Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

How racism can hijack perception

If you just watched a really scary movie, a noise from another room (that you would normally ignore) could set your heart racing, as you perceive it as an intruder set to kill you rather than just the cat playing.  The same principle can apply to police shootings — did they perceive a phone as a gun just because they were primed for danger?  The article below describes how this is quite likely.  Gives a whole different perspective of the police racism problem.

The brain-heart dialogue shows how racism hijacks perception

Manos Tsakiris |14 April, 2017 | aeon

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April 16, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, psychology | , , | Leave a comment

Your future self is a stranger

Ever wonder why so many people don’t save for their retirement?  It turns out humans treat their future selves as a stranger — and would you give money to a stranger?  The article below explains this further and suggest ways you can counteract it:

Our Puny Human Brains Are Terrible at Thinking About the Future

And that has consequences.

Jane McGonigal | Apri 13, 2017 | Slate

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April 15, 2017 Posted by | brain, psychology | , | Leave a comment

How Trump screws with your mind

Emily Dreyfuss, Wired magazine editor, has a couple of illuminating articles on how President Trump screws with your mind for his own benefit. He’s not the only one to do so, so it’s in your interest to find out how and what to do about it.

The Cognitive Bias President Trump Understands Better Than You

Want to Make a Lie Seem True? Say It Again. And Again. And Again

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February 18, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gut bacteria affect your brain

More and more evidence is showing up that your microbiota can affect your mental health.  In other words, eat you probiotic yogurt.

Is Your Gut Making You Depressed or Anxious?

Turns out “gut feeling” is more than just a fancy name for intuition. Our small and large intestine, and the trillions of bacteria that call it home, are more important than ever imagined for influencing our mood, our anxiety, our choices, and even our personalities. This week Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen goes straight for the gut with three surprising mind-gut connections.

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD | December 23, 2016 | Quickanddirtytips.com

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February 17, 2017 Posted by | brain, diet, health, nutrition, psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feeling down? Take a hike.

Stanford researchers find mental health prescription: Nature

Study finds that walking in nature yields measurable mental benefits and may reduce risk of depression.
Rob Jordan | June 30, 2015 | Stanford News

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February 17, 2017 Posted by | brain, emotions, psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail

Good article.

How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail

January 1, 2017 Posted by | brain, decision making, information, psychology | , , | Leave a comment

Why bullshit is no laughing matter

In this era of fake news all around us, detecting is a major concern, and it looks like we are not very good at it.  I like the definition:

“…bullshit is something that is constructed absent of any concern for the truth.”

As the article explains below,

“Bullshit is much harder to detect when we want to agree with it.”

Why bullshit is no laughing matter

Gordon Pennycook |06 January, 2016 | aeon Continue reading

January 1, 2017 Posted by | brain, decision making, psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

Women can navigate better on testosterone

There is an evolutionary explanation.

Women can navigate better when given testosterone, study finds

Wait… what?

Peter Dockrill |11 DEC 2015 | Science Alert
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December 30, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, brain, evolutionary psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Addiction seen as a habit

An interesting perspective on addiction.  Has a very good section on explaining the science of habit-formation. A long read, but if you ever struggled with addiction, depression, anxiety or just a bad habit, it’s worth reading it just to see it from a different point of view.

The addiction habit

Addiction changes the brain but it’s not a disease that can be cured with medicine. In fact, it’s learned – like a habit

Marc Lewis | 14 December, 2016 | aeon

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December 30, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, brain, psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I predict (myself), therefore I am

A fascinating view of consciousness. Worth the effort to read all the way to the end.

The Hard Problem of Consciousness

It looks like scientists and philosophers might have made consciousness far more mysterious than it needs to be

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December 14, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, brain, neuroscience, philosophy | | Leave a comment