Friday, August 6, 2021

Post 1: Self control

                                       

     Self control as described by Howard Rachlin comes about when people fail to come to terms that they have an underlying issue with immediate gratification off a long term reward. Someone who has a nicotine addiction, and is having a crappy day would be more then likely to have a cigarette to increase their mood. Once the nicotine wears off they will go back to feeling even worse often times. Having the willpower to quit an addiction like nicotine, food, and sex is very difficult for many people. People who are unable to control their urges sufer from the fear of conflicting outcomes that may come if they do or do not quit their addiction that they struggle with. 

Post : Self Control

     Self control as described by Howard Rachlin comes about when people fail to come to terms that they have an underlying issue with immediate gratification off a long term reward. Someone who has a nicotine addiction, and is having a crappy day would be more then likely to have a cigarette to increase their mood. Once the nicotine wears off they will go back to feeling even worse often times. Having the willpower to quit an addiction like nicotine, food, and sex is very difficult for many people. People who are unable to control their urges sufer from the fear of conflicting outcomes that may come if they do or do not quit their addiction that they struggle with. 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Out-Of-Body Experience


One of the spookiest topics that we have learned about this semester is Out-of-body experiences. An out-of-body experience is a sensation of being outside one's own body, typically by being able to observe oneself from a distance. According to Jonas, "out of body experiences are just one of a larger group of experiences called autoscopy, which is from two Ancient Greek words: autos, meaning"self", and skopĆ³s, meaning "watcher"" (Jonas, 2020). As weird as that may seem, out-of-body experiences actually happen to many people whether they are healthy or sickly. There are two ways one can experience this: spontaneous out of body experience or induced out of body experience. Within these two categories becomes even deeper reasons one can experience autoscopy such as: visual and somatosensory hallucinations, and heautoscopy proper. 

One of the most famous cases of out-of-body experiences that became a case study is Miss. Z. This woman would claim that at her own will she was able to leave her body. Now Dr. Tart didn't exactly believe her and decided to experiment. When she was asleep he had placed a number on the shelf in front of her and required her to let him know what the number was when she woke up. In fact there was no way for her to know what number was placed in front of her at all, but when she woke up she stated the correct number leaving him in shocked. Dr. Tart started and I quote, 

            "My informal observation of her over a period of several months (undoubtedly distorted by the fact
            that one can never describe one's friends objectively) resulted in a picture of a person who in some
            ways was quite mature and insightful, and in other ways so extremely disturber psychologically
            that at times, when she lost control, she could possibly be diagnosed as schizophrenic"
            (Martisiute, 2018).

Insight on Out-of-Body Experiences. Association for Psychological Science - APS. (2011, August 19). https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/insight-on-out-of-body-experiences. 

Jonas, C. (2020, October 26). Out of body experiences: Dr Clare Jonas. That Thinking Feeling. https://www.thatthinkingfeeling.co.uk/blog/out-of-body-experiences. 

Martisiute, L. (2018, January 24). 4 Bizarre Out-Of-Body Experiences That Turned Into Case Studies. All That's Interesting. https://allthatsinteresting.com/out-of-body-experiences. 





Friday, June 25, 2021

Post Three - Synesthesia

Synesthesia is an incredibly rare experience where your brain has multiple sensory responses to an unrelated stimulus. People who have these experiences are known as synesthetes. In some cases or this condition, letters and numbers can induce a certain color in one's mind or hearing certain sounds can induce a color sensation. This experience is caused by a neurological condition that stimulates many different senses. Although it was not officially called "synesthesia", the condition is found consistently in throughout history. 

