Beauty from the Broken / Visual metaphors for human survival

Broken, lovingly repaired survivors: How I see certain people…

   

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Herzog / Into the Inferno / Humans and Volcanoes

Go watch this on NETFLIX. “Odd” human behavior against the backdrop of spectacular volcanic forces. Don’t miss segment on north Korea…

Accidental beliefs / Where were you born?

Most people don’t choose their beliefs; their beliefs are culturally inherited. 

SEE ALSO: “Religious States of America, in 22 maps” 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2015/02/26/the-religious-states-of-america-in-22-maps/?utm_term=.d454eebb7f71

Magical Anthropology / Way back in 1972…

Thirty years ago, something happened that would alter forever our understanding of how humankind came into being. Elaine Morgan was made fearfully cross. An avid reader of popular science books, borrowed from the library in the Welsh valley town of Mountain Ash, the prevailing tenor of the evolutionary debate left her cold.

“They were taking a very aggressive line, suggesting that the whole essence of humanity lies in murder and bloodshed. Also they were taking a terribly macho line, implying that everything evolved to benefit the male hunter. And it had nothing at all to say about children, when if evolution is about anything it’s about ensuring the survival of the child.” (Agreed) Three decades later, her voice still rattles with annoyance. A small woman with an infectious sense of possibility, in 1972 Morgan was not inclined to temper her vexation.

With no scientific training, the 52-year-old mother of three decided to pen a riposte to the grand theorists of the hour, singlehandedly – and single-mindedly championing a hitherto ignored alternative explanation for human evolution called the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis. The Descent of Woman, part feminist polemic, part evolutionary bombshell, became a bestseller, translated into 25 languages and introducing a huge readership to this compelling hypothesis. “But I didn’t start out with the aquatic theory,” she confesses cheerily. “I just thought, ‘There is something wrong with what they are saying now – not only do I not like the feel of it but I think it’s demonstrably nonsense.’ So I just waded in.”

The aquatic theory of human evolution was first advanced by marine biologist Professor Sir Alister Hardy in New Scientist in 1960. (Wikipedia: Sir Alister Clavering Hardy (10 February 1896 – 22 May 1985) was an English marine biologist, an expert on marine ecosystems spanning organisms from zooplankton to whales. Hardy served as zoologist on the RRS Discovery‘s voyage to explore the Antarctic between 1925 and 1927. On the voyage he invented the Continuous Plankton Recorder; it enabled any ship to collect plankton samples during an ordinary voyage. After retiring from his academic work, Hardy founded the Religious Experience Research Centre in 1969.)

He posited what may have happened during the Pliocene epoch, which lasted about five million years and for which no fossil information exists – the “fossil gap”. In an emerging African continent scorched by drought, our ancestors entered the Pliocene as hairy quadrapeds with no language and left it hairless, upright and discussing what kinds of bananas they liked best. What happened in between? Hardy came up with a startling suggestion. (Yikes!) 

It was generally accepted that apes evolved into humans when they were forced because of climate changes to descend from the withering trees to live on the arid savannah. Hardy thought instead that our ancestors’ physiology changed dramatically when a population of woodland apes became isolated on a large island around what is now Ethiopia. Although the waters eventually receded and the apes returned to land, their aquatic adaptions remained. This temporary semi-aquatic existence would explain why humans – genetically so close to the chimpanzee and gorilla – grew to differ from them in so many ways. So would intervention by Ancient Aliens.  

Human beings are the only naked bipeds. We carry a layer of subcutaneous fat substantially thicker than in any other primate. We exude, through our eyes and sweat glands, greater quantities of salt water than any other mammal. We are the only species of mammal to mate face to face, other than aquatic mammals. So do Bonobos; aquatic mammals live in, and are adapted to water environments; humans are not. We are the only primate capable of overriding our unconscious breathing rhythms, alongside the elaborate use of lips and tongue, to produce speech ability which separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. We are also the only primate with a descended larynx, thought to increase the variety of sounds we can produce.

The usual string of “Just So Stories” factoids that please the obsessive neurotypical need for dumb “fairy tale narratives” instead of testable and provable correlations. 

Hardy argued that these features indicate a level of adaption to an aquatic environment. Thus, humans become bipedal to wade in water, and lost their hair to streamline their bodies for swimming. The fat layer kept them warm and buoyant, their secretions prevented build-up of excess salt from sea water and their larynx was protected against submersion. Language evolved because glare from the water meant signalling was no longer an efficient means of communication. Aye, yai, yai! The typical “backwards” version of evolution, in which the organism, (which de facto, must have access to a godlike supernatural sentience, in order to understand a complex set of relationships between itself and “future” circumstances) “intentionally changes itself” to accommodate a new, different or changing environment.

Morgan was alerted to the hypothesis by a slight reference in The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris. “Conventional wisdom said everything that evolved in humans had done so to benefit the hunter, and if it might disadvantage his wife then she’d just have to trot along,” she says. “He got overheated in the hunt, for example, so he shed his fur, even though she was carrying around a great, fat, slow-developing baby that needed fur to cling onto. (Gibberish)

“Everything that was different about females was supposed to be a departure from the norm and its purpose was to lure her mate so that he would kindly give her a lump of meat.”

Hardy’s theory had been ignored by the scientific establishment. “Nobody had developed it or stood up against it. It had sunk like a stone. But as soon as I read it I thought, ‘Well obviously this is the answer to everything, why has nobody told me about it?’.” (A totally non-scientific reaction!)

At this time, Morgan was a successful television scriptwriter, winner of several Baftas, a Writers’ Guild award and a Prix Italia for her film about Joey Deacon, the disabled fundraiser. She had stopped her science studies after O level. Nonetheless, she wrote to Hardy asking if she could quote his theory. He agreed, and she sent the eventual product to her agent.

“He rang me up and said, ‘Elaine, you sat down and you wrote this book?’,” she recalls gleefully. “And the first publisher he sent it to snapped it up!” (A sure sign of scientific validity!)

What made The Descent of Woman doubly revolutionary was the way that Morgan wrote. She referred to our ancestors as “she” and considered the development of pendulous breasts and rounded buttocks without the context of sexual attraction. She also wrote in detail about the female orgasm, examining whether face-to-face mating serviced both clitoral and vaginal stimulation. It was the earliest days of the feminist movement, and women across the world were captivated.

Yikes! By doing “bad pop-science writing” she hoped to advance the proper notion that evolution includes  females? Thanks a lot!

“Up to then women had been afraid of science. They were told biology is destiny, and those arguments had been used to hold them down, and suddenly they could talk about it. Women’s lib was just taking off then, and I got to meet some of them, like Gloria Steinem. But they were very wary of me because I was old enough to be their mother and their mother was their enemy. I’d got married, brought up children, and this was no great way to break the system, they thought.” Wow! Bitchy fem on fem cliches and massive narcissism do not help the cause of female Homo sapiens!

She was never really part of the sisterhood, she giggles, surely aware of how significantly she contributed to it. “They were all tall and young and metropolitan, and I was none of these things. I liked them, but after that book they were racing ahead, feminism took off, and I thought, ‘I don’t need to say any more about that now’.”

