Links for Keyword: Emotions

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to our mailing list, to receive news updates. Learn more.


Links 1 - 20 of 1007

By Eva Frederick Yellow is usually the color of happy, joyful emotions. But according to a new study, not all people associate the sunshiney shade with good vibes. To find out what factors might play a role, researchers tested a new hypothesis: What if people’s physical surroundings affect their feelings about certain colors? For instance, if someone lived in cold and rainy Finland, would they feel differently about the color yellow from someone who lived near the Sahara Desert? The researchers looked at color-emotion data from an ongoing international survey of 6625 people in 55 countries. The survey asks participants to rate 12 colors on how closely they are associated with feelings including joy, pride, fear, and shame. Yellow is not so fun in the sun The darker the shade in the below map, the higher the likelihood of people associating the color yellow with joyful emotions. Overall, people were more likely to associate yellow with joy when they lived in rainier countries that lay farther from the equator, researchers report in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. © 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 26675 - Posted: 10.07.2019

By Olga Perepelkina, Kristina Astakhova We all remember “the dress.” An illusion like this shows that even a phenomenon as basic as color perception can be ambiguous. Emotions are much more complex entities than colors and thus can lead to even more confusion. Our perception of emotional expressions is related not only to the physical properties of a face, but also to a bunch of other factors affecting both the percipient (for example, a person's past experience, cultural background, or individual expectations) and the situation itself (the context). To test that idea, researchers at Neurodata Lab created a short test and asked more than 1,400 people from 29 countries to have a look at four pairs of photographs, or eight in total. The first image in each pair showed a woman with a certain facial expression. The second was identical to the first, except that it had an object added to it: a mascara brush, a book and glasses, a toothpick or a guitar. These objects added context. People then had to look at every image and indicate if the facial expressions looked emotional to them. Responses differed significantly between the photos with an added object and those without one. On average, people responded that the faces were “emotional” in most images without any additional context (in 3.52 out of four). After an object was added, subjects frequently changed their opinions and instead responded that emotions were present in only one about photo out of four (to be precise, it was 1.2 out of four). Emotional perception depends on context in the broadest sense of this word. The way we express ourselves nonverbally is affected by an array of factors, such as individual differences in age, gender, society or culture, and differences in various situational factors. © 2019 Scientific American

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 26612 - Posted: 09.15.2019

Maanvi Singh The notion that you can smile your way to happiness is an enduring one. Back in the 1800s, Charles Darwin was among the first to come up with what modern scientists further developed into the "facial feedback hypothesis." That's the idea that smiling can make you happier and frowning can make you sadder or angrier — that changing your facial expression can intensify or even transform your mood. Dick Van Dyke sang about the phenomenon — and so did Nat King Cole. And it is still taught in psychology classes today. But researchers are now finding that this phenomenon may be more complicated than they once thought. A recent study that reviewed around 50 years of data, including the results of nearly 300 experiments testing the facial feedback theory, has found that if smiling boosts happiness, it's only by a tiny bit. "I know when I'm sad and people tell me to smile, it just makes me more angry." Nick Coles, social psychology researcher, University of Tennessee, Knoxville After crunching all the numbers, the researchers say their results suggest that if 100 people smiled — all else equal among them — only about seven might expect to feel happier than if they hadn't smiled. The study also looked at the effects of a number of other facial expressions, including scowling and frowning, and tried to more generally understand the extent to which positive facial expressions create positive emotions and negative facial expressions create negative emotions. In each case, "the effects were extremely tiny," says Nick Coles, a social psychology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who led the study. The results, published in the June issue of Psychological Bulletin, add to a debate that has been ongoing "for at least 100 years — since the dawn of psychology," Coles says. © 2019 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 26370 - Posted: 07.01.2019

