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
Deric Bownds' MindBlog: Response of large scale brain networks to acute stress.
BPS Research Digest: It's possible to "forget" unwanted habits
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
Helsinki's ambitious plan to make car ownership pointless in 10 years | Cities | theguardian.com
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
And one dream is to use this new information to create an electric organ in a creature that doesn’t normally have one, says Lindsay Traeger, a biologist who works in Sussman’s lab.
"I definitely think that it’s a possibility in the future," says Traeger. "I’m not sure how far off it is, but it’s probably closer than we can imagine."
Maybe someday people could have little electric organs to power medical devices like pacemakers, she says, to do away with the need for invasive procedures to replace batteries. — A Shocking Fish Tale Surprises Evolutionary Biologists : NPR