The liberation of her gender secured, (bizarre conclusion, of course) she applied her campaigning vim to the science itself. Morgan is the first to admit that The Descent of Woman was a thoroughly unscientific romp riddled with errors and convenient conclusions. In the years after its publication, she set about a process of self-education that resulted in the more soberly executed Aquatic Ape Hypothesis, published in 1997.

It had become increasingly important to her to write something that would appeal to scientists. “The establishment had treated me with total horror and contempt, and also some resentment because it was a bestseller. I was an upstart, in it for the money, totally ignorant.” Well, by her own admission, she was.

She believes the upset was greater because she was contradicting those with a vested interest in the status quo. “If it had come from somewhere in their own seminars, they could have steered it along and had some input and got some credit for it.” The scientific community’s refusal to engage with her arguments remains a frustration.

Her methodology for recreating herself as a credible scientist was certainly individual. “I just starting reading the books that were available from Mountain Ash library,” she explains. “I’d look in the back at the bibliography and then I’d send away for those books. And then I’d look in their bibliographies, and that would be of an even higher academic standard. So if there was something I wanted to know about, like the larynx or the skin, I would work my way back to bedrock that way and find out what the original basis for the claim was.”

Of late, Morgan has garnered some high profile support. In his book Consciousness Explained, the American philosopher Daniel Dennet wrote: “When in the company of distinguished biologists, evolutionary theorists and other experts, I have often asked them to tell me, please, why Elaine Morgan must be wrong. I haven’t yet had a reply worth mentioning.” Wow. How feeble. Typical NT delusion that “no response” is proof of “proof”!

Sir David Attenborough used his recent presidency of the British Association for the Advancement of Science to organise the first full day discussion of Morgan’s “engaging” theory. “The one big difficulty is that there is no direct fossil evidence,” he says. “And if you postulate that humans were wandering in the delta for a sufficient length of time to modify then you would think that you would come across fossils, because it’s the ideal environment for them.” More nonsense; of course, a lack of “fossil evidence” (or any physical evidence) has never been an obstacle for anthropologists.  

“It’s just the drip, drip, drip of the number of facts that could make sense in that context and are still making no sense at all outside it,” says Morgan. “I think an unknown number of scientists don’t need convincing but just need enough encouragement to stand up and be counted.” Neurotypicals believe that “science” is just another social belief system: get enough “scientists” to “agree” and BINGO – your narrative (TV script) becomes bona fide science. 

There is inevitably a problem of proof, she adds, given that the hypothesis relies on soft tissue adaptations, which don’t fossilise. This lack of direct evidence concerns many scientists, says Peter Wheeler, professor of evolutionary biology at Liverpool John Moores university. “What is often said by proponents of the aquatic ape theory is that no one has looked at it seriously. The truth is that it has been considered and found completely wanting.”

In addition to the absence of fossils, says Wheeler, the hypothesis relies upon superficial comparisons between living species which don’t bear scrutiny. For example, although humans are fatty mammals their fat is distributed in an entirely different way to aquatic mammals. Nor are the majority of aquatic animals naked. Most have dense fur and only the largest and deepest diving are hairless. “Nor do you need the aquatic ape to explain bipedalism. There are about four other more convincing theories. You don’t need that extra complication.”

Whatever the truth, Morgan says that her championing of the aquatic ape hypothesis is over. Her next book, close to completion, Darwin and the Left, argues that advances in genetics and evolutionary biology are moving scientific debate to the right.

It is a while since she has seen an ape in the wild, she says. “I’m too old. I can’t see myself getting to the jungle now, but I still get an awful lot of mail. It’s been an undying interest – something to wake up for.”

Her three grown-up sons think she’s right, she says proudly, and her late husband Morien was similarly supportive. “He was a bit disconcerted at the beginning, especially in an area like this. It wasn’t the kind of thing somebody’s wife did. But he did all the typing and all that side of it, so I’ve been working a lot slower in the last six years [since his death].” Support by one’s family does not constitute scientific credibility. We might ask if a male would “use” family in this way; why is it considered important that “the husband” was behind her efforts?

She baulks at the suggestion that she’s a myth maker, propagating nonsense to deluded undergraduates. “I’m not telling Just So Stories. I’m not. (That’s EXACTLY what she does) There are very few books that have less of the subjunctive in them than mine. I’m just saying these are the facts, this is one possible explanation, draw your own conclusion.”

She rallies. People still get the basics of the theory wrong, she laughs. “A woman wrote to the Aberdare Leader [Morgan’s local paper] and said, ‘She’s mad, she thinks we’re descended from fish’. But then the New York Times once wrote that I thought we were descended from otters. Which goes to show you don’t have to live in Aberdare to get science wrong.” (The “idiot reaction” by random humans does not confer legitimacy to a “theory”)

A brilliant career (Really?)

Morgan grew up in Pontypridd, where her father worked as a miner. She attended school locally and won an exhibition to Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford university, where she studied English language and literature. She married her husband Morien, a French teacher, in 1945. They had two sons, and adopted a third when he was six weeks old.

In 1952, she sold her first play to television. It was called Mirror, Mirror, and she remembers it as being “very basic”. She went on to win 10 awards for her screen-writing, culminating in a writer of the year award in 1980.

Then she became interested in the aquatic ape hypothesis – the idea that many of the things that make us human (such as speech, a lack of thick fur, and walking upright) evolved during a 10 million year period when Africa became very wet, and our ancestors were forced to spend a lot of time in the water.

She published The Descent of Woman in 1972, The Aquatic Ape in 1982, The Scars of Evolution in 1990, The Descent of the Child in 1994, and The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis in 1997. Morgan has long been a darling of the feminist movement, but in recent years her supporters have come to include people such as Sir David Attenborough and the American philosopher Daniel Dennet (Whoopdee do!) 

Every Asperger Needs to Read this Paper! / Symptoms of entrapment and captivity

Research that supports my challenge to contemporary (American) psychology that Asperger symptoms are the result of “captivity” and not “defective brains” 

From: Depression Research and Treatment

Depress Res Treat. 2010; 2010: 501782. Published online 2010 Nov 4. doi:  10.1155/2010/501782 PMCID: PMC2989705

Full Article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989705/

Testing a German Adaption of the Entrapment Scale and Assessing the Relation to Depression

Manuel Trachsel, 1 ,* Tobias Krieger, 2 Paul Gilbert, 3 and Martin Grosse Holtforth 2 :

Abstract

The construct of entrapment is used in evolutionary theory to explain the etiology of depression. The perception of entrapment can emerge when defeated individuals want to escape but are incapable. Studies have shown relationships of entrapment to depression, and suicidal tendencies. The aim of this study was a psychometric evaluation and validation of the Entrapment Scale in German (ES-D). 540 normal subjects completed the ES-D along with other measures of depressive symptoms, hopelessness, and distress. Good reliability and validity of the ES-D was demonstrated. Further, whereas entrapment originally has been regarded as a two-dimensional construct, our analyses supported a single-factor model. Entrapment explained variance in depressive symptoms beyond that explained by stress and hopelessness supporting the relevance of the construct for depression research. These findings are discussed with regard to their theoretical implications as well as to the future use of the entrapment scale in clinical research and practice.

