Thursday, August 29, 2019

Brain Belief – Common Questions, 9

How do beliefs function negatively?

Dr. Bruce Lipton, arguably the foremost current living authority on epigenetics and cellular memory, says that beliefs function much as camera filters, altering the way you see and perceive the world. This can be positive or negative. If you believe that your beliefs are the only true and right beliefs, it is just a small step to believing that anyone who holds a different belief or view point is a blot on society and does not deserve to live. (For example, Hitler believed that the Arian race was the only valid and desirable culture and others were expendable; also that anyone with a mental challenge was a drain on society, and anyone with a different sexual orientation deserved to die.) The good news is that you can identify, evaluate, and change your beliefs, which can impact even your genetic potential--because your biology (body) adapts to your beliefs, which means that up to 70 percent of how long and how well you live is in your hands--based on the lifestyle choices you make, which are based on what you believe, of course.

Beliefs can change, right? (more to come)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Brain Belief – Common Questions, 8

How does a belief turn into oppression and what do you mean by authoritarian pressure?

Authoritarian pressure refers to any person or organization or government, or body of theology that you perceive to be an “authority.” In order to continue to be linked or associated with an “authority” you need to be acquiescent to what that “authority” says you need to believe and do—at least to some degree. There are consequences for bucking a “party line” (family, culture, politics, religion, race  . . .) and those who do so may risk some form of oppression including: unemployment, persecution, expulsion, imprisonment, and even death. For example, history contains many instances of governments or religions or cults expelling or killing anyone who was perceived to be “educated,” or “a threat,” or aligned with a non-approved “theology,” or with a different sexual orientation. Historians suggest this may have been strong motivation for individuals leaving (or trying to leave) a culture or belief-system they perceived as oppressive — in favor of immigrating to the “new world” or to another country or region that was less proscriptive.

How do beliefs function negatively? (more to come)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Brain Belief – Common Questions, 7

What about beliefs that have been “proven”?

That is a tricky and difficult question. According to Neurotheologians like Andrew Newberg, MD, even what constitutes a “proof” about something is itself a form of belief—because human brains craft experiments that are designed to “prove” something. Beliefs can be extremely powerful. Those within a culture or political party or religious organization that espouses specific or unique beliefs, especially in the presence of authoritarian pressure, and may find it extremely difficult to go against prevailing beliefs. Some of these include beliefs around: the practice of snake-handling; polygamy; female circumcision; celibacy of the clergy; ordination of women; sexual orientation; male supremacy—especially white male supremacy, and so on.

How does a belief turn into oppression and what do you mean by authoritarian pressure? (more to come)

Monday, August 26, 2019

Brain Belief – Common Questions, 6

Brain Belief – Common Questions, 6

Are “myths” beliefs? 

The human brain—left frontal lobe especially—continually tries to come up with reasons for everything. When it cannot understand what happened, it tries to create what it believes is a plausible reason. Many ancient myths were created in an attempt to explain natural phenomenon. Thus an angry “god” lives in a volcano. Or a drought occurred because the “god” of rain is mad because it didn’t receive enough gifts. Studies have shown that the human brain (child and adult) is very susceptible to deceptions and illusions including magic shows, haunted houses at Halloween, slight-of-hand card tricks, and so on. Furthermore, the human brain lacks a well-developed capacity to distinguish the accuracy of its own beliefs. Adult brains are particularly vulnerable in terms of maintaining self-deceptive beliefs.

What about beliefs that have been “proven”? (more to come)

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Brain Belief – Common Questions, 4

What is an example of a belief that turns into a bias?

Let’s say that a mother taught her daughters: “Always use seat covers, wash your hands, and never touch the door handle with bare hands when leaving a public toilet.” That is helpful admonition when applied specifically and appropriately; unhelpful when globalized, if that leads you to avoid desirable and helpful behaviors. On an automobile trip, they used some toilets that were in rest rooms she described as “unbelievably filthy!” Over the trip, this turned into a full-blown germaphobic belief: all public toilets will give my girls a disease. Soon the mother stopped using public toilets. Rather, she would find a wooded spot off the highway and the girls had to pee behind a tree. Over time this turned into a bias that even people who looked unkempt or dogs that were not well groomed were “filthy” and carried many pathogenic organisms. The girls were never allowed to interact with anyone who appeared underprivileged, and certainly never permitted to volunteer feeling the homeless! Beliefs can take on a life of their own when globalized and even turn into zealot or fanatical or compulsive perspectives and actions that become a bias.

Do you have other examples of globalized beliefs that may turn into a bias? (more to come)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Brain Belief – Common Questions, 3

Can beliefs really impact a brain’s bias?

