Monday, January 14, 2013

Brain scans

From a reader:

A friend sent this to me and I thought you would be interested. It's about the mainstream acceptance of neuro imaging, and some of the potential pitfalls that I was not previously aware of.

Here are selections from the article:

Fancy color pictures of brains in action became a fixture in media accounts of the human mind and lulled people into a false sense of comprehension. (In a feature for the magazine titled “Duped,” Margaret Talbot described research at Yale that showed that inserting neurotalk into a papers made them more convincing.) Brain imaging, which was scarcely on the public’s radar in 1990, became the most prestigious way of understanding human mental life. The prefix “neuro” showed up everywhere: neurolaw, neuroeconomics, neuropolitics. Neuroethicists wondered about whether you could alter someone’s prison sentence based on the size of their neocortex. 
Fancy color pictures of brains in action became a fixture in media accounts of the human mind and lulled people into a false sense of comprehension. (In a feature for the magazine titled “Duped,” Margaret Talbot described research at Yale that showed that inserting neurotalk into a papers made them more convincing.) Brain imaging, which was scarcely on the public’s radar in 1990, became the most prestigious way of understanding human mental life. The prefix “neuro” showed up everywhere: neurolaw, neuroeconomics, neuropolitics. Neuroethicists wondered about whether you could alter someone’s prison sentence based on the size of their neocortex. 
The real problem with neuroscience today isn’t with the science—though plenty of methodological challenges still remain—it’s with the expectations. The brain is an incredibly complex ensemble, with billions of neurons coming into—and out of—play at any given moment. There will eventually be neuroscientific explanations for much of what we do; but those explanations will turn out to be incredibly complicated. For now, our ability to understand how all those parts relate is quite limited, sort of like trying to understand the political dynamics of Ohio from an airplane window above Cleveland. 
Which may be why the best neuroscientists today may be among those who get the fewest headlines, like researchers studying the complex dynamics that enter into understanding a single word. As Poeppel says, what we need now is “the meticulous dissection of some elementary brain functions, not ambitious but vague notions like brain-based aesthetics, when we still don’t understand how the brain recognizes something as basic as a straight line.”

Important stuff to remember when we read articles promising that psychopath brains are X or Y, explaining Z.


  1. Replies
    1. Welcome to the dark side, Rembrant. Sit back, relax and have a cookie.

      Very interesting article, ME.
      Reminds me of the time that quantum became the word de jour. It was so easy for them to misrepresent a term that so few adequately grasp to suit their own agendas.

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Rich!!

      You have added some exclamation points !

      I did respond to your comment the other day when you said you were going through changes. You gave details on feeling like you thought you were shallow.

      I have a friend who says she has "empathy problem" who is very very very private about her ex-husband's abuse. SHe says she has trouble sharing her problems with her friends if her friends have some. She says she takes on others' loads and doesn't want to bother them even when SHE is the one who has problems.

      We all see her suffer silently but she will disengage with you or ignore her pain, it SEEMS, if you confront her on this: She will lie to our faces about arm bruises looking like fingerprints, will say she fell into a doorknob with black eye, will not rat out ex.

      She is extreeeemely generous, especially when it is time to talk about creativity. She finds beauty in so many things, is out of the box thinker, almost genius this way.

      I do not think she is borderline, but she DOES suffer from depression, giving too much to others undeserving.

      DOes she sound like uber empath?

      I did not understand it when you said your feelings for another did not change too much with time. When you said they did not get MUCH deeper after a while and you were unsure whether or not they were so deep to begin with or whether they were shallow. This interests me. Have you you discovered any more?

      I hope that I did not insult you by saying it seemed you were watching cartoons here. I thought about that and I think it comes with the territory, since we all hide to some degree and there are people sometimes telling exaggerated versions of the truth. (Doing that can be drama, which DOES looks cartoonish. I would know)

      I do know a few people who do that thing i described though. One of them I LOVED was always talking about style of people, like how they said stuff, not what they said. It was hard to feel good to get close and could feel degrading.

      I hope you are well. Have a good day!!!

    2. Hey Anon!!! I LOVE using exclamation points!!!!! LOL! I will have to go back and check out your response after I write this to you.

      When you say "empathy challenged", Iam assuming you mean you are thinking she has too much empathy as opposed to too little empathy right? It may sound like a dumb question but when I hear "empathy challenged" on here 99% of the time it is because of a lack of empathy.

      But, let me give you my take on your friend. I cant say whether she is an uber empath or not without more information, but from the information you told me it does seem like she may be an "uber empath". I will give you my reasons why and how I do the same things sometimes.......

      To me it sounds like she is embarassed and ashamed of the way she lets her ex treat her and probably thinks that people are just going to tell her to "get the hell away from him ASAP" so she keeps it buried deep down.