Being outnumbered by social humans, 99% to 1%, is de facto defeat and captivity

1. Introduction

Assuming a certain degree of adaptivity of behavior and emotion, evolutionary theorists have suggested various functions of moodiness and depression. Whereas adaptive mechanisms may become functionally maladaptive [1, 2], there have been many attempts to explain potentially adaptive functions of depression. For example, Price [3] suggested that depression evolved from the strategic importance of having a de-escalating or losing strategy. Social rank theory [4, 5] built on this and suggests that some aspects of depression, such as mood and drive variations, may have evolved as mechanisms for regulating behavior in contexts of conflicts and competition for resources and mates. Hence, subordinates are sensitive to down rank threats and are less confident than dominants, while those who are defeated will seek to avoid those who defeated them. Depression may also serve the function to help individuals disengage from unattainable goals and deal with losses [6]. 

Social rank theory (e.g., [4]) links defeat states to depression. Drawing on Dixon’s arrested defences model of mood variation [7, 8], this theory suggests that especially when stresses associated with social defeats and social threats arise, individuals are automatically orientated to fight, flight or both. Usually, either of those defensive behaviors will work. So, flight and escape remove the individual from the conditions in which stress is arising (e.g., threats from a dominant), or anger/aggression curtails the threat. These defensive behaviors typically work for nonhuman animals. However, for humans, such basic fight and flight strategies may be less effective facing the relatively novel problems of living in modern societies, perhaps explaining the prevalence of disorders such as depression [8]. Dixon suggested that in depression, defensive behaviors can be highly aroused but also blocked and arrested and in this situation depression ensues. Dixon et al. [8] called this arrested flight. For example, in lizards, being defeated but able to escape has proven to be less problematic than being defeated and being trapped. Those who are in caged conditions, where escape is impossible, are at risk of depression and even death [9]. Gilbert [4, 10] and Gilbert and Allan [5] noted that depressed individuals commonly verbalize strong escape wishes and that feelings of entrapment and desires to escape have also been strongly linked to suicide, according to O’Connor [11]. In addition they may also have strong feelings of anger or resentment that they find difficult to express or become frightening to them. (Or are NOT ALLOWED to express, without being punished) 

Gilbert [4] and Gilbert and Allan [5] proposed that a variety of situations (not just interpersonal conflicts) that produce feeling of defeat, or uncontrollable stress, which stimulate strong escape desires but also makes it impossible for an individual to escape, lead the individual to a perception of entrapment. They defined entrapment as a desire to escape from the current situation in combination with the perception that all possibilities to overcome a given situation are blocked. Thus, theoretically entrapment follows defeat if the individual is not able to escape. This inability may be due to a dominant subject who does not offer propitiatory gestures following antagonistic competition, or if the individual keeps being attacked. (Relentless social bullying) 

In contrast to individuals who feel helpless (cf. the concept of learned helplessness [12]), which focus on perceptions of control, the entrapped model focuses on the outputs of the threat system emanating from areas such as the amygdala [13]. In addition, depressed people are still highly motivated and would like to change their situation or mood state. It was also argued that, unlike helplessness, entrapment takes into account the social forces that lead to depressive symptoms, which is important for group-living species with dominance hierarchies such as human beings [14]. Empirical findings by Holden and Fekken [15] support this assumption. Gilbert [4] argued that the construct of entrapment may explain the etiology of depression better than learned helplessness, because according to the theory of learned helplessness, helpless individuals have already lost their flight motivation whereas entrapped individuals have not.

According to Gilbert [4], the perception of entrapment can be triggered, increased, and maintained by external factors but also internal processes such as intrusive, unwanted thoughts and ruminations can play an important role (e.g., [16, 17]). For example, ruminating on the sense of defeat or inferiority may act as an internal signal of down-rank attack that makes an individual feel increasingly inferior and defeated. Such rumination may occur despite the fact that an individual successfully escaped from an entrapping external situation because of feelings of failure, which may cause a feeling of internal entrapment. For example, Sturman and Mongrain [18] found that internal entrapment increased following an athletic defeat. Moreover, thoughts and feelings like “internal dominants” in self-critics may exist that can also activate defensive behaviors.

For the empirical assessment of entrapment, Gilbert and Allan [5] developed the self-report Entrapment Scale (ES) and demonstrated its reliability. Using the ES, several studies have shown that the perception of entrapment is strongly related to low mood, anhedonia, and depression [5, 1921]. Sturman and Mongrain [22] found that entrapment was a significant predictor of recurrence of major depression. Further, Allan and Gilbert [23] found that entrapment relates to increased feelings of anger and to a lower expression of these feelings. In a study by Martin et al. [24], the perception of entrapment was associated with feelings of shame, but not with feelings of guilt. Investigating the temporal connection between depression and entrapment, Goldstein and Willner [25, 26] concluded that the relation between depression and entrapment is equivocal and might be bilateral; that is, entrapment may lead to depression and vice versa.

Entrapment was further used as a construct explaining suicidal tendency. In their cry-of pain-model, Williams and Pollock [27, 28] argued that suicidal behavior should be seen as a cry of pain rather than as a cry for help. Consistent with the concept of arrested flight, they proposed that suicidal behavior is reactive. In their model, the response (the cry) to a situation is supposed to have the following three components: defeat, no escape potential, and no rescue. O’Connor [11] provided empirical support in a case control study by comparing suicidal patients and matched hospital controls on measures of affect, stress, and posttraumatic stress. The authors hypothesized that the copresence of all three cry-of-pain variables primes an individual for suicidal behavior. The suicidal patients, with respect to a recent stressful event, reported significantly higher levels of defeat, lower levels of escape potential, and lower levels of rescue than the controls. Furthermore, Rasmussen et al. [21] showed that entrapment strongly mediated the relationship between defeat and suicidal ideation in a sample of first-time and repeated self-harming patients. Nevertheless, there has also been some criticism of the concept of entrapment as it is derived from animal literature [29].

To our knowledge so far, there is no data on the retest reliability or the temporal stability of the Entrapment Scale. Because entrapment is seen as a state-like rather than a trait-like construct, its stability is likely dependent on the stability of its causes. (Remove the social terrorism, or remove yourself) Therefore, if the causes of entrapment are stable (e.g., a long-lasting abusive relationship), then also entrapment will remain stable over time. In contrast, for the Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), there are studies assessing temporal stability that have yielded stable trait-like components of hopelessness [30]. Young and coworkers [30] stated that the high stability of hopelessness is a crucial predictor of depressive relapses and suicidal attempts. For the Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ), there are studies examining retest reliability. The PSQ has shown high retest reliability over 13 days (r = .80) in a Spanish sample [31]. It is to be expected that with longer retest intervals as in the present study (3 months), the stability of perceived stress will be substantially lower. We, therefore, expect the stability of entrapment to be higher than that of perceived stress as a state-like construct, but lower than that of hopelessness, which has been shown to be more trait-like [32].

