All victories are temporary.
I have posted often about the false claims of scientific reliability and experimental rigor on the part of the Big Pharma and it’s co-conspirators, the Psychology and Psychiatry Industries. I’m not alone.
Right: The primary textbook for brain scan tech and interpretation.
In 2009, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara performed a curious experiment. In many ways, it was routine — they placed a subject in the brain scanner, displayed some images, and monitored how the subject’s brain responded. The measured brain activity showed up on the scans as red hot spots, like many other neuroimaging studies.
Dead fish do not normally exhibit any kind of brain activity, of course. The study was a tongue-in-cheek reminder of the problems with brain scanning studies. Those colorful images of the human brain found in virtually all news media may have captivated the imagination of the public, but they have also been subject of controversy among scientists over the past decade or so. In fact, neuro-imagers are now debating how reliable brain scanning studies actually are, and are still mostly in the dark about exactly what it means when they see some part of the brain “light up.”
Glitches in reasoning
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measures brain activity indirectly by detecting changes in the flow of oxygen-rich blood, or the blood oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) signal, with its powerful magnets. The assumption is that areas receiving an extra supply of blood during a task have become more active. Typically, researchers would home in on one or a few “regions of interest,” using ‘voxels,’ tiny cube-shaped chunks of brain tissue containing several million neurons, as their units of measurement.
Early fMRI studies involved scanning participants’ brains while they performed some mental task, in order to identify the brain regions activated during the task. Hundreds of such studies were published in the first half of the last decade, many of them garnering attention from the mass media.
Eventually, critics pointed out a logical fallacy in how some of these studies were interpreted. For example, researchers may find that an area of the brain is activated when people perform a certain task. To explain this, they may look up previous studies on that brain area, and conclude that whatever function it is reported to have also underlies the current task.
Among many examples of such studies were those that concluded people get satisfaction from punishing rule-breaking individuals, and that for mice, pup suckling is more rewarding than cocaine. In perhaps one of the most famous examples, a researcher diagnosed himself as a psychopath by looking at his own brain scan.
These conclusions could well be true, but they could also be completely wrong, because the area observed to be active most likely has other functions, and could serve a different role than that observed in previous studies.
The brain is not composed of discrete specialized regions. Rather, it’s a complex network of interconnected nodes, which cooperate to generate behavior. Thus, critics dismissed fMRI as “neo-phrenology” – after the discredited nineteenth century pseudoscience that purported to determine a person’s character and mental abilities from the shape of their skull – and disparagingly referred to it as ‘blobology.’
When results magically appear out of thin air
In 2009, a damning critique of fMRI appeared in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. Initially titled “Voodoo Correlations in Social Neuroscience” and later retitled to “Puzzlingly high correlations in fMRI studies of emotion, personality, and social cognition,” the article questioned the statistical methods used by neuro-imagers. The authors, Ed Vul of University of California in San Diego and his colleagues, examined a handful of social cognitive neuroscience studies, and pointed out that their statistical analyses gave impossibly high correlations between brain activity and behavior.
“It certainly created controversy,” says Tal Yarkoni, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas, Austin. “The people who felt themselves to be the target ignored the criticism and focused on the tone, but I think a large subset of the neuroimaging community paid it some lip service.”
Russ Poldrack of the Department of Psychology at Stanford University says that although the problem was more widespread than the paper suggested, many neuro-imagers were already aware of it. “They happened to pick on one part of the literature, but almost everybody was doing it,” he says.
The problem arises from the “circular” nature of the data analysis, Poldrack says. “We usually analyze a couple of hundred thousand voxels in a study,” he says. “When you do that many statistical tests, you look for the ones that are significant, and then choose those to analyze further, but
Not long after Vul’s paper was published, Craig Bennett and his colleagues published their dead salmon study to demonstrate how robust statistical analyses are key to interpreting fMRI data. When stats are not done well enough, researchers can easily get false positive results – or see an effect that isn’t actually there, such as activity in the brain of a dead fish.
The rise of virtual superlabs
The criticisms drove researchers to do better work— to think more deeply about their data, avoid logical fallacies in interpreting their results, and develop new analytical methods.
At the heart of the matter is the concept of statistical power, which reflects how likely the results are to be meaningful instead of being obtained by pure chance. Smaller studies typically have lower power. An analysis published in 2013 showed that underpowered studies are common in almost every area of brain research. This is specially the case in neuroimaging studies, because most of them involve small numbers of participants.
“Ten years ago I was willing to publish papers showing correlations between brain activity and behavior in just 20 people,” says Poldrack. “Now I wouldn’t publish a study that doesn’t involve at least 50 subjects, or maybe 100, depending on the effect. A lot of other labs have come around to this idea.”
Cost is one of the big barriers preventing researchers from increasing the size of their studies. “Neuroimaging is very expensive. Every lab has a budget and a researcher isn’t going to throw away his entire year’s budget on a single study. Most of the time, there’s no real incentive to do the right thing,” Yarkoni says.
Replication – or repeating experiments to see if the same results are obtained – also gives researchers more confidence in their results. But most journals are unwilling to publish replication experiments, preferring novel findings instead, and the act of repeating someone else’s experiments is seen as aggressive, as if implying they were not done properly in the first place. Confirmation by repeat experiments is vital to the scientific method!
One way around these problems is for research teams to collaborate with each other and pool their results to create larger data sets. One such initiative is the IMAGEN Consortium, which brings together neuro-imaging experts from 18 European research centers, to share their results, integrate them with genetic and behavioral data, and create a publicly available database. (Assuming all this “data” is not junk data…)
Five years ago, Poldrack started the OpenfMRI project, which has similar aims. “The goal was to bring together data to answer questions that couldn’t be answered with individual data sets,” he says. “We’re interested in studying the psychological functions underlying multiple cognitive tasks, and the only way of doing that is to amass lots of data from lots of different tasks. It’s way too much for just one lab.”