By Kevin Arceneaux, Bert N. Bakker, Claire Gothreau, and Gijs Schumacher Science is supposed to be self-correcting. Ugly facts kill beautiful theories, to paraphrase the 19th-century biologist Thomas Huxley. But, as we learned recently, policies at the top scientific journals don’t make this easy. Our story starts in 2008, when a group of researchers published an article (here it is without a paywall) that found political conservatives have stronger physiological reactions to threatening images than liberals do. The article was published in Science, which is one of the most prestigious general science journals around. It’s the kind of journal that can make a career in academia. It was a path-breaking and provocative study. For decades, political scientists and psychologists have tried to understand the psychological roots of ideological differences. The piece published in Science offered some clues as to why liberals and conservatives differ in their worldviews. Perhaps it has to do with how the brain is wired, the researchers suggested—specifically, perhaps it’s because conservatives’ brains are more attuned to threats than liberals’. It was an exciting finding, it helped usher in a new wave of psychophysiological work in the study of politics, and it generated extensive coverage in popular media. In 2018, 10 years after the publication of the study, the findings were featured on an episode of NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast. Fast forward to 2014. All four of us were studying the physiological basis of political attitudes, two of us in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Bakker and Schumacher at the University of Amsterdam), and two of us in Philadelphia (Arceneaux and Gothreau at Temple University). We had raised funds to create labs with expensive equipment for measuring physiological reactions, because we were excited by the possibilities that the 2008 research opened for us. © 2019 The Slate Group LLC.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 26348 - Posted: 06.24.2019

Ian Sample Science editor In a project that has all the makings of a Roald Dahl classic, scientists have hit on an answer to the mystery of how man’s best friend got its puppy dog eyes. The sad, imploring expression held such power over humans during 33,000 years of canine domestication that the preference for dogs that could pull off the look steered the evolution of their facial muscles, researchers have said. The result is that dogs gradually acquired a new forehead muscle named the levator anguli oculi medialis, or LAOM, and have used it to deploy the doleful look to devastating effect ever since. “They are very powerful animals in how they capture our hearts,” said Prof Bridget Waller, the director of the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Portsmouth. “We pay a lot of attention to faces, they are meaningful to us, and this expression makes dogs look juvenile and sad. It induces a nurturing response. It’s a cute factor.” Puppy dog eyes are achieved by the LAOM raising the inner eyebrows, in some cases quite dramatically. The movement makes the eyes look larger and the face more babyish. Humans use different muscles to produce a similar expression when they are sad, which may explain why it brings out the caregiver in people. To investigate how the look developed in dogs, the UK-US research team acquired wolf and dog cadavers from taxidermists and US state organisations and dissected their heads to compare the facial muscles. No animals were killed for the research. © 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 26335 - Posted: 06.18.2019

Nicole Karlis There is no way Leonardo da Vinci could have predicted that the Mona Lisa would remain one of the most widely-debated works of art in modern day — thanks in no small part to her intriguing expression. Indeed, as one of the most famous paintings in the world, Mona Lisa's facial expression continues to beguile both commoners and academics. A 2017 study published in the journal Scientific Reports (part of the network of Nature's journals) proclaimed that Mona Lisa’s smile did indeed depict genuine happiness, according to the study's subjects who compared it with subtly manipulated facial expressions. Now, a new study published in the neuroscience journal Cortex says that her smile is non-genuine. In other words, she's faking it. The three neuroscience and cognition researchers who penned the article fixated on the asymmetry of Mona Lisa’s smile. Some historical theories suggest the facial asymmetry is due to the loss of the subject's anterior teeth, while others have speculated it could have been related to Bell’s Palsy. The Cortex article's authors note that as the upper part of her face does not appear to be active, it is possible to interpret her smile as “non-genuine.” This would relate to theories of emotion neuropsychology, which is the characterization of the behavioral modifications that follow a neurological condition. © 2018 Salon Media Group, Inc

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 26300 - Posted: 06.05.2019

Nicholas A. Christakis What is our conscience, and where does it come from? In her highly readable Conscience, the philosopher Patricia Churchland argues that “we would have no moral stance on anything unless we were social”. That we have a conscience at all relates to how evolution has shaped our neurobiology for social living. Thus, we judge what is right or wrong using feelings that urge us in a general direction and judgement that shapes these urges into actions. Such judgement typically reflects “some standard of a group to which the individual feels attached”. This idea of conscience as a neurobiological capacity for internalizing social norms contrasts with strictly philosophical accounts of how and why we tell right from wrong. There is a strand of thought in evolutionary biology (advanced, for instance, by the theorist Bret Weinstein) that the capacity for moral debate itself has a social function, binding groups regardless of the topics contested or their abstract moral ‘rightness’. Moreover, many of our moral rules — such as the idea that we should not betray our friends or abandon our children — have clearly been shaped by natural selection to optimize our capacity to live in groups. Other rules, for instance regarding the correctness of reciprocity, are similar: we feel quite intensely and innately that if someone gives us a gift of food, we should reciprocate on a future occasion. © 2019 Springer Nature Publishing AG