Previous research is equivocal regarding the dimensionality of the entrapment construct. Internal and external entrapment were originally conceived as two separate constructs (cf. [5]) and were widely assessed using two subscales measuring entrapment caused by situations and other people (e.g., “I feel trapped by other people”) or by one’s own limitations (e.g., “I want to get away from myself”). The scores of the two subscales were averaged to result in a total entrapment score in many studies. However as Taylor et al. [33] have shown, entrapment may be best conceptualized as a unidimensional construct. This reasoning is supported by the observation that some of the items of the ES cannot easily be classified either as internal or external entrapment and because the corresponding subscales lack face validity (e.g., “I am in a situation I feel trapped in” or “I can see no way out of my current situation”).

5. Discussion

The entrapment construct embeds depressiveness theoretically into an evolutionary context. The situation of arrested flight or blocked escape, in which a defeated individual is incapable of escaping despite a maintained motivation to escape, may lead to the perception of entrapment in affected individuals [8]. In this study, the Entrapment Scale (ES) was translated to German (ES-D), tested psychometrically, and validated by associations with other measures. This study provides evidence that the ES-D is a reliable self-report measure of entrapment demonstrating high internal consistency. The study also shows that the ES-D is a valid measure that relates to other similar constructs like hopelessness, depressive symptoms or perceived stress. Levels of entrapment as measured with the ES-D were associated with depressiveness, perceived stress, and hopelessness, showing moderate to high correlations. Results were consistent with those obtained by Gilbert and Allan [5]. Entrapment explained additional variance in depressiveness beyond that explained by stress and hopelessness. Taken together, the present data support the conception of entrapment as a relevant and distinct construct in the explanation of depression. (And much of Asperger behavior)

The results of our study confirm the findings of Taylor et al. [33], thereby showing that entrapment is only theoretically, but not empirically, separable into internal and external sources of entrapment. The authors even went further by showing that entrapment and defeat could represent a single construct. Although in this study the defeat scale [5] was not included, the results are in line with the assumption of Taylor et al. [33] and support other studies using entrapment a priori as a single construct. However, although this study supports the general idea that escape motivation affects both internal and external events and depression, clinically it can be very important to distinguish between them. For example, in studies of psychosis entrapment can be very focused on internal stimuli, particularly voices [47].

The state conceptualization of entrapment implies that the perception of entrapment may change over time. Therefore, we did not expect retest correlations as high as retest correlations for more trait-like constructs like hopelessness [32]. Since the correlation over time is generally a function of both the reliability of the measure and the stability of the construct, high reliability is a necessary condition for high stability [48]. In this study, we showed that the ES-D is a reliable scale, and we considered retest correlations as an indicator for stability. The intraclass correlation of .67 suggests that entrapment is more sensitive to change than hopelessness (r = .82). Furthermore, the state of entrapment seems to be more stable than perceived stress, which may be influenced to a greater extent by external factors. Given the confirmed reliability and validity of the ES-D in this study, we therefore cautiously conclude that entrapment lies between hopelessness and perceived stress regarding stability.

Whereas the high correlation between entrapment and depressive symptoms in this study may be interpreted as evidence of conceptual equivalence, an examination of the item wordings of two scales clearly suggest that these questionnaires assess distinct constructs. However, the causal direction of this bivariate relation is not clear. Theoretically, both directions are plausible. Entrapment may be a cause or a consequence of depressive symptoms, or even both. Unfortunately, studies examining the temporal precedence so far have yielded equivocal results and have methodological shortcomings (e.g., no clinical samples, only mild and transitory depression and entrapment scores with musical mood induction) in order to answer this question conclusively [25, 26]. It remains unclear whether entrapment only is depression specific. Entrapment might not only be associated with depression, but also with other psychological symptoms, or even psychopathology in general. This interpretation is supported by research showing a relation between distress arising from voices and entrapment in psychotic patients [49, 50]. Furthermore, other studies show the relation between entrapment and depressive symptoms [5153] and social anxiety and shame [54] in psychosis. The usefulness of entrapment as a construct for explaining psychopathologies in humans has been questioned [29]. Due to the present study, it is now possible to investigate entrapment in psychopathology in the German speaking area.

Modern social humans and the social hierarchy: Driving Asperger types crazy for thousands of years!

 

Down and Dirty Primitive Hunting Technology / Videos

HUNGER: The prime motivator of human behavior and technology. Primitive tools compensate for “puny human” lack of claws, reduced olfactory sense, and other assets possessed by the competition: other hungry animals, including many much smaller than humans, had superior strength, speed, meat-or tough vegetation-tearing teeth (cooking required), protective fur, athletic ability, specialized body parts and instinctive tactics. Early humans HAD TO develop tools!

Our type of brain most likely developed as a “tool” that compensated for (and competed with) the “equipment” of other animals in particular environments. The brain as technology – think about it! LOL

We have to start somewhere / What is cognition?

I’m working up to the problem of visual and sensory thinking being all but ignored (or even dismissed) by the “cognition and behavior sciences” as a primary mode of perception and cognition in evolutionary history. This ignorance or arrogance on the part of “researchers” is especially negligent on the part of those whose declared interest is ASD / Asperger’s and other non-typical diagnosis. The irony is that these diagnosis of “abnormality” may simply demonstrate the bias or outright prejudice that only the “social” language of scripted word concepts / formal academic constructs  is “important” to human thought and behavior. That is, rigid restrictions have been placed on human thought, behavior and personal expression that may reflect the inability of the “social engineering class” to think in any other mode. Can this group have become so isolated from “natural” human behavior, that only individuals who are similarly limited to social constructs and rigid narratives are “accepted, selected for” inclusion in the class of those who dictate social behavior, thus increasingly diminishing the diversity of ideas about “what it is to be human” to their own impoverished experiences? The peasant classes are urged to function only on emotional reactivity and scripted social behavior, thus remaining powerless.

WIKI on Cognition: 

“Cognition is “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses”.[1] It encompasses processes such as attention, the formation of knowledge, memory, and working memory, judgement and evaluation, reasoning and “computation,” problem-solving and decision making, comprehension and production of language. Cognitive processes use existing knowledge and generate new knowledge.” 

Note that “producing language” is only one of many thinking processes; the “expressive – action based” fields of art and music, dance and kinesthetic “thinking” must be assumed to be included under experience and the senses; otherwise these thought processes are missing from the list. Why? The stress is on “conscious” cognition; “unconscious” cognition is considered to be “low-level” cognition and has been segregated from “high-level cognition” – an error that has had severe consequences to the understanding of “how the brain works” in relation to the “whole” human organism and how it interacts with the environment. This “social conception” of human biology, physiology and behavior serves the western socio-religious narcissism of “man” as a special creation isolated from the reality of evolution.  

“The processes are analyzed from different perspectives within different contexts, notably in the fields of linguistics, anesthesia, neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, education, philosophy, anthropology, biology, systemics, logic, and computer science. These and other different approaches to the analysis of cognition are synthesized in the developing field of cognitive science, a progressively autonomous academic discipline.”  

Again, we must assume that “the arts” are included somewhere in this disconnected “chopped salad” of academic reserves, which often are “at war” with each other over “domains of expertise” (territories) without much flow of information or “honest” discussion between academics. Genuine scientific competition and progress requires constant questioning of assumptions (hypothesis, theories); this necessity is hampered by most of these disciplines being based on theories, rather than truly investigative “reality-based” research that is open to challenges by other researchers.

