Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Brain & Narcissism Revisited, 3

The still-in-process teenage brain is rather narcissistic in its approach to life and living. The process of maturing the teenage brain is designed to move it away from narcissistic behavior to more balanced behaviors. This involves a learning process and the teenage brain either learns it or not. If the teenagers fail to mature and move to more balanced behaviors, they tend to become narcissistic adults. While narcissists are able to feel most emotions as strongly as do others, they seem to lack the essential ability to perceive or understand the feelings of others. As Martha Stout, PhD, has put it, narcissism is a failure not of conscience but of empathy. Emotionally speaking, narcissists don’t seem to see past their own nose, sometimes flying into narcissistic rages and then lacking the skills to repair the relationships that their anger damaged if not trashed. What to do? More tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Brain & Narcissism Revisited, 2

An over-riding characteristic of narcissism appears to be a seriously over-inflated conviction of the individual’s own personal importance. In one sense, every person is important simply because he or she exists. In another sense, every person is simply part of the global village, and while each has membership importance this does not indicate dictatorship or royalty rights. Nor does the universe revolve around him or her (unless an unwise adult has indicated that it does in the immediate family system). Narcissistic people tend to have a compromised sense of self-worth. In order to feel adequate, they must find others incompetent and put them down (e.g., complain, criticize, gossip, show contempt). Because they tend not to recognize their own mistakes, they lack compassion for others and often do everything in their power to avoid being held accountable for their own behaviors. Highly insecure and never having learned how to fail, they try to be successful at all times and at whatever the cost (e.g., may lie, exhibit addictive behaviors, throw you “under the bus” in order for them to look good, or blame and try to make it all your fault or the fault of anyone else but theirs). More tomorrow. 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Brain & Narcissism Revisited

In May you did a fascinating series of blogs on narcissistic behaviors. We have a son who we believe is exhibiting narcissistic behaviors. He is 37 and on a recent visit he became very angry and screamed, "I do not have a happy life and it is all your fault. After all, you had me!" Then he slammed out of the house, and we have not heard from him since. At least he didn’t go on international television and trash us! Can you say more about NPD? It is increasing?

It is very painful to have a child turn on you and complain about their childhood. A study in 2008 reported that the prevalence of lifetime Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD was 6.2 percent of the population in the USA. Rates were greater for men (7.7 percent) than for women (4.8 percent). NPD was significantly more prevalent among black men and women and Hispanic women, younger adults, and adults who were separated, divorced, widowed, and never married adults. NPD was associated with mental disability among men but not among women. A report in 2020 indicated that in clinical settings, prevalence rates for NPD can be as high as 15 percent¾so you likely know someone who exhibits narcissistic behaviors. It can be tough when that person is a close family member. More tomorrow. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Signs at Indian Hills

A friend of mine just sent me these. Some “brain” at Indian Hills is getting a lot of exercise.

 I pulled a muscle digging for gold. Just a miner injury.

If you have to wear both a mask and glasses, you may be entitled to condensation.

I never finish anything. I have a black best in partial arts.

I’m reading a book called “Quick Money for Dummies,” by Robin Banks.

Ghosts like to ride in elevators because it lifts their spirits.

Fungi puns are my yeast favorite. There’s too mushroom for error.

Lego store reopens after lockdown. Folks lined up for blocks. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Fathers and Parenting

A study published in the Psychology of Men & Masculinities reported that competitive and adventurous men make better fathers—when this is combined with a nurturing approach towards parenting. Fathers who reported being ‘real men’ also displayed good parenting behavior, however they were low in negative stereotypical masculine traits, such as hostile sexism or the belief that men should be the primary providers for the family, as well. Reportedly, the results surprised the researchers. The men who exhibited these positive male traits displayed better parenting behaviors, had higher quality interactions with their children, and were better at co-parenting. They tended to be really engaged with their children and were not checked out. Professor Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, the study’s first author, said, “These men are combining traditional aspects of masculinity with new nurturing ideals to create new fathering identities. They may be in the midst of transforming fatherhood.” 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021


Often after a big dinner there are some leftovers. I often enjoy them, especially if I can avoid cooking again for a meal or two. My family regularly turns up their nose at leftovers. I hate to waste food. Any ideas?

 Have you heard the saying that a rose by any name still smells sweet? Well, leftovers have been around for hundreds of years. Not the leftover itself, of course, but the concept. Long before there were refrigerators and microwaves, there still were leftovers. Only people back then did not call them leftovers. They called them by a French term, réchauffé. It means “to reheat or turn leftovers into a new dish.” Pronounced as “rey-shoh-fey,” the term refers both to the action of reheating leftovers and the leftover food itself. You could try turning your leftovers into a slightly different dish called Réchauffé. Some have said that calling your leftovers by a French name can make them (the leftovers, not the people) sound like some fancy gourmet cuisine. You can always try it!