An innovative way of publishing scientific studies, called pre-registration, could also increase the statistical power of fMRI studies. Traditionally, studies are published in scientific journals after they have been completed and peer-reviewed. Pre-registration requires that researchers submit their proposed experimental methods and analyses early on. If these meet the reviewers’ satisfaction, they are published; the researchers can then conduct the experiment and submit the results, which are eventually published alongside the methods.
“The low statistical power and the imperative to publish incentivizes researchers to mine their data to try to find something meaningful,” says Chris Chambers, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Cardiff. “That’s a huge problem for the credibility and integrity of the field.”
Chambers is an associate editor at Cortex, one of the first scientific journals to offer pre-registration. As well as demanding larger sample sizes, the format also encourages researchers to be more transparent about their methods.
“Neuro-imagers say pre-registration consigns their field to a ghetto,” says Chambers. “I tell them they can collaborate with others to share data and get bigger samples.”
Pushing the field forward
Even robust and apparently straight-forward fMRI findings can still be difficult to interpret, because there are still unanswered questions about the nature of the BOLD signal. How exactly does the blood rush to a brain region? What factors affect it? What if greater activation in a brain area actually means the region is working less efficiently?
“What does it mean to say neurons are firing more in one condition than in another? We don’t really have a good handle on what to make of that,” says Yarkoni.
To some extent, the problems neuro-imagers face are part of the scientific process, which involves continuously improving one’s methods and refining ideas in light of new evidence. (Unless you block the possibility of there being any new evidence.)When done properly, the method can be extremely powerful, as the ever-growing number of so-called “mind-reading” and “decoding” studies clearly show. (Obligatory last sentence contradiction to the theme of the article. Can’t hurt the feelings of the incompetent researchers!)
It’s likely that with incremental improvements in the technology, fMRI results will become more accurate and reliable. In addition, there are a number of newer projects that aim to find other ways to capture brain activity. For example, one group at Massachusetts General Hospital is working on using paramagnetic nanoparticles to detect changes in blood volume in the brain’s capillaries.
Other scientists are diving even deeper, using paramagnetic chemicals to reveal brain activity at the cell level. If such methods come to fruition, we could find the subtlest activities in the brain, maybe just not in a dead fish.
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”. 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.
Complaint from an Aspie ‘Mum’ about her son, decoded:
MUM: In my experience, I would get a blank stare when I asked (my Asperger son) a question. It could be, for example, what he would like for dinner? What happened at school? You know – normal sorts of ‘Mum’ questions!
Answer: Social typical questions tend to be vague and non-specific. A specific question would be: “Would you like pizza or hot dogs for dinner?” Or try, “We’re having hamburgers for dinner. I bought the kind of buns you like and you can add tomatoes or pickles or cheese, or whatever else you like.” “What stories did you read in reading class today?”
MUM: How did I interpret the blank stare that I got?
At the time, I believed that ‘the blank stare’ was used by (SON) to avoid answering the questions I asked questions I thought were easy to answer! I realize now, that in my frustration over not getting an answer, I would pile on the questions one after another, and (SON) didn’t have time to process even the first one! I would get cross with him, frustrated that he seemed to refuse to respond to my requests for information, and I would give up.
Answer: One of the big mistakes that social typicals make is to attribute INTENT to Asperger behavior. This is because social typicals are “self-oriented” – everything is about THEM; any behavior on the part of a human, dog, cat, plant or lifeform in a distant galaxy, must be directed at THEM. Example: God, or Jesus, or whomever, is paying attention 24/7 to the most excruciatingly trivial moments in the lives of social typicals. We’re not as patient as God or Jesus.
The Asperger default mental state is a type of reverie, day-dreaming, trance or other “reflective” brain process; that is, we do “intuitive” thinking. The “blank face” is because we do not use our faces to do this type of thinking.
Sorry – we’re just busy elsewhere! When you ask a question, it can take a few moments to “come out of” our “reverie” and reorient our attention. If you are asking a “general question” that is meant to elicit a “feeling” (social) response, it will land like a dead fish in front of us. Hence the continued “blankness”.
MUM: What is the real cause of the blank stare?
I believe that SON uses the blank stare while he is processing a question. If give him enough time, he will think deeply, and consider his response, which is often unexpected.
Answer: The “blank stare” is due to our type of brain activity. We process questions; processing questions adds to response time. Some questions are so vague that we simply cannot answer them. Some questions aren’t questions at all, but are an attempt to get our attention and to get a “social” something from us. This is truly confusing.
MUM: (I’m told that) at any given moment an Aspie is taking in lots of information from the world around them. They notice details that normal people ignore. These details can easily result in sensory overload. The blank stare is used by Aspies as a way to ‘zone out’, or ‘go into themselves’ as a coping mechanism for when their senses are overloaded.
Answer: Not correct (in my experience). Sensory overload is another matter entirely; sensory overload results in the desire to flee, and if we can’t “get away” we experience meltdown. Other Aspies may have a different take on this.
“I watched “Rain Man” again recently. There was a scene where Dusty was sitting on a park bench and just looking at the ground, and Tom Cruise started YELLING at him. I felt like, “Hey ! sometimes I just sit and think about things, and maybe I’m staring at the ground, so cool it Tom.” We tend to look off into the horizon while we’re talking, and really, it’s not a big deal …”
“At work I’ll be at my desk just working away and people will tell me to cheer up when I don’t feel at all down. Also, if I’m standing around somewhere, and not focusing on anything in particular – and feeling fine, someone will ask me if I’m OK or if I’m pissed off about something. Something about my neutral (not happy or sad, just contented) expression makes people think I’m depressed or angry.”
“People are always doing one of the following: Ask me if I’m okay because I’m staring off into the distance; look behind their back to see what I’m staring at; or tell me to “SMILE!” because I don’t have any facial expression.”
