Friday, October 29, 2021

Rejection Recovery

What can I do to get over the pain of rejection?

The more rejection pain that accumulates, the more you risk an over-reaction the next time you experience a perceived rejection. Identify and acknowledge each rejection wound and identify the protective emotion(s) that arose (e.g., anger, fear, or sadness). Feel each emotion. Process it and figure out what it means to you. Thank your brain for the emotion that brought you information—then let the emotion go and move to joy. Avoid giving free rent in your brain to those who rejected you because you then will continually relive their rejection. Make sure that you are not perceiving rejection when none was intended. Past rejection may have thinned your skin, making it more likely that you have been taking things personally even when no wrong was intended.

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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Rejection Reactions

Is there an emotion that tends to arise with a rejection?

 There may be several emotions triggered. Although only one emotion holds sway in the brain at a time, emotions can rapidly alternate. Sadness may be triggered as the rejection precludes any positive interaction between two people. If the Rejection is aggressive and confrontive, Anger may be triggered, a signal that your relational and inclusion boundaries have been blocked. Fear may pop up as you think about future rejections. In 2001, the Surgeon General of the U.S. issued a report stating that rejection was a greater risk for adolescent violence than drugs, poverty, or gang membership. Some turn the rejection pain inward and struggle with issues of feeling unworthy, developing an unbalanced sense of self-esteem, and often disliking the self simply because someone else did not accept them. Anecdotal studies have shown that people who “reject” others typically have often learned to do so—sometimes from fear of what is different, sometimes from ignorance, sometimes from lack of information, sometimes from misunderstandings . It can be helpful to realize that the antonym of rejection is acceptance. Learn to accept yourself—warts and all, as some have put it.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Bullying Rejection

Bullying is a severe form of social rejection that triggers serious emotional and psychologically pain. Studies suggest that people tend to recall social pain more vividly than even physical pain. The pain of a physical injury can diminish with time. Emotional pain tends to trigger the brain to respond much as it did during the original incident. Perhaps that is because the brain is a “relational” brain and therefore a relational social rejection strikes at the core of who the brain is innately. It is important to realize that everyone likely experiences rejection at some time in his/her life, and know that these experiences cause significant emotional pain from the rejection. Based on one’s personality in combination with the biological basis for the response, each person’s experience will be slightly different, however.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

When Rejection Hurts Most

According to an informal survey by Guy Winch, PhD, rejection during one’s middle school years hurts more than even romantic rejections later in life. He pointed out that “many adolescents and pre-adolescents are entirely unequipped, in terms of emotional and psychological maturity, to manage such harsh experiences. Considering how incredibly formative these years are for our developing identities and level of self-esteem, it is no wonder so many adults trace their deepest emotional scars to the social rejection they experienced in this period ... One does not have to ‘ask out’ a romantic prospect in order to feel rejected by them. Rejections at that stage of life can be communicated in a variety of subtle ways that are no less painful.” 

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Monday, October 25, 2021

Rejection and Brain Opioids

Social rejection appears to piggyback on physical pain pathways in the brain. fMRI studies showed that physical pain and rejection pain activate the same brain areas. This may explain the reason that neurologically speaking, rejection pain hurts so much. Brain scans of individuals experiencing social rejection showed that the brain’s opioid systems were highly reactive, releasing its natural painkiller. Researchers found, however, that the underlying personality of an individual appeared to play a role in how active their opioid system response was. Interestingly, individuals who scored high in resiliency on a study questionnaire, tended to release more opioid during social rejection, especially in the amygdala. Those who were experiencing depression or social anxiety failed to recover as quickly or as fully from a negative social experience. It may be that the brains of individuals experiencing depression or social anxiety are less capable of releasing opioids when under social distress. 

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Friday, October 22, 2021

Social Rejection

How does the Brain react to social rejection? 

Studies have shown that the brain processes rejection much as it processes physical pain. Studies at the University of Michigan Medical School revealed that the brain attempts to ease the pain of social rejection in the same way it deals with pain caused by physical injury. The brain pathways activated by physical and social pain overlap somewhat. Signals of pain arrive in the brain through two different pathways. A fast pathway passes through the thalamus where pain and temperature signals are triaged to sensory and motor sections of the cerebral cortex for additional processing. The slow pathway passes through the central nervous system to areas of the brain such as the prefrontal cortex, the amygdala, and the hypothalamus. This pathway is linked with the emotional reactions that occur in response to a painful stimuli, such as the pain of rejection. 

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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Rejection "Pain"

What happens in the brain when a person is rejected (or ignored) or someone acts like you are not even there? I know it doesn’t feel very good!

Rejection is a term indicating that something is being pushed away or refused. A female animal may refuse to accept and feed her offspring. The body’s immune system may repel an invading pathogenic organism or refuse to accept an organ transplant. Rejection can also be  “social” as when an individual is excluded by a school, church, or other group. The human brain is a relational organ and has a fundamental need to belong to some type of group, making rejection all the more painful. Experiencing rejