Philosophy is Just More Magical Thinking, Like Voodoo


The core (false) promise of all magical beliefs is everyday language-based “Mind over matter.”  and “Action at a difference.”  Praying, to some god, is just subjective reports of individual experience.  So is voodoo, belief in the tooth fairy, belief in free will, philosophy, etc.

Well, philosophy is just more of the same.  It presumes that words and everyday language matter to human behavior and explain the world.  Well, it doesn’t and never really has.  But, it is a very popular marketing/sales promise – look at religion!  VERY profitable.   Economists make the same false promise.

“Chimpanzees have almost the same personality traits as humans, and they are structured almost identically…”


The research also shows some of those traits have a neurobiological basis, and that those traits vary according to the biological sex of the individual chimpanzee.

“Our work also demonstrates the promise of using chimpanzee models to investigate the neurobiology of personality processes…The analysis showed that:

  • the most fundamental personality trait for chimpanzees is dominance
  • that is, whether an animal is a generally dominant and undercontrolled “Alpha,”
  • or a more playful and sociable “Beta.”

But those two big categories can be broken down statistically into smaller personality traits in ways that echo the personality structures researchers have repeatedly found in child and adult human subjects.

  • Alpha personalities, for example, statistically break down into tendencies toward dominance and disinhibition.
  • Beta personalities, on the other hand, show low dominance and positive emotionality.

Further analysis shows these lower order traits also can be statistically broken down into their constituent parts. The research team identified five personality factors that combine differently in each individual chimpanzee:

  • conscientiousness
  • dominance
  • extraversion
  • agreeableness
  • intellect.

This echoes a well-known five-factor model of the human personality, although the specific factors are slightly different.

Now, for the neurobiology: many of those chimpanzee traits statistically correlate with the function of a neuropeptide called vasopressin. Chimps who were born with a common variant in the genes that control vasopressin behaved differently than their peers, the males showing more dominance and more disinhibition, but the females less of both.

This research shows:

  • not only a neurobiological basis for personality
  • but an evolutionary basis as well.

The neurobiological bases of personality can vary according to the biological sex of the subject, at least in chimpanzees. Chimpanzee personality appears to have almost the same ingredients as human personalities, and that similarity seems to arise from the species’ similar neurobiology.

“These results are particularly significant in light of the striking parallels between the major dimensions of personality found between chimpanzees and humans,”

Music Before Language Likely – In Monkeys 1st 30mm Years Ago


Monkey-Human Ancestors Got Music 30 Million Years Ago :

Music skills evolved at least 30 million years ago in the common ancestor of humans and monkeys, according to a new study that could help explain why chimpanzees drum on tree roots and monkey calls sound like singing.

Continue reading

Infant Instinctive Responses: Our Brain>Behavior Processes are Stone Age Old


Babies perk up to sounds of ancient hazards  By Bruce Bower

Babies have an ear for primeval dangers, a new study suggests.  “There is something special about evolutionarily threatening sounds that infants respond to,

By age 9 months, infants pay special attention to sounds that have signaled threats to children’s safety and survival throughout human evolution….Those sounds include a snake hissing, adults’ angry voices, a crackling fire, thunder claps and — as a possible indicator of a nearby but unseen danger — another infant’s cries. Continue reading

Description of Physiology of the Stress Mechanism


The Stress-Response Cycle
The human stress-response cycle is a complex neuroendocrine response triggered by perceived or real threats from the environment or internal stimuli. The sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis are primarily responsible for the
physiological changes associated with a stressful state (Selye, 1937).  The initial catecholamine response triggered from the sympathetic nervous system involves a rapid release of epinephrine and norepinephrine into the bloodstream and throughout the body, inducing the changes characteristic of the ‘fight or flight’ response—increased heart rate and respiration, pupil dilation, and more blood flow to the skeletal muscles, vigilance, and so forth…… Continue reading

More on Go/No Go “Decisions” – Slowly We’re Learning


Of course, neuromarketers figured this out years ago and are selling nifty headsets showing it on screens – in buying humans watching ads, no less.  Forget rats!

The paper, published online in Nature, shows that the firing of two distinct types of inhibitory neurons, known as (SOM) and parvalbumin (PV) neurons, has a strong correlation with the start and end of a period of foraging behavior.

‘Should I stay or should I go?’ Neuroscientists link brain cell types to behavior

Neuroscientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, ….have linked the activity of two types of brain nerve cells, neurons, to decisions made during particular type of behavior. The team studied the activity of two types of inhibitory neurons in mice making decisions searching for food in a test area. They found distinct patterns of activity that marked when “stay” or to “go” foraging decisions were made. Continue reading

Frontal Lobes May Not Be That Important. Lots of Research and Neurocognitive Ideas May Wash Out.


Enthusiasts for human exceptionalism and lots of other ideas and research about how humans are so much better and different from other animals, have concentrated on what they thought made the human brain different and was bigger – the frontal lobes.  They all think!  Wrong, it appears.  Oops.  Big oops, actually.

Human brain frontal lobes not relatively large, not sole center of intelligence
Human intelligence cannot be explained by the size of the brain’s frontal lobes, say researchers.  Research into the comparative size of the frontal lobes in humans and other species has determined that they are not – as previously thought – disproportionately enlarged relative to other areas of the brain, according to the most accurate and conclusive study of this area of the brain.

It concludes that the size of our frontal lobes cannot solely account for humans’ superior cognitive abilities. Continue reading