Yes, social typicals are self-centered and demanding. They don’t want to “put up with” a blank face; it damages their perfect narcissistic universe, in which it is everyone’s job to make them feel important.
“I dont get it…..my teacher tells me to look at her when she talks and when I look at other people they tell me to stop staring at them. What the…?”
“Apparently staring and looking are two different things, not that I know how to tell the difference.”
The teacher demands eye-contact because it indicates OBEDIENCE – SUBMISSION. Authoritarian adults demand instant obedience from children. But if you stare at a “regular” person, that causes another problem. You are claiming higher status; predators stare down prey; you, dear Aspie, are unwittingly behaving like a predator.
“I stare because I get easily distracted by details and I want to see more; it’s just attention to detail. I’m doing better at straight eye contact, but open my eyes too wide because I’m trying hard to focus and pay attention.”
“If I am interested in what a person is saying – it’s new to me or important information, I will stare like a laser. Also if I am trying to recognize someone that looks vaguely familiar, or there is something interesting about how they look and I want to examine it. If I’m not interested, I won’t look at them. However, that does not mean I am not listening just because I am not looking at them.”
Yesterday I watched a Werner Herzog short film on the Chauvet Cave and its 32,000 y.o. paintings, mainly drawings or sketches of rhinoceros, lions and horses. The sequences included poetic and reflective notions and feelings of the European scientists and film crew; if a person is to have deep and moving experiences about our ancestors, wouldn’t it be in a place such as Chauvet? If the drawings don’t affect one as a significant point of contact with the history of “being human” what would or could ever touch that person’s awareness? For people whose experience of human history is no longer than the disappearance of yesterday’s fake news, 32,000 years is at least an imaginable period of time. It’s not an incomprehensible billion or even million years: it’s 3 x 10,000 years.
Reproductions of photos of the art are quite inferior to the filmed version in which the limestone – calcite covered walls are pale and glistening and dimensional. We will never see the paintings as they were while fresh due to changes within the cave itself; post-art stalactites and flow stone cover the walls and floors. The original entrance, into which sunlight would have penetrated, is lost due to rock falls. Nor can we leave behind 10,000 years of human agriculture, technology, mass religion, and the “hoard” of crazy ideas about ourselves, nature and the universe that resulted from recent human “mental” activity. Wiping clean our cluttered perceptions of the nature of reality for these ancestral people is impossible; we will inevitably impose our personal, social and cultural hysteria onto their lives.
But, we can and do possess the effect that the cave and drawings have on us as individuals, if and when and in what form we see them. As for myself, the bulk of my reaction is unconscious – visual; no explanation is needed. Art is what humans do; these people were human. As to their appearance, cave-cleaning habits, disposal of trash, logistics for acquiring material objects, language / no language, social skills, love lives, supposed religion, or beliefs, I’ll leave that bundle of speculation to those that fixate on “creating and controlling narratives” that try very hard to bring remote ancestors into the socio-conceptual fold of contemporary narcissism, and which ultimately fail. If we want to get picky about the competence and creativity of these people, how many present day humans could manage a fair copy of these originals?
Both “primitive” artists, and artists through the centuries, often say that while working, it is as if their hands are guided by a “spirit” of creativity; their own identity and awareness all but disappear. A trancelike state, if you will. “The image or figure came through me” and onto the paper, canvas, wood or stone. Visual perception: it’s the oldest form of human thought and communication. No verbal description could ever replace the drawings at Chauvet (although people try to do just that.)
There is much I could say about my reactions as an artist: the absolute sense of aliveness and activity of the animals, not easy to do; the lack of “sacred ritual reverence” so depended on by anthropologists and archaeologists as an “explanation” for the existence of every human artefact. Drawings deface other drawings – overlap them, cut them off. Animals superimpose animals – an illusion of a mural or gallery is created by drawings being added at intervals, some thousands of years apart. Overall, the impression is of a sketchbook; an individual is practicing, improving, trying to “capture” the essence of a particular animal as he or she “sees it”. Others “copy” – not quite as elegantly. The attention of the “drawer” to his or her own abilities is inseparable from the drawings. These are dangerous wild animals, and yet fear seems absent; admiration, excitement, curiosity and familiarity are conveyed by the unhesitating swiftness of lines and careful shading. The “sense” conveyed to me, is an expression of self-confidence – a timeless attribute of “natural man” to this day.
Psychotropic medication: Any medication capable of affecting the mind, emotions, and behavior. (This “generic” description covers any and all “brain functions” that control, in essence, “who we are” as individual organisms; how we think, behave and feel, as well as the actions these states produce.
Several different types of medications are used to treat mental health conditions. The following is a list of the major categories of psychotropic medications: LIVE LINKS BELOW – read about each drug…
Based on 2013 data, here is a list of the 10 most prescribed psychotropic drugs in the United States (with the number of prescriptions written during one year):
Medication that works well for one person may not work well for another. It is important to have an in-depth conversation about your medical history, symptoms, diagnosis, and goals with your medical provider before beginning a psychotropic medication. You cannot legally purchase psychotropic medication without a prescription. (Which drives individuals who have become “hooked on” psychotropics, but can no longer get prescriptions – or afford the fees imposed by psychiatrists for appointments – to move on to illegal black market drugs to “treat” their psychotropic addiction.)
Pregabalin, marketed under the brand name Lyrica among others, is a medication used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and generalized anxiety disorder. Its use for epilepsy is as an add-on therapy for partial seizures with or without secondary generalization in adults. Some off-label uses of pregabalin include restless leg syndrome, prevention of migraines, social anxiety disorder, and alcohol withdrawal. When used before surgery it does not appear to affect pain after surgery but may decrease the use of opioids.
Common side effects include: sleepiness, confusion, trouble with memory, poor motor coordination, dry mouth, problem with vision, and weight gain. Potentially serious side effects include angioedema, drug misuse, and an increased suicide risk. When pregabalin is taken at high doses over a long period of time, addiction may occur, but if taken at usual doses the risk of addiction is low. Pregabalin is a gabapentinoid and acts by inhibiting certain calcium channels.
