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5 neuroscience reality checks, from a top neuroscientist

https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/joseph-ledoux-consciousness

bigthink.com

5 neuroscience reality checks, from a top neuroscientist
In his new book, The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Our Conscious Brains, neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux assigns himself the simple tasks of explaining how consciousness developed and redefining how we create and experience emotions.Obviously, I'm being facetious....

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Survival before Behaviour

Our survival instinct came before any reasoning or behavioral aspects.

The human body is firstly a tool of survival, with rationalizing and the 'mind' perspectives arriving much later.

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Neuroscience is a new science

We normally assume that certain sections of the brain carry out a specific set of tasks. This is fair to believe but is not entirely accurate.

The science to scan brain activity is currently in its infancy. Brain scans track blood flow; that does not mean specific functions are limited to that region.

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Humans and the environment

Humans believe they are separate from the environment, which is a wrong presumption.

Environmental and climate change and its imminent effects on humans are proof that we are not separate or insulated from our surroundings.

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A state of mind

Pain, even the chronic variety is subjective and can be annulled.
There are no specific receptive areas for different emotions like fear, joy, and anger. By contrast, certain receptors are activated when experiencing pain or pleasure, yet even those are subjective.

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Unique species

Humans are a quick blip in the long history of species. The factors that truly make humans unique: language, autonoesis, complex emotions. 

The dangers of anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism should always be taken into consideration. Fitness means adapting to the environment. Over the course of the last century, we've arguably accomplished the opposite.

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Our sleep-wake pattern

Our molecular clock inside our cells aims to keep us in sync with the sun

When we disregard this circadian rhythm, we are at a greater risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart...

The lifestyle imbalance

Thomas Edison said that sleep is "a bad habit." Like Edison, we seem to think of sleep as an adversary and try to fight it at every turn. The average American sleeps less than the recommended seven hours per night, mostly due to electric lights, television, computers, and smartphones. 

However, we are ignoring the intricate journey we're designed to take when we sleep.

Stage One Sleep

When we fall asleep, the nearly 86 billion neurons in our brain starts to fire evenly and rhythmically. Our sensory receptors become muffled at the same time.

The first stage of shallow sleep lasts for about 5 minutes.

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Moving Together In Sync

Moving Together In Sync
  • The synchronicity that is created while moving together in a simultaneous and coordinated manner results in strong social bonding, and well-being, according to new research.
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Spontaneous Synchronicity

We tend to sync ourselves with others without even realizing it. People wave or clap at the same time in concerts, rocking in sync. A study showed that if two people are in a rocking chair, they will automatically start rocking it in sync with each other.

This silent conversation of movement results in a special bonding and closeness towards each other. This results in people liking each other, being generous and cooperative towards each other, reducing racial or economical bias. This behaviour is even seen in small children.

Dancing Together Since Ancient Times

Early humans devised ways to be and stay together using the same techniques, albeit unconsciously.

Voices and body movements synced together during traditional folk dances in various cultures helped people bond together.

Spicy foods and "constrained risks"

Spicy foods and "constrained risks"
Eating spicy foods triggers a mild defense response in us. Our heart rates rise, our breathing increases, and our adrenaline starts to flow. We feel alive. It's the same thrill-seeking behavior exhibi...

Spicy foods-an acquired taste

Spicy foods have antifungal and antibacterial properties. In this light, humans have culturally and genetically evolved a preference for spicy foods because they protect us from microscopic assailants. When our taste buds encounter pungency, it's a signal to our brains that the food is cleaner.

Preference for spicy foods, like all foods, is the result of a complex interplay of genes, culture, memory, and personality,  a complex design that scientists are only now beginning to u...

Preference for spicy foods, like all foods, is the result of a complex interplay of genes, culture, memory, and personality,  a complex design that scientists are only now beginning to understand