Yes. Definitely. Beliefs can impact a brain’s bias. Here’s a vehicle metaphor that may help explain this. Vehicles create traffic. If there were no vehicles there would be no vehicular traffic. Once created, traffic can impact vehicles—often impeding their progress and sometimes contributing to accidents. The brain creates the conscious and subconscious minds, which in turn can impact and direct the brain. Once beliefs are firmly entrenched they can influence your brain’s bias assessments along with your resulting decisions and choices, actions and exhibited behaviors.
Anger, fear, belligerence for something that is “different” may surface when that might not otherwise have been the case.

What is an example of a belief that turns into a bias? (more to come)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Brain Belief – Common Questions, 2

Where do beliefs originate or come from?

Beliefs are tricky concepts. They can originate from almost anything and anyone. Your brain creates your beliefs from what you are taught and from what you learned—two different things. For example, some are taught that anger is a bad thing. From observations of adults in one’s life, your brain may learn that anger is only a bad thing for females—it’s expected and accepted from males. Beliefs may include cellular memory from biological ancestors, role-modeling by anyone in your proximal environment; from interactions with people you admire or don’t wish to emulate, your own life experiences, what you watch on TV and movies, what you read, what political or religious leaders tell you, and so on. In adulthood, it is critically important to ask yourself:  “What do I believe? Where did it come from? Who or what do I believe in?” Your beliefs can impact your brain bias.

Beliefs can impact a brain’s bias? (more to come)

Monday, August 19, 2019

Brain Beliefs – Common Questions

So what is a belief?

As belief can be defined as a state of mind in which you perceive the likelihood of something being true based on empirical (observed, experienced, reported) evidence rather than on established theory or logic. Since every brain is different, some say there are a minimum of 7 billion beliefs on this planet. Humans develop beliefs about everything and once imbedded in your brain, a belief can take on a life of its own, with little thought ever given to how it started, where it came from, or if it is or was ever valid.

Where do beliefs originate or come from? (more to come)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 9

What do you mean a bias tends to become a belief?

Just that. Studies have identified links between bias and belief. If your bias is that all dogs are dangerous, or all sharks are dangerous, or anyone whose skin tone differs from yours is dangerous, or one political party is more dangerous than the others, or one religion is more dangerous than the others, you can begin to believe that this is absolutely true. Period. Over time, a bias tends to become an entrenched belief, which in turn can reinforce the strength of the bias. As the belief becomes entrenched, it reinforces the bias, which can set a person up to become a zealot or a terrorist or you name it . . . someone whose beliefs and biases are very unbalanced to the point the person believes anyone who has a different belief should be persecuted if not executed.

So what is a belief? (more tomorrow)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 8

Why does it matter what your biases are and whether or not you know what they are?

It matters because you can only manage effectively what you can identify, label, and describe. If you do not know your biases, you may exhibit some behaviors that represent low EQ or Emotional Intelligence, such as JOT behaviors:

--Jumping to conclusions that may be way out in left field

--Overreacting and creating emotional tsunamis that can blow up a relationship bridge that may or may not be repairable

--Taking things personally

These types of behaviors typically create messes that just complicate your life and give you and others more problems to deal with. Over time a bias tends to become a belief.

What do you mean a bias tends to become a belief? (more tomorrow)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 7

Do you only learn biases in childhood?

You can learn a new bias as long as you live. You can become biased against almost anything and anyone. You can develop a bias any time in life, especially if an unpleasant experience is globalized. Meaning that you apply what you learned not only the unpleasant experience but to anything that was connected with the experience. Everything after the brain’s initial and innate bias assessment tends to represent a learned response (based on personal experience, reports from others you trust, what you read or hear on the news…) If it is a valid and appropriate learned response, great—if not, there may be undesirable consequences. Over time, a bias tends to become an entrenched belief, which can strengthen the bias and make it seem very real.

Why does it matter what your biases are and whether or not you know what they are? (more tomorrow)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Brain Bias - Common Questions, 6

What are other common biases?

The sky is the limit, as the old saying goes. Almost anything that exists or happens can become a bias. Here are a few examples:

Gender (male, female, intersex)
Race, skin color
Culture, language
Clothing styles
Hair styles
Recreation, sports
Music, Art
Foods, beverages
Odors, perfumes
Politics, religione
Sexual Orientation
Careers, jobs
Money, wealth
Ideologies, beliefs
Marriage and for whom
Sexual preference
Genetics versus epigenetics
Genetics versus epigenetics
Humor and laughter
Women in business
et cetera

You may have a different bias:  Tattoos? Piercings? Ordination? Addictive behaviors?  What are yours? Have you identified them?

Do you only learn biases in childhood? (more tomorrow)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 5

Do you have another example of learned bias? 