Parke-Davis developed pregabalin as a successor to gabapentin and was brought to market by Pfizer after the company acquired Warner-Lambert. There is to be no generic version available in the United States until 2018. A generic version is available in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. In the US it costs about 300-400 USD per month. Pregabalin is a Schedule V controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA).
Note the use of a this “psych drug” for nerve pain and many, many “off-label” conditions. No psychiatric diagnosis needed.
Psychiatric side effects of Lyrica: for complete info go to: https://www.drugs.com/sfx/lyrica-side-effects.html
Common (1% to 10%): Confusion, euphoria, amnesia, nervousness, irritability, disorientation, insomnia, libido decreased, disturbance in attention, anxiety, depersonalization, stupor, abnormal thinking
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Cognitive disorder, mental impairment, abnormal dreams, agitation, apathy, aphasia, hallucinations, hostility
Rare (less than 0.1%): Delirium, delusions, manic reaction, paranoid reaction, personality disorder, psychotic depression, schizophrenic reaction, sleep disorder, disinhibition[Ref]
Regarding the supposedly “developmentally defective” state of ASD – Asperger individuals as “over-sensitive” to the environment: The faulty assumption is made that “typical, normal, typically developing” humans are not affected by, or damaged by, manmade environments. This is preposterous –
The list of chemical pollutants below encompasses only those substances common in buildings: one cannot escape these dangers by retreating to the outdoors. All environments on the planet have been altered by human activity. This list also does not include overcrowding, industrial accidents, destruction of natural environments, extinction of plants and animals necessary to healthy systems, lack of clean water, nutritious food and the effects of processed foods. And those basic toxic social activities: war, violence and abuse of every imaginable type wherever hyper-social humans dominate the environment.
The Environmental Illness Resource: Mission Statement
“The Environmental Illness Resource seeks to provide those with environmental illnesses with information of the highest quality in the hope that this will lead to improved quality of life and perhaps even recovery of good health. In addition, to provide a free and open online community in which members may exchange information between themselves and support each other in their healing journeys.”
Various chemical pollutants that can affect the health of a building’s occupants are produced when heating systems or gas fired appliances such as stoves are poorly maintained, and thus don’t burn fuel efficiently, or don’t vent exhaust correctly.
The main pollutants from this source are:
Carbon Monoxide (CO) – a gaseous asphyxiant, CO is known as the ‘silent killer’ as it is colourless and odourless. When it is breathed in CO binds to red blood cells preventing them from carrying oxygen and essentially suffocating the victim. Methylene Chloride may also breakdown to form Carbon Monoxide as well. Methylene Chloride is a common toxic solvent used in many products such as paint and paint strippers. Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) – is a colourless gas with a strong odour like that of a struck match. Sulphur dioxide is an irritant to the respiratory system and exposure to high concentrations for short periods of time can constrict the blood vessels in the lungs and increase mucous flow, making breathing difficult. Those most at risk from these effects include children, the elderly, those with chronic lung disease, and asthmatics. Other harmful effects of SO2 include it’s ability to impair the respiratory system’s defenses against foreign particles and bacteria when chronically exposed to low concentrations, and enhance the harmful effects of ozone.
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) – is another toxic gas produced from combustion of fuels. It can be fatal in high concentrations, whilst lower levels, like SO2, act as irritants to lung tissue. Long term low level exposure can destroy lung tissue and lead to emphysema. Long term exposure also makes people more susceptible to respiratory infections such as pneumonia and influenza. The risk of ill-effect is greatest for the same groups most affected by SO2.
Volatile organic compounds are organic (carbon-based) compounds that evaporate at ambient temperatures within a building. VOCs can ‘offgas’ from building materials and much of the contents of most buildings. These compounds often have effects on health from irritating the eyes, nose, and throat, to causing breathing difficulties, to increasing the risk of developing cancer. An example of a VOC commonly present in indoor air is formaldehyde, which is also one of the most toxic being both a strong respiratory irritant, and carcinogen.
Building Construction – High levels of formaldehyde offgas from particle board. Modern buildings or buildings renovated with modern materials suffer the most from offgassing of VOCs due to the extensive use of particle board rather than solid wood or stone/brick for interior walls etc. Particle board is also often used in place of solid wood in modern furniture such as computer desks and shelving. Although a cheap alternative to other materials, particle board is a major source of VOCs due to the high content of powerful adhesives used in its manufacture. Formaldehyde and other VOCs offgas from particle board used in building construction and furniture for years, with the highest concentrations being generated in the first 6 months.
Carpeting is another major source of VOCs in many buildings since a large number of chemicals are used in their manufacture in the form of glues, backing materials, flame retardants, and dyes. The specific VOCs that offgas from new carpet include acetone, toluene, xylene, formaldehyde, and benzene derivatives. These chemicals are all known to cause irritation, effect breathing, and produce various neurological symptoms. Many of them are also potent carcinogens.
Finishes such as paints and varnishes can also increase the VOC content of a building or room. That fresh paint smell is the result of paints high content of VOCs in the form of solvents and binders. In the case of oil based paints, whose use if thankfully being reduced in indoor paints, the entire base of the paint is made up of VOCs. The US EPA has determined that the off-gassing from architectural coatings is estimated to account for about 9% of the VOC emissions from all consumer and commercial products. Many of the VOCs used in paints have ben banned or are being phased out as they are now recognized to be highly toxic and/or carcinogenic.
Chemicals Used Within A Building – The various chemical based products routinely used inside a building can be an equally large source of VOCs. Products that contain VOCs range from chemical products used to clean a building to marker pens and printer ink, common in an office or school environment.
