It’s In Your Hands

Chimpanzee vs Human hand

Chimpanzee vs Human hand

A study of the human hand by the U of Utah proposes an interesting and controversial theory about human evolution: that we developed to fight more efficiently over time. It’s no secret – humans are a violent species. In fact, all great apes are basically violent.

We have a tendency to fight to resolve conflict – including competition of all sorts – the most popular athletic competitions especially, are full of violence. According to the U of U theory, in addition to developing hands to manipulate tools, we evolved hands for fighting. Their evidence is pretty convincing to me and yet…

Did we evolve hands for fighting?

Did we evolve hands for fighting?

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Originally posted 2013-01-30 10:00:05.

Intuition Reveals Biases?

Bad habits can be the result of twisted subconscious biases.

If you’ve been experiencing “twisted intuition” – that is, your sense of things or your “inner voice” or “inner guidance” seems to be off or too often incorrect – maybe it’s time to reprogram.

Researchers at Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at the University College London have managed to image the brain while it processes subconscious subliminal cues. This is important because it demonstrates for the first time how our brain processes subconscious information. We often think of such information as intuition or inspiration from some external source when instead, it seems we develop these “signals” from within.

Dr. Mathias Pessiglione, lead researcher concludes, “We conclude that, even without conscious processing of contextual cues, our brain can learn their reward value and use them to provide a bias on decision making.”

Decision bias?

I think I read that correctly. And just what is a decision bias? It could be thought of as that “still small voice” from your intuition that many think of as their “higher self” or even God. It is that “sense” we get when one choice “feels better” than another although we don’t know why.

My thought about this phenomenon is that we learn many life-important lessons BEFORE we develop reasoning circuitry in our brains. That period of development we call infancy is also when we connect reward with context – the basis of decision bias. This could easily explain why some people feel inspired by a piece of music while another person is totally turned off by it. Context cues that trigger to reward – leading to a decision bias. Continue reading

Originally posted 2008-10-29 10:00:29.

When Change Is Evident

Portia Nelson was a true renaissance woman

Portia Nelson was a true renaissance woman.

From the brilliant Portia Nelson, the key to recognizing when real change has occurred:

“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.”

? Portia Nelson, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery

Originally posted 2013-11-13 10:00:53.

Breathe to Relieve Panic

Patients reported a new ability to reduce panic symptoms by means of changing their respiration.

Patients reported a new ability to reduce panic symptoms by means of changing their respiration.

“We found that with CART it’s the therapeutic change in carbon dioxide that changes the panic symptoms – and not vice versa,” said Alicia E. Meuret, psychologist and panic disorder expert,  Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.

CART stands for Capnometry-Assisted Respiratory Training – a breathing exercise designed to naturally lower carbon dioxide levels. “In our study, cognitive therapy didn’t change respiratory physiology, but CART did effectively reduce hyperventilation. CART was proved an effective and powerful treatment that reduces the panic by means of normalizing respiratory physiology.” (Meuret)

After looking over the study, I’m concerned about the small number of test subjects (41) and the comparison of CART with only one other panic disorder treatment, Cognitive Therapy (CT).

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Originally posted 2011-02-23 10:00:15.

Using the Halo Effect

Act responsibly

It pays to ACT RESPONSIBLY! Do socially responsible things – benefit your community!

The halo effect has to do with our human ability to relate various unrelated concepts together into a greater whole. We do this when we think about people – we relate a “sense” of good or bad, better or worse, from a simple first meeting we call a first impression. When I get an impression from our first meeting that you’re a good person, I’ll tend to extend other positive traits to you, what you do, and what you produce or sell. That is the essence of good salesmanship – making a good personal impression on customers.

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