neuroscience

BEAT:Heart keeps neural rhythm

BEAT:Heart keeps neural rhythm

Your heart is older than your brain. It beats, autonomously, 4 weeks after conception and does not stop until death. Moving at a glacial pace, the brain sparks into being 9 weeks later. The sagacious heart rests at the center of your chest, part of a dense endocrine and immune network that processes neurological signals. All independent from the brain. All to maintain the body in exquisite balance. Is it any surprise then, that disturbances in this delicate rhythm affect brain function?

SEX OBJECT: Empathy Erosion via the Female Form

SEX OBJECT: Empathy Erosion via the Female Form

Disclaimer:

Strong language, of the non-sciencey sort, will be used in the following piece. The content may be disturbing to readers denying the gender based violence women experience on a daily basis in the workplace, traveling to the workplace, getting a coffee outside the workplace, leaving the workplace, oh – and being hired in the workplace to begin with. Lewd thoughts/gestures/remarks and the occasional pussy-grabbing affect the objectifier as much as the objectified. Learn why. And change it.  

Reading with discretion is advised.

How video games unwittingly train the brain to justify killing

How video games unwittingly train the brain to justify killing

Let’s play a game. One of the quotes below belongs to a trained soldier speaking of killing the enemy, while the other to a convicted felon describing his first murder. Can you tell the difference?

(1) ‘I realised that I had just done something that separated me from the human race and it was something that could never be undone. I realised that from that point on I could never be like normal people.’

(2) ‘I was cool, calm and collected the whole time. I knew what I had to do. I knew I was going to do it, and I did.’

(Un) Attractive: The impact of birth control on partner desirability

(Un) Attractive: The impact of birth control on partner desirability

Spring bursts forth with vibrant color, intoxicatingly sweet floral scents and sex.  That’s right, relations.  While monogamy in the rest of the animal kingdom is more of a myth, human pair-bonding gives the reward system a long-term buzz of activity and contributes to both physical and mental health. Oxytocin, the hormone produced when engaging in hugging, kissing and intercourse reduces jealousy and increases partner attractiveness. How unfortunate would it be if a product existed that could disturb this natural rhythm: altering the level of attraction and diminishing sexual functioning. There is - and almost 10 million women in the US are using it: hormonal contraception.

Pathways of Thankfulness: Gratitude in the Brain

Pathways of Thankfulness: Gratitude in the Brain

Crisp November gently beckons fire-side chats, warm knitted scarfs and fragrant kitchens redolent of home scents.  This month, a thankful attitude lifts spirits and encourages kind actions.  Despite its psychological benefit, gratitude is elusive, not inherent and difficult to define. Some psychologists contend that gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself.  What defines meaning in our brain and how does gratitude carve out its neural pathways?