      She DOES show characteristics of being an Uber Empath though, one of the things that I notice that she does (that I also do as well) is that we seem to minimize our own problems and not worry about them while at the same time trying to help other people with their problems. Also, depression is VERY COMMON in uber empaths (especially uber empaths who are unaware of what they are) because we have so much empathy and absorb other peoples emotions so readily that it almost "infects" us with other peoples emotions, even if we do not want to be. One thing I read online about the Uber empath or Highly sensitive person (HSP) is that you sometimes basically feel Bipolar (because of taking/absorbing other peoples/groups emotions in without having any control over it) without having ANY of the bipolar illness/physical manifestations of the bipolar illness.

      Uber Empaths/ HSP's are also usually HIGHLY generous, the reason for this is because they basically live by the "Golden Rule" (treat others how you would like to be treated) to the EXTREME...... They basically place themselves into the place of the person who needs something and they give so much because thats how they would want others to treat them when they are down on their luck. I will give an example of this when iam done writing this post.....

      Okay, About MY feelings in the beginning of a relationship, usually they start out feeling EXTREMELY STRONG (to me at least) and as the relationship progresses the feeling DO get a little bit stronger with time and getting to know somebody, but not EXTREMELY stronger than they were in the beginning which leads me to believe either, A. I have very deep emotions too soon, or B. I have shallow emotions too soon and they build with a shallow intensity over time, although TO ME, because they are trhe only emotions I know, they feel strong. Does that make any sense to you? Did I articulate that good enough?

      I havent make anymore discoveries yet, but I will be sure to let you know if I do.... Also, Dont worry about offending me with "cartoon" comments or anything,l I have a good sense of humor and I dont get offended very easily unless somebody is MEANINGLY trying to offend me/hurt me/make me mad.

      I hope you are doing good and please, keep in touch! I really enjoy talking to you :)

    3. Okay, I wanted to give you that example on this post, and it may not be such a good example because it was from my drug days but nevertheless it extends through most things in life, not just drugs.

      When I was an addict to oxycodone I had a doctor who would write me out #310 (yes three hundred and ten) 30mg Roxicodone pills per month, Roxicodone is just instant release Oxycodone.

      When I had my pills and I saw friends who were addicts as well who didnt have pills because of a lack of money, or not being able to find them and they would be in withdrawal, I would give them a few of my pills for free just because I knew how bad it was when I was in that position and I didnt want them to feel that way...... Which sometimes at the end of the month left me short on pills, than they would help me out, if they could/ had the means to.

      Uber empaths do things like that all of the time, especially if you are their good friend.

      Also, you would NEVER in a million years confuse an Uber empath with a Borderline (in the post above where you said she may be a borderline) we are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, although I hear some borderlines are very sensitive, like Uber empaths/ HSP's.

    4. OMG rich, I just wrote an insANely ridiculous long comment. i have caught your energy and am over stimulated.

      Do you attract a bipolar or a borderline????

      I wrote tons of things again, and comment got lost so I will try to remember.

      WHen i was your age i used to bug my bfs about their feelings. I would ask them tons of questions. (Maybe i was too intense, though, idk) Don't the girls ever ask you why your feelings are this way or that way?? I would think some would say "stop hanging on me and loving me too much, we just met" if i thought that your feelings were too deep too soon. Or if they did not progress , I would think a girl would pick up on it and complain. I usually get my cues about the way I am from other people. Do you?

      I like talking to you too, Rich!!

      You are right about my friend. I meant too much empathy, yes. I did not mean "empathy challenged"
      She is a puzzlement.

      She self sacrifices and her freeloading, disgusting pig ex takes advantage and even tries to turn the teenage daughter against her. I would like to take a hit out on him. We have all discussed. I am kidding Rich!!!!

      My friend is also an alcoholic. She is erratic, yes, similar to bipolar.

      Rich, do you ever get high on other people's energy, like I do? Do you have dissociation?? Did you have narcissistic parents?

      I am a very sensitive borderline but do NOT take on others' loads. I can see and do appropriate behaviour and that makes me generous, though.

      Rich, do you have healthy self esteem?? I am curious because you seem like you do.

      ALso, do you understand dissociation, and do you feel you have it??

      Thanks, I like to talk to you too!!

    5. In my experience domestic abuse victims will do this remaining silent and hiding it from friends and family thing. I don't know why, but it's part of the overall sickness. I have noticed embarrassment or shame in them. Anon, I would encourage you to call it out when you see evidence of abuse. In the short term this may ruin the friendship, but in the long term your words will be remembered by all who need to hear them.

    6. Thank you Ellicit. One of our mutual friends and i are angry about it, the other mutual friend will also not make waves bec doesnt want to embarrass her. These 2 friends: one was abused by mother, the other by exes. Go figure.

      Now here is another reasn she may be afraid. CPS has visted i think a while ago. SOme neighbor, I think, told. She is afraid of bureaucratic big brother types of organizations.