A severe problem with current concepts of cognition and intelligence: The 300,000 y.o. Jebel Irhoud Homo sapiens, considered to be the “earliest so far” true Homo sapiens. If judged on the decision / conceit that only “conscious social cognition and behavior” count toward being classified as Homo sapiens, how do we explain the survival of any hominid? The current explanation is that these early Homo sapiens were “cognitively and socially identical to modern social humans.” A reality based conclusion would be, that given the variety and range of difficult environments and conditions in which they survived and successfully reproduced, these humans would have had to be more intelligent than modern domesticated humans, who have the advantage of 300,000 years of collective human experience and culture HANDED TO THEM by default. 

The “human brain and behavior” community would have us believe that this fellow survived by relying on modern social word-concepts and social theories of behavior.

Au contraire! Survival would have demanded the “action” intelligences of sensory processing: art and technology production, acute and immediate visual-sensory analysis of threats and opportunities presented by a wild ‘natural’ environment, memorization / mapping of geographical, geological and faunal-flora details of food availability; cooperation, sharing and mutual respect for individual skills and talents, and a precise (not vague or generalized) use of verbal language, gestures, imitative animal communication and graphic symbols.

 

 

 

 

Ancient Homo in the Philippines? / Two Articles Aye, yai, yai!

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Ancient humans settled the Philippines 700,000 years ago (as opposed to modern day humans)
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/ancient-humans-settled-philippines-700000-years-ago-new-fossils-reveal
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“The only thing missing is the hominin fossil to go along with it,” says archaeologist Adam Brumm, of Griffith University in Nathan, Australia. He’s wasn’t involved with the work. (This standard “journalistic format” added comment by a “random” expert drives me nuts… is it supposed to compensate for lack of evidence? Is it merely to make it look like the journalist did some “background work”? Or is it the NT passion for “he said, she said” cable TV news “black and white” ideological warfare transferred to “science” articles? Please stop! 

Researchers found 75% of a fossilized rhino skeleton—ribs and leg bones still scarred from the tools that removed their meat and marrow—lying in ancient mud that had long since buried an even older river channel. To determine the site’s age, researchers dated the enamel in one of the rhino’s teeth, as well as quartz grains embedded in the sediment layers above and below the bones, using electron spin resonance (ESR), which measures the buildup of electrons as a material is exposed to radiation over time. The team dated the bottom sediment layer to about 727,000 years old, the rhino tooth to about 709,000 years old, and the top sediment layer to about 701,000 years old. Several independent experts say (aye, yai, yai!) they were impressed by the team’s careful use of the technique. “They’ve nailed it,” says Alistair Pike, an archaeological dating expert at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. (Please stop inserting these technically-scientifically irrelevant comments! These statements are NOT PROOF that the dating is accurate, EXCEPT IN THE “lazy-crazy” NT social brain. The appeal to “authorities” is a social substitute for facts; NTs believe in “authority hearsay” and don’t recognize the existence of factual information) 

So who were these ancient people? They couldn’t have been our own species, Homo sapiens, which evolved in Africa hundreds of thousands of years later. The most likely bet is H. erectus, an archaic human species that first evolved nearly 2 million years ago and may have been the first member of our genus to expand out of Africa, the team writes today in Nature. H. erectus bones have been found in China and Java, so researchers know they lived in Asia (Asia is a VERY BIG PLACE, but if one is geographically illiterate, this vague reference may sound impressive and “meaningful”) around the time the rhino was butchered on Luzon. But Thomas Ingicco, a paleoarchaeologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris who led the research, doesn’t want to jump to any conclusions without human bones—especially not in a region that already has yielded one big surprise for scientists studying archaic humans. (Drum roll…)

Three thousand kilometers to the south, (almost 2,000 miles) on the island of Flores in Indonesia, archaeologists discovered H. floresiensis, a diminutive archaic human species known as the hobbit. It lived from about 60,000 to 100,000 years ago and seems to have evolved its short stature, large feet, and other distinctive traits because of its long isolation on Flores. There’s no evidence that the rhino butcherers on Luzon are the ancestors of the hobbit, or connected to those unusual humans in any way. But the discovery of H. floresiensis opened up the possibility that there could be many hitherto unknown human species living and evolving in Southeast Asia. (Wow! What “peculiar” logic. 1. Why are “the Hobbits” even mentioned in this context? (700,000 y.o. hominid in Luzon “magically” connects to” 60-100,000 y.o. hominid in Flores, 3,000 km away. 2. The possibility of hitherto unknown human species living and evolving in Southeast Asia” already exists WITHOUT “the Hobbits”. 3. The salient fact about Flores Homo is that it’s small stature is a consequence of being isolated on an island – they were not “wandering around” a vast region.  “In theory you could have something special on every single island,” Ingicco says.

And how did the rhinoceros get to Luzon?

The area in question.

Equally mysterious (please ban the use of mysterious, strange, bizarre, etc. in science journalism, and let the Ancient Aliens crew have this nonsense as their very own ”catchy” theme! The use of mysterious, etc can only refer in this context to the confused state of the NT mind.) is how the ancestors of the rhino butchers arrived on Luzon, which was surrounded by deep water then, as it is today. “I’ve been studying H. erectus for a long time, and I think they are pretty clever,” says Susan Antón, a paleoanthropologist at New York University in New York City who wasn’t involved in the work. Recent research (by whom?) even suggests that stone age peoples were using boats more than 130,000 years ago in the Mediterranean Sea. (Now there is a piece of “NT logic” – Non-correlation of geography, dates, location – and zero evidence – are no obstacle to social typical magical thinking) But like most researchers Antón isn’t convinced that ancient humans were deliberately crossing Southeast Asian seas so long ago. More likely, they were carried to distant islands by tsunami waves, or arrived there via floating islands of land and debris detached during typhoons. (Really? Does this actually occur, or is this a garbled interpretation of massive landslides that end up AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA? Maybe it was Ancient Astronauts…) “The presumption has been that Homo erectus didn’t, at least purposefully, disperse over water,” Antón says. “But the more places you find that happening, then … the more likely it becomes that they had some kind of control over it. But that kind of a conclusion is way off in the distance.” (How articulate…)

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Let’s see what NATGEO has to say: 

700,000-Year-Old Stone Tools Point to Mysterious Human Relative

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/05/stone-tools-rhinoceros-luzon-philippines-ancient-hominins-science/

Someone butchered a rhinoceros in the Philippines hundreds of thousands of years before modern humans arrived—but who?

Stone tools found in the Philippines predate the arrival of modern humans to the islands by roughly 600,000 years—but researchers aren’t sure who made them.

The eye-popping artifacts, unveiled on Wednesday in Nature, were abandoned on a river floodplain on the island of Luzon beside the butchered carcass of a rhinoceros. The ancient toolmakers were clearly angling for a meal. Two of the rhino’s limb bones are smashed in, as if someone was trying to harvest and eat the marrow inside. Cut marks left behind by stone blades crisscross the rhino’s ribs and ankle, a clear sign that someone used tools to strip the carcass of meat.