I personally have not met a synesthete but I have so many questions about what the experiences are like. We have grown up with certain phrases like "feeling blue" when you are sad and "green with envy" when you are jealous but I was wondering if we were given these comments by someone who was a synesthete a long time ago. Since there is such a broad history of synesthesia, I like to think that maybe some of the common phrases and ideals we know were passed down by generations of past synesthetes.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01414/full

Post Two - Phantom Limb Pain

Phantom limb pain is the sensation of pain in an area where a limb was amputated. Even though the limb is no longer there, the pain is in fact very real. The degree of phantom limb pain ranges between mild and extremely severe and can last for days, weeks or even years. The word "phantom" describes the missing limb or where the limb was severed. Phantom limb pain is extremely common in amputees and is seen in about 8 out of 10 individuals. Some of the symptoms of phantom limb pain include: burning/aching,  pinching, itching, stabbing, throbbing, etc. Phantom limb pain is treated by focusing on easing symptoms. This can be achieved by pain relievers, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, some electrical impulse therapies and complementary therapies such as acupuncture and meditation.

A form of therapy known as mirror therapy is quite common in helping ease phantom limb pain. Mirror therapy is a completely holistic form of treatment. During this form of treatment, patients view their intact limb in a mirror while doing different movement exercises for approximately 20 minutes everyday. The reflection of the healthy limb tricks the brain into thinking that there are two fully intact limbs. Since the brain doesn't believe the limb is missing, the pain begins to dwindle until it ultimately disappears. 

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12092-phantom-limb-pain 

Sommeliers

 

A sommelier is a person who specializes in all aspects of wine service and is a knowledgeable wine professional. They manage the wine service in restaurants, country clubs, distribution firms, etc. They are able to specify the region of origin and describe the characteristics of wines based on its taste. They can detect a wine's distinctive ingredients, but it is not due to having sensitive palates. Recent brain scans of sommeliers revealed that as they taste wine, their brains react differently from those who are inexperienced in the field. When sommeliers take a sip of wine, the brain shows greater activity in regions associated with the functions of memory, language and decision making. These findings are consistent with what is already known about the true specialized skills of sommeliers. They have developed a rich understanding in language to describe the taste and smell of wine. Their extensive practice in describing the sensory effects of these components is what leads to their expertise in categorizing the different production dimensions of wine. Although extensive practice can help describe the characteristics of wine, these experts have explicit knowledge which makes it much easier for them to categorize and then remember meaningful constellations of flavor. Overall, sommeliers do not have greater sensitivity in their tongues and noses, but instead their skills are based on learned conceptual knowledge, attention to flavor configurations, and language use.

Rosenblum, L. D. (2011). See what I'm saying: the extraordinary powers of our five senses. W.W. Norton.

Proxy touch


Proxy touch is a skill in which a person can perceive the properties of something by using another object other than your hand. A professional fly-fisher named Rick Passek uses proxy touch to know when to catch fish through his rod. When the fish bites the hook, Passek is able to detect the specific type of fish he’s hooked and what the fish is about to do. His ability to do this, is from the characteristic pulls and vibrations at the rods handle caused by the fish’s actions. Although many people aren’t professional fly-fishers, we are able to use proxy touch in our daily life. We can use this skill through vibrations and textures of specific surfaces. For example, if you were to draw with a pencil but the surface was to change from gloss, standard, to cotton-weight paper, you would be able to detect the different textures. By detecting the textures of the paper by holding the pencil, you are able to apply the right amount of pressure to effectively use the pencil on each surface. Another example when you use proxy touch is when you are cooking. If you were to cook soup, when stirring with a spoon you would be able to determine if the soup was thick enough or if it were sticking to the pot. By using the cooking spoon, you can perceive the texture of the soup without touching it with your skin, allowing you to know when your food is ready. Proxy touch is used to perceive things which is why it is known that blind individuals use their cane tips to feel upcoming curbs or doorways. Overall, proxy touch is used by individuals for many different reasons which can be helpful in our daily lives.

Rosenblum, L. D. (2011). See what I'm saying: the extraordinary powers of our five senses. W.W. Norton. 

