SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Try Not To Lie: The Value Of Honesty With The Self And Others

As the old adage goes, "The truth shall set you free." But if that's true then why do we quite often have such a difficult time of being honest with ourselves? And just as importantly, why do we struggle so much in being honest with others? Programmed or wired to deny that we have personal shortcomings - or fearing the consequences of honest communication about others' failings - we quite often opt for the easy out, keeping things to ourselves and attempting to avoid the potential pain and discord that may come of telling it like it is. Like a festering wound, the lies we tell ourselves and accept from others infects the very quality and well being of our selves and the lives of those around us. On this week's MindMatters we discuss why one should have less fear...

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Internet trolls: The motivations of malcontents

Disruption is reinforcing to trolls Internet trolling can be thought of as a deliberate behaviour to produce conflict or distress, or both, by posting material that is discourteous, provocative, inflammatory, or intimidating. The prevalence of trolling behaviour is hard to estimate, but at least 1% of social media users have experienced this personally over the last year. This figure can be as high as 70%, depending on the study consulted, and the methods used to collect these data. Trolling used to be conceptualised as an activity in which an individual was engaged, being targeted from one person usually to another; however, increasingly we are seeing a rise in what might be termed "societal trolling" — disruptive tactics targeted from one group to another, often in a political context. The questions that arise are: Why is trolling done? Are the motivations...

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SOTT FOCUS: Does Not Complying With Social Distancing Rules Mean You’re a Psychopath? The Answer is Obvious

Here's another junk psychology paper to add to the heap. It follows a trend common in academia, but especially in the field of psychology. That trend is to come up with some dull and patently obvious hypothesis that anyone's grandmother would already know to be true, design a "scientific study" to demonstrate it, then claim victory when your prediction is supported. You know the drill, something along the lines of "new study shows people don't like it much when they're punched in the face", "...99% children choose cake over boiled vegetables every time", "...loud noises startle babies". Not only are such studies idiotic to begin with; pop science blogs then either misrepresent the actual studies or hype the results in headlines way out of proportion. The result is a populace dumber than it was to begin with, despite the best...

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Turns out brain scans aren’t as useful as scientists thought

Hundreds of published studies over the last decade have claimed it's possible to predict an individual's patterns of thoughts and feelings by scanning their brain in an MRI machine as they perform some mental tasks. But a new analysis by some of the researchers who have done the most work in this area finds that those measurements are highly suspect when it comes to drawing conclusions about any individual person's brain. Watching the brain through a functional MRI machine (fMRI) is still great for finding the general brain structures involved in a given task across a group of people, said Ahmad Hariri, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University who led the reanalysis. "Scanning 50 people is going to accurately reveal what parts of the brain, on average, are more active during a mental task, like counting or...

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SOTT FOCUS: Archbishop Breaks Ranks to Support Trump: ‘Covid-19 Emergency And Riots an Infernal Deception by Children of Darkness’

Life Site News editor's note: Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has released this powerful letter today to President Trump warning him that the current crises over the coronavirus pandemic and the George Floyd riots are a part of the eternal spiritual struggle between the forces of good and evil. He encourages the president to continue the fight on behalf of the "children of light." Read the letter in PDF form here. June 7, 2020 Holy Trinity Sunday Mr. President, In recent months we have been witnessing the formation of two opposing sides that I would call Biblical: the children of light and the children of darkness. The children of light constitute the most conspicuous part of humanity, while the children of darkness represent an absolute minority. And yet the former are the object of a sort of discrimination which places them...

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BEST OF THE WEB FLASHBACK: Moral Outrage is Actually Self-Serving, NOT Altruistic, Say Psychologists

Perpetually raging about the world's injustices? You're probably overcompensating When people publicly rage about perceived injustices that don't affect them personally, we tend to assume this expression is rooted in altruism — a "disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others." But new research suggests that professing such third-party concern — what social scientists refer to as "moral outrage" — is often a function of self-interest, wielded to assuage feelings of personal culpability for societal harms or reinforce (to the self and others) one's own status as a Very Good Person. Outrage expressed "on behalf of the victim of moral violation" is often thought of as "a prosocial emotion" rooted in "a desire to restore justice by fighting on behalf of the victimized," explain Bowdoin psychology professor Zachary Rothschild and University of Southern Mississippi psychology professor Lucas...

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Why evolutionary psychologists are wrong about COVID-19 leading women to cheat

Is it really true that, as a recent column in a psychology magazine claims, women are more likely to cheat during the COVID-19 crisis? An evolutionary psychologist thinks so; let's explore this a bit. First, philosopher Subrena E. Smith (right) has recently pointed out that evolutionary psychology (EP) is a doubtful enterprise in science, maybe an "impossible" one. EP's basis is modern folklore: The claim that we inherited modules from the Stone Age that govern our behavior with respect to "predator avoidance, mate selection, and cheater detection" — which sold paperbacks in the 1980s — do not correlate with neuroscience findings about the human brain. We have not found any such modules. We have no way of knowing whether the neural correlates of our behavior are the same as those of humans who lived under very different circumstances 50,000 years...

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SOTT FOCUS: The World Desperately Needs The Wisdom of Bobby Kennedy, Now More Than Ever

Today's fires which have spread across America in the wake of George Floyd's murder at the knee of Minnesota police officer Derick Chauvin has presented America with the chance to do some serious soul-searching. It has also presented certain Deep State opportunists, color revolutionaries and anarchism-financing billionaires a chance to unleash what some are calling an "America's Maidan" in the hopes of accomplishing what four years of Russiagate failed to do. The fact that these riots have occurred at a moment when America finds itself seriously reviving the spirit of JFK's space vision is an irony that in many ways parallels the earlier "pregnant moment" of 1968. (In case you are not aware, NASA has officially revived manned space launches on May 28 for the first time since Obama killed the Saturn rocket program in 2011, establishing a new program...

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Music synchronizes brains of audiences with their performers

The more people enjoy music, the more similar their brain activity is to that of the musician When a concert opens with a refrain from your favorite song, you are swept up in the music, happily tapping to the beat and swaying with the melody. All around you, people revel in the same familiar music. You can see that many of them are singing, the lights flashing to the rhythm, while other fans are clapping in time. Some wave their arms over their head, and others dance in place. The performers and audience seem to be moving as one, as synchronized to one another as the light show is to the beat. A new paper in the journal NeuroImage has shown that this synchrony can be seen in the brain activities of the audience and performer. And the greater the...

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New research shows for the evolution of intelligence, parents matter

Humans are not the only species that enjoy prolonged childhoods: elephants, whales, dolphins and some bats and birds do also. Is this what makes us smart? And if so, how important are long-suffering parents? Exploring this with corvids - songbirds that hang around their parents in and out of the nest and have large brains relative to body size - researchers found those that spent more time with parents learned faster and lived longer. How intelligence developed has long fascinated evolutionary scientists, with several theories such as brain-to-body size ratio. But, considering large brains take a long time to grow, not many theories have given due credit to parents for shaping their offspring's cognitive development. Michael Griesser, from the University of Konstanz, Germany, recognised there must be an evolutionary perk to extended parenting. "Brains are weird adaptations - they come...

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