Cleaning products contain a range of toxic VOCs including diethyl phthalate, found in a range of products, toluene, found in stain removers, and hexane/xylene, found in aerosol sprays. Diethyl Phthalate is a known endocrine disrupter (interferes with hormone activity), toluene is a known carcinogen (cancer causing agent) and can cause neurological problems, and finally both hexane and xylene can also damage the nervous system.
Marker pens are a particularly concentrated source of VOCs as their very strong smell indicates. Their chemical constituents include methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), toluene, and formaldehyde. The VOCs present in marker pens have various consequences for human health including neurological effects. Ink cartridges and toners used in printers also contain VOCs, albeit at less concentrated levels than marker pens.
Electronic equipment also offgases a large amount of VOCs. In an office full of computers, these essential pieces of equipment can be a substantial source of VOCs which offgas from materials such as flame retardants and various other chemicals used in their manufacture.
Besides the above there are many other sources of VOCs within the average office building or other communal building. These include air fresheners, personal care products such as deodorants and perfumes, and laundry detergent and fabric softener residues on the occupants clothing.
For a more detailed look at some of these VOC sources see our multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) page.
Although much has been done to reduce or eliminate the use of heavy metals in buildings in over the past few decades, older buildings may still contain a significant amount of these highly toxic substances. Buildings built or extensively renovated after the early 90’s in most developed countries are not likely to have a problem, but many buildings constructed before this time could pose a risk for heavy metal poisoning. The two most common heavy metals present in buildings are lead and mercury.
Indoor paint manufactured before 1990 and outdoor latex paint manufactured before 1991 may contain mercury, which was added to paint mainly to prevent build up of mold on walls, as mercury is an effective antifungal agent. Mercury can damage health in a number of ways, from impairing detoxification to causing serious neurological damage and birth defects. In fact, the mercury containing compound thimerosal was routinely added to vaccines to prevent contamination by fungi and bacteria until concern about its role in causing autism recently lead to its removal. (This does not translate to: vaccines themselves cause autism.) Mercury may also be present in small amounts in computer and electronic equipment.
Lead is another common problem in older buildings because it was also added to paints until a couple of decades ago. Lead-based paint is still a major problem in older buildings particularly when the residues are disturbed and become airborne such as during renovation or construction projects. Like mercury, lead can cause severe neurological damage and a host of other problems.
Unless disturbed by renovation it’s unlikely that heavy metals would be a major contributor to cases of sick building syndrome. For older buildings the risk is there however so must always be considered. (note that poor people are more likely to be chronically exposed to “sick” buildings)
As well as the chemical pollutants described above, various biological contaminants often contribute to cases of sick building syndrome. In fact biological factors are reported to be behind the majority of cases. These biological pollutants can cause illness through three different mechanisms:
There are many sources of biological pollution that can affect a building and many reasons why a building might become contaminated and cause illness in its occupants.
The following are the main sources of this form of pollution:
Toxic Black Mold – is reported to be the leading cause of sick building syndrome and building related illness. Mold grows rapidly in warm and damp environments. If the indoor environment is too humid or if water damage occurs through leaks or rising damp, mold growth is very likely to occur.
Viruses & Bacteria – are common in every building, especially high occupancy buildings such as offices and schools. These micro-organisms can make a significant contribution to causing SBS. They become increasingly problematic if humidity levels are either too low or too high, as a result of how their growth is affected and the fact that our defenses against them are also affected by humidity levels.
Dust Mites – are highly allergenic and thrive on the constant supply of shed human skin cells that accumulate in carpeting, soft furnishings, and other areas. Like mold and bacteria, dust mites like the warm and relatively humid environment that we usually provide in our buildings.
Pollen – is another allergy causing substance that can accumulate in a building if proper ventilation and filtering is not maintained. Pollens from various trees and plants can be troublesome for a great number of people. Aside from being carried on breezes through open doors or windows, pollens can also be brought indoors on the occupants shoes and clothing.
Insect Body Parts – although not well known are especially potent allergens for some people. Cockroach allergens are particularly troublesome allergens and are commonly implicated as contributors to sick building syndrome. Usually become a problem only when sanitation is poor.
The above are collectively known as bioaerosols. The common definition of a bioaerosol is any extremely small living organism or fragment of living things suspended in the air. They cannot be seen without a magnifying glass or microscope. Of course when a large growth of mold occurs, it does then become visible to the naked eye.
Moisture –The primary reason why bioaerosols become a major problem in buildings is the presence of damp in the buildings structure and/or a high level of humidity in the air. There are numerous reasons why such a situation could arise, some of the most common being:
Hygiene and Cleaning – Poor sanitary and cleaning practices also contribute to a building becoming contaminated with bioaerosols. In a high occupancy building for example, germs from bathrooms can easily be spread to the rest of the building if they are not cleaned and disinfected both effectively and regularly. People not washing their hands after using the bathroom can also be a big problem.
Another problem is often inadequate or poorly maintained cleaning equipment. A poorly functioning vacuum cleaner for example can do more harm than good by spreading dust around rather than picking it up. As we have heard, dust is a breeding ground for micro-organisms like dust mites that cause allergies in many people. It may also contain other allergens such as pollens that have either blown into the building or been carried in by the occupants. Dust may also harbour disease causing bacteria and other unpleasant organisms. Efficient vacuum cleaners are thus essential pieces of equipment for avoiding a sick building. Models equipped with HEPA filters which remove even the tinniest particles are infinitely preferable.
Going back to chemical pollutants, growing research shows that chemicals, such as flame retardants that are commonly used in electrical equipment and on furniture, accumulate in dust. If a building is not kept free from dust by regular and effective cleaning, the amounts of chemicals present will only increase and pose an ever greater risk for the occupants health.
