Genes > Brain Processes = Behavior Coming? Probably

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Boy, this technology around genes is evolving very fast and getting cheaper.

Gene Regulatory Networks In The Bee Brain Linked To Behavior — September 26, 2011

A new study reveals that distinct networks of genes in the honey bee brain contribute to specific behaviors, such as foraging or aggression, researchers report.

… common, naturally occurring behaviors are under the influence of discrete regulatory networks in the brain. It confirms, scientists say, what years of research into the brain and behavior seemed to indicate:

  • There is a close relationship between changes in gene expression
  • which genes are actively transcribed into other molecules to perform specific tasks in the celland behavior.  Continue reading

“One job of a leader is to help the members of a group communicate with each other. If information is flowing between group members, then better decisions can be made. So, what do narcissists do to information flow amongst group members?…narcissistic leaders actually reduced information sharing among groups, which led to worse group performance.

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“In 1997 a CNN poll found that 80% of Americans think the government is hiding information about UFOs, and 64% believe that extraterrestrials have contacted humans. In a 2007 Associated Press poll, 14% said they’d seen a UFO.”

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“the head of Deutsche Bank is preparing his industry and politicians for a long phase of uncertainty…. For investors, banks and politicians his comments can only mean one thing: When in doubt, go for safety.”

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When in doubt go the opposite of your strongest feelings and emotions, ideologies, accepted wisdom and experts.  That’s what the research says.

Pre-Suicidal Mental and Physical Experineces

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Some warning signs here — pay attention.  excerpted from Psychiatric Times

There is a clinically identified emotional “trigger state” that puts individuals with suicidal ideation at increased risk of acting on their ideations.

60% of the completed suicides are successful on the first attempt. Continue reading

When Humans Almost Died Off

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The first thing you see is obvious: our ancestors went through two different phases of population “bottlenecking” (constriction): one occurred about three million years ago, when a large population declined to around 10,000 individuals. The authors note that while this may reflect population size decline associated with the origin of hominins after our split with the lineage that produce modern chimps, they also say that this could be an artifact of ancient genetic polymorphisms maintained by natural selection.

The second bottleneck is the one of interest, for it’s the one associated with a reduced population size as humans left Africa.  For the Chinese, Korean, and European genomes, effective population size fell from about 13,500 (at 150,000 years ago) to about 1200 between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.  Continue reading

Hostile, Angry and a Tea Partier? Blame It Low Serotonin Levels from Your Parents

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Bottom Line:

“ (In) individuals have a natural tendency to behave aggressively…The communications between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex was weaker….Weak’ communications means that it is more difficult for the prefrontal cortex to control the feelings of anger that are generated.”

Take Aways:

  • Fluctuations of serotonin levels in the brain, which often occur when someone hasn’t eaten or is stressed, affects brain regions that enable people to regulate anger
  • When serotonin levels are low, it may be more difficult for the prefrontal cortex to control emotional responses to anger
  • that it is more difficult for the prefrontal cortex to control the feelings of anger that are generated

Serotonin levels affect the brain’s response to anger

  • “We’ve known for decades that serotonin plays a key role in aggression, but it’s only very recently that we’ve had the technology to look into the brain and examine just how serotonin helps us regulate our emotional impulses. By combining a long tradition in behavioral research with new technology, we were finally able to uncover a mechanism for how serotonin might influence aggression.”” Dr Molly Crockett, University of Cambridge, University of Zurich)  Continue reading