Our Empathetic Nature
For some people, seeing pain in someone else is more than emotionally distressing: they feel the pain in their own body too. Now some of the pathways involved have been identified.
What's the Latest Development?
People who have lost a limb sometimes still experience the limb as thought it were still connected to the body. The phenomena is called phantom limb and new research suggests that those with the condition are more susceptible to feeling real physical pain when they observe it in others. The same process that allows us to empathize with others by imagining the pain they feel, properly called synaesthetic pain, is heightened in those who have lost a limb. Scientists speculate that the traumatic experience associated with losing a limb may heighten the sensitivity of pain synaesthetes to others' pain.
What's the Big Idea?
Long a conundrum of evolutionary biologists, altruism inspired by empathy may have fairly clear biological and neurological roots. "When we observe or imagine pain, it activates areas of the brain involved in the processing of real pain. This is called the mirror neuron system and is thought to help us to understand other people's actions and emotions. But the activation is not as strong as that caused by real pain because inhibitory mechanisms normally dampen the response."
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It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Upload your mind? Here's a reality check on the Singularity.
- Though computer engineers claim to know what human consciousness is, many neuroscientists say that we're nowhere close to understanding what it is, or its source.
- Scientists are currently trying to upload human minds to silicon chips, or re-create consciousness with algorithms, but this may be hubristic because we still know so little about what it means to be human.
- Is transhumanism a journey forward or an escape from reality?
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