Science as we know it can’t explain consciousness

Explaining how something as complex as consciousness can emerge from a grey, jelly-like lump of tissue in the head is arguably the greatest scientific challenge of our time. The brain is an extraordinarily complex organ, consisting of almost 100 billion cells - known as neurons - each connected to 10,000 others, yielding some ten trillion nerve connections. We have made a great deal of progress in understanding brain activity, and how it contributes to human behaviour. But what no one has so far managed to explain is how all of this results in feelings, emotions and experiences. How does the passing around of electrical and chemical signals between neurons result in a feeling of pain or an experience of red? There is growing suspicion that conventional scientific methods will never be able answer these questions. Luckily, there is an alternative...

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How smart people neutralize the effects of difficult people

Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people's buttons. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity, strife, and worst of all stress. Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurons in the hippocampus — an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to neuronal dendrites (the small "arms" that brain cells use to communicate with each other), and months of stress can permanently destroy neurons. Stress is a formidable threat to your success — when stress gets out of control, your brain and your performance suffer. Most sources of stress...

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Smooth-talking charmers: Why psychopaths can be so attractive to the unsuspecting

The old cliché of psychopaths being smooth-talking charmers might not be far wrong, at least according to a new study. The study carried out by psychologists from Brock University and Carleton University in Canada claims that young women are more attracted to men with stronger psychopathic personality traits, despite these prospective partners having little interest in a committed relationship. Reporting in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, the researchers wanted to follow up on "reports" that psychopathic traits were attractive in potential romantic partners, despite the known pitfalls of entering interpersonal relationships with psychopaths. For the first part of their study, the researchers recruited 46 men, aged 17 to 25, and gauged psychopathy and social intelligence using a filmed fake date scenario with a female research assistant for about 2 minutes. According to the study, the majority of the male participants...

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