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Archive for the ‘Neuro’ Category

Shrinking Pain

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Yet another “NLP was here first” example. I saw this on a trivia buff’s blog, “Futility Closet:”

In 2008, researchers at Oxford University found that subjects could reduce pain and swelling in an injured hand by viewing it through reversed binoculars.

Conversely, a magnified injury was more painful. “If it looks bigger, it looks sorer,” said physiologist G. Lorimer Moseley. “Therefore the brain acts to protect it.”

A judicious Googling led me to the pertinent issue of Current Biology online. On the right-hand side of that page, there are links to PDF and HTML versions of the article.

Written by Michael DeBusk

July 10th, 2010 at 6:42 pm

How we distort time

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As a follow-up to my last post, Threats and the Perception of Time, here’s a recent article from Psychology Today:

…fear does not actually speed up our rate of perception or mental processing. Instead, it allows us to remember what we do experience in greater detail. Since our perception of time is based on the number of things we remember, fearful experiences thus seem to unfold more slowly.

Read the rest at How the Brain Stops Time at Psychology Today. Interesting stuff.

Written by Michael DeBusk

March 16th, 2010 at 1:56 am

Posted in Learning,Neuro,Time

It Really Is Body Language

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A recent article on the Lingformant blog points to some compelling new research on how we parse gestures:

Your ability to make sense of Groucho’s words and Harpo’s pantomimes in an old Marx Brothers movie takes place in the same regions of your brain, says new research funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one of the National Institutes of Health.

You can read the synopsis at Words, Gestures Are Translated by Same Brain Regions.

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 16th, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Posted in Linguistic,Neuro

An Easier Way to Detect Lies

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Cognitive Daily recently posted some research that may give us an easier way to improve our ability to tell when other people are lying to us:

But what if there was a shortcut in sniffing out a lie, relying on our own instinctual behavior? Would it be possible to improve the lie-detecting abilities of ordinary people without all that training? A team led by Mariëlle Stel had a hunch that our tendency to mimic the physical and facial expressions of the people we are speaking to might help us to tell when they are lying.

It isn’t what you are probably thinking. I think you’ll be surprised. Check it out:

Is There an Easier Way to Detect Lies Than What You See on TV?

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 15th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Reading Basic Emotions

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Eyes for Lies points to a sweet video by Dr. David Matsumoto, “Characteristics of Basic Emotions”. In it, Dr. Matsumoto explains the differences between the seven “basic” or “universal” emotions and the rest.

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 15th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

A Revolutionary Approach to Learning Languages

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A January article from the Victoria News, published by the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, shares some research by Paul Sulzberger, PhD into the teaching of languages:

Dr Sulzberger has found that the best way to learn a language is through frequent exposure to its sound patterns – even if you haven’t a clue what it all means.

“However crazy it might sound, just listening to the language, even though you don’t understand it, is critical. A lot of language teachers may not accept that,” he says.

Now, people who are good at learning languages have long said that immersion makes a massive difference, but they’ve never talked about why that’s the case. Dr. Sulzberger asserts that aural exposure to the language actually changes the brain, re-wiring it to understand what is being said:

Dr Sulzberger’s research challenges existing language learning theory. His main hypothesis is that simply listening to a new language sets up the structures in the brain required to learn the words.

“Neural tissue required to learn and understand a new language will develop automatically from simple exposure to the language—which is how babies learn their first language,” Dr Sulzberger says.

It’s an interesting idea, and it makes a lot of sense to me. You can read the rest of the article here.

And in the spirit of this snippet from the article:

“Teachers should recognise the importance of extensive aural exposure to a language. One hour a day of studying French text in a classroom is not enough—but an extra hour listening to it on the iPod would make a huge difference,” Dr Sulzberger says.

…by way of Lifehacker, here is a master list of free online language lessons.

Written by Michael DeBusk

April 5th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Lessons from the Cuckoo’s Nest

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Doug O’Brien sent me some AMAZING news: Andy Austin is coming to New York City!

IMPROV!: The Use of Improvisation and Drama in Slightly Crazy Environments

April 17th, 2009:

This introductory presentation will outline the “rules” and formula for successful and comedic improvisation.

As readers of The Rainbow Machine — Tales From a Neurolinguist’s Journal will be aware, I often like to utilize the building of humour, tension and drama into his change work sessions and rarely do I rely on any pre-set or rehearsed routines and scripts. Given my client group, often the client will bring their own drama and unique humour to the session and a high level of flexibility and responsivity is needed in such situations.

No previous acting experience is required and no one will be expected to perform in front of the group. Book early and hold on to your hats, because this will be a fun and fast paced evening.