Anosmia



Anosmia is when a person partially or completely loses their sense of smell. This condition is difficult to treat and many Americans with anosmia go uncured. Anosmia is caused by swelling or blockage in the nose, being from a common cold, allergies, nasal polyps, and other conditions that may irritate the nose. Our sense of smell enhances 80 percent of flavor, anosmics often enhance their remaining 20 percent of flavor with spices. A man named Karl Wuensch became anosmic, which was a result of large polyps in his sinuses and swollen turbinates. Since Wuensch is now unable to smell, he had to make a few changes in his life. He now prefers super-spicy foods and has to be extra careful when cooking to make sure his food doesn't burn. Wuensch claimed to miss the smell of people the most and how it affected his interactions with people intimately and casually. We all have a special smell based on our natural odor. We are able to recognize other peoples smells and find one more pleasant and sexually attractive based on their odors. This plays a role in our relationships and interactions with others.

Furthermore, in relation to our present pandemic, COVID-19 patients can experience anosmia as well. We all tried the challenge of eating a lemon while not having a reaction. Recently, this challenge has become more popular and expanded across media. To bring a positive light to our current situation, people who have tested positive for COVID-19 were intrigued by the trend of trying different foods and drinks to test if they can taste it. A few things that are popular in this trend include: lemons, hot sauce, onions; and for those who are over the age of 21, alcohol. Most of the time, for those who have tried this trend, the foods they consumed had no flavor. This is due to a temporary loss of function of supporting cells in the olfactory epithelium. Although the curiosity of not tasting something extremely hot or sour is growing, it is not something we wish for. Overall, the loss of smell can impact our relationships and the foods we love to eat. 


Rosenblum, L. D. (2011). See what I'm saying: the extraordinary powers of our five senses. W.W. Norton. 


Jiang, K. (2020, July 24). How COVID-19 causes loss of smell. Harvard medical school. https://hms.harvard.edu/news/how-covid-19-causes-loss-smell#:~:text=Smell%20loss%20clue,sensory%20neurons%2C%20the%20authors%20said



Master Sommeliers

I have a friend who is an advanced sommelier (one level below master) so I found this chapter very interesting. Recent brain scans have shown that sommeliers don’t have an innate ability to detect the distinct characteristics of wines like many people, including myself, once believed. As it turns out, when a sommelier tastes wine, their brain initially shows enhanced activity in the regions where taste and smell inputs converge. Following their initial sip, the left hemisphere shows more activity than in novice wine drinkers. The left hemisphere is associated with analytical processes which confirms that experts’ brains work simultaneously on both sensory input and label recognition. But even their ability to recognize complex flavors and aromas comes from extensive practice and expanding their descriptive vocabulary. 


There’s a pretty good documentary series on Master Sommeliers: 

SOMM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw0PR3zm4z8
SOMM 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGPsAQNvMBE
SOMM 3:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vla8DXyzQ5c

Smell of Attraction and Ovulation

Ovulation is the stage during a women’s menstrual cycles when the ovaries release an egg. Although the process is not visible, it has been shown that men are not only able to smell, but are more attracted to women when they are ovulating. In one study, one group of men smelled T-shirts that were worn by women nearing ovulation and another group smelled shirts from when women were far from ovulation. Men that were exposed to the scent of ovulating women displayed higher levels of testosterone than the non ovulating scent. This shows that olfactory cues that detect sexual availability in women are associated with endocrinological responses in men, which can subsequently drive their sexual behavior. 

https://academic.oup.com/beheco/article/15/4/579/205993

John Bramblitt and Cross-modal Plasticity

I’ve taken a great interest in neuroplasticity in the last couple years after first learning about it, so when I read about John Bramblitt’s story and more about cross-modal plasticity I was incredibly fascinated. Despite the fact that our brain organizes itself based on how much we utilize each region, the cortex dedicated to diminished senses do not become obsolete. After John Bramblitt became blind, he developed an enhanced sense of touch to guide him as he paints. As he uses his right hand to draw lines, he uses his left to determine where he placed that line and where the next will go. He can even make out different colors solely based on the viscosity of the paint! Brain imaging has shown that when blind individuals touch complex patterns, their visual cortex activates in systematic ways. This kind of compensatory activation also doesn't occur when induced in sighted individuals. 


https://sites.google.com/a/haverford.edu/the-psychology-of/invited-talks-seminars-conferences/losing-one-sense-improves-another?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F&showPrintDialog=1



