Posted by The Situationist Staff on October 19, 2010
Joseph LeDoux is a professor and a member of the Center for Neural Science and Department of Psychology at NYU. His work is focused on the brain mechanisms of emotion and memory. In addition to articles in scholarly journals, he is author of “The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life” and “Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are.” He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a fellow of the New York Academy of Science, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, and the recipient of the 2005 Fyssen International Prize in Cognitive Science. LeDoux is also a singer and songwriter in the rock band, The Amygdaloids.
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For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “The Situation of Neuroeconomics and Situationist Economics,” “The Interior Situation of Complex Human Feelings,” “The Situation of Memory,” “Accidentally Us,” “The Affective Situation of Ethics and Mediation,” and “Situating Emotion.”
Posted in Emotions, Neuroscience, Video | Tagged: Big Think, Emotions, memory, Neuroscience, Video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on September 1, 2010
Excerpts from EurekaAlert:
Anger, depression, and helplessness are the main psychological responses being seen in response to the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and they are likely to have long-lasting effects, according to an interview in Ecopsychology, . . . .
The anger being expressed in response to the recent BP oil rig explosion and resulting spill of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico is “a way of masking the really unfathomable and profound despair that is just under the surface as we watch this catastrophe unfold,” says Deborah Du Nann Winter, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA). In an interview published in Ecopsychology and conducted by Editorial Board member Susan Koger, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Willamette University in Salem, OR, Winter predicts a great deal of chronic depression, withdrawal, and lack of functioning among not only people directly affected by the events in the Gulf, but also people nationwide and globally who identify or empathize with their circumstances.
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With the hope that the BP spill, with all the damage and suffering it is causing, will stimulate renewed environmental activism and changes in attitudes and behaviors, Winter says, “this disaster is probably just the kick in the pants that the environmental movement has needed.”
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The interview is available free online at www.liebertpub.com/eco.
For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Inequality and the Unequal Situation of Mental and Physical Health,” “The Situational Consequences of Uncertainty,” “The Situation of Solitary Confinement,” “Our Carcinogenic Situation,” “The Psychological Toll of Automobile Traffic,” “The Disturbing Mental Health Situation of Returning Soldiers,” “Juliet Schor, ‘Colossal Failure: The Output Bias of Market Economies’,” “Juliet Schor on the Situation of Consumption,” “Denial,” “The Need for a Situationist Morality,”
Posted in Emotions, Environment | Tagged: Emotions, Gulf Oil Spill | 2 Comments »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on January 10, 2009
Ming Hsu, Cédric Anen, and Steven R. Quartz, recently published a report titled “The Right and the Good: Distributive Justice and Neural Encoding of Equity and Efficiency” (in 320 Science 1092 – 1095 (2008)). Here’s the abstract.
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Distributive justice concerns how individuals and societies distribute benefits and burdens in a just or moral manner. We combined distribution choices with functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the central problem of distributive justice: the trade-off between equity and efficiency. We found that the putamen responds to efficiency, whereas the insula encodes inequity, and the caudate/septal subgenual region encodes a unified measure of efficiency and inequity (utility). Notably, individual differences in inequity aversion correlate with activity in inequity and utility regions. Against utilitarianism, our results support the deontological intuition that a sense of fairness is fundamental to distributive justice but, as suggested by moral sentimentalists, is rooted in emotional processing. More generally, emotional responses related to norm violations may underlie individual differences in equity considerations and adherence to ethical rules.
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For a brief, helpful summary of the report on BPS Research Digest, click here.
Posted in Abstracts, Distribution, Emotions, Neuroscience, Philosophy | Tagged: Distribution, efficiency, Emotions, equity | Leave a Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on December 8, 2008
Cara Laney and Elizabeth Loftus recently published their interesting article, Emotional Content of True and False Memories (16 Psychol. Press 500-516 (2008) on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.
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Many people believe that emotional memories (including those that arise in therapy) are particularly likely to represent true events because of their emotional content. But is emotional content a reliable indicator of memory accuracy? The current research assessed the emotional content of participants’ pre-existing (true) and manipulated (false) memories for childhood events. False memories for one of three emotional childhood events were planted using a suggestive manipulation and then compared, a long several subjective dimensions, with other participants’ true memories. On most emotional dimensions (e.g., how emotional was this event for you?), true and false memories were indistinguishable. On a few measures (e.g., intensity of feelings at the time of the event), true memories were more emotional than false memories in the aggregate, yet true and false memories were equally likely to be rated as uniformly emotional. These results suggest that even substantial emotional content may not reliably indicate memory accuracy.
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To read some related Situationist posts, see “The Situation of Memory,” “TAL Animation on the Situation of Memory, ” “The Interior Situation of Complex Human Feelings,” “Emotions, Values, and Information: The Future of Nanotechnology,” and “Situating Emotion.”
Posted in Abstracts, Emotions | Tagged: Emotions, false memories, memories | Leave a Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on March 20, 2008
Del Jones of USA Today has an interesting piece on the research of Dan Hill, an expert in facial coding, a system of classifying hundreds of tiny muscle movements in the face. Below is a brief excerpt from the article as it pertains to the expressions of Senators Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain.
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“It is presidential season and Hill, president of Sensory Logic and author of a book about facial coding called Emotionomics: Winning Hearts and Minds, has been in demand to find clues in the faces of the candidates. John McCain forces smiles and, true to his reputation, angers easily, as demonstrated by puffed cheeks and a chin thrust upward in disgust, Hill says. Hillary Clinton smirks, an expression “she oddly enough shares with President Bush,” which conveys an attitude of assurance bordering on superiority and smugness. Barack Obama has the best true smile, but flashes it rarely for someone who speaks of hope, and Hill sees flashes of disdain, aloofness, disappointment and exasperation.”
To watch a video of Dan Hill’s analysis of the smiles of several candidates, click on the video below.
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Undoubtedly, people’s facial expressions often speak louder than their words about their attitudes, emotions, and associations. And it is certainly the case that scientists are learning more every day about the sources and meaning of those facial expressions. Still, we have our doubts about the reliability Hill’s process of facial-coding, particularly given his seeming readiness to reach firm conclusions about a given individual’s stable preferences, emotional states, or attitudes through that process.
For other Situationist posts on politics, click here.
Posted in Emotions, Politics, Video | Tagged: Clinton, Dan Hill, Emotiononics, Emotions, facial expressions, McCain, Obama | 3 Comments »