Atheism at Crossroads: Religious Statements (“Beliefs”) Don’t Effect Behavior, Probably. Now What?

Standard

Given the increasingly strong “no free will” evidence and peer-reviewed research, so-called atheists-skeptics-humanists need to evolve past the presumption of the face-validity or religious statements and claims for causes of behavior.  Demonizing religion and people who say (albeit silly) religious-imaginary-magical things is dum and unscientific. Continue reading

Advertisements

Say Yes to Drugs – “A single dose of antidepressant is enough to produce dramatic changes in the functional architecture of the human brain…changes in connectivity within three hours”

Standard

“whole-brain network analysis shows that one dose of the SSRI reduces the level of intrinsic connectivity in most parts of the brain. However, Sacher and her colleagues observed an increase in connectivity within two regions, specifically the cerebellum and thalamus.”

Language Gene May “…make it easier to turn mindful actions into behavioral routines.”

Standard

We all presume the importance and significance of everyday language, but what the heck does language really do!?  It hasn’t been studied and certainly not using the latest brain science and genetic tools.

Neuroscientists have found that a gene mutation that arose more than half a million years ago may be key to humans’ unique ability to produce and understand speech… Foxp2 gene makes it easier to turn mindful actions into behavioral routines.

Researchers from MIT and several European universities have shown that the human version of a gene called Foxp2 makes it easier to transform new experiences into routine procedures. Continue reading

“People’s moral lives revolve around keeping track of their own good deeds and gossiping about others’ wrongdoings. That’s the conclusion of a study appearing in the Sept. 12 Science”

Standard

It appears our brains are naturally self-rightous and fault-finding, of course.

In line with laboratory studies, participants reported committing moral acts more often than immoral acts…The same individuals were more than twice as likely to learn from others about someone else’s dodgy actions as they were to hear about virtuous behavior.

Volunteers who reported being on the receiving end of a good deed more often did good for someone else later in the day, perhaps “paying it forward.” But those who committed a moral act showed an uptick in bad acts later the same day, possibly because doing good made them feel entitled to indiscretion.

Experiences with a moral dimension, whether positive or negative, occurred surprisingly frequently, the researchers say. Participants described a moral or immoral event from within the past hour in nearly 29 percent of 13,240 cellphone reports. Instances of caring for someone else far outnumbered those of hurting someone else. Otherwise, reports of immoral acts reigned. For instance, accounts of unfairness and dishonesty outweighed those of fairness and honesty.

Trustworthiness of Others “Decided” in 50 Millieseconds! Completely Unconsciously…

Standard

Previous research shows that the amygdala automatically responds to a face’s trustworthiness when a face is clearly visible…the human amygdala is sensitive to subliminal variation in facial trustworthiness. Regions in the amygdala tracked how untrustworthy a face appeared (i.e., negative-linear responses) as well as the overall strength of a face’s trustworthiness signal (i.e., nonlinear responses), despite faces not being subjectively seen.

The findings demonstrate that the amygdala can be influenced by even high-level facial information before that information is consciously perceived, suggesting that the amygdala’s processing of social cues in the absence of awareness may be more extensive than previously described. Continue reading

Brains are not really “plastic.” If they were all the successful adaptations permanently encoded in the genes and past trial and error evolution, would be lost, of course. Certainly, not as we/all animals get older.

Standard