Solving other people’s problems

My son would listen to his friends complain about life and he tells them how fortunate they are in what they have.

My daughter also listens to her friends, sad and depressed and put a smile in their face.

We need to have the time to listen to others. Those who only needs a different perspectives without needing to consult a doctor or pay for medications.

Problems can be solved in many ways.

We listen.

Email Connie at motherhealth@gmail.com for a different perspectives in your current problem. Sometimes, the focus is just in front of us. Do extend your reach and imagination.

Life is colorful because of the many challenges.

Do not think too much before going to bed.

Your problem can wait for  tomorrow or you can write down your thoughts before you sleep.

We solve one small chunk of our problem each day until we fully solve them with some help.

Help is around you.

 

Your Brain Reveals Who Your Friends Are

Your Brain Reveals Who Your Friends Are

Summary: By looking at how the brain responds to video clips, researchers are able to determine who your friends may be, a new study reveals.

Source: Dartmouth College.

You may perceive the world the way your friends do, according to a Dartmouth study finding that friends have similar neural responses to real-world stimuli and these similarities can be used to predict who your friends are.

The researchers found that you can predict who people are friends with just by looking at how their brains respond to video clips. Friends had the most similar neural activity patterns, followed by friends-of-friends who, in turn, had more similar neural activity than people three degrees removed (friends-of-friends-of-friends).

Published in Nature Communications, the study is the first of its kind to examine the connections between the neural activity of people within a real-world social network, as they responded to real-world stimuli, which in this case was watching the same set of videos.

“Neural responses to dynamic, naturalistic stimuli, like videos, can give us a window into people’s unconstrained, spontaneous thought processes as they unfold. Our results suggest that friends process the world around them in exceptionally similar ways,” says lead author Carolyn Parkinson, who was a postdoctoral fellow in psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth at the time of the study and is currently an assistant professor of psychology and director of the Computational Social Neuroscience Lab at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The study analyzed the friendships or social ties within a cohort of nearly 280 graduate students. The researchers estimated the social distance between pairs of individuals based on mutually reported social ties. Forty-two of the students were asked to watch a range of videos while their neural activity was recorded in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. The videos spanned a range of topics and genres, including politics, science, comedy and music videos, for which a range of responses was expected. Each participant watched the same videos in the same order, with the same instructions. The researchers then compared the neural responses pairwise across the set of students to determine if pairs of students who were friends had more similar brain activity than pairs further removed from each other in their social network.

The findings revealed that neural response similarity was strongest among friends, and this pattern appeared to manifest across brain regions involved in emotional responding, directing one’s attention and high-level reasoning. Even when the researchers controlled for variables, including left-handed- or right-handedness, age, gender, ethnicity, and nationality, the similarity in neural activity among friends was still evident. The team also found that fMRI response similarities could be used to predict not only if a pair were friends but also the social distance between the two.

network

“We are a social species and live our lives connected to everybody else. If we want to understand how the human brain works, then we need to understand how brains work in combination– how minds shape each other,” explains senior author Thalia Wheatley, an associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth, and principal investigator of the Dartmouth Social Systems Laboratory.

For the study, the researchers were building on their earlier work, which found that as soon as you see someone you know, your brain immediately tells you how important or influential they are and the position they hold in your social network.

The research team plans to explore if we naturally gravitate toward people who see the world the same way we do, if we become more similar once we share experiences or if both dynamics reinforce each other.

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

Source: Amy D. Olson – Dartmouth College
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Carolyn Parkinson.
Original Research: Open access research in Nature Communications.
doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02722-7

CITE THIS NEUROSCIENCENEWS.COM ARTICLE
Dartmouth College “Your Brain Reveals Who Your Friends Are.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 30 January 2018.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/friends-brain-8402/&gt;.

Abstract

Similar neural responses predict friendship

Human social networks are overwhelmingly homophilous: individuals tend to befriend others who are similar to them in terms of a range of physical attributes (e.g., age, gender). Do similarities among friends reflect deeper similarities in how we perceive, interpret, and respond to the world? To test whether friendship, and more generally, social network proximity, is associated with increased similarity of real-time mental responding, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan subjects’ brains during free viewing of naturalistic movies. Here we show evidence for neural homophily: neural responses when viewing audiovisual movies are exceptionally similar among friends, and that similarity decreases with increasing distance in a real-world social network. These results suggest that we are exceptionally similar to our friends in how we perceive and respond to the world around us, which has implications for interpersonal influence and attraction.