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 26276 - Posted: 05.29.2019

Carolyn Wilke Here’s a downer: Pessimism seems contagious among ravens. But positivity? Not so much. When ravens saw fellow birds’ responses to a disliked food, but not the food itself, their interest in their own food options waned, researchers report May 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study suggests that the birds pick up on and even share negative emotions, the researchers say. Ravens are “very good problem solvers … but this paper’s really highlighting their social intelligence as well,” says Andrew Gallup, a psychologist at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica, N.Y., who was not involved in the study. The work paints a richer picture of how the birds’ brains work, he says. Known for their smarts, ravens act in ways that suggest a capacity for empathy, such as by appearing to console a distressed comrade. Thomas Bugnyar, a cognitive ethologist at the University of Vienna, and his colleagues wanted to look into one building block of empathy — whether animals share emotions. To be able to feel for others, an animal needs to be able to feel like others, he says. But sizing up an animal’s mood is tricky. Scientists generally rely on behavioral or physiological cues to clue into a creature’s emotional state. More challenging is assessing how one animal’s mood might influence another’s: Similar actions appearing to stem from kindred emotions may just be mimicry. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2019

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 26259 - Posted: 05.22.2019

By DAN HURLEY MAY 15, 2019 The piercing, high-pitched noises were first heard by a couple of recently arrived United States Embassy officials in Havana in late 2016, soon after Donald Trump was elected president. They heard the noises in their homes, in the city’s leafy western suburbs. If they moved to a different room, or walked outside, the noise stopped. The two officials said they believed that the sound was man-made, a form of harassment. Around the same time, they began to develop a variety of symptoms: headaches, fatigue, dizziness, mental fog, hearing loss, nausea. On Dec. 30, 2016, the Embassy’s chargé d’affaires, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, and his security chief, Anthony Spotti, were told what the men were experiencing. By then, a third Embassy worker who lived nearby also heard the sounds and began developing symptoms. DeLaurentis eventually sent the three for evaluation by an otolaryngologist at the University of Miami, who told them they had damage to their inner ears’ vestibular organs. Similar reports of sickness after hearing noises began trickling in from other diplomats in Havana. One of them, a foreign-service officer, told me he was awakened one morning in March by a screeching noise. “It paralyzed me,” he said. “When the sound occurred, I could not move. I couldn’t get up until it stopped.” In the days that followed, he felt extreme fatigue, heard a ringing in his ears, found himself making many mistakes at work and became sensitive to loud sounds and bright light. That month, DeLaurentis called a meeting of his senior staff to tell them what was going on. He insisted that they tell no one else — not even their families — which had the perverse effect of heightening the staff members’ anxiety rather than calming it. Within days, DeLaurentis felt compelled to call an open meeting of the American staff. More than 60 people crammed into the Embassy’s Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility — an inner sanctum for confidential communications. They were told about the noises and the symptoms and were offered the opportunity to be tested if they had concerns. Nearly all of those present, as well as some family members, soon asked to be evaluated.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 26244 - Posted: 05.17.2019

Chauncey DeVega Human behavior is a function of both nature and nurture. This, of course, extends to politics. Hence, researchers have shown that, on average, the brains of conservative authoritarians as compared to liberals are quite different from one another. For example, conservative authoritarians are more fear-centered, tend to fixate on negativity, default to order and hierarchy, and are averse to new stimuli. By comparison, liberals are more tolerant of ambiguity and are more open to new experiences. The brains of liberals also seek out novelty. However, there is an important qualifier: the social dynamics of a given society at a specific time also have a profound impact on how nature and nurture interact and the types of human behavior which results. Ultimately, human beings are much more than the sum of their parts — though biology may, in fact, play a very outsize role in human behavior. In the United States and Europe, the relationship between nature, nurture and politics is particularly important in light of our shared authoritarian moment. How are right-wing authoritarian leaders such as Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen are able to use fear to stir up racism, nativism, bigotry, and even violence among their supporters? © 2018 Salon Media Group, Inc