Friday, June 18, 2021

More African Proverbs

More African Proverbs

 1.     The skin of a leopard is beautiful, but not its heart.

 2.     A happy man marries the girl he loves. A happier man loves the girl he marries.

 3.     What you help children to love can be more important than what you help them to learn in school.

 4.     If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. 

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Preteen Brain and Exercise

The data from the Boston Children’s Hospital analysis of nearly 6,000 early adolescents was quite clear—and somewhat eye-opening. Physical activity of any kind was associated with more efficiently organized, flexible, and robust brain networks, the researchers found. The more physical activity, the more “fit” the brain. It didn’t matter what kind of physical activity the children were involved in, it only mattered that they were active. Bottom line? Regular physical activity has positive effects on a child’s developing brain circuits. If the “family” can be active together, it benefits the adult brain’s as well. Richard Restak, MD, has stated that physical exercise is the best thing you can do to help protect good brain function. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Child Brains & Physical Exercise


I hate to admit it, but our family gets very little exercise. We want to spent time with the kids but since they like video games and table games, we mostly do those. We’ve all packed on a few pounds during the pandemic. Now that things are opening up, what should we do now?

 You are not alone with this type of scenario and in wondering what to do now. Exercising does not help you lose weight, per se. It can help build strength as you lose weight through positive lifestyle changes and help you maintain your weight within an optimum range. In a nutshell, physical exercise is critically important—for body and brain function. This has been underscored by research findings that were published in Cerebral Cortex May 14, 2021. A study at Boston Children’s Hospital reported an analysis of neuroimaging data from nearly 6,000 early adolescents (preteens). The analysis included brain imaging information along with the type and amount of physical activity each of the 6,000 adolescents engaged in on a regular basis.

 More tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Matching a Musical Pitch

Matching a musical pitch involves an intricate coordination of several tasks within the brain:

 1.     When the brain hears a sound, especially if this occurs in the brain of a singer or someone who whistles, it first identifies the pitch.

 2.     Next it makes a decision about which vocal muscles must work together to reproduce that sound with an accurate pitch.

 3.     After singing or whistling the note related to that pitch, the brain evaluates whether or not the pitches match.

 4.     If yes, good. If not, the brain adjusts the vocal muscles as required.

The earlier a brain begins studying music, the more likely it is that it will match a heard music pitch accurately. One report I saw indicated that perhaps 529 genetic markers are associated with this ability. It is a complex process! You may want to google this yourself and stimulate your brain during the process.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Brain & Matching a Musical Pitch

I read somewhere that research at 23and Me has identified more than 500 genetic markers associated with the brain’s ability to match a musical pitch. 500? What takes 500 genetic markers to simply match a musical sound at the correct pitch?

Abilities to match a musical pitch tend to be a combination of genetics and learning with practice. It is not a simple process. Matching a pitch accurately is involved in learning to sing or whistle a song or tune. Matching a musical pitch involves an intricate coordination of several tasks within the brain. This is a complex process and appears to reflect genetic markers. For example, here are the first two tasks.

 1.     When the brain hears a sound, it first identifies the pitch. Those who study music are trained to do this so it happens almost automatically for musician brains.

 2.     Next, the brain makes a decision about which vocal muscles must work together to reproduce that sound with an accurate match to the pitch.

More tomorrow. 

Friday, June 11, 2021

African Proverbs

Some of you know how much I enjoy proverbs from different continents and countries. I find it intriguing to note that a similar sentiment or idea can be expressed so uniquely depending on the location on Planet Earth. A good friend of mine just sent me these. Enjoy!

 1.     If you think you are too small to make a difference, spend the night with a mosquito.

 2.     Hold a true friend with both hands.

 3.     When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.

 4.     A family is like a forest. When you are outside, it is dense. When inside, you see that each tree has its place.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Quality Time

Cambridge Dictionary defines “Quality time" as the time that you spend with another person, giving him or her your full attention because you value the relationship. Quality time requires that you are in the moment, present, and focused on the other person—personal or professional. I turn off my iPhone or let it go to voice mail if I am giving quality time. It is just a little signal that right now the individual with whom I am communicating is the most important person in the world to me. You know how you feel when you looked forward to chatting with someone and every time the phone whines, beeps, rings, squeaks, or vibrates, that person picks up, regardless of where you were in the conversation. It signals that the person with whom you are spending time, believes someone else is much more important than you are at that moment. Unless it is a true emergency or a long distance call you are expecting from another country, the body-language message is that you are “less then . . . “ to them.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Phubbing and Relationships

In an article entitled “What is Meant by ‘Phubbing’ and Is It Ruining Our Relationships?” the author summed it up this way: “We don’t need a lot of research to tell us what we already intrinsically know, that if we want quality relationships in our lives, we need to make them a priority and focus our attention on them. Additionally, you cannot have a human, connected, quality relationship through a smartphone. You must look someone in the eye and connect one-on-one for a quality relationship. In case we didn’t realize it before, now we have the scientists telling us what we already knew.” Quality time is the only gift you can give another person that no one but you can give—your time.  More Tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021