Besides the more obvious chemical and biological pollutants that are commonly present in buildings and can lead to SBS, there are a number of more subtle factors that can also contribute, sometimes significantly. The most common of these are:
Fluorescent Lighting and Electrical Equipment – People commonly report feeling unwell after spending time in buildings lit entirely with fluorescent strip lighting. The flickering light is very harsh and tends to give even otherwise healthy people headaches and make them feel drained. Many people also complain of feeling unwell when they spend time close to computer screens and other electrical equipment. It has been suggested that high frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) which are generated by electrical equipment and a building’s wiring can cause a host of unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and inability to concentrate. Electrical Hypersensitivity (EHS) is the term used to describe the condition in which people are made ill by electromagnetic radiation.
Temperature – Although many would dismiss the ambient temperature within a building as a minor consideration, an environment that is either too hot or too cold can have a major effect on how people feel. With extremes of temperature the body has to work hard to maintain its own internal temperature at the right level. With resources focused on this task people can quickly become tired and drained and experience a wide range of symptoms. If the temperature is too hot for prolonged periods for example, people can become dehydrated with potentially serious consequences for their health.
Humidity – again can put a strain on the body as it tries to maintain equilibrium. Like high temperature, a very humid environment can lead to dehydration and associated problems.
Noise – is an equally important factor. Too much noise can be draining and produce headaches and other symptoms. It also makes it hard to concentrate so impacts on the productivity of workers in an office for example.
Bad Office Design/Ergonomics – A badly designed workplace can cause numerous health problems. A cramped office with uncomfortable furniture can result in injuries such as those to the back as well as injuries such as repetitive strain injury (RSI) from repetitive tasks such as typing.
Psychological Stress – is another important consideration in an office building in particular. Stress can be caused by work pressures such as deadlines but also by all of the other factors we’ve discussed here that often relate to a building’s design. Stress is a leading cause of absenteeism as it can result not only in psychological distress but also many physical ailments as well. In many cases, SBS is a major issue and requires a complete redesign in order to rectify the problem. If an office or room needs to be stripped down and redesigned with new items, then a quick Google search might be in order. Or you could check out the Homeclick Twitter feed for contemporary ideas. In the end, the problem (if not remedied) will eventually worsen, creating an uncomfortable and potentially hazardous workplace.
If you and other people living or working in the same building experience health problems that seem to only be present when you are in that building, or at least get much worse, then it is reasonable to suspect sick building syndrome. You should report the situation to the landlord, office manger, or whomever is responsible for the building and ask them to have an inspection carried out. If they are unwilling to cooperate then you may have to get local authorities such as an environmental health agency involved.
After a thorough environmental health inspection is carried out on a building to determine possible causes for the occupants health complaints, there are many measures that can be taken to rectify the situation. A combination of some of the factors we’ve discussed above will usually be involved and all will have to be tackled. Measures taken may include an overhaul or replacement of the ventilation system, structural repairs to prevent leaks and damp, a review of chemicals used in the building, a review of cleaning practices, and professional mold removal.
The important thing is to take action to have a suspected sick building investigated as soon as possible as it is likely that the problem will only get worse if not addressed.
In recent reporting for Indian Country Today, Mary Annette Pember tells the story of these tiny handcuffs, which have only lately been brought out of storage at the Haskell Indian Nations University‘s Cultural Center and Museum in Lawrence, Kan.
In the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th, Native American children often attended government-run boarding schools where the objective was assimilation. Army officer Richard Pratt, who founded one such school in Pennsylvania, famously said that his mission was to “kill the Indian … and save the man.”
People with Asperger Syndrome often have to deal with extreme sensitivities to everyday sights, sounds, smells and touch. This sensitivity is not one of their “official symptoms” as described in the Physician’s Desk Reference doctors use for diagnoses. However, there are thousands of parent and therapist’s anecdotes about this condition. (Common error – one cannot turn anecdotes into fact by adding more anecdotes.) Some experts (those phantom experts again!) believe that while sensitivity may cause Aspies to tantrum and “act out” in the first place, after a while such behaviors become learned. Aspies hold on to them because of the rigidity of their personalities. (Of course! Meltdowns are SO MUCH FUN that we “throw tantrums” just for fun.)Nevertheless, certain studies indicate that between 42% and 88% (meaningless use of imaginary statistics – which have spread like plague in the U.S.) of people with Asperger Syndrome do experience such sensitivities.
Hearing problems are the most common. (Do we know this? No. A sensory problem may be due to different processing of information by the brain.) Some Aspies seem to hear sounds others do not. They can be driven to distraction by noises everyone else filters out, such as the buzz of fluorescent lights or the brush of corduroy against a desk. The inability to filter out background noises makes it hard for many Aspies to follow conversations or listen to their teachers’ directions. Some sounds seem actually painful to Aspies. (Subjecting detainees to intense and harmful sound is used in the “torture” community) For example, a small child may scream at the sound of the vacuum cleaner (so do cats and dogs); a teen covers his ears at the sound of a police siren. One little boy was so scared of the fire drill siren he sat in fear that it would go off. His mother had to home school him during Fire Safety Month. Auditory sensitivity makes it hard for parents to take their Aspies to noisy places like video arcades or restaurants with singing waiters, etc. (We can see from this list of trivial complaints the enormous emphasis neurotypicals place on social obedience. If it’s a severe inconvenience to avoid a restaurant that has singing waiters, you probably don’t care much about your child.)
Taste and Smell: Many experts conclude that Aspies rely more on their senses of smell and taste than sight and hearing. (Actually, many Aspies are visual thinkers.)They have strong memories of smells; for example, they may be able to recognize people by their unique body odors. Certain smells like food, cleaning fluids, perfumes, shampoos and lotions can make them nauseous. This makes it hard for them to handle routine places like the school cafeteria or shopping mall cosmetic counters. (Asperger and other children may simply react to environmental pollutants and toxins – like canaries in a coal mine – sensitive to chemical compounds that are harmful to all humans. Again, if you think that toxic environments are GOOD FOR children, you don’t care about children!)