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 26225 - Posted: 05.10.2019

By Kate Murphy Let’s say you’re walking down the street and coming toward you is someone pushing a baby in a stroller. The baby looks right at you and bursts into a big, gummy grin. What do you do? If you’re like most people, you reflexively smile back and your insides just melt. The baby might react by smiling even more broadly and maybe kicking its feet with delight, which will only deepen your smile and add to the warm feeling spreading in your chest. But what if you couldn’t smile naturally, with the usual crinkles around your eyes and creases in your cheeks? There’s convincing scientific evidence that the same kind of mutual engagement and interplay — with infants, or anyone else — would be difficult to achieve. Experts say mirroring another person’s facial expressions is essential for not only recognizing emotion, but also feeling it. That’s why anything that disrupts one’s ability to emote is cause for concern, particularly in an age when Botox and other cosmetic procedures that paralyze, stretch, plump or otherwise alter the face are commonplace. Permanently pouty lips and smooth brows might be good for selfies, but research suggests they flatten your affect, disconnecting you from your feelings and the feelings of others. “People these days are constantly rearranging their facial appearance in ways that prevent engaging in facial mimicry, having no idea how much we use our faces to coordinate and manage social interactions,” said Paula Niedenthal, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has published several studies on facial mimicry and its emotional and social importance. Following the example of celebrities like the Kardashians, the use of Botox injections is up more than 800 percent since 2000, and the use of soft tissue fillers is up 300 percent. Plus, there has been the advent of so-called “mini-facelifts” whereby people can take a more incremental approach to cosmetic surgery, getting their eyes, foreheads, chins or cheeks done à la carte. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 26158 - Posted: 04.20.2019

By Veronique Greenwood The sun bears were making faces at each other. And that was a bit of a surprise. Comparative psychologists have been studying the facial expressions of primates like orangutans and gorillas for years. They have evolved in complex societies and thus need to be able to convey their joy, anger, and other emotions to their companions. But nobody had thought to look at creatures like sun bears, who live mostly solitary lives. Marina Davila-Ross, a primatologist at the University of Portsmouth in England, and her colleagues learned that a handful of the Southeast Asian bears, which primarily live alone in the wild, were in a rehabilitation center near the orangutan center in Malaysia where Dr. Davila-Ross was doing research. Curious about whether facial communication was more common in the animal kingdom that people thought, they deployed cameras to capture hours of footage of the bears interacting with each other. In a study published Thursday in Scientific Reports, they say that sun bears do use facial expressions to communicate, suggesting that the capacity to do so may be widespread, and that social creatures do not have a monopoly on expressing themselves this way. Sun bears are exceedingly solitary. A female’s one or two cubs will live with her for about two years, and then set off for lives on their own. Adults seem to rarely meet, except for mating. At the center, bears that cannot be released back into the wild live in enclosures in groups of five or six. For the bears, it was an unnatural setup — but it was perfect for the scientists. In their footage of 22 bears going about their daily lives, the scientists zeroed in on moments when the animals were playing, batting at each other and grappling good-humoredly. They watched for moments where the playing bears were looking into each other’s faces, and then they looked for certain facial expressions, like opening one’s mouth wide and showing teeth. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 26067 - Posted: 03.23.2019

Terry Gross When Frans de Waal started studying nonhuman primates, in the Netherlands more than 40 years ago, he was told not to consider the emotions of the animals he was observing. "Thoughts and feelings — the mental processes basically — were off limits," he says. "We were told not to talk about them, because they were considered by many scientists as 'inner states' and you only were allowed to talk about 'outer states.' " But over the course of his career, de Waal became convinced that primates and other animals express emotions similar to human emotions. He's now the director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, where his office window looks out on a colony of chimps. "I am now at the point that I think emotions are more like organs," he says. "All my organs are present in a rat's body, and the same way, I think, all my emotions are probably present in the rat." De Waal writes about primate empathy, rivalry, bonding, sex and murder in his new book, Mama's Last Hug. The title of the book was inspired by a tender interaction between a dying 59-year-old chimp named Mama and de Waal's mentor, Jan van Hooff, who had known Mama for more than 40 years. "People were surprised [by] how humanlike the expression of Mama was and how humanlike her gestures were," de Waal says of the interaction. "I thought, 'Well, everyone knows that chimps are our closest relative, so why wouldn't the way they express their emotions be extremely similar to ours?' But people were surprised by that." © 2019 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 26054 - Posted: 03.20.2019

