Nerves that sense touch may play role in autism

This small-scale study may have uncovered a new link between the peripheral nerve system and autism.

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  • Autism refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. According to the CDC, autism impacts an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States.
  • An October 2020 study suggests that the peripheral nervous system may play a role in autism.
  • The parameters of the study may not show the entire picture —more research is needed in this area.
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Why we have breakup sex, according to psychology

Is breakup sex ever a good idea?

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  • A July 2020 study aimed to better understand post-breakup behavior, specifically why we have breakup sex.
  • This research established there are three main reasons people engage in breakup sex: relationship maintenance, ambivalence, and hedonism.
  • Experts weigh in on whether or not breakup sex can be beneficial.
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Study shatters the myth that BDSM is linked to early-life trauma

No, being interested in BDSM does not mean you had a traumatic childhood.

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  • BDSM is a kind of sexual expression and/or practice that refers to three main subcategories: Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/submission, and Sadism/Masochism.
  • It has been widely speculated that many BDSM practitioners or people who enjoy the BDSM lifestyle are drawn to it because of sexual trauma they experienced in the past.
  • This 2020 study claims that BDSM practitioners deserve perception as normal sexual practice free from stigmatization rather than deviant behavior.
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By the age of 3, children appreciate nature's fractal patterns

Fractal patterns are noticed by people of all ages, even small children, and have significant calming effects.

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  • A new study from the University of Oregon found that, by the age of three, children understand and prefer nature's fractal patterns.
  • A "fractal" is a pattern that the laws of nature repeat at different scales. Exact fractals are ordered in such a way that the same basic pattern repeats exactly at every scale, like the growth spiral of a plant, for example.
  • Separate studies have proven that exposure to fractal patterns in nature can reduce your stress levels significantly.
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Psychedelics: The scientific renaissance of mind-altering drugs

There is a lot we don't know about psychedelics, but what we do know makes them extremely important.

  • Having been repressed in the 1960s for their ties to the counterculture, psychedelics are currently experiencing a scientific resurgence. In this video, Michael Pollan, Sam Harris, Jason Silva and Ben Goertzel discuss the history of psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin, acknowledge key figures including Timothy Leary and Albert Hoffman, share what the experience of therapeutic tripping can entail, and explain why these substances are important to the future of mental health.
  • There is a stigma surrounding psychedelic drugs that some scientists and researchers argue is undeserved. Several experiments over the past decades have shown that, when used correctly, drugs like psilocybin and LSD can have positive effects on the lives of those take them. How they work is not completely understood, but the empirical evidence shows promise in the fields of curbing depression, anxiety, obsession, and even addiction to other substances.
  • "There's a tremendous amount of insight that can be plumbed using these various substances. There's also a lot of risks there, as with most valuable things," says artificial intelligence researcher Ben Goertzel. He and others believe that by making psychedelics illegal, modern governments are getting in the way of meaningful research and the development of "cultural institutions to guide people in really productive use of these substances."
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