“Fear that happiness leads to bad outcomes is perhaps most strong in East Asian cultures influenced by Taoism, which posits that “things tend to revert to their opposite”. A 2001 study asked participants to choose from a range of life-course graphs and found that Chinese people were more likely than Americans to choose graphs that showed periods of sadness following periods of joy. Other cultures, such as Japan and Iran, believe that happiness can bring misfortune as it causes inattentiveness. Similar fears are sometimes found in the West as reflected in adages such as “what goes up must come down.””—BPS Research Digest: It’s time for Western psychology to recognise that many individuals, and even entire cultures, fear happiness
“People often exert willpower to choose a more valuable delayed reward over a less valuable immediate reward, but using willpower is taxing and frequently fails. In this research, we demonstrate the ability to enhance self-control (i.e., forgoing smaller immediate rewards in favor of larger delayed rewards) without exerting additional willpower. Using behavioral and neuroimaging data, we show that a reframing of rewards (i) reduced the subjective value of smaller immediate rewards relative to larger delayed rewards, (ii) increased the likelihood of choosing the larger delayed rewards when choosing between two real monetary rewards, (iii) reduced the brain reward responses to immediate rewards in the dorsal and ventral striatum, and (iv) reduced brain activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (a correlate of willpower) when participants chose the same larger later rewards across the two choice frames. We conclude that reframing can promote self-control while avoiding the need for additional willpower expenditure.”—Deric Bownds’ MindBlog: Increased self control without increased willpower
“The Museum of Modern Art in New York added the first downloadable app to its collection this month: Björk’s Biophilia, which the singer released in 2011 along with an album of the same name.”—When is an app art? | Marketplace.org
“This is flexible, fluid thinking — children exploring an unlikely hypothesis. Exploratory learning comes naturally to young children, says Gopnik. Adults, on the other hand, jump on the first, most obvious solution and doggedly stick to it, even if it’s not working. That’s inflexible, narrow thinking. “We think the moral of the study is that maybe children are better at solving problems when the solution is an unexpected one,” says Gopnik.”—Preschoolers Outsmart College Students In Figuring Out Gadgets : Shots - Health News : NPR
When he was around 32 years old, Leonardo da Vinci applied to the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, for a job. The duke was in need of military expertise and Leonardo’s 10-point CV emphasized his military engineering skills:
3. Also, if one cannot, when besieging a terrain, proceed by…
“People perceive religious and moral iconography in ambiguous objects, ranging from grilled cheese to bird feces. In the current research, we examined whether moral concerns can shape awareness of perceptually ambiguous stimuli. In three experiments, we presented masked moral and non-moral words around the threshold for conscious awareness as part of a lexical decision task. Participants correctly identified moral words more frequently than non-moral words—a phenomenon we term the moral pop-out effect. The moral pop-out effect was only evident when stimuli were presented at durations that made them perceptually ambiguous, but not when the stimuli were presented too quickly to perceive or slowly enough to easily perceive. The moral pop-out effect was not moderated by exposure to harm and cannot be explained by differences in arousal, valence, or extremity. Although most models of moral psychology assume the initial perception of moral stimuli, our research suggests that moral beliefs and values may shape perceptual awareness.”—Deric Bownds’ MindBlog: Morality and perception speed
“Olsson et al. demonstrate the existence of a olfactory signal of illness, a aversive body odor that can signal other humans to keep their distance from a diseased person, but they do not identify the volatile chemicals that must be involved.:”—Deric Bownds’ MindBlog: The smell of sickness.
“This is the first time that people have integrated a truly synthetic, manmade thing into the machinery — in this case the most fundamental aspect of the machinery, the DNA — and used it to do something that system does, in this case store information," says Romesberg. "And obviously we can now store more information than we could before.”—Chemists Expand Nature’s Genetic Alphabet : Shots - Health News : NPR
“Together, the evidence is now piling up and pointing in the direction of cortical oscillations as a general mechanism for mediating interactions among functionally specialized neurons in distributed brain circuits.”—Why Smells Evoke Memories So Vividly — PsyBlog
Project Naptha is a browser extension that lets you copy text from images on the web.
Project Naptha automatically applies state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms on every image you see while browsing the web. The result is a seamless and intuitive experience, where you can highlight as…
If you believed you were drinking the indulgent shake, she says, your body responded as if you had consumed much more.
"The ghrelin levels dropped about three times more when people were consuming the indulgent shake (or thought they were consuming the indulgent shake)," she says, compared to the people who drank the sensible shake (or thought that’s what they were drinking).
Does that mean the facts don’t matter, that it’s what we think of the facts that matters?
"I don’t think I would go that far yet," Crum says. More tests need to be done, she says, to figure out exactly how much influence comes from food and mindset.
Using the labor of dozens of undergraduate students, scientists have built a customized yeast chromosome from scratch.
It’s a milestone in the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology, where organisms can be tailored for industrial use. In this case, the near-term goal is to understand the genetics of yeast, and eventually the genetics of us.