Similar problems with inattentiveness and disruption have been observed in work settings, as well. Some refer to that as W-phubbing. The brain was not designed to multi-task and when one or more individuals in a group are distracted by checking their mobile communication device, they may miss key points in a discussion or fail to contribute appropriately. Moreover, their W-phubbing (snubbing someone in a Work setting in favor of your mobile phone) can distract others. It can be particularly annoying to a speaker when the behavior of attendees indicate that their cellphone is more important than paying attention to the presentation. Have you been phubbed? Done any phubbing yourself? Use your brain to evaluate if phubbing is negatively impacting your relationships, personal and professional. If the answer is ‘yes,’ you may want to disconnect periodically from communication technology rather than risk strangling your relationship—or sending a nonverbal message that you might never put into words. More tomorrow 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Phubbing Threatens Human Ineractions

In an article from the Journal of Applied Social Psychology titled “The effects of “phubbing” on social interaction," the authors reportedly concluded that the importance of phubbing as a modern social phenomenon needs to be further investigated. This is because phubbing significantly and negatively can impact one’s perception of the quality of communication and satisfaction with relationships. Apparently, phubbing can threaten four fundamental needs of human beings: self-esteem, a sense of belongingness, meaningful existence, and control. When these basic needs are threatened, as they are when you are phubbed, the quality of one’s relationships are threatened. In addition, there can be a negative impact on one’s mental health, as well. Much in the same way as with personal relationships, phubbing can impact professional relationships, as well, making one or more of the individuals feel marginalized, unimportant, etc. More tomorrow. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Downside of Phubbing

The authors of the study on phubbing or P-phubbing found that—in terms of a romantic couple—the higher the incidence of phubbing behaviors, the more likely a romantic couple were to experience conflict in the relationship and have lower levels of satisfaction. “But they aren’t saying anything,” you may say.” Perhaps not verbally, but the nonverbal behavior sends a message to the other partner ‘loud and clear.' This implied message can reveal the partner’s priorities, suggest that the mobile device is more exciting than the person who is physically present, or that whomever is calling or texting is more important than the partner—or even a close or best friend. Unless I am out eating alone, my practice is to keep my mobile phone out of sight. On the rare occasions when I am expecting a call from overseas, I will tell my friend(s) in advance: “If my cell phone rings and it is an overseas call, I need to take it. Anyone else can leave a message and I’ll get to it later.” My little French grandmother used to say ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’ I want to honor and respect the individual I am with and the time they are giving to me, which is really all each of us has to give another—that no other person can—our personal undivided attention during our time together. More tomorrow. 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Types of Phubbing

Researchers have identified eight types of phubbing or P-phubbing. For example: keeping the phone in sight—if not in hand—while the individuals are together; answering the phone even when in the middle of a conversation; glancing at the mobile device while talking; texting a reply (often while saying aloud, "Keep talking. I'm listening), and so on. (Actually, the brain cannot truly listen and talk at the same time because both activities come from the same hemisphere of the brain.)The authors reported that while people often assume that momentary distractions by their cellphones are not a big deal, the more often a two-person’s time spent together is interrupted by the other’s cellphone, the less likely the first individual is to be satisfied with the overall relationship. A lower level of relationship satisfaction tends toward lower levels of life satisfaction. Ultimately, this can contribute to higher levels of depression to say nothing of relational discord. More tomorrow. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021


According to the Urban Dictionary, the term “phubbing” describes a person who is snubbing someone else in favor of the person’s own mobile phone. Wikipedia describes phubbing as a term coined as part of a campaign by Macquarie Dictionary to describe the habit of snubbing someone in favor of a mobile phone (May 2012). Naturally, that term represents advances in technology and the way in which human beings use that technology—namely, mobile phones. Results of a study about phubbing at the Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University, were published in Computers in Human Behavior. Nearly half of study participants reported they’d been ‘phubbed’ or P-phubbed by their Partner and almost half of those indicated this had caused conflict. The abstract pointed out that, ”Although the stated purpose of technology like smartphones is to help us connect with others, in this particular instance, it does not. Ironically, the very technology that was designed to bring humans closer together has isolated us from these very same people.” More tomorrow. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Brain or MInd: Which came first?

Remember the vehicle-traffic metaphor? Well, try this: the brain creates technology. In turn, technology impacts the brain positively or negatively—by something the brain created to begin with. Researchers at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain—with access to some of the world's most advanced and highly sensitive analytical equipment—are studying the brain vs the mind.  Whatever else the human brain is, it is relational. It has a relationship with you, the mind; other brains; and with technology. Two researchers at the Hankamer School of Business of Baylor University, are authors of what may be the first formal study of the impact on a relationship when a person uses or is distracted by his/her cell phone while in the company of other individuals, the person’s relationship partner, friend, or colleague, for example. As you may know, the term for this is “Phubbing.”  More tomorrow.