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Neuroscience and the soul: competing explanations ... [Cognition. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI

The development of fMRI techniques has generated a boom of neuroscience research across the psychological sciences, and revealed neural correlates for many psychological phenomena seen as central to the human experience (e.g., morality, agency). Meanwhile, the rise of neuroscience has reignited old debates over mind-body dualism and the soul. While some scientists use neuroscience to bolster a material account of consciousness, others point to unexplained neural phenomena to defend dualism and a spiritual perspective on the mind. In two experiments we examine how exposure to neuroscience research impacts belief in the soul. We find that belief in soul decreases when neuroscience provides strong mechanistic explanations for mind. But when explanatory gaps in neuroscience research are emphasized, belief in soul is enhanced, suggesting that physical and metaphysical explanations may be used reflexively as alternative theories for mind. Implications for the future of belief in soul and neuroscience research are discussed.
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Social Neuroscience Advances
Understanding ourselves and how we interact
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College students use 'smart' technology in football helmets to detect injuries

College students use 'smart' technology in football helmets to detect injuries | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Imagine a football helmet with brain wave probes and a device that measures acceleration forces to detect concussions on the field and directly communicate the information to medical staff.
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Study shows smoking cigarettes makes quitting drinking harder

Study shows smoking cigarettes makes quitting drinking harder | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers working at Yale University has found that quitting drinking may be made harder if people continue to smoke cigarettes during recovery. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their study that relied ...
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New cell marking technique to help understand how our brain works

New cell marking technique to help understand how our brain works | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Scientists from the University of Southampton have developed a new technique to mark individual brain cells to help improve our understanding of how the brain works.
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An existing drug, riluzole, may prevent foggy ‘old age’ brain

An existing drug, riluzole, may prevent foggy ‘old age’ brain | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Forgetfulness, it turns out, is all in the head. Scientists have shown fading memory and clouding judgment, the type that comes with advancing age, show up as lost and altered connections between neurons in the brain.
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Tempted To Touch: Sound Of Women's Voices At Peak Fertility Electrify Men's Skin

Tempted To Touch: Sound Of Women's Voices At Peak Fertility Electrify Men's Skin | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A woman's voice may be more seductive than we expect, especially when she's at the most fertile point of her menstrual cycle.
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Study reveals brain’s internal compass #science

Study reveals brain’s internal compass #science | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
British researchers have identified the precise part of the brain which acts as a person's internal compass.

Via CineversityTV
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Small molecules researched for the regeneration of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson’s disease

Small molecules researched for the regeneration of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson’s disease | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Researchers in the University of Helsinki plan to develop orally administrable small molecules that act similarly to neurotrophic factor GDNF.
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Introduction to unique and powerful features of schema therapy 5.m2ts

A brief overview of unique aspects of schema therapy that make it exceptionally effective in the treatment of long standing emotional difficulties that have ...

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Anti-inflammatory drugs may be used for treatment of depression: researchers

Anti-inflammatory drugs may be used for treatment of depression: researchers | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Scientists at seven UK universities are to set up a research consortium aimed at exploiting a newly discovered link between immune disorders and mental illness.
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A Standard for Neuroscience Data

A Standard for Neuroscience Data | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A new computational framework for standardizing neuroscience data on a global level has been developed by researchers.
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Serotonin Neuron Subtypes

Serotonin Neuron Subtypes | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
New research into serotonin neuron subtypes could help in better understanding of SIDS and depression treatments.
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A clear, molecular view of the evolution of human color vision

A clear, molecular view of the evolution of human color vision | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Many genetic mutations in visual pigments, spread over millions of years, were required for humans to evolve from a primitive mammal with a dim, shadowy view of the world into a greater ape able to see all the colors in a rainbow.
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It might be possible to restore lost memories

It might be possible to restore lost memories | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
From KurzweilAI:
New UCLA research indicates that lost memories can be restored, offering hope for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
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Optogenetics captures neuronal transmission in live mammalian brain

Optogenetics captures neuronal transmission in live mammalian brain | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Swiss scientists have used a cutting-edge method to stimulate neurons with light. They have successfully recorded synaptic transmission between neurons in a live animal for the first time.
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Light-emitting e-readers before bedtime can adversely impact sleep