Thursday, June 24, 2021

Post #3- Echolocation

 As I stated in some of my previous work, I am a aide in an autistic pre-school program and I work as an one-on-one aide to a blind boy. As a child who did not have any speech until recently, it was very important to use echolocation to help him navigate his first time out of his home, especially after 2020 and him only being 3 years old. Echolocation has opened my eyes to the importance of background noises. I have become so cautious to every single little thing that goes in around me because he needs to do the same exact thing to survive, essentially. I have had the luxury to take advantage of my sight and not need to rely on the location of certain objects or places just by the sound of that object or of my own voice on that object. This blind student has changed by entire world for the better and I literally "see" the world completely differently since he has been in it. I have learned the importance of sound and how we use it as humans. 


Post 2- Phantom Pain

 My grandfather was a bad diabetic while I was growing up. It started with one infection in his toe and turned into his one leg being amputated from the knee down causing him to be wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. However, one interesting factor of his bad infection was the complete honesty he had with his family on how he felt after the amputation of his lower leg. He spoke about pain, pain from ingrown toenails or stubbed toes on the leg that had no foot. This video explains the entire pathway from our brain to limb and how this phantom pain can cause more than just physical pain but mental or emotional pain too. 


Proxy Touch

 Vision is a crazy thing, can't you see that? Your eyes can really play tricks on you. After watching this video, it is eye-opening (pun intended) on how complex our vision really is. Vision is considered one of the most dominant senses, however it can also play tricks on your mind because it does take so much of your brain to process what we are looking at. This video shows the anatomony of the your eye and helps show how complex our vision is and how we should may not always trust what we think we see!


The Magic of Making Sound: Foley Artists in Hollywood

 The Magic of Making Sound


What we hear while watching movies may not be exactly what it seems. Foley artists use sound effects engineered in studios to add missing sounds to films. In many cases, they enhance or add sounds lost or not caught the first time around. This is especially important for outdoor scenes. As you can see in this video, many sounds that we hear during films are remade in a completely different way. The video shows us that horse hooves/trolling is remade with plungers filled with cloth and wrapped in duct tape. It is definitely not the more glamourous side of Hollywood. This manipulation of sound is an illusion that viewers are subject to. Our eyes are tricked into thinking we are hearing what we are seeing. This is not the case when Foley artists recreate the crunch of snow with sand and corn starch. This perception is fooling our auditory senses and connecting visual and auditory cues. Something as simple as watching movies incorporates multisensory perception. 


Multi Sensory Function


The chapter discusses two different types of multisensory functions. This means using more then one sensory at a time, so this means using sight, hearing, touch, or taste. 

One example with the moving room method. The moving room method used an observer and placed her in a small three walled room that constantly moved back and forth. Standing up on a force plate, the observer would observe the change in posture , being that the method would demonstrate your multi senses are being used to forcefully stand still.  

Monkey’s do not have high levels of audiovisuals that are used in heard calls and mouth configurations. For their audiovisual calls they use brain regions which are analogous to humans. So, they are using multisensory functions to (speech) communicate.

Link to :

Multisensory connections of monkey auditory cerebral cortex

 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19619628/


Smile its Good For You

 

☺☺


    Just from what I learned in a Stress and Anxiety course smiling can reduce stress which would help to influence your emotional state. This chapter discusses how smiling can boost your emotional state by the movement of muscles in your face. This involves you smiling which increase activity , and influence expressions which influence your emotions. The book uses the example if you watch a scary movie that would result in your being horrified and then see a scary face that would increase your emotional state and increase your reaction. A smiling face can increase your mood and be more likely to make positive decisions.



Post 1

  

It's interesting this book talks about Sommelier's and their phenomenal senses allude to their expertise in wine because I watched the movie "Uncorked" recently on Netflix and it shows the journey of becoming a Sommelier. The journey was very intense and this young man incountering trial an error. There's only about 167 of them in the world and the pass rate for their exams are very small at 3 percent. One of their exams is a blind test which means their tasting skills are very important. 