But the age of the remains makes them especially remarkable: The carved bones are most likely between 631,000 and 777,000 years old, with researchers’ best estimate coming in around 709,000 years old. The research—partially funded by the National Geographic Society—pushes back occupation of the Philippines to before the known origin of our species, Homo sapiens. (Of course, as the pinnacle of evolution, every “discovery” must be oriented to “our” arrival!) The next-earliest evidence of Philippine hominins comes from Luzon’s Callao Cave, in the form of a 67,000-year-old foot bone.

“It was surprising to find such an old peopling of the Philippines,” says lead study author Thomas Ingicco, an archaeologist with France’s National Museum of Natural History. While the researchers don’t know which archaic cousin of ours butchered the rhino, the find will likely cause a stir among people studying the human story in the South Pacific—especially those wondering how early hominins got to the Philippines in the first place.

“I think it’s pretty spectacular,” says Michael Petraglia, a paleoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History who was not involved in the work. “While there had been claims for early hominins in places like the Philippines, there wasn’t any good evidence until now.”

Dating With Confidence

Several of the habitable islands across the South Pacific have long been hemmed off by swaths of open ocean, (Is that not what an island is?) so it was thought that humans’ ancient cousins couldn’t have made it to them without knowing how to sail.

But as the saying goes, life finds a way. In 2004, researchers unveiled Homo floresiensis, which lived on the isolated island of Flores for hundreds of thousands of years. In 2016, researchers also found stone tools on Sulawesi, an island north of Flores. As National Geographic reported at the time, the Sulawesi tools date to at least 118,000 years ago, or some 60,000 years before the first anatomically modern humans arrived. (Repetitive NT narcissism)

“It’s really, really exciting—it’s now becoming increasingly clear that ancient forms of hominins were able to make significant deep-sea crossings,” says Adam Brumm, a paleoanthropologist at Griffith University who studies H. floresiensis. (but wait…)

In search of similar sites, Ingicco and Dutch biologist John de Vos went to Kalinga, a site in northern Luzon with a reputation for yielding ancient bones. Researchers had found animal bones and stone tools there since the 1950s, but those scattered remains couldn’t be dated. To prove that ancient hominins had lived at Kalinga, de Vos and Ingicco needed to find artifacts that were still buried.

In 2014, the team dug a test pit at Kalinga about seven feet to a side. Almost immediately, the researchers started finding bones that belonged to a long-extinct rhinoceros. Soon, they had uncovered an entire skeleton, as well as stone tools left behind by its butchers.

To get an age range for the site, the team measured the sediments and the rhino’s teeth to see how much radiation they had naturally absorbed over time. (You never know – 700,000 y.a. there may have been time traveling H. sapiens going around artificially irradiating rhinoceros bones and teeth. Or maybe it was Ancient Aliens) In addition, they measured the natural uranium content of one of the rhino’s teeth, since that element decays like clockwork into thorium. In the mud around the rhino’s bones, they also found a speck of melted glass from an asteroid impact dated to about 781,000 year ago. (More magical and irrelevant NT type “evidence” What impact, where? How did it “end up” in the sediment? erosion, transport, etc.)

“Nowadays, it’s necessary that you try various methods to nail the dates, because in the past, there have been so many dates that have proved unreliable,” says study coauthor Gerrit van den Bergh, a University of Wollongong sedimentologist.

The Unusual Suspects

The list of possible toolmakers includes the Denisovans, a ghost lineage of hominins known from DNA and a handful of Siberian fossils. The leading candidate, though, is the early hominin Homo erectus, since it definitely made its way into southeast Asia. The Indonesian island of Java has H. erectus fossils that are more than 700,000 years old.

Ingicco’s team suggests that the butchers may have been Luzon’s version of H. floresiensis, (what on earth does that mean?) which may have descended from a population of H. erectus that ended up on Flores. Over millennia, the H. erectus there may have evolved to live efficiently on a predator-free island, shrinking in a process called island dwarfism.

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But wait! 

The most comprehensive study on the bones of Homo floresiensis, a species of tiny human discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003, has found that they most likely evolved from an ancestor in Africa and not from Homo erectus as has been widely believed.

The study by The Australian National University (ANU) found Homo floresiensis, dubbed “the hobbits” due to their small stature, were most likely a sister species of Homo habilis—one of the earliest known species of human found in Africa 1.75 million years ago.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-04-indonesian-hobbits-revealed.html#jCp

SEE also: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4429596/Indonesian-hobbits-early-form-human.html

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back to: In 2010, a team led by University of Philippines Diliman archaeologist Armand Mijares found the Callao Cave foot bone, which has measurements that overlap with both modern humans and H. floresiensis. (Utterly meaningless: this panders to archaic notions of “linear evolution” that demands “missing links” – so outdated!) Was this Luzon hominin a homegrown hobbit, descended from H. erectus castaways that arrived hundreds of thousands of years before? It’s too soon to say. (OMG!)

“We don’t have any information about 600,000 years of prehistory, [so] it’s a reach,” says Petraglia. 

Riding Out the Storm?

Whoever they were, the toolmakers’ ancestors may have taken one of two migration routes into the Philippines, according to Ingicco’s team: an west-to-east route from Borneo or Palawan, or a north-to-south route from China and Taiwan. (Does this contrived “choice” have any real meaning? Were Homo erectus standing around looking at a map, arguing over which “migration route” to take?) But it’s an open question how these hominins crossed open ocean.

It’s tempting to think that our extinct cousins used rudimentary boats: When news of the Callao Cave remains broke in 2010, some experts chalked up their presence to ancient seafarers. But the idea is still considered farfetched. Rhinos and elephant-like creatures also made it to Luzon, and they clearly didn’t build boats.

OMG! What is this, a Disney movie?

Perhaps large animals and the butchers’ ancestors accidentally rode to Luzon on floating masses of mud and aquatic plants, torn off coastlines by large storms. Regional tsunamis may have also washed some terrified H. erectus out to sea. As they clung to floating debris, they may have inadvertently island-hopped.

“Water dispersal by H. erectus is accidental—there’s no Manifest Destiny, there’s no plot,” says Russell Ciochon, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Iowa at Iowa City. (What an outstanding contribution to this article!)

There’s also outstanding questions about what happened when and if descendants of these early hominins made contact with the first modern humans to reach Luzon: (Endless NT narcissism, of course.) “Did our species come face to face with these creatures? What is the nature of that contact?” wonders Brumm.

These and other questions remain to be answered, but researchers say that study of the human story in Luzon—and the South Pacific writ large—is only just beginning.

