Maria A. Pastor, 1 Julio Artieda, 1 Javier Arbizu, 2 Josep M. Marti-Climent, 2 Ivan Pen ˜uelas, 2 and
Jose C. Masdeu 1
Departments of 1 Neurology and 2 Nuclear Medicine, University of Navarra School of Medicine, 31080 Pamplona, Spain
We used functional brain imaging with positron emission to-mography (PET)-H 2 15 O to study a remarkable neurophysiological finding in the normal brain. Auditory stimulation at various frequencies in the gamma range elicits a steady-state scalp electroencephalographic (EEG) response that peaks in amplitude at 40 Hz, with smaller amplitudes at lower and higher stimulation frequencies. We confirmed this finding in 28 healthy subjects, each studied with monaural trains of stimuli at 12 different stimulation rates (12, 20, 30, 32, 35, 37.5, 40, 42.5, 45, 47.5, 50, and 60 Hz). There is disagreement as to whether the peak in the amplitude of the EEG response at 40 Hz corresponds simply to a superimposition of middle latency auditory evoked potentials, neuronal synchronization, or increased cortical synaptic activity at this stimulation frequency. To clarify this issue, we measured regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) with PET-H 2
15 O in nine normal subjects at rest and during auditory stimulation at four different frequencies (12, 32, 40, and 47 Hz) and analyzed the results with statistical parametric mapping. The behavior of the rCBF response was similar to the steady-state EEG response, reaching a peak at 40 Hz. This finding suggests that the steady-state amplitude peak is related to increased cortical synaptic activity. Additionally, we found that, compared with other stimulation frequencies, 40 Hz selectively activated the auditory region of the pontocerebellum, a brain structure with important roles in cortical inhibition and timing.
Key words: steady-state auditory evoked potentials; gamma oscillatory activity; regional cerebral blood flow; positron emission tomography; cerebellum; auditory cortex
The image above appears to be moving, but you know it isn’t. It’s a trick of the brain called the peripheral drift illusion. Many people have seen this and have no problem accepting that the image isn’t really moving.
The image below is caused by the same peripheral shifting of the brain and makes it appear as though the white dots are changing into black dots randomly between the corners of each of the squares. Of course you know they aren’t.
It’s not hard to identify images like these as illusions and accept that our brain isn’t perfect and has truly been fooled – even when we are consciously aware that is not real. The sites that display images such as these openly profess they are illusions. Yet we can’t stop our brain from seeing the wrong thing.
If we can accept the fallibility of our brain regarding these images, why then is it so hard to accept that our brain can be wrong in so many other instances such as hearing words in random background noise or faces in window reflections? The effect of “paraedolic” anthropomorphism has been demonstrated and proven time and time again. But yet, there are so many people who adamantly insist that what they are seeing or hearing is real…not an illusion. They insist their mind could not be the culprit behind the anomalies that present themselves in such mundane and non-informative ways.
The reason for this adamant denial is sourced from yet another psychological effect called cognitive bias. Our brains tendency to “assemble” information that aligns with our desires or beliefs and any idea or bit of information that doesn’t align is sharply rejected. Often to the point of irrational anger.
As humans (living animals) we rely on our senses and brain for all of our knowledge and experiences. It was our perceptions and critical thinking process that allowed us to speak and understand. It taught us to walk and eat and fend for ourselves. We have no choice but to trust the validity of our own mind and senses… especially when it regards something near and dear to our heart or something into which we have staunchly invested our interest. Let’s face it, our brain is our only interface to the outside world. It’s not a pleasant experience to conceive its fallible nature.
That being said, it only stands to reason that when a concept or opinion is presented that challenges not only our mind but our beliefs and wants as well (regardless of how logical it may seem), the default reaction is a sharp and swift dismissal. Be careful. While the cause of a stubborn, non-objective opinion in response to seemingly anomalous phenomena may seem a natural condition of our psyche, it is dangerous to our growth as an intelligent race. Every “patriotic” defense of an unsubstantiated perspective is a truth left undiscovered and a hindrance of progress.
Next time you see a face in a window reflection or hear your name being called in the heavy background noise of a poor recording, just stop and think for a moment. What seems more likely? That your easily fooled brain has done it again or some mysterious inter-dimensional being is trying to communicate with you through a bad photograph or poor recording
Research Item – http://realspirituality.com
The following outline is an exploratory attempt to describe, concisely and comprehensively, the field of transpersonal psychology. The essential components, concepts. characteristics, and concerns it includes have emerged from an extensive literature review, discussions with colleagues and other scholars and professionals, the evaluation and judgment of the author, and a verification/modification process involving a number of informed individuals who have contributed to the field.
Mariana Caplan, PhD, MFT, is a psychotherapist, yogi, and the author of six books in the fields of psychology and spirituality, including the award-winning Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path (Sounds True, 2010), the seminal Halfway Up the Mountain: the Error of Premature Claims to Enlightenment (Hohm Press, 1999), and The Guru Question: The Perils and Rewards of Choosing a Spiritual Teacher (Sounds True, 2011). As a psychotherapist, she specializes in using somatic approaches to therapy to support spiritual practitioners and teachers of all traditions and religions to heal trauma and thrive, as well as working with complex spiritual traumas within spiritual communities. As a yogi, she founded and teaches The Yoga & Psyche Method, which integrates the insights of somatic psychology, trauma research, neuroscience, and yogic practices. She has been an adjunct professor at The California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco since 2001, as well as teaching extensively at Naropa University, Sophia University and John F. Kennedy University.
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Research Item – J. E. KENNEDY
(Original publication and copyright: Journal of Parapsychology, 1978,
Volume 42, pages 89-122)
ABSTRACT: The investigation of the role of task complexity is an attempt to understand how information is processed in PK. Various topics that may provide insight into this aspect of PK include: the number of objects influenced simultaneously, the paradoxical hypotheses of majority-vote experiments, the role of ESP in PK, the information contents of differing a prior probabilities, the number of opportunities for PK to operate on a system, and the possible mechanisms for static PK effects. A review of the literature suggests that PK is, at least to some extent, a goal- oriented process, but also that it is limited by the information content of a prior probabilities. Experiments with differing probabilities of a hit and experiments with majority-vote procedures offer the most direct means to empirically investigate models for the information processing aspects of PK.
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Research Item – J. E. Kennedy
ABSTRACT: Information consists of symbols, media for storing and transmitting the symbols, and an interpretational infrastructure that establishes the meaning of the symbols, can generate and decode the symbols, and can take actions based on the symbols. Information processing in livings systems includes genetics, perception, behavior, memory, learning, communication, imagination, creativity, and culture. For certain hypotheses in quantum physics and most hypotheses in parapsychology, the media and interpretational infrastructures for information processing are beyond current scientific understanding. After extensive research, the hypothesis that an observer can sometimes paranormally influence the outcome of quantum events does not have convincing empirical support. The current experimental results in parapsychology do not have the properties of a signal in noise and cannot be convincingly distinguished from methodological bias. Prospective registration of experimental protocols could greatly reduce the confounding problem of methodological bias; however, the experimental results will likely continue to be inconsistent with the positions of both proponents and skeptics of experimental parapsychology. The findings of parapsychology may be most consistent with a model that paranormal phenomena are the result of supernatural information processing agencies with relatively independent motivations that manifest as spirituality and influence the meaning and direction of an individual’s life.
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