      She was not happy about that, and said it is none of people's business, people lied,etc. she has disability up her ass trying to say she made 2 much money money, (she had to get over breast cancer few years ago)


      I think she had told someone of it before when it first started happening years ago. My friend who's upset also, said it could have been the DAUGHTER, too! THis friend doesnt like the daugter because she is terrible in public to her mother, calls her an idiot, etc. But the daughter also has a very good side and will call one of us if mom is drinking too much. SHe is a smart girl and going to public school for gifted kids. it was hard to get into. HEr daughter is her pride and joy, one thing she has that gives her out of depressio feelings. She lights up when talkig about her. I think it is all about the daughter. SHe is a good mother.

      She says ex has broken too many dishes and glasses and she has to replace all the time wasting money. HE has an apt in the VERY SAME building she has! He has access to hers at all times, she will feed his fat ass with her hard earned money whilst he is out being a "creative" person, freelancing and doing his sporadic artistic endeavors, works from home, fancies himself very important in his field. Blegh.

      Yes, whatever it is, it works for her in a sick way, I guess. But there is no love for him.

      SHe sometimes does not remember acting when she is drunk . I found her once laid out and acting weird and terrible at the friend's when no one was there. THis was at mutual friend # 2 'splace. I had to call mutual friend #2 on vacation because me, I was responsible for the place at the time and she was causing a ruckus in the building while very drunk. She had dialed me by mistake, claiming another friend was breaking in to this apt. and se was afraid. DOnt know what that was abt. but she was acting crazy.I rushed over and she was pissed drunk and overly apologizing. SHe had thought she was calling me by mistake thinking my number was the police's number. When i got there the super was pissed bec she was causing a ruckus in building and no one was home, and she is not living tere etc, that other person was a trespasser I had to smooth things over. There is wine in that place, so eventually we took the keys back. . SHe was passed oyt very sloppy when i arrived.

      SO, there is that . If cps knew she has a drinking ,problem maybe she would also get into trouble? Husband would prob blame her.

      Me, I do not mind taking her aside and saying did your ex do that? i do not mind. I am prob the one to do it since i am less close to her than the other 2. I am more outspoken, not afraid. I think i did once before. ofc she denied.

      How would you call her out on it, given the above?

  3. Much quiter today. The loonies must have all gotten out.

  4. The human brain is highly complex. And behaviors can be learned and compensated for. I can feel an impulsive vicious rage and still control my actions to smile at the guy pissing me off so he's none the wiser. Most people feel these things. Just because your brain wants to do one thing, doesn't mean you can't behave differently. .

  5. Theme for SW Regular Most Likely to Pick a Fight : Rembrandt

  6. Theme for SW's Most Exciting New Regular: Fake Medusa

  7. is it ok if i just xerox my ass?
    don't have an mri with me

    1. nearly the same immage
      (specialy if i have the runs)


  8. I went to the bank and then out to eat at an outdoor cafe. I had red wine and sushi. I realized, for the first time, that I was an adult. That means choice, MY choice. I am not a rodent who must run on the wheel, eat what I am told and poop and sleep on the rodent turf.

    1. A switch in my head got tripped. I can have enemies. I can act weird. I eat all the hot sauce on the table, until the waiter gives me a quizzical look like I am a freak. (Actually, he bought me more to take home.) When I die, I don't care if they say, "She is so nice" Fuck it. Let them say, " What a weird A hole" but I will be lime green, hot yellow and all shades of passion pink. I will be me and I will be doing a Snoopy dance.

    2. SOfa I poured hot chinese mustard in my mouth the other day. It is good with a bite of crispy sweet apple.

    3. You convey such powerful images now you're finding your groove, Sofa. I love it. It's so evocative at times.

    4. Thank you, Ellicit! Do you like it better in the 1st person or 2rd?

    5. everythinhg you relate to yourself, it is piggish.

    6. ^for anon 1133.

    7. well you write run-on sentences.

  9. Anon 9:53
    Tell me how it could be better, specifically? Would you like a character and not the 1st person or 3rd person?

  10. Are the run on sentences annoying?

    1. Monica you do not understand.. anon 9:53 was talking to the one who told about the mustard and the apples (anon 1133). The one who told about the run on sentences (955)is the same one who talked about the mustard and apples. They were going at one another.

      IOW, nobody called YOU piggish OR run on sentence lady.

    2. Thank you Anon 1:27

      That is really nice of you to clarify that, as the piggish remark made me shut down a little lol

  11. When you are agoraphobic and you get out of the house, you feel the the abyss tailing you, like a private eye on a fugitive, or your own shadow, sticking like glue to your back. You have to act nonchalant, as it sticks it's tongue out at you, fingers in ears. It is having a grand old time, at your expense. You can't very well talk back. You want to stop, drop, and scream, "Shut the Fuck Up". However, it wants you to do that. Then, it would fall down, in a fit of giggles, as you ran for your revolver to put it out of it's misery.

  12. It will be highly risky to deal with the serious injuries without seeking professional assistance from case management UK based company that specializes in neuro and physical case management.


Comments on posts over 14 days are SPAM filtered and may not show up right away or at all.

Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies


Comments are unmoderated. Blog owner is not responsible for third party content. By leaving comments on the blog, commenters give license to the blog owner to reprint attributed comments in any form.