Erin Wayman During the last few weeks of her life, Mama, an elderly chimpanzee at a zoo in the Netherlands, received a special visitor. As Mama lay curled up on a mound of straw, biologist Jan van Hooff entered her enclosure. Van Hooff, who had known Mama for more than 40 years, knelt down and stroked the arm of the listless chimp. When Mama looked up, her vacant face erupted into a smile. She reached out to van Hooff, calling out as she patted his face and neck. For primatologist Frans de Waal, this touching scene isn’t difficult to interpret: Mama was happy to see her old friend. But such an interpretation has been taboo among many behavioral scientists, who have claimed nonhuman animals are like unthinking, emotionless machines that react to situations with preprogrammed instincts. In the thought-provoking Mama’s Last Hug, de Waal dismantles that view. He presents piles of evidence that animals are emotional beings. The book is a companion to Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, in which he explored animal intelligence (SN: 12/24/16 & 1/7/17, p. 40). Emotions, de Waal writes, “are bodily and mental states — from anger and fear to sexual desire and affection and seeking the upper hand — that drive behavior.” On page after page, he tells of depressed fish, empathetic rats, envious monkeys and other emotional creatures. More than a collection of fascinating anecdotes, Mama’s Last Hug weaves together formal observations of animals in the wild and in captivity, behavioral experiments and neuroscience research. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2019.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 25982 - Posted: 02.26.2019

By Roni Caryn Rabin Q. Is there a purpose to a yawn? I know it means you’re sleepy, but is the body trying to accomplish something by the act of yawning? A. People yawn when they’re tired, but also when they wake from a night’s sleep. We yawn when we’re bored, but also when we’re anxious, or hungry, or about to start a new activity. Yawning is contagious — we often start yawning the minute someone near us starts. “There are so many triggers. People who sky-dive say they tend to yawn before jumping. Police officers say they yawn before they enter a difficult situation,” said Adrian Guggisberg, a professor of clinical neuroscience at the University of Geneva. Reading about yawning makes people yawn. You are probably yawning right now. But the physiological purpose of a yawn remains a mystery. “The real answer so far is we don’t really know why we yawn,” Dr. Guggisberg said. “No physiological effect of yawning has been observed so far, and that’s why we speculate. It’s possible yawning doesn’t really have a physiological effect.” Until about 30 years ago, scientists explained yawning as a way for the body to take in a large amount of air in order to increase oxygen levels in the blood in response to oxygen deprivation. But the oxygenation hypothesis was discarded after being disproved by a series of experiments published in 1987. One current theory is that yawning is a brain cooling mechanism “that functions to promote arousal and alertness,” according to Andrew Gallup, an assistant professor of psychology at the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute in Utica, who has published studies on the topic. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 25980 - Posted: 02.22.2019

Jon Hamilton For comedian Lewis Black, anger is a job. Black is famous for his rants about stuff he finds annoying or unfair or just plain infuriating. Onstage, he often looks ready for a fight. He leans forward. He shouts. He stabs the air with an index finger, or a middle finger. To a scientist, Black looks a lot like a belligerent dog, or an irritated gerbil. "Practically every sexually reproducing, multicellular animal shows aggressive behavior," says David Anderson, a professor of biology at Caltech and co-author of the book The Neuroscience of Emotion. "Fruit flies show aggression." When I relay that last bit to Black, he's skeptical. "Really?" he says. "Come on." But Anderson, whose lab studies fruit flies, says the evidence is compelling. "They fight over females, they fight over food, they threaten each other, they put their wings up in the air, they charge at each other," he says. But does aggressive behavior mean a fruit fly gets angry the way Black does? Anderson says that depends on how you define the term. "We use anger subjectively to refer to our experience, our conscious experience, of rage, the feeling that you are about to explode, the feeling of irritation," he says. Black feels that way a lot. And he has spent decades thinking about how anger works in his own brain. "My anger comes from a collection of things that occur during the course of a day that build up," he says. "So by the end of a day, six or seven things have happened to me that have gone into my anger bank." © 2019 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 25917 - Posted: 01.31.2019

By Scott Atran “I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it.”—Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms The revival of parochial nationalism in tandem with the spread of transnational terrorism has fragmented social consensus across the world. Governments and peoples are struggling to understand what to do to get along without constant conflict, or even to see if that is possible anymore. A question that drives my colleagues and me is: Can science be of any help? And here I want to focus on one particular contribution from social science: research into how sacred values can ratchet up conflict, and what might be done about it. Current forms of seemingly intractable political conflict—over the wall in America, Brexit in Britain, the Yellow Vests in France, Catalonian Independence in Spain—appear to share two critical features of more violent enduring conflicts, such as the Israel-Palestine dispute or the fight with ISIS and its ilk, which our interdisciplinary research teams of scientists, policymakers and artists at Artis International have been exploring in depth for more than a decade: entrenchment of issues, however material to begin with, in appeal to the uncompromising nature of so-called “sacred values” that people believe in, like God and country; and the belief that the one side, because of its antagonistic values, wants to exclude the other side from social or political life, or even from life itself. With support from Minerva Research Initiative of the U.S. Department of Defense and National Science Foundation, we recently published the first neuroimaging study of a radicalizing population. The research used ethnographic surveys and psychological analysis to identify 535 young Muslim men in and around Barcelona—where ISIS-supporting jihadis killed 13 people and wounded 100 more in the city center in August 2017. © 2019 Scientific American,