Social Food / The Social Pyramid / Chinese Culture

I admit to an estrangement from “food obsession” – the social cult of food. I’m fuel-efficiency oriented about consumption. I don’t know if this is a common Asperger trait or not. I eat almost continually – small snacks punctuated by larger meals. Breakfast is big: I literally eat two breakfasts; one to get the engine started; another to “top off the tank” and get ready for the day. When I’m hungry, I get shaky, weak and confused, so I snack all day. My diet is high protein; few carbohydrates. Lots of fruit and dairy; nuts. Vegetables? Yuck! (Not in Wyoming, where pitiful dead plants are trucked in from far away.) My food choices in childhood were typical of mid-western U.S. “farm” food. I could be a porkaholic…..
The intense effort, repetition, skill and time consumption devoted to “feeding humans” in many cultures baffles me. And the incessant need for applause, praise and attention on the part of preparers, cooks, chefs, etc. Yes, I’m Asperger. I’m weird. 
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Original article:Food, eating behavior, and culture in Chinese society
Open Access funded by Korea Food Research Institute
Under a Creative Commons license

Abstract

Humans need to obtain nutrients from foods in order to survive and be healthy. The requirements of energy and nutrients are different due to differences in race, age, sex, and physical activity level. People living in different places take nutrients from different kinds of food; therefore, nutrition is a cultural biological process rather than a simple physiological and biochemical process. Food intake can directly influence one’s biological function through life, as its results are on a biological level. When people eat, the process can be influenced by economic, politics, culture, and many other factors.

1. The social functions of food

Food is not only the source of nutrition for human, but also plays various roles in our daily life, beliefs, and socioeconomics.

1.1. Establish and maintain interpersonal relationship

Food has many symbolic meanings; it not only expresses but also establishes the relationship between people and their environment as well as between people and what they believe. Therefore, food is an important component of a society.

Food consumed by one person alone is not a social food. However, when it is consumed by a group of people together or eaten in a religious ceremony, the sociality of food is identified. In human society, food is a means for people to establish and express relationships between one another. This relationship can exist among individuals, community members, religious groups, and ethnic groups. For instance, in the Spring Festival in China, people eat dumplings to express the relationship between themselves and God (Fig. 1). 

In Chinese society, people usually treat others with meals in order to make new friends or enhance established relationships. Cantonese breakfast is known as morning tea and lots of people talk about business and exchange information while having morning tea together.

1.2. Express the degree of interpersonal relationship

Different foods convey different meanings among the eaters and indicate the closeness of the relationship. In Chinese culture, service of expensive and rare foods usually shows the respect to the guests. A formal dinner includes 4–6 cold dishes, 8–10 hot dishes, served with soup and fruits. A usual family dinner serves close friends. Close friends or colleagues usually go to food stalls for dining and drinking. Eating a lunch box together is a normal work relationship, and intimate lovers will have candlelit dinner together.

1.3. Represent social status

Foods can be used by people to express their social status. Rare and expensive food is frequently used to represent wealth and high social economic status. These foods are normally animal food and rich in protein, and are hard to obtain because of the rareness, expensiveness, or the need for importation. This custom is mainly related to the upper class living style, for instance, bird’s nest, shark’s fin, bear’s paw, and lobster in traditional Chinese society. (And is depopulating common and rare species to the brink of extinction!)

1.4. As a group characteristic

Food can not only indicate the social status, but also can be used as a character of one group, divided by regions, families, races or religions. Each country has a State Banquet. Some countries such as China, France, and Italy are famous for their cuisine, delicious food, and food culture.

Eating behavior, once formed, has continuity. When people moving to other regional or countries, will continue keeping their traditional eating habit, taste, and cooking methods, unless in very special cases, otherwise it is hard to change.

In China, rice is usually the staple food for people living in the south of China, while food made of wheat flour such as steamed bread, bread, and buns is the staple for people living in the north (Fig. 2). Even when travelling or moving to a foreign country, people tend to eat the food which eating usually as the first choice. Many Chinese people in foreign countries, even after years of migration, still maintain the habit of eating Chinese food, which is very difficult to change.

1.5. Celebrate important event

Owing to its function to express the central position in the representation and relationship, a dinner or banquet can be used as a symbol of the important events in human life, such as wedding, baptism, and religious belief. The symbolic significance of food eaten in religion is more important than the nutritional value; for example, the consumption of these foods can determine and reestablish the relationship between man and God, and between people.

People eat special food to celebrate important events or festivals, such as Americans eating turkey for Thanksgiving in the USA, while specific food will be served for specific social events in China, for example, rice dumplings for the Dragon Boat Festival, moon cakes for the Mid-autumn Festival, and dumplings for the Spring Festival (Fig. 3).

Food customs will be affected by different society and culture each other. For example, the traditional food for celebrating one’s birthday in China is noodles and peaches. Influenced by western culture, many people eat cake, light candles, and sing birthday songs at their birthday party. Interestingly, some people combine the traditional and western ways together, eating noodles and cake at the same time.

1.6. Symbolic significance

Magic word syndrome – It’s not only confined to western social typicals; it’s common to all NTs. 

In Chinese culture, foods have been used as symbols of meaning in many occasions, to impart different information. Chinese dates mean that the couples can have children early; peanuts, also known as the longevity fruit, mean longevity; oranges and chestnuts mean good luck; rice cakes, promotion year; seaweed is a homonym of rich; noodle is long, which means health and longevity; and glutinous rice balls means the family stay together. In Chinese wedding customs, the man has to send to the woman’s home wine (long and long) or fish (annual and superabundant). However, egg (more and more strange) or lotus root (a section of arrowroot is separated, but the clinging fiber remains) must not be used as a gift. In some areas, however, after the birth of a child, eggs dyed red by parents are sent to relatives and friends, to show auspiciousness. Some foods are a symbol of bad luck, such as pear, which sounds like away, and eating it could mean separation.

1.7. Means of reward or punishment

Food is often used as a means of reward or punishment. For example, when a child has good school performance, parents may take them to a western fast food restaurant as a reward. While a child does not have good performance, then their parents do not give the child the food they want by way of punishment. (Wow! The very substances necessary to life and health are used to abuse children. It’s everywhere NTs exist.)

A survey conducted among children’s mothers or caregivers found that they often use food as a reward or punishment. The method of giving food to reward the children’s correct behavior, and using the method of deprive the food to punish the children’s wrong behavior. The survey found that 29% of parents use foods to comfort the child, 23% of parents use the foods as a reward, and 10% of parents take the method of depriving food as a punishment. Sweets and desserts are the most commonly used foods for these purposes, 62% of mothers often use sweets as reward or comfort, and withhold sweets as punishment. (Just like the U.S.)

2. Purchase, production, and distribution of food

Cultural differences in cultivation, harvest, production, serving, and consumption of food are significant. Written or unwritten rules exist in every culture, such as who is responsible for cooking and serving, for whom they do the cooking, what kind of people have a meal together, where to eat, in what kind of occasions, serving order, and courtesy of the diet. All the behavior that is related to food consumption is constrained by culture. (So alien to this Asperger!)

2.1. Food preparation

Of course, all this obsession with “social eating” is made possible by women as a captive / forced labor source: 

In many societies, women play an important role in food production, selection, purchase, and processing. It is usually women’s responsibility to cook; some women are responsible for milking, breeding poultry and livestock, and also sowing and harvesting. As a wife and mother, she is the family food provider. Most of the woman’s life depends on fulfilling these traditional obligations. Women engage in the trade of the market, and in the decision making of type, quantity, and quality of food purchased. It is reported that in Kenya 85% of women older than 16 years are engaged in housework, compared with only 54% of men; while 90% of women are responsible for cooking, and 71.4% of women are responsible for the purchase of food. Since women play a fundamental role in their children’s food supply, nutrition education for women is significant for their children’s diet and health, with consideration of the food nutrition, taste, and sanitation while making food. (Something forgotten and abandoned in U.S. fast food crap culture)

2.2. The purchase and production of food

A survey conducted in four cities of China indicated that mothers in 69.8% households are usually responsible for food purchase, while this percentage was only 26.3% for fathers. Food freshness, sanitation, nutrition, and preference of children are the main factors considered for food purchase. Children are also involved in the choice of food and purchases in families: 20.7% of young children often ask parents to buy certain foods, while 49.9% of parents would take children’s requests.

