Monthly Archives: July 2010

We are happy to announce that tomorrow will be the “official” launch of the free eBook Happiness Formulas. How to assess our subjective well-being? How to live joyfully in the 21st century? . Stay tuned to know more about it, and how to download the eBook for free.

Interconnected

July 13, 2010

I am you; you are me. You are the waves; we are the ocean. Live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present

The traditional version tells us that there are two things we need to succeed: talent and drive. Let’s add a third thing: optimism. We can have all the talent in the world, but if we do not mentally rehearse success and have the strenght to stand up again, then our talent and drive will come to nothing if we have been knocked down.

Imagination

July 9, 2010

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand.

Bob Stickgold talked about why a good night’s sleep might be as important as the classes you attend. Sleep works to make sense of the events of the day, stabilizing and enhancing new memories, extracting their essence, and discovering insights missed earlier. Sleep plays a critical role in determining what we remember and how we remember it. Sleep not only stabilizes new memories, but also (i) enhances recently learned skills, (ii) extracts patterns and rules, (iii) integrates new information with older memories into rich networks and (iv) selectively enhances the most important aspects of memories, distilling their gist and pruning away unnecessary details. When sleep-dependent processes fail, psychiatric disorders can follow, including depression and ADHD. Indeed, PTSD may result specifically from a failure of the sleeping brain to process traumatic memories properly.

Learning Objectives:
(a) To learn the structure and importance of sleep.
(b) To learn how sleep enhances learning and memory.
(c) To learn how education can optimally take advantage of the “sleep boost.”

This talk was given at the conference “Brain Development and Learning 2010 Meeting” in Vancouver. It was an interdisciplinary conference devoted to improving children’s lives by making cutting-edge research in neuroscience, child psychology, & medicine. Further information available on http://www.interprofessional.ubc.ca/bdl.html

Sue Carter talked about Oxytocin, a neuropeptide hormone best known for its role in birth and breastfeeding. Oxytocin is a brain tool for building trust and social bonds, such as between parents and infants. Perhaps a million years ago our ancestors learned how to use this mammalian mechanism to promote social bonding beyond sexual union, in order to form groups and tribes. Oxytocin, and the related hormone, vasopressin, regulate social monogamy, including pair bonding and parental care, central to experiences of “love”.

Studies of the neurobiology of love have provided a deeper understanding of both mental health and mental illness. Infants suffering from childhood neglect suffer from reduced oxytocin and vasopressin levels into adulthood. There, the absence of love leaves a biological scar, which is then passed down inter-generationally.

Learning Objectives:

(a) This presentation will define concepts such as “social monogamy” and “love” from a scientific perspective.
(b) The endocrine causes and consequences of social bonds and related social behaviors will be examined using evidence from humans and other monogamous mammals.
(c) The mental health implications of sexually-dimorphic hormones such as oxytocin and vasopressin will be discussed, using autism as an example.

This talk was given at the conference “Brain Development and Learning 2010 Meeting” in Vancouver. It was an interdisciplinary conference devoted to improving children’s lives by making cutting-edge research in neuroscience, child psychology, & medicine. Further information available on http://www.interprofessional.ubc.ca/bdl.html

Ara Norenzayan discussed how people in different cultures can believe and value different things. Do they perceive, categorize, and reason differently because of different cultural experiences? Until recently, little was known about this question since most research on human thinking was done in N. American and Europe. In recent years, cross-cultural researchers have begun to examine thinking in diverse cultural groups in Asia and the Middle East. People exposed to different cultures often rely on different strategies to solve the same problems. People in western, educated, industrialized, rich, and developed societies (WEIRDs) are cognitive outliers whose psychological profile is unrepresentative of the rest of humanity. Possible social, historical, and ecological explanations for cultural differences in thinking will be examined. Some implications and dilemmas these findings raise for culturally diverse civil societies such as Canada and the US will be explored.

Learning Objectives:

(a) Describe experimental work that shows that people from East Asian cultures tend to perceive, categorize, and reason about the world using holistic strategies, whereas people from Western cultures tend to rely on analytic cognitive strategies. Critically evaluate the proximal and distal explanations for these cultural differences in thinking.
(b) Explain in what ways western, educated, industrialized, rich, and developed societies (WEIRDs) have a psychological profile that is argued to be unrepresentative of humanity.
(c) Think about how these cognitive differences may contribute to cross-cultural misunderstandings, and what can be done to address them.

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