LESSONS FROM THE CUCKOO’S NEST: Further Tales From a Neurolinguist’s Journal.

April 18 & 19th, 2009:

Working with other people’s madness isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always fun – but it can be. Psychological and emotional pain is rarely ever funny but I often question if change really needs to be serious. Far from joking at another person’s expense, during this weekend workshop you will be introduced to, and will explore, some therapeutic patterns and algorithms that I have found useful when working with challenging clientèle and serious mental illnesses.

I’ve learned a lot from Andy over the years, both in e-mail and on Usenet. Now I get to meet him and train with him. If I’m alive in April, I’ll be there!

Update: Here’s the link to sign up! There are discounts for signing up early, so go!

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 23rd, 2008 at 1:36 am

Helping People Coping with Illness

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I can tell you that there are people who tell me they’ve noticed a difference in me since my heart attack almost two years ago. I have noticed it myself. Even though there’s nothing structurally wrong with my heart that hasn’t been wrong with it since before I was born (according to two separate stress tests, the heart attack caused zero damage), I’m a different guy for having experienced it. Those changes are coming to a head now, and I am looking for ways to make myself more like what I was before. I’m getting some guidance from people close to me: one is an NLP Practitioner, and the other is a psychologist who specializes in trauma. I need this guidance because it’s so easy for a person to kid themselves.

The economy is stressing lots of people to the point of strain now, and because strain is a leading cause of various illnesses, the opportunity for we people-helpers to help the physically ill with their emotional and mental challenges is likely to present itself more and more often. You never know when you might have a friend, relative, or co-worker who’s suddenly faced with something bigger than they’re equipped to handle alone.

The Psych Central blog has featured several “coping with illness” articles over the past couple of months. I’d like to draw your attention to three of them.

Breast Cancer Coping Styles refers to a Temple University study on responses to a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Ericksen set out to explore how women respond to a diagnosis of breast cancer shortly after receiving her own diagnosis. She discovered there are four types of responders, including the “take charge” type, each valuable for different women.

And, because breasts are one of the most important Western symbols of femininity and breast cancer receives more attention in the media than other forms of cancer, Ericksen also investigated how the cultural messages women receive about breast cancer inform their journeys.

PTSD Among ICU Survivors references an article from HBNS which reports that one in five ICU survivors experiences PTSD Symptoms.

PTSD can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed life-threatening events, such as serious accidents, violent personal assaults or natural disasters. Symptoms — which include nightmares and problems sleeping, flashbacks, irritability, anger and feelings of emotional detachment or numbness — often extend for months or years after the traumatic event, and affect about 6.8 percent of the general U.S. population, according to National Center for PTSD figures.

The trauma of an ICU stay triggers PTSD symptoms in many survivors and negatively can affect a person’s quality of life after leaving the hospital, the authors discovered.

Family Members Experience PTSD highlights a University of Pittsburgh study on how families of ICU survivors also experience PTSD.

Researchers found that symptoms of anxiety and depression in family members of ICU patients diminished over time, but high rates of post-traumatic stress and complicated grief remained.

“Our findings suggest that family members of patients in the intensive care unit are at risk for serious psychological disorders that may require treatment,” said Cindy L. Bryce, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine and health policy and management at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

One more thing I want to mention is a book which forever changed the way I think about working with people who are facing life-changing events: When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold S. Kushner. If you haven’t read it yet, believe me, it’s worth the time and effort. I keep having to buy new copies because whenever I loan mine, it doesn’t come back.

So keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to those in pain, and remember those close to them as well.

Written by Michael DeBusk

November 22nd, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Articles,Neuro,Psych

R. I. P., Linguist Edward Klima

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If you or someone you care about is deaf, or if you love language, take note. This week’s edition of Randy Cassingham’s excellent newsletter, This Is True, reports the death of renowned linguist Edward Klima:

A linguist at the University of California, San Diego, Klima got interested in a languages that other linguists had dismissed because they were not spoken: sign languages used by the deaf. Signing was thought to be simple gesturing of spoken language concepts, but…

Read the rest at Edward Klima — an Honorary Unsubscribe, and read Edward Klima’s obituary in the New York Times.

Written by Michael DeBusk

October 6th, 2008 at 11:24 pm

Posted in Linguistic,Neuro

Those Wacky Psychiatrists!

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Wow. Thorazine is magic!

Hate parenting? Here ya go!

Ladies, can’t make your man happy? Now you can!

Too healthy? Medicine has the answer!

And here’s scientific proof that money can buy happiness.

(I’m delighted to have found the Bonkers Institute for Nearly Genuine Research.)

Written by Michael DeBusk

August 22nd, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Posted in Neuro,Psych