Scientists uncover the brain circuitry that causes mysterious dissociative experiences

A team of researchers have discovered the brain rhythmic activity that can split us from reality, causing a type of "out-of-body" phenomena known as dissociation.

  • Researchers have identified the key rhythmic brain activity that triggers a bizarre experience called dissociation in which people can feel detached from their identity and environment.
  • This phenomena is experienced by about 2% to 10% of the population, and nearly 3 out of 4 individuals who have experienced a traumatic event will slip into a dissociative state either during the event or sometime after.
  • The findings implicate a specific protein in a certain set of cells as key to the feeling of dissociation, and it could lead to better-targeted therapies for conditions in which dissociation can occur.
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Malcolm Gladwell live | How to re-examine everything you know

Join Radiolab's Latif Nasser at 1pm ET on Monday as he chats with Malcolm Gladwell live on Big Think.

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The art of asking the right questions

What exactly does "questions are the new answers" mean?

  • Traditionally, intelligence has been viewed as having all the answers. When it comes to being innovative and forward-thinking, it turns out that being able to ask the right questions is an equally valuable skill.
  • The difference between the right and wrong questions is not simply in the level of difficulty. In this video, geobiologist Hope Jahren, journalist Warren Berger, experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats, and investor Tim Ferriss discuss the power of creativity and the merit in asking naive and even "dumb" questions.
  • "Very often the dumb question that is sitting right there that no one seems to be asking is the smartest question you can ask," Ferriss says, adding that "not only is it the smartest, most incisive, but if you want to ask it and you're reasonably smart, I guarantee you there are other people who want to ask it but are just embarrassed to do so."

Five weird thought experiments to break your brain

Thought expriments are great tools, but do they always do what we want them to?

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  • Thought experiments are quite popular, though some get more time in the sun than others.
  • While they are supposed to help guide our intuition to help solve difficult problems, some are a bit removed from reality.
  • Can we trust the intuitions we have about problems set in sci-fi worlds or that postulate impossible monsters?
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The rhythm of the night: How music can help insomnia

Insomnia is the product of mental or emotional pressure.

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Even in sleep, we partake in the becoming of the world," to utter the echo in Czesław Miłosz's poem "A Magic Mountain."
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