from the world's big
How We Decide to Decide
A lot of ink has been spilled over the inconsistent and illogical ways that human beings make choices. Not as much attention has been paid to the decision to make a choice in the first place. Before you can pick between Raspberry and Vanilla, after all, you have to choose to enter the store. And, some theorists argue, this deciding-to-decide—to stop exploring your options and choose here and now—is an important and neglected aspect of how animals, including people, behave. This paper, recently published in the journal Science, supports that argument: In brain scans, it reports, foraging behavior—deciding how and where to choose among the options—engaged a different brain region than did the choosing itself.
Foraging, write Nils Kolling and his colleagues, requires different kinds of calculations than does picking among well-defined options. To pick Raspberry or Vanilla, you compare them against one another on cost, flavor, your allergies and what not. But in deciding whether to enter or pass the store, you're relating the estimated worth of any potential choice inside to the average of all available places (you might, for example, decide "I can get those brands anywhere, why stop here?"). You're also evaluating the cost of passing up what's in front of you in order to move on.
Not much of life is raspberry-versus-vanilla, with complete information and a choice that must be made. Much of it is dealing with uncertainties and unknown future events (maybe some further store will have better brands, maybe it will be closed). If choosing among options is like being a shopper, then foraging is, as Temple's Donald A. Hantula has put it, like being a financier: The game is won by "investing" time and effort and getting a return on that investment that exceeds what you spent.
Why might this help to explain human irrationality? Well, consider a behavior that is extremely widespread, not only among human beings but other species (even slime molds do it): Changing the value we put on something because of the context in which it appears. You have Choice A and Choice B, each with its pluses and minuses. Then someone introduces Choice C, which is worse than either A or B. Suddenly, B looks pretty good, and you and most other people prefer it.
According to classical economics, Options A and B have a fixed value to you, and nothing that happens later should affect that value. Letting C influence your thinking is a flaw. But seen as part of a a strategy for surviving over years in your environment, it might make sense to re-evaluate A and B in the light of C.
Suppose option A represents a lot of high-quality nutrition at considerable risk to your life, and Option B is low-quality food in an environment that's absolutely safe. If you now know there's an Option C that's inferior to both A and B, you have new information about the environment where you will have to make more choices in the future. That gives you less incentive to take the risks associated with A and reduces the consequences of choosing B (it may be a crappy food source, but you know there are others). As Alasdair I. Houston and co-authors explain here, what looks illogical when seen as a single choice now starts to make sense when seen as part of a long-term survival strategy.
Kolling at al. want to bring this longer-term perspective to the question of how humans make decisions, which, they say, has been dominated by the study of unrealistic right-here-right-now choices. In their experiment, they had 18 men and 12 women try to win money by playing a game. The volunteers had to pick one of two choices, each represented by an abstract shape on a screen, which offered different levels of reward. However, before they got this choice, the volunteers had a different one to make: They had to decide whether to make the choice in the first place, or, instead, to ask for a new deal, with two new options drawn at random from a set of six.
The volunteers played this game repeatedly, while in an MRI scanner that measured relative amounts of energy consumption in different brain regions. Results: When the subjects were choosing a shape from a pair, there was an increase in activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, a region just above the eyes often associated with decision-making tasks. However, when these people were "foraging," considering their options and choosing whether to stay or move on to another choice, a different brain region showed increased activity. Kolling et al. believe that region, a part of the anterior cingulate cortex, "encodes the average value of the forgaing environment and the cost of foraging." In other words, while one brain circuit supports choosing among clear options (raspberry versus vanilla), another, separate circuit works on the separate task of evaluating the overall state of the hunt (how does the selection at this store compare to the average, and to the next store I'm likely to pass, and how likely is that place to be open?).
If these authors are right, then explaining human decisions will require an account of both systems, not just the choose-right-here-and-now that is usually measured by lab experiments on choice and decision-making.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.