An Aspie’s acute sense of smell and taste may also create eating problems. She may limit herself to certain foods, eat one food at a time, not allow foods to touch on her plate, and so forth. Many Aspies vomit easily. Everyday substances like toothpaste can make them sick to their stomachs. (Again, the rigid requirement that there is only one way to eat – typical cultural narcissism. The incredible generalization from “one child’s” behavior to many or most is ridiculous – but that’s what bigots do.)
Touch: Aspies may be overly or under-sensitive to touch. (In all the articles I have read that insist on this “over” and “under” sensitivity, none have presented, or referred to, a scale that defines and describes “normal” sensitivity. (In fact, this utter lack of objective criteria is characteristic of Asperger research and publications.) If overly sensitive, he may find tags on clothing very irritating. He may only wear certain fabrics or clothes that are old and soft from washings. He may refuse to work with certain textures like glue. He screams in the shower because he cannot stand the feel of water on his skin. One Aspie would hit anyone who touched him: a fact that his little brother manipulated to get him in trouble all the time. (Gee; I wonder – does this child hit when “touched” because his parents allow his brother to bully him, and do nothing about it, and indeed, blame him? There is nothing to confirm that these behaviors are common to / restricted to Asperger children – one would have to prove that NO NORMAL CHILD displays these behaviors.)
Hyposensitivity can cause Aspies not to feel or report pain. They may not react to temperatures. One Aspie did not respond whenever his teacher tapped him to get his attention. (Anecdotes – Please stop. The very real impact of these “trivia” anecdotes is that a parent who reads this endless garbage will suddenly “discover” that behavior in his or her child, and be convinced that he/she is defective!)
Visual problems are less common. Perhaps only one in five persons with Asperger Syndrome has them. However, some Aspies get upset by certain pictures, colors or bright lights. Some experience colors as sounds. They often stand too close to others or stare at them inappropriately. They can search for an object and not notice that it is right in front of them. The majority of Aspies have problems making eye contact with other people. (Random anecdotes and myth after myth are repeated without question. Neurotypicals are narrow-minded narcissists. Can you imagine substituting “black children, or Hispanic children” in this litany of complaints?)
Proprioceptive and Vestibular disorders: These are about orienting yourself in space, keeping your body in balance and maintaining good posture and movement. In normal people, a complex network of nerves works together with the senses naturally. You can sit down without looking at your chair. You know where your feet are. You know how to straighten your shirt without looking into a mirror. Aspies have problems with such abilities that operate on the unconscious level for normal people. This makes simple activities such as climbing stairs feats that must be learned. (This is outrageous ignorance: ALL HUMAN infants and children must learn to chew, stand up, walk, climb stairs and control their bowels/urination etc. Also, to learn language and to THINK, which many modern social humans never accomplish) Activities that involve complex movements, changes in speed and hand-eye coordination such as handwriting or playing baseball become nightmares for many Aspies. (Again, this implies that all neurotypical children are automatically capable of every “approved and prescribed” human activity, which is untrue.)
Think this “child abuse” is long gone?
The difference between sensation and emotion is that sensation is a physical feeling or perception from something that comes into contact with the body; something sensed while emotion is a person’s internal state of being and involuntary physiological response to an object or a situation, based on or tied to physical state and sensory data. Aye, yai, yai! There’s a nice bit of convoluted composition.
The difference between sensation and perception is that sensation is a physical feeling or perception from something that comes into contact with the body; something sensed while perception is conscious understanding of something.(Remember – “conscious” refers to the use of verbal language to “process” information: “to be conscious” is to think verbally, which is different than “visual thinking” in images, which is intuitive – unconscious.)
Organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information; Conscious understanding of something. Vision (ability ); Acuity (cognition ) That which is detected by the five senses; not necessarily understood (imagine looking through fog, trying to understand if you see a small dog or a cat); also that which is detected within consciousness as a thought, intuition, deduction, etc.
At this point, I was fed up with WikiDiff’s bizarre presentation: A good example of why one should be wary of “info” on the Internet.
Two random opinions about emotion:
“Emotion is any conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a high degree of pleasure or displeasure. Scientific discourse has drifted to other meanings and there is no consensus on a definition.”
“Emotion. … Based on discoveries made through neural mapping of the limbic system, the neurobiological explanation of human emotion is that emotion is a pleasant or unpleasant mental state organized in the limbic system of the mammalian brain.”
|Keynote Address / Decade of the brain
“The Science of Emotion”
Antonio R. Damasio, M.D., Ph.D., is the M.W. Van Allen Professor and Head of the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, and adjunct professor at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. He is the author of Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain.
In the last century there was a neuroscience of emotion, and today there is a neuroscience of emotion. In between there was a long, dark gap during which neuroscientists regarded emotion as elusive, objectively difficult to define, and thus, not acceptable to study. Reinforcing this attitude was a long philosophical tradition of not trusting emotions, regarding them as unruly phenomena that can wreak havoc on decision-making. (Is this not an accurate observation of “emotion in action” regardless of the physiology involved?)
As recent research has shown, this prejudice and attitude are profoundly wrong. In the very least, we can say that emotion is always in the loop of reason. Emotion is an adaptive response, part of the vital process of normal reasoning and decision-making. It is one of the highest levels of bioregulation for the human organism and has an enormous influence on the maintenance of our homeostatic balance and thus of our well-being. Last but not least, emotion is critical to learning and memory. (A rambling description that does not “define” emotion – and note that the concept of “normal” has been introduced)
Using imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) to study patients with brain lesions as well as normal subjects, we have begun to make some inroads into understanding the areas of the brain involved in different types of emotion. (Here we go: “understanding” means “indentification of pathologies”)
Emotion is a very adaptive form of physiological response, and it regulates our lives. Emotion is expressed largely in the theater of the body, through posture and facial expression as well as through such internal processes as heart rate and blood pressure. Moreover, all of these bodily responses are fed back to the brain through neural channels as well as humoral channels, which bypass neural signaling.