 Sommelier's are wine stewards' that are trained precisely in the knowledge of all things wine, and usually work in fine dining restaurants. Scientist believe their brains work on very high levels of activation in the right olfactory and memory parts of the brain. They also have a lower chance of getting alzheimers. The left hemisphere of the brain that processes analytical data is increased in activity which allows them to have a intellectual experience when tatsting the wine. 

The Science of Falling in "Love"

 Pheromones are chemical signals that are released to attract the opposite sex to mate for sexual reproduction. Unlike hormones, they act as messengers go potential mates. They were first discovered in insects. They can be found in glands in our armpits, genital regions, and navels which secretes a clear liquid. What you might think is love, might actually be some pheromones! Click on the video below to learn a little bit more about them and how they play a role in a persons life!

https://time.com/3707071/pheromones-love-life/











Echolocation

 Echolocation uses sound waves and echoes to find out where objects are in a space. Echolocation is used for humans and for animals to, specifically bats and dolphins. Humans use echolocation by clicks. If someone is blind, they can tap their walking stick, make noises with their mouth or even stomp there feet. It helps blind people get around and be able to do daily tasks the same as people with their eyesight. Below is a video that explains how they can use echolocation to help them everyday.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHYCs8xtzUI



Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Symmetry



 Blog post 3

Symmetry 

    The topic of symmetry was fascinating since I only knew that we find people who are more symmetrical as more attractiveness. Symmetry is the equivalence a person has comparing the sides of their body and face. All people are different on their two sides of the body, but it is the extent of it that determines how symmetrical one is. Low body symmetry is when a person is less symmetrical on the two sides of their body and that the differences are more drastic. Where high body symmetry is the opposite and is when someone is more symmetric and similar on both sides of their bodyIt has been known that low body symmetry plays a part in animals’ genetics and health, but recently they have found that it also can play a role in human’s health. People with low symmetry are a sign of predicted worse genetic, physical, and mental health. This is usually due to genetics; therefore, we tend to prefer those who are more symmetric for the health of our offspring. Since we all have our unique smell, people are more attracted to the smell of high symmetry. 






         I found this to bremarkably interesting since no one is perfectly symmetrical so the idea that the more symmetrical you are the better is crazy since most of the time we do not notice it immediatelyI was also surprised to learn that body symmetry is an indication of a person’s health. Unconsciously we must know this since when females are in their fertile phase, they find the smell of high body symmetry men to be more attractive. Symmetry is interesting since we not only notice it visually but also through smell.  

A video I found gave a good explanation about body symmetry and attractiveness 

 

Reference 

Rosenblum, L. D. (2011). See what I'm saying: the extraordinary powers of our five senses. W.W. Norton. 

Echolocation

Blog post 2 


Echolocation 






As I first started reading, See What I’m Saying, was immediately compelled by Daniel Kish, Brian Bushway, and Megan O’Rourke riding their bikes. Riding a bike is something that would not be considered compelling, but they were blind and riding bikes better than I could. This shows my naiveness to the subject. These bike riders would use echolocation to determine their location and navigate through it. They would make a clicking noise and would use the time delay between the chick and the sound reflected to determine how far a silent object was. Therefore, the father an object was the longer it would take to be reflected. Daniel Kish would train other visually impair to “achieve freedom” through echolocation.  





         Previously I thought echolocation was only done by bats and now learning that humans echolocate as well is very eye-opening to what our perception can do. Echolocation is something that we all do, and we do not necessarily need to produce sound to do it. Echolocation allows visually impaired people to sense their surroundings and can be beneficial. I found Kish to be very inspiring and fascinating and caused me to be excited to read more about perception.


  

After learning about Daniel Kish, I wanted to know more about him.  

I found a ted talk of him explaining how he echolocates: 

Similarly I also found a video of Kish performing echolocation while riding a bike like read in the book, See What I’m Saying: 

 


 

Reference 

Rosenblum, L. D. (2011). See what I'm saying: the extraordinary powers of our five senses. W.W. Norton.