Close Friends Linked to a Sharper Memory

Close Friends Linked to a Sharper Memory

Summary: A new PLOS ONE study reports superagers who maintain positive friendships have better cognitive ability and slower memory decline that peers who do not maintain strong social networks.

Source: Northwestern University.

Maintaining positive, warm and trusting friendships might be the key to a slower decline in memory and cognitive functioning, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

SuperAgers — who are 80 years of age and older who have cognitive ability at least as good as people in their 50s or 60s — reported having more satisfying, high-quality relationships compared to their cognitively average, same-age peers, the study reports.

Previous SuperAger research at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center (CNADC) at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has focused on the biological differences in SuperAgers, such as discovering that the cortex in their brain is actually larger than their cognitively average, same-age peers. This study, published Oct. 23 in the journal PLOS ONE, was the first to examine the social side of SuperAgers.

“You don’t have the be the life of the party, but this study supports the theory that maintaining strong social networks seems to be linked to slower cognitive decline,” said senior author Emily Rogalski, associate professor at Northwestern’s CNADC.

Participants answered a 42-item questionnaire called the Ryff Psychological Well-Being Scale, which is a widely used measure of psychological well-being. The scale examines six aspects of psychological well-being: autonomy, positive relations with others, environmental mastery, personal growth, purpose in life and self-acceptance. SuperAgers scored a median overall score of 40 in positive relations with others while the control group scored 36 — a significant difference, Rogalski said.

Image shows two old friends.

“This finding is particularly exciting as a step toward understanding what factors underlie the preservation of cognitive ability in advanced age, particularly those that may be modifiable,” said first author Amanda Cook, a clinical neuropsychology doctoral student in the laboratory of Rogalski and Sandra Weintraub.

Other research studies have reported a decline in social networks in people with Alzheimer’s disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and previous literature has shown psychological well-being in older age to be associated with reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia.

“It’s not as simple as saying if you have a strong social network, you’ll never get Alzheimer’s disease,” Rogalski said. “But if there is a list of healthy choices one can make, such as eating a certain diet and not smoking, maintaining strong social networks may be an important one on that list. None of these things by themself guarantees you don’t get the disease, but they may still have health benefits.”

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

Other Northwestern authors on the study include Stephanie Kielb, Emmaleigh Loyer, Maureen Connelley, Alfred Rademaker, Dr. M.-Marsel Mesulam, Sandra Weintraub, Dan McAdams and Regina Logan.

Funding: The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, including R01 AG045571 and P30 AG13854 from the National Institute on Aging, T32 NS047987 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke as well as the Davee Foundation and the Foley Family Foundation.

Source: Kristin Samuelson – Northwestern University
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Full open access research for “Psychological well-being in elderly adults with extraordinary episodic memory” by Amanda Cook Maher, Stephanie Kielb, Emmaleigh Loyer, Maureen Connelley, Alfred Rademaker, M.-Marsel Mesulam, Sandra Weintraub, Dan McAdams, Regina Logan, Emily Rogalski in PLOS ONE. Published online October 23 2017 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0186413

CITE THIS NEUROSCIENCENEWS.COM ARTICLE
Northwestern University “Close Friends Linked to a Sharper Memory.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 2 November 2017.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/memory-friendship-7852/&gt;.

Abstract

Psychological well-being in elderly adults with extraordinary episodic memory

Objectives

The Northwestern University SuperAging Program studies a rare cohort of individuals over age 80 with episodic memory ability at least as good as middle-age adults to determine what factors contribute to their elite memory performance. As psychological well-being is positively correlated with cognitive performance in older adults, the present study examined whether aspects of psychological well-being distinguish cognitive SuperAgers from their cognitively average-for-age, same-age peers.

Method

Thirty-one SuperAgers and 19 cognitively average-for-age peers completed the Ryff 42-item Psychological Well-Being questionnaire, comprised of 6 subscales: Autonomy, Positive Relations with Others, Environmental Mastery, Personal Growth, Purpose in Life, and Self-Acceptance.

