“the scientific method is neither deduction from a set of axioms nor a way of making plausible guesses, as Bertrand Russell said; but that it is a matter of successive approximation to probability distributions.”



Maltreated Children Show Same Pattern Of Brain Activity As Combat Soldiers


Maltreated Children Show Same Pattern Of Brain Activity As Combat Soldiers

We have recently found that children exposed to family violence show the same pattern of activity in their brains as soldiers exposed to combat.  The average age of the maltreated children was 12 years old. While in the scanner the children processed sad, calm or angry expressions.

This is the first functional MRI brain scan study to investigate the impact of physical abuse and domestic violence on children. We found that:

  • exposure to family violence was associated with increased brain activity in two specific brain areas (the anterior insula and the amygdala) when children viewed pictures of angry faces
  • Previous fMRI studies that scanned the brains of soldiers exposed to violent combat situations have shown the same pattern of heightened activation in these two areas of the brain, which are associated with threat detection. Continue reading

People Behave Socially And ‘Well’ Even Without Rules: Study


People behave socially and ‘well’ even without rules: study

Millions of human interactions were assessed during the study which included actions such as communication, founding and ending friendships, trading goods, sleeping, moving, however also starting hostilities, attacks and punishment. The game does not suggest any rules and everyone can live with their avatar (i.e. with their “game character” in the virtual world as they choose. “And the result of this is not anarchy”, says Thurner. “The participants organise themselves as a social group with good intents. Almost all the actions are positive.” Continue reading

Serial Killing Is a Broken Brain Searching for Homeostasis


Bottom Line — “A simple mathematical model of the brain explains the pattern of murders by a serial killer, say researchers”

Mathematicians Reveal Serial Killer’s Pattern of Murder 


Researchers at UCLA have combined neuroscience and math in order to identify patterns in the acts of a notorious Russian serial killer, executed in 1994. The model makes several assumptions:

  1. a certain threshold of neuronal firing has to be passed, at which point the desire to kill becomes impossible to ignore;
  2. some time is subsequently required in order to plan and carry out a killing; 
  3. killing acts as a sort of sedative, calming the neurons temporarily. Continue reading

“Alcohol Neurologically Damages Women More Quickly Than Men, Study Shows “


Alcohol Neurologically Damages Women More Quickly Than Men, Study Shows  DEC. 18, 2011  By Dirk Hanson

  • Alcohol abuse does its neurological damage more quickly in women than in men, new research suggests
  • The finding adds to a growing body of evidence that is prompting researchers to consider whether the time is ripe for single-gender treatment programs for alcohol-dependent women and men.

Over the past few decades scientists have observed a narrowing of the gender gap in alcohol dependence. Continue reading

Basis for Supernatural/Magical Beliefs

  • Most of us report that we believe in supernatural powers such as clairvoyance and telepathy and in the existence of ghosts.
  • The widespread reports of paranormal experiences very likely derive from many of the same mechanisms that help us make decisions in daily life.
  • Research suggests that a highly active right-brain hemisphere may cause someone to be particularly susceptible to improbable beliefs.