To understand how emotion works on the body … we must differentiate emotion from feeling. (Strange relationship – We can see the way that word-concepts “interfere with” understanding, by turning processes, phenomena, perceptions and systems into “nouns” such as “emotion” – objects that have an “aura of being concrete actors” just like cars, trees, and bodies – and body-brain parts. But these metaphysical “word objects” are not physical objects! The author is doing the differentiating.
When we experience any of the primary emotions–sadness, happiness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust–our experiences express themselves physically, in ways that can be observed by another person. (Emotions and experiences are personified – “they” do such and such and “they” are “things seen” – socially.)
Feelings, by contrast, are our conscious perception of all those changes happening in the body, and of very subtle changes that are happening in the way our cognitive apparatus functions. (Really? A person “is conscious of” – can describe in words – how the brain “works”?)
Most of what happens when an emotion is elicited happens nonconsciously. Often our body may already be in a state that represents anger before we know what is making us angry. (That is, before we translate “it” into words) The creation of this body state is automatic, largely preset by our genes to respond not to a particular thing but to certain categories of things. (So our genes are “categorizers” just like the people who are driven to “categorize” reality as a metaphysical “domain” that reflects their cognitive process – ie turning everything into “word-concepts”)
For instance, when we generate (I thought this was an automatic, unconscious reaction) states of fear or anger or disgust or happiness, we produce withdrawal behaviors or approach behaviors that have been preserved through evolution because they have proved advantageous to survival. We have inherited this system for sorting out what is good and what is bad, automatically, in order to preserve ourselves.
(Why so unnecessarily burden the “fight, flight or freeze” response with extra verbiage that removes a concrete instinctive reaction to the metaphysical domain of “dogma-speech”?)
The power of such nonconscious processing is enormous. Many studies have shown that in normal individuals, the brain can pick up a signal that is well masked at the conscious level. Conversely, individuals with damage to the amygdala may lose the ability to detect negative stimuli, with unfortunate results in their lives.
(Here we go again: the concrete “human organism” – the individual – is to be judged against a “fantasy object” – a generalized “model human” that does not exist.) The amygdala–a brain structure intimately involved in the fear response and in recognizing fear–will be activated even when a person is not consciously aware of having been presented with a fearful stimulus. (Duh! That is the definition of an automatic instinctive reaction)
Wow! What a minefield of illogic, totally without “proof” or “reason” in fact. A mish-mash of “supernatural” notions.
1. The conscious level (word processing) is described as “something” unidentified, but intentional, that is “stopping” whatever is going on in the brain from being expressed in verbal form.
2. A damaged amygdala has something to do with this “self-deception”
3. “negative stimuli” is presented as a “category” that is somehow different to “positive stimuli” when all stimuli are “sensory input” – period.
4. Failure of this imaginary good/bad system in an individual is responsible for all the tragedies that befall certain human beings (hint, hint) – a drastic supernatural effect and not at all scientific .
Well! That solves the problem of all those human beings who don’t “live up to” the imaginary “normal model” created by the social hierarchy.
And now, The Usual harangue that Asperger individuals Will recognize As the Wrath of Social Authority over the mere presence of nonconforming humans.
Similarly, patients with damage to certain regions of the frontal lobe also suffer from an inability to appreciate negative outcomes. Despite maintaining normal intelligence and knowledge, they no longer can run their lives effectively. They cannot learn from their mistakes or think about future consequences. Though they can reason logically, their decision-making ability is flawed. They have lost emotional reactivity at a high level; they can no longer sense, for instance, embarrassment or guilt or pride or shame. They have lost their ability to feel emotion relative to the future consequences of their actions and thus are no longer (this assumes “they” once were) able to qualify their choices as “potentially good” or “potentially bad.” (As if “normal” people can accomplish these “standards” of behavior! Hmm.. maybe this preposterous division between “super humans” and actual humans is why 50+ percent of Americans are now “diagnosed” to be defective – emotionally and mentally ill.
How is this categorical “judgement by defective amygdala” any different than Nazi scientific rationalization for categorical characterization of the Jews and other defectives as subhuman, or the condemnation by slaveholders that Black Africans were animals, and not human Beings? It isn’t.
What we have learned, then, is that the brain has at least two systems for assessing the value of events. One system leads to a conscious recall, through memory, of options for action and of representations of future outcomes. Then we use logical reasoning and knowledge to decide that we will do X instead of Y. (And who is “we”? ) Another system, probably evolutionarily far older, acts even before the first one. It activates biases related to our previous emotional experience in comparable situations. These nonconscious biases affect the options and reasoning strategies that we present to our conscious selves.
There well may be “paths” that the brain utilizes to “process information” – some primarily instinctive and inherited; others that are specific to learning, especially in childhood as the brain is growing and responding to the environment, but none of this “word-concept” interpretation of brain functioning can be “found” in the brain. The assertion that “we” do such and such is a projection of the writer’s belief in himself as the “normal” and indeed “superior” model of Homo sapiens – created out of self-deception that his “class” of (supposedly) educated academic males is the one and only “endorsed by God” form of the human organism.
We do ourselves a disservice when we think of human beings as exclusively logic- or knowledge-driven, and fail to pay attention to the role of the emotions. The two systems are enmeshed because that is the way our brain and our organism have been put together by evolution.
Recall this statement?
“neuroscientists regarded emotion as elusive, objectively difficult to define, and thus, not acceptable to study.”
The “modern social” version of human “reality” does nothing to improve understanding of how humans work as a component of Nature. It simply buries understanding beneath a metaphysical structure that illegitimately uses brain-targeted technology to further obscure real practical knowledge in favor of self-serving archaic cultural beliefs about human behavior.
If you have questions or comments on the LC/NIMH Decade of the Brain Project, please contact: email@example.com.