Light-emitting e-readers before bedtime can adversely impact sleep | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Use of a light-emitting electronic device (LE-eBook) in the hours before bedtime can adversely impact overall health, alertness, and the circadian clock which synchronizes the daily rhythm of sleep to external environmental time cues, according to...
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Limit imaging scans for headache? Neurosurgeons raise concerns

Limit imaging scans for headache? Neurosurgeons raise concerns | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Recent guidelines seeking to reduce the use of neuroimaging tests for patients with headaches run the risk of missing or delaying the diagnosis of brain tumors, according to a special article in the January issue of Neurosurgery, official journal...
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It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas: The Neuroscience of Our Nostalgia

It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas: The Neuroscience of Our Nostalgia | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Have you ever smelled something so familiar that it felt like you were transported back through time into one of your earlier memories? Have freshly baked cookies, your grandmother's chili sauce, or...
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Researchers read and write brain activity with light #science

Researchers read and write brain activity with light #science | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Neuroscientists at UCL have developed an ‘all-optical’ method for simultaneous recording and alteration of nervous impulses in the living brain.

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How Stress Changes The Brain

How Stress Changes The Brain | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

“We tend to think of stress as an immediate problem: The boss hovering over our desks; the mad dash to the subway at the end of a long day. And in the short-term, stress makes us feel irritable, anxious, tense, distracted and forgetful.”


Via Luis Valdes, Corina Dobre
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Compassion Training Alters Altruism and Neural Responses to Suffering | Psychological Science

Compassion Training Alters Altruism and Neural Responses to Suffering | Psychological Science | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

ABSTRACT: Compassion is a key motivator of altruistic behavior, but little is known about individuals’ capacity to cultivate compassion through training. We examined whether compassion may be systematically trained by testing whether (a) short-term compassion training increases altruistic behavior and (b) individual differences in altruism are associated with training-induced changes in neural responses to suffering. In healthy adults, we found that compassion training increased altruistic redistribution of funds to a victim encountered outside of the training context. Furthermore, increased altruistic behavior after compassion training was associated with altered activation in brain regions implicated in social cognition and emotion regulation, including the inferior parietal cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and in DLPFC connectivity with the nucleus accumbens. These results suggest that compassion can be cultivated with training and that greater altruistic behavior may emerge from increased engagement of neural systems implicated in understanding the suffering of other people, executive and emotional control, and reward processing.

 

Weng, H.Y. et al. (in press). Compassion training alters altruism and neural responses to suffering. Psychological Science. doi: 10.1177/0956797612469537

 

Picture credit: Doug Savage, Savage Chickens.


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Eileen Cardillo's curator insight, May 23, 2013 6:51 AM

University of Wisconsin-Madison does more standards-setting work. Most notably, they used an active control group of comparable quality and rigor and in their analyses linked behavior outside the scanner to neural activity during a different task. Bonus: the lead author, Helen Weng, is a graduate student.

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Genetic predisposition for enjoyment of amphetamine's effects found to reduce risk of schizophrenia, ADHD | UChicago News

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A Rumor of Empathy...in Psychology (the movie)

A Rumor of Empathy...in Psychology (the movie) | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

This educational video explores empathy in the listening and speaking of the community of psychologists, psychotherapists, and those committed to emotional and human well-being.

 

That about covers it. Where is empathy present and where is it missing? Should one expect the therapist to cry with you if the trauma is really, really sad? What if she or he does cry anyway? How does this relate to music therapy? Neurology? Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)? How does empathy relate to the “circle of caring”? All these questions and more are engaged. Not to be missed!

 

Note: All the usual disclaimers apply. This is a good faith, best effort to expand empathy in the world by capturing the experiences and narrative of a significant individual for educational purposes.

 

(c) Lou Agosta, The Chicago Empathy Project


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Lost Memories Might Be Able to Be Restored, Researchers Report

Lost Memories Might Be Able to Be Restored, Researchers Report | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A new study reports long term memories might not be stored in synapses, as was previously thought.
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Brain structures devoted to learning and memory are highly conserved in the animal kingdom

Brain structures devoted to learning and memory are highly conserved in the animal kingdom | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Whether you’re cramming for an exam or just trying to remember where you put your car keys, learning and memory are critical functions that we constantly employ in daily life.
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