who is foe. We show that gossip does not impact only how a face is evaluated—it affects whether a face is seen in the first place. In two experiments, neutral faces were paired with negative, positive, or neutral gossip and were then presented alone in a binocular rivalry paradigm (faces were presented to one eye, houses to the other). In both studies, faces previously paired with negative (but not positive or neutral) gossip dominated longer in visual consciousness. These findings demonstrate that gossip, as a potent form of social affective learning, can influence vision in a completely top-down manner, independent of the basic structural features of a face.
The positive effects of mindfulness meditation on pain and working memory may result from an improved ability to regulate a crucial brain wave called the alpha rhythm, say researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This rhythm is thought to “turn down the volume” on distracting information, which suggests that a key value of meditation may be helping the brain deal with an often-overstimulating world.
Studies on neurocognitive processes indicate that mindfulness meditation increases awareness and the creation of alternatives to mindless, automatic behavior – reducing the stress response by guiding conscious thought away from uncontrollable past or future scenarios and towards a non-attached acceptance of present circumstances, rather than battling unwanted thoughts.
Though violence has indisputably declined, Dr. Pinker says, it could rise again. But by understanding the causes of the decline, humanity can work to promote peace. He endorses the new book “Winning the War on War” (Dutton/Penguin), by the political scientist Joshua S. Goldstein, which argues that the slogan “If you want peace, fight for justice” is precisely the wrong advice.
If you want peace, Dr. Goldstein argues, work for peace. Dr. Pinker agrees.
How do humans separate sarcasm from sincerity? Research on the subject is leading to insights about how the mind works.
Many parts of the brain are involved in processing sarcasm, according to recent brain imaging studies. Rankin has found that the temporal lobes and the parahippocampus are involved in picking up the sarcastic tone of voice. While the left hemisphere of the brain seems to be responsible for interpreting literal statements, the right hemisphere and both frontal lobes seem to be involved in figuring out when the literal statement is intended to mean exactly the opposite, according to a study by researchers at the University of Haifa.
Historical accounts of financial crises suggest that fear and greed are the common denominators of these disruptive events: periods of unchecked greed eventually lead to excessive leverage and unsustainable asset-price levels, and the inevitable collapse results in unbridled fear, which must subside before any recovery is possible. The cognitive neurosciences may provide some new insights into this boom/bust pattern through a deeper understanding of the dynamics of emotion and human behavior. In this chapter, I describe some recent research from the neurosciences literature on fear and reward learning, mirror neurons, theory of mind, and the link between emotion and rational behavior. By exploring the neuroscientific basis of cognition and behavior, we may be able to identify more fundamental drivers of financial crises, and improve our models and methods for dealing with them.
People are complicated. We each have multiple selves, which emerge or don’t depending on context. If we’re going to address problems, we need to understand the contexts and how these tendencies emerge or don’t emerge. We need to design policies around that knowledge. Cutting off financing for this sort of research now is like cutting off navigation financing just as Christopher Columbus hit the shoreline of the New World.
The faster you move, the stronger your brain rhythms related to learning become.
The faster the speed becomes, the stronger the gamma rhythm becomes as well. 'The gamma rhythm is known to be controlled by attention and learning, but we find it is also governed by how fast you are running,' explains Professor Mehta, senior author of the study. 'This research provides an interesting link between the world of learning and the world of speed.'
In this new RSAnimate, Professor Renata Salecl explores the paralysing anxiety and dissatisfaction surrounding limitless choice. Does the freedom to be the architects of our own lives actually hinder rather than help us? Does our preoccupation with choosing and consuming actually obstruct social change?
Humans are "natural-born cyborgs," and the Internet is our giant "extended mind.". This concept of the extended mind was first raised in 1998, right around the time Google was born, by two philosophers, Andy Clark, now at the University of Edinburgh, and David Chalmers, now at the Australian National University. In the journal Analysis, they published a short essay called “The Extended Mind” in which they asked a simple question: “Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin?” Most people might answer, “At the skull.” But Clark and Chalmers set out to convince their readers that the mind is not simply the product of the neurons in our brains, locked away behind a wall of bone. Rather, they argued that the mind is something more: a system made up of the brain plus parts of its environment.
Las TIC han generado posibilidades reales de participación. Las redes posibilitan la organización de la gente. Las redes ayudan a globalizar los mensajes. El “nosotros”, la comunidad a la que pertenecemos, es más amplio que nunca. Internet ha provocado la creación de un nuevo imaginario colectivo. La red hace posible la democracia directa, la desaparición de los intermediarios
This growing, dispersed body of research reminds us of a few key insights. First, the unconscious parts of the mind are most of the mind, where many of the most impressive feats of thinking take place. Second, emotion is not opposed to reason; our emotions assign value to things and are the basis of reason. Finally, we are not individuals who form relationships. We are social animals, deeply interpenetrated with one another, who emerge out of relationships.
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