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Everything posted by PhDwannabe

  1. ...nobody is even claiming... it's not even about... ...no... ...these proteins aren't even important. That's not what's going on here. I think I'm going to cry.
  2. Ricardo: I think you're a little bit confused, here. These researchers are not "using a sea snail (aplysia is usually called a "sea slug," by the way) to help with memory" in the sense of some sort of supplementation--nobody's grinding up marine gastropods and serving them up to people with memory deficits. Aplysia is simply a common, well-known model lab animal, like the white rat. It's very common in neuroscience and what frequently used to be called comparative psychology (which uses animal models to study basic processes in humans). It's got a simple nervous system which we more or less have mapped, so it's used to test all kinds of hypotheses about learning in particular, both in terms of its functionality and its physiology. (In addition to being relatively few in number, the neurons of aplysia and some related species are actually really big, so it was easy to insert probes directly into them to record the firing of individual cells within the network, allowing a researcher an unusually fine-grained look at the propagation of activation between and among neurons.) Kandel's work on the cellular and molecular physiology of learning made it very well-known. The brief snippet you found is just a press release from a university describing very loosely what some researchers are working on. It has nothing to do with anything special about the proteins in this creature being able to "help us with our memory" directly. It'll just help us because it's a useful subject species that allows us to advance scientific understanding of memory and learning. I hope that makes some sense.
  3. Beats me. That's a really narrow-sounding area, and I'm a PTSD researcher. I can speak in generalities about the workings of the field as a whole, but there's no reason for me to be familiar with specific findings. I think my breadth of knowledge is enough for me to say that you're not going to find a ton on some general, quasi-emotional thing like "pride" as some kind of overarching, unitary construct. It's just not usually the way we study stuff. Trawl the databases for that term and you'll probably find little bits of tangentially-related stuff like "Ethnic pride and experiences of discrimination in elderly migrant laborers" or something. It's just the way we work. We don't sit around and ask "what's pride?" ...nonetheless, you can always count on the psychophys people to do something cute.
  4. This is not really what psychology is, or how psychology works. Let me try to clear a few things up: 1) Psychology, the science, is empirical. Science is empirical. That means that we, you know, gather evidence for stuff. So this statement "reducing all phenomena to the empirical" is sort of neither here nor there. We "examine phenomena empirically," like any other science does. We observe, record, make theory, test hypotheses. 2) "Reducing all phenomena to the areas of the brain" is another issue entirely, and it does not proceed necessarily from the empiricism of psychology or science. Most of us are not neuro-reductionists. I, even more than most, tend to be extremely skeptical about many of the current "findings" of neuroscience and the apparent specificity of their attempts to localize function. That's a completely different story. If you think "being scientific" in psychology means being a neuro-reductionist, you're just incorrect. You're forgiven for being incorrect, of course--this is a deduction someone "on the outside" might often make, it just doesn't happen to be true. 3) "According the the current empirical psychology pride is something which originated from evolutionary psychology and we are hard-wired to think that way?" Again: no. To be perfectly honest, most of us in psych sort of snicker at evo psych. It does some interesting things, but there are many, many limits upon the certainty of its inferences. The phrase "hard-wired" is a sort of a weasel word that doesn't really tell us anything or state anything rigorously. 4) In general, it's not really the task of psychology to tell us what something "is." No psychological researcher really sits around and asks, "what is pride," because you're asking about the "meaning" of a construct, which (depending on how meaning is construed here) not really something that the scientific method can really access all that well. If anything, we might seek to operationalize pride, to test which behaviors evoke it, to assess what personality types more commonly experience it, to vary social contingencies which might have bearing on its expression... those sorts of things. We might even attempt to delineate its characteristics--cognitive, affective, and behavioral--factor analyze them or subject them to other sorts of statistical machinery, see how they hang together. None of those things tell us what pride "is." Nor do we really need to know what it is, in many ways, in order to find out interesting things about it. It's just not what we do, or can do. 5) "Old eastern psychology" (whatever you mean by that, exactly, but I can guess) is not psychology. Alchemy was not chemistry. This is not to say that there was not (indeed, is not) value in these things. But they're not the sciences they're related to, or would influence or become--the differences between them are substantial and qualitative.
  5. What do you mean by "ego?" It's just not a scientifically defined term; it's not really a construct of interest. The tripartite model is not supported. That's sort of how we view it. But you might be referring to some other phenomenon more narrowly. Awareness in general, let's say. If so, it's difficult to answer how "empirical psychology views awareness." The questions we typically ask are a bit more granular than that, so it'd be tough to answer you unless you can get much more specific.
  6. ...uhhh, yeah, Freud's tripartite model of the psyche... sort of a neat poetic metaphor that's unsupported and largely discarded by modern, serious, empirical psychological science. Has been for many, many decades. Just so everyone knows. Sometimes that part doesn't get across clearly in intro psych.