Men and women have different social responsibilities in the traditional Chinese culture. There is a saying of ‘men outside the home, women inside’ to express this. In the family, adult men are generally responsible for external affairs and work, such as farming and harvest; while women are responsible for the household work, such as doing laundry, cooking, and cleaning. In this traditional culture point of view, women are responsible for cooking, a tradition which is continued in many families, especially in rural areas. In urban areas, however, men and women’s social division of labor has changed; in many families, men and women take on housework together; in some families, wives take care of food purchases and cleaning, while husbands cook. In other families wives and husbands either cook or wash dishes; in certain families, men are responsible for most of the housework, which promotes the word househusband.

Compared with other countries, Chinese people spend much more time on cooking, with an average of 2–3 hours every day. Along with socioeconomic and income increases, the lifestyles of people continue to change. Especially in urban areas, people are unwilling to spend too much time in food preparation and cooking; therefore, the frequency of outside eating increases. The popularity of new technologies and new cooking instruments, such as a microwave oven, electromagnetic cooker furnace, and so on, has shortened the time spent on cooking, which saves more time for recreation.

2.3. Food distribution

Generally, within a family, women are responsible for the distribution of food. When adequate foods are available, each family members can get enough food. However, in the situation when foods are in short supply, different members of the family receive different amounts of foods. Usually, the needs of elders and men are met first, while women often might not get enough; therefore, women in the family are susceptible to nutritional problems. (Not fair, sensible or compassionate) 

There are two modes in food distribution within a family: demand and contribution. The demand mode refers that the distribution of food is based on different physical demands of all family members; and who need more nutrition intake is decided by the food distributor. For example, the mother, the distributor, is likely to feed the last amount of milk to a sick infant; while the healthy, although hungry babies might not get any milk. The contribution mode indicates that the distribution of food is in accordance with the family members’ contribution to the family. Members who earn money for the family receive more compared with their counterparts who do not earn money, while the former has the priority of choosing food and also having the largest amount and the best part of the food, in order to save enough energy to support the family. This kind of distribution is used more when there is lack of food supply, because it is a necessary means to maintain family survival. (Unpaid female work = lack of nutrition)

Sex difference exists when food distributed within the family. Generally, male members within the family are given more food as compared with the female members. These differences in food distribution in a family would affect the health of FEMALE family members.

Age can also play an important role in food distribution within a family. Children receive more foods compared with their adult counterparts. Young children, both boys and girls, have the priority to receive food and their food quality is always the best. The older members in a family are very much valued in food distribution. They get first access to food and greater amounts than the other family members. This food distribution partially reflects the traditional Oriental culture virtue of respecting the senior. (In contrast to U.S. culture, in which a high rate of poverty exists, along with institutional abuse)

3. Eating behavior

Human nutrition investigates nutrients requirements, their function, their contents in different foods, and their relationship with health. As all the nutrients that human needs are obtained from various foods, the behaviors related to food choice and consumption affects the nutrient intake directly, whereas these behaviors are influenced by social, economic, and cultural factors. Therefore, the research areas of human nutrition should not be limited to biological sciences, but should also be extended to eating behavior and its relevant factors. This area of research is as important as chemical and biological studies in the effects of preventing disease, and improving health.

3.1. The way of serving foods

Dishes are placed in the middle of the table for people to share. Members have to wait to eat until the whole family is seated. There are orders of serving rice, porridge, and soup. Usually the elders and the young are first served, followed by men, children, and women. Habits vary in different regions. In some places, the whole family eat together; in others, men and women eat separately; there are also places where women eat after men. Women are also responsible for the housework of cleaning the table and washing dishes. (Asperger reaction? Too many social rules. Nutrition is an absolute necessity for every human, and no one ought to be underfed.)

Separate dining is common in western culture, while in China’s dining culture, whether dining at home or eating out, a grouped dining system is used in most situations. While sharing the food, culture and atmosphere are shared. The biggest disadvantage of the group dining system may be the possibility of causing the spread of infectious diseases; therefore, one should promote the advantages of a separate dining system. Nevertheless, due to the conflict against traditional dining culture, eating separately is not likely to be implemented and promoted in China.

3.2. Number of meals

Most Chinese people (94%) have three meals a day, while 5% have two meals a day. However, the situation varies from urban to rural area. One quarter of residents living in the poor rural areas have two meals a day. In some rural areas in the north residents usually have three meals a day in the harvest season, and two meals a day in other seasons.

The China National Nutrition Survey indicated that residents with different ethnic groups differ in eating behaviors. The proportion of three meals per day was more than 95% in Tibet, Korea, Manchu, Bai, Kazakh, and Uighur. In the Han, Hui, Zhuang, and Mongolia the proportion was about 80%, while in Buyi and Yi that were 61% and 51%, respectively. The proportion of two meals a day at the Hani and Lahu were 88% and 82%, respectively.

The time of breakfast for Chinese people is generally between 6:00 am and 8:00 am, and later at weekends. A few people take breakfast and lunch together as brunch. Some people have their breakfast at home, while some of them at a restaurant or the workplace. A few people eat on their way to work.

A survey conducted in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou found that, the proportion of having breakfast every day were 74.8%, 86.8%, and 90.5%, respectively. Some people usually skip their breakfast. (Very common in the U.S.) The proportion of having breakfast every day in people over 35 years old was higher than their counterparts aged <35 years, while women are more frequently having breakfast than men. The reasons for skipping breakfast including limited time, lack of appetite, and the way to lose weight.

The foods eaten for breakfast vary in different regions. The Cantonese take breakfast as morning tea, including shrimp dumpling, steamed bun, chicken leg, vegetable, fritter, and soy milk. In north part of China, people usually eat bread, porridge, noodles, also including dumpling, fried fritter, etc. Most of them do not have vegetables and fruits for breakfast. (Nutritious breakfasts compared to U.S.)

In order to open up the market to meet the needs of human consumption, western-style fast food has launched a series of breakfast products and combinations, including spinach-egg-chicken burgers, egg custard fort, green onion cakes, and green tea. (Bad news!)

People usually have lunch between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm. In small towns and rural areas of China, people go home for lunch. In the large and medium cities, due to the far distance and limited time, some people have their lunch at the canteen, whole some eat in nearby restaurants or fast-food shops. A few bring a lunch box from home, which is prepared and packed the day before.

People usually have dinner between 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm. In urban areas, dinner is usually the only chance to sit together and have a family meal. Therefore, dinner is usually abundant, including two to four dishes, and one soup. It generally takes 1–2 hours to make a dinner.

Food is a necessity for life: the distribution of quality and quantity of adequate nutrition ought not to be the “social pyramid”.