“Decision-Making” Parts of Brain?


Parts of the brain involved in third party punishment.

English: Diagram showing locations of several ...

English: Diagram showing locations of several important parts of the human brain, as viewed from the front. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Group Punishment Yields Cooperation


How cooperation is maintained in human societies: Punishment, study suggests (excerpted)

  • by ScienceDaily (May 3, 2010)

The finding challenges previous cooperation/punishment models that argue punishment is uncoordinated and unconditional.

But it turns out that most members of large groups cooperate

  • cooperation is maintained by punishment
  • which reduces the benefits to free riding.
  • Thus, there is the threat of losing societal benefits if a member does not cooperate, which leads to increased group cooperation. Continue reading

Fear of Out-Group Mainly Fear of Out-Group Men – Mating Competition at Work?


“It’s known that people are more fearful of “out-groups” – that is, people who are different from them, and this fear of “the other” has been clearly demonstrated with race. But Navarrete found that volunteers’ most persistent fears were reserved for men – that is, male members of the out-group. So white men and women feared black men, and black men and women feared white men; all the other lab-induced fears, including any conditioned fear of women diminished.”

Those with close relationships outside their own race had less persistent fears than did those with little interracial experience.

Two brain systems may compete for directing behavior


Futurity.org – Facing temptation, brain sends mixed signals

“This research suggests a reason why it feels so difficult to control your behavior.  You’ve got these really fast signals that say, go for the tempting food. But only after you start to go for it are you able to catch yourself and say, no, I don’t want this.”

CALTECH (US) — Scientists have figured out what happens in the brain during self-regulation—such as wanting dessert but knowing you really shouldn’t.

“We seem to have independent systems capable of guiding our decisions, and in situations like this one, these systems may compete for control of what we do,” Continue reading

“Put simply, winners don’t punish”


“Put simply, winners don’t punish,” says co-author David G. Rand of Harvard’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics and Department of Systems Biology. “Punishment can lead to a downward spiral of retaliation, with destructive outcomes for everybody involved. The people with the highest total payoffs do not use costly punishment.”

The unfortunate tendency of humans to engage in acts of costly punishment must have evolved for other reasons such as establishing dominance hierarchy and defending ownership, but not to promote cooperation. In cooperation games, costly punishment is a detrimental and self-destructive behavior.

“Punishment may be a tool for forcing another person to do what you want,” Dreber says. “It might have been for those kinds of dominance situations that the use of punishment has evolved.”

“Our finding has a very positive message: In an extremely competitive setting, the winners are those who resist the temptation to escalate conflicts, while the losers punish and perish,”

Seeing Cellphone May Hurt Closeness


How the mere presence of a mobile phone harms face-to-face conversations

You sit down for a chat with a new acquaintance but before you’re even started they’ve placed their phone carefully on the table in front of them. Why? Are they waiting for a call? Do they just enjoy marvelling at its chic plastic beauty? Either way, a new study suggests this familiar habit could be interfering with our attempts to socialise.

Andrew Przybylski and Netta Weinstein asked 34 pairs of strangers to spend 10 minutes chatting to each

  • The ones who’d chatted with a phone visible nearby, as opposed to a notebook, were less positive
  • They also reported feeling less closely related to their conversational partner. Continue reading

About Time! – Agressive Medical Treatment for Addictive Brain Disorders – LA Times


Here is the article excerpted:

Take Away –

“Addiction is a very aggressive disease.   We need to treat it aggressively. We do that for other diseases.”

Treatment for addicts is starting to change

  • by Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
  • Sept. 22, 2012

A call for change is afoot in the difficult and often heartbreaking world of addiction treatment.

For decades, 12-step programs and a medication-free approach have dominated the recovery industry. But now doctors and scientists and the leader of the National Institute on Drug Abuse are pushing for broad recognition of addiction as a disease and more medical approaches to therapy. Continue reading