Results

The groups did not differ on demographic factors, including estimated premorbid intelligence. Consistent with inclusion criteria, SuperAgers had better episodic memory scores. Compared to cognitively average-for-age peers, SuperAgers endorsed greater levels of Positive Relations with Others. The groups did not differ on other PWB-42 subscales.

Discussion

While SuperAgers and their cognitively average-for-age peers reported similarly high levels of psychological well-being across multiple dimensions, SuperAgers endorsed greater levels of positive social relationships. This psychological feature could conceivably have a biological relationship to the greater thickness of the anterior cingulate gyrus and higher density of von Economo neurons previously reported in SuperAgers.

“Psychological well-being in elderly adults with extraordinary episodic memory” by Amanda Cook Maher, Stephanie Kielb, Emmaleigh Loyer, Maureen Connelley, Alfred Rademaker, M.-Marsel Mesulam, Sandra Weintraub, Dan McAdams, Regina Logan, Emily Rogalski in PLOS ONE. Published online October 23 2017 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0186413

A neuroscientist who studies decision-making reveals the most important choice you can make

A neuroscientist who studies decision-making reveals the most important choice you can make

friends party celebrateThe company you keep has an enormous effect on your happiness for surprising reasons, a neuroscientist claims.Alexey Ponomarchuk/Strelka Institute/Flickr

According to Moran Cerf, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University who has been studying decision-making for over a decade, the surest way to maximize happiness has nothing to do with experiences, material goods, or personal philosophy.

It’s all about who you decide to spend time with. But “it’s not just advice to choose your friends carefully,” Cerf told Business Insider.

There are two premises that lead Cerf to believe personal company is the most important factor for long-term satisfaction.

The first is that decision-making is tiring. A great deal of research has found that humans have a limited amount of mental energy to devote to making choices. Picking our clothes, where to eat, what to eat when we get there, what music to listen to, whether it should actually be a podcast, and what to do in our free time all demand our brains to exert that energy on a daily basis.

(Cerf has actually made it a personal policy to always pick the second menu item on the list of specials when he’s out to eat, for just that reason.)

The second premise is that humans falsely believe they are in full control of their happiness by making those choices. So long as we make the right choices, the thinking goes, we’ll put ourselves on a path toward life satisfaction.

Cerf rejects that idea. The truth is, decision-making is fraught with biases that cloud our judgment. People misremember bad experiences as good, and vice versa; they let their emotions turn a rational choice into an irrational one; and they use social cues, even subconsciously, to make choices they’d otherwise avoid.

But as Cerf tells his students, that last factor can be harnessed for good.

His neuroscience research has found that when two people are in each other’s company, their brain waves will begin to look nearly identical. One study of moviegoers, for instance, found the most engaging trailers all produced similar patterns in people’s brains.

“The more we study engagement, we see time and again that just being next to certain people actually aligns your brain with them,” based on their mannerisms, the smell of the room, the noise level, and many other factors, Cerf said. “This means the people you hang out with actually have an impact on your engagement with reality beyond what you can explain. And one of the effects is you become alike.”

It’s apparent in people’s behavior, too. Buzzkills bring people’s moods down; fast-talkers cause the pace of conversation to pick up; comedians get people feeling light, or funny.

From those two premises, Cerf’s conclusion is that if people want to maximize happiness and minimize stress, they should build a life that requires fewer decisions by surrounding themselves with people who embody the traits they prefer. Over time, they’ll naturally pick up those desirable attitudes and behaviors. At the same time, they can avoid the mentally taxing low-level decisions that sap the energy needed for higher-stakes decisions.

Following Cerf’s restaurant policy, he said he also likes to avoid picking the restaurant. Instead, he prefers to make one decision — who to eat with — and pick someone who he trusts. Chances are that person will pick a place Cerf enjoys, which means the second special option is also more likely to leave him feeling satisfied.

In other words, he avoids making two smaller decisions by making one larger one.

The same can apply for people who want to exercise more, watch less TV, take up a musical instrument, or become more sociable. In all cases, Cerf said, the most important decision is who you surround yourself with.

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