Suppose you are playing at the beach and are bitten by a rabid dog. That is a very unpleasant experience and you have to receive anti-rabies shots in your abdomen—another unpleasant experience. You are told repeatedly that rabid dogs are dangerous, especially when running wild on the beach. As much as you love going to the beach, you develop a bias against going to the beach because it is deemed unsafe. You also develop a bias against the breed of dog that bit you. Some adults in your life, tell you that all unleashed dogs are dangerous and potentially rabid. Now you take your experience, globalize it, and develop a bias against any dog that is unleashed, anywhere, and at any time. You have now taught your brain to be biased against all dogs. This prevents you from ever having a relationship with a dog and limits you from developing friendships with anyone who owns a dog.

What are other common biases? (more tomorrow)

Friday, August 9, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 4

What do you mean bias is learned in childhood?

Once you “come out the chute” or surgically physically enter the outside world, you are immediately surrounded and even bombarded with biases from other humans in your environment. For example, if your parents are completely “germaphobic” and believe every other human being is potentially a reservoir of dreadfully dangerous  organisms, you may not be permitted to get within a stone’s throw of your grandparents, aunts or uncles, neighbors, and you name it. If your parents have a bias that breast feeding is best for a newborn, your mother likely will breast feed you. If not, you may be given any number of alternative “milks,” some of which work okay with your brain and body and some that may result in sensitivities, sometimes even seen as colic.

Do you have another example of learned bias? (more tomorrow)

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 3

Is safety the only bias the brain has?

I suppose that question would depend upon what you lump into the category of “safety.” If you believe that anything and everything unlike you is “no safe,” then that could be a huge pot of “not safe.” It does appear, however, that beyond the instantaneous safety evaluation, each brain does have its own bias: some biases are innate, perhaps related to cellular memory, or even learning in utero. Others are learned and developed beginning very early in childhood. Estimates are that 50% of the problems people face in life are of their own making—and what you don’t know you don’t know can create many of those problems. Which mean, that you might be triggering your own problems because of a brain bias that you don’t even know you have.

What do you mean that bias is learned in childhood? (more tomorrow)

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Brain Bias – Common Questions, 2

Is the brain innately biased?

Turns out the brain does have an innate bias that relates to “safety.” Some studies suggest that the fastest determination the brain ever makes is “Am I safe?” The safety evaluation is triggered whenever the brain sees anything unfamiliar for the first time. For example, when it encounters another human being for the first time , it makes a nano-second-fast evaluation:

        Have I seen this person?
        Have I seen someone similar before?
        Is the person like me or different from me?
        Am I SAFE?

Depending on the brain’s assessment, it prompts you to approach or withdraw—to “move forward toward” or to “move back away from”—the person.

Is safety the only bias the brain has?  (more tomorrow)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Brain Bias - Common Questions

What is Bias? 

A bias can be defined as an inclination for or against something and appears initially to be related to safety, but it can expand to include anything and everything. Bias assessments may be the fastest decisions the brain ever makes, occurring at nano-second speeds and is related to a perception of safety. Typically, the brain seems to feel safer around what is familiar and what is most like it.

Is Bias a good thing or a bad thing?

It can be either one. Used appropriate it can be life-saving. Used inappropriately it can be deadly. It can impact your beliefs, lead to bullying behaviors, escalate into bigotry, and then can influence your own brain’s bias and the actions you take and the behaviors you exhibit.

Is the brain innately biased? (more tomorrow)

Monday, August 5, 2019

Autism and Vaccines

Some a still convinced that “vaccines are responsible for autism. “Sure, 10 years ago studies were initiated to evaluate this possibility. However, according to Autism Science Foundation, the question “has been answered.”

Studies evaluated children who received vaccines and those who didn’t, or who received them on a different and slower schedule. They found that there were no differences in their neurological outcomes. Multiple studies have also investigated mumps, rubella, and measles vaccinations, along with thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative). “The results of studies are very clear; the data show no relationship between vaccines and autism. (This site lists studies and a reading list.)

Friday, August 2, 2019

Autism and Genes, 3

In the research group, the study appears to show that Autism is linked more to genetics (perhaps up to 80%) than any environmental factors.

Andrew Adesman, M.D., chief, developmental and behavioral pediatrics,Cohen Children's Medical 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Autism and Genes, 2

In the researched subjects, the study found that that genes related to synapse function in the cortex were affected. Also, the microglial supporting cells (involved with the brain’s immune system also showed problems with genes. [Note: I found it fascinating that the glial cells were implicated. You may recall hearing news that the dementia related to HIV infection and AIDS appears to have resulted due to the dysregulation and death of the microglial cells—and without their support and care for the neurons, they died]