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 25906 - Posted: 01.28.2019

Jef Akst Alan McElligott, an animal behavior researcher at the University of Roehampton in the UK, continues to be impressed by goats. Since he started studying the charismatic ungulates a decade ago, he’s found that mothers remember the calls of their kids several months after they’ve been separated, and that goats can solve a two-step puzzle box akin to those typically used in primate research—and remember how to do it a year later. Now his team has found that goats at the Buttercups Sanctuary in Kent, UK, can distinguish between happy and angry human expressions. “Given some of the other things that we’ve found out about goats, I guess we shouldn’t really be that surprised,” says McElligott, who’s hoping to improve welfare guidelines for the animals by revealing their smart and social nature. McElligott’s experiment was simple. Working with 20 goats at the sanctuary, he and his colleagues presented each with two black-and-white images—one of a person smiling, and the other of the same person making an angry expression—then sat back and watched what the animal did. “If the goats ignored the photographs, for example, or walked up to the photographs and ripped them off metal panels and chewed on them, would I have been shocked? Possibly not,” says McElligott. “But . . . the goats did seem to take the time to have a look at these photographs and actually study them, believe it or not.” And based on the time they spent interacting with each image, the goats seemed to prefer the happy snapshot (R Soc Open Sci, 5:180491, 2018). © 1986 - 2018 The Scientist

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 25777 - Posted: 12.12.2018

By Judi Ketteler A friend of mine who works for a jewelry company that makes necklaces inscribed with empowering sayings recently offered me one. “How about the ‘I am fearless’ one?” she asked. “I don’t think so,” I said. “I’m not fearless.” She laughed. I did too. Except I meant it. And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. I suspect fearlessness is a concept invented by motivational speakers to sell books and command large audiences at events that feature fear-conquering exercises. I wonder, is being fearless even a real thing? “Talking about being fearless covers up where people really are with fear,” says Dr. Kerry Ressler, director of the Neurobiology of Fear Laboratory at McLean Hospital. “After all, fear is the most evolutionarily conserved behavioral reflex for survival.” Fear, he says, produces the same responses in people now as it did at the beginning of human history. We’ve needed fear to survive as a species, to run from the lion crouching in the brush, and we still need it. “The question,” he says, “is how do you not let the emotional response of the fear reflex run wild?” Dr. Ressler says the great majority of people — about 90 percent — are resilient after something frightening or tragic happens, like a car accident or the death of a loved one. They are left with a bad memory or with grief, but they have perspective. Yet about 10 percent of people generalize the fearful memory or the grief. Their brains continually get cues that the bad thing is still happening, and their bodies respond accordingly. “It becomes a black hole of emotion,” Dr. Ressler says. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 25770 - Posted: 12.11.2018

Jon Hamilton Scientists may have caught a glimpse of what sadness looks like in the brain. A study of 21 people found that for most, feeling down was associated with greater communication between brain areas involved in emotion and memory, a team from the University of California, San Francisco reported Thursday in the journal Cell. "There was one network that over and over would tell us whether they were feeling happy or sad," says Vikaas Sohal, an associate professor of psychiatry at UCSF. The finding could lead to a better understanding of mood disorders, and perhaps new ways of treating them. Previous research had established that sadness and other emotions involve the amygdala, an almond-shaped mass found in each side of the brain. And there was also evidence that the hippocampus, which is associated with memory, can play a role in emotion. But Sohal and the other researchers were curious about precisely what these and other brain areas are doing when someone's mood shifts. "We really wanted to get at, you know, when you're feeling down or feeling happy, what exactly is happening in the brain at those moments," Sohal says. You can't get that information from brain scans, which don't capture changes that happen in fractions of a second. So the team studied 21 people who were in the hospital awaiting brain surgery for severe epilepsy. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress; Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 25659 - Posted: 11.09.2018