Scientists may have found a physiological explanation for the power of positive thinking. When optimists and pessimists attempt the same task, their different attitudes are reflected in different neural activities in their brains. Can the power of positive thinking cure illness and disease? Researchers at the California Institute of Technology found that participants in brain-scanning experiments who thought they were doing well on a complex task had greater neural activity in a high-level area of the brain called the posterior parietal cortex (PPT). Different neural activity was observed in the brains of participants who thought they were doing poorly. The implication in those results is that personal attitudes may pre-program us to succeed if we are optimists, and protect ourselves against failure if we are pessimists. Does that mean that optimists are more likely to succeed, as other experiments have suggested?
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Entries in Neuroscience (44)
Renata Salecl is Centennial Professor at the department of law at the London School of Economics, Visiting Humanities Professor at George Washington University in Washington, DC, Visiting Professor at Duke University in Durham, NC and Fellow at Remarque Institute at NYU.She is currently working on a book Tyranny of Choice, which analyses why late capitalist insistence on choice increases feeling of anxiety and guilt.
The science of spirituality has become something of a hot topic in the past few decades. Some of this may be because the absolutist rational materialism that dominated much of the twentieth century has given way to something slightly more flexible. But mostly, it is because we finally have the advanced imaging technology — fMRI and SPECT scans and the like — to actually peer inside the brain and find out what is going on during so-called spiritual experience. No one has peered deeper than the Director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Andrew Newberg. During his career, Newberg examined the brains of Tibetan monks during peak meditation, Franciscan nuns during ecstatic prayer, Evangelicals in the throes of glossolalia — all with an eye towards understanding how brain function produces mystical experience. His books include How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist and Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief.
The Creative Brain and How It Works - Applied Neuroscience: A New Workshop with Silvia Damiano and Ralph Kerle
There is a body of theories and papers starting to emerge in neuroscience around how our brain works creatively. This body of work suggests if you can be more aware of how your brain works in a context that calls upon creative endeavour, you will be able to alter your thinking or adjust your actions, in the process becoming more aware of your own creative praxis and how you can comfortably and confidently contribute your best to creative collaboration and awareness that can be knowledgeably sustained and improved over time.
In this highly experiential session, participants will
Being one of the true geniuses of the modern era, Albert Einstein recognized that a useful method for understanding the brain’s role in creativity was to study the brains of highly creative people. He also realized that there would be a great deal of interest in examining his own brain after his death, so he willed that his brain be removed before cremation. However, nearly all of the 240 blocks into which Einstein’s brain was dissected were lost and never analyzed. Thirty years later, the Brodmann’s area 39 portion of Einstein’s brain was analyzed histologically by Marian C. Diamond, PhD, and colleagues. They reported that this area of Einstein’s brain contained a higher proportion of glial cells versus neurons, compared with the brains of control subjects. Assuming that the paucity of cortical neurons was not the result of aging (the control subjects were significantly younger than Einstein at the time of his death), how did the loss of neurons relate to Einstein’s creative genius?