  7. Sleep deprivation is also going to change your blood pressure, both in the short and long term. I know I can feel my heard pounding pretty hard after nights of only a few hours of sleep. (Amusingly, I asked a physician friend of mine if this was normal once, he responded affirmatively, and I asked him about the mechanism. "We don't know why," he said. "It's sort of up there with not knowing why the hell we sleep to begin with.")
  8. Do you really think that individuation and status motivations are unique to "our" society?
  9. Hopefully, you realize that your personal experience is not really to be trusted within a scientific sphere, but rather, doubted quite strongly. I have to admit that this statement does not betray a whole lot of knowledge about the way psychological research works.
  10. Can I have some clarification on this, and maybe some evidence? Are you suggesting some effect of testosterone on behavior? Plenty of literature on it. Can I see some?
  11. "Brainwashing," in the form that people usually take the term to mean, does not exist. Hypnosis is a social exchange. It cannot do anything to people that people won't do when simply asked to pretend they're hypnotized--decades of empirical work show us so. It is not "mental surgery" any more than, suppose, an intense conversation might be. It cannot cause any more "mental damage" than an intense conversation might. There is no magic about it, and it is about as dangerous as a Ouija Board. PTSD, by the way, stems from a traumatic event involving threat to life or bodily integrity. Hypnosis does not cause it. Schizoaffective disorder appears to be solidly on the schizophrenia spectrum, and seems to be a largely organic illness. Hypnosis is not going to cause it. If you have some kind of citation from a modern, high-quality, peer-reviewed scientific source about the great dangers of hypnosis, I'd love to see it. Showmen, religious zealots, and quacks are all too ready to tell you about its dangers, which should probably tell you something about how dangerous it is. To give you the briefest of overviews, hypnosis: 1) mildly entertaining 2) of limited clinical utility 3) not magic 4) not dangerous
  12. Not quite. Lactic acid is produced by your muscles. There's been a view of lactic acid as a poisonous byproduct of strenuous muscle activity that, if it sits around too long, damages muscles and causes fatigues, soreness, etc. And we'd best do things to get it out--stretching, massages, cool-downs, tons of water. (It's not unlike the similar sort of toxin/flush paradigm you see in colon "cleansing" products, which are victims of a similarly erroneous view of how the digestive system works.) Long story short, for the last decade or so, plenty has come out which seriously damages the lactic acid hypothesis. See this review, or this, geared a little more towards the layman, if you're interested.
  13. 1) lots of junk science and pseudoscience 2) studies which examine sleep in a more scientific context which don't attempt to establish the "meaning" of dreams
  14. Having a PhD makes you a scientist (and your work scientific) like standing in a garage makes you a car. The website--it does look very scientific, doesn't it? It certainly takes on the form of science. Is it published in a high-quality peer-reviewed journal? Why might that be important, you might ask. Why? Because science is communal. If it's not, guess what, it isn't science. It's a hobby. Now, will someone tell me what it'd mean for dreams mean something, and how we'd find out?
  15. Nah, not really. You're begging the question. What I'm saying is that the site and its content aren't particularly scientific.
  16. Looked at it for a few minutes. Why was it so hard to find links to studies published in high-quality peer-reviewed scientific journals on there? Tell you what, it almost makes a guy suspicious.
  17. The study you've cited investigates self-reported dream content. Dream content can of course be investigated empirically (albeit with the substantial limitations of self-report). I wasn't talking about content; if you look above, I was talking about meaning. And I'm not sure what meaning means anyway.
  18. Sure. Taken as settled. Yes. Your personal extrapolations--speculations, perhaps--from basic science. Which you've not supported in a clear way. And really, to be honest, can't, since the "meaning" of a dream--or any other cognitive experience, for that matter--is not really an item of scientific study. Nor is the "meaning" of anything (depending on what we mean by "mean"), particularly those things inaccessible to minimally direct empirical observation. Huh?
  19. Absolutely do not hang your hang into any particle accelerator. That is decidedly not what it's for.
  20. Sure. There's dream science. The difficulty is that I don't think it necessarily follows that this guarantees or even substantially supports this There are dots to be connected. Lots of them. I'm interested to see how, and with what, you connect them, between the relatively established science that we both know about, and more specific claims or ideas that seem to be a bit more extraordinary. Also, unrelatedly: Careful now. Rule 1a generally applies even when you've civilly decided not to name names. Critique ideas. Mock them, even--many deserve to be mocked. Call them names. Not persons.
  21. Well, simply put: no, it doesn't. Blood from the last meal is not injected into the next meal--saliva is. Mosquito-borne pathogens live and reproduce inside the mosquito and get into the saliva; HIV isn't adapted for that. I don't mean to be rude, but don't you think that, if mosquitoes could actually function as vectors for HIV, we might've, well... heard about it? Like, on the news, for instance?
  22. OK, I'll give. Why, precisely, are you interested in having more neutrophils?
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