Archive for Psychology

Neuroscience could mean soldiers controlling weapons with minds | Science | The Guardian

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2012 by cykros

Neuroscience could mean soldiers controlling weapons with minds | Science | The Guardian

Soldiers could have their minds plugged directly into weapons systems, undergo brain scans during recruitment and take courses of neural stimulation to boost their learning, if the armed forces embrace the latest developments in neuroscience to hone the performance of their troops.

These scenarios are described in a report into the military and law enforcement uses of neuroscience, published on Tuesday, which also highlights a raft of legal and ethical concerns that innovations in the field may bring.

The report by the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, says that while the rapid advance of neuroscience is expected to benefit society and improve treatments for brain disease and mental illness, it also has substantial security applications that should be carefully analysed.

The report’s authors also anticipate new designer drugs that boost performance, make captives more talkative and make enemy troops fall asleep.

“Neuroscience will have more of an impact in the future,” said Rod Flower, chair of the report’s working group.

“People can see a lot of possibilities, but so far very few have made their way through to actual use.

“All leaps forward start out this way. You have a groundswell of ideas and suddenly you get a step change.”

via Neuroscience could mean soldiers controlling weapons with minds | Science | The Guardian.

Something about the potential for this technology following a horrible path kind of irks me, but then, considering that we’ve deployed killer drones across the planet, destroyed a nuclear power plant with a computer virus, and pump our poorest citizens full of drugs and then hand them automatic weapons (and then some…), hey, may as well get interested in the science itself. I really am quite curious though as to whether this kind of thing may be getting interfered with through, say, emotional instability, or mental problems, that may even go undetected, or arise through war experiences. I could see a gun being directly controlled by, say, a PTSD flashback as being a very dangerous tool.

Oh, and my bad for totally spacing on this blog lately…I’ve still been posting this kind of thing to Diaspora, but I really should keep myself in the habit of using this, as it’s a bit more capable of doing various things.

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Month a baby is born ‘suggests what career they will have’ – Telegraph

Posted in News with tags , , , on September 5, 2011 by cykros

Being born in a certain month appears to indicate the statistical likelihood of what job a person will end up with, the study by the Office for National Statistics found.

Researchers have uncovered that the month in which babies are born could also affect everything from intelligence to length of life.

A child born December is more likely to become a dentist while someone whose birthday falls in January will tend to a debt collector, they found.

A February birth appears to increase the chances of being an artist while March babies appear to go on to become pilots.

Meanwhile, April and May are said to have a fairly even spread of professions, births in the summer months mean a much lower chance of becoming a high-earning football player, doctor or dentist.

The study was derived by researchers who analysed the birth months of people in 19 separate occupations using information from the last census, the Daily Mail reported.

Although these trends may be difficult to explain, correlations between birth months and specific health problems have a scientific basis.

Spring babies are at greater risk of illnesses including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma and autism.They may also be less clever than classmates born in other parts of the year.

Research has suggested many of the differences are linked to a mother’s exposure to sunlight in pregnancy.

Sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D in the body and lack of this in the first months of life may have long-lasting effects.

Speaking earlier this year, Russell Foster, an Oxford University neuroscientist, said the effects were small “but they are very, very clear”.

“I am not giving voice to astrology – it’s nonsense – but we are not immune to seasonal interference,” he said.

via Month a baby is born ‘suggests what career they will have’ – Telegraph.

So um, apparently Mr. Foster doesn’t quite understand that Astrology does not necessarily indicate that there is a causal link between heavenly bodies, merely that there is a correlation between their position and various personal traits (we did use them to map the seasons for quite some time…and really, still do). Anyway, the prenatal Vitamin D link makes a lot of sense. As someone who casually studies astrology, I very much welcome new data that provides the mechanism behind the functions that have been studied by astrology for the past few millenia, and this is some very exciting data.

The Importance of Solitude

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 9, 2011 by cykros

 

 

“There’s so much cultural anxiety about isolation in our country that we often fail to appreciate the benefits of solitude,” said Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at New York University whose book “Alone in America,” in which he argues for a reevaluation of solitude, will be published next year. “There is something very liberating for people about being on their own. They’re able to establish some control over the way they spend their time. They’re able to decompress at the end of a busy day in a city…and experience a feeling of freedom.” […]

With his graduate adviser and a researcher from the Forest Service at his side, Long identified a number of different ways a person might experience solitude and undertook a series of studies to measure how common they were and how much people valued them. A 2003 survey of 320 UMass undergraduates led Long and his coauthors to conclude that people felt good about being alone more often than they felt bad about it, and that psychology’s conventional approach to solitude — an “almost exclusive emphasis on loneliness” — represented an artificially narrow view of what being alone was all about.

“Aloneness doesn’t have to be bad,” Long said by phone recently from Ouachita Baptist University, where he is an assistant professor. “There’s all this research on solitary confinement and sensory deprivation and astronauts and people in Antarctica — and we wanted to say, look, it’s not just about loneliness!”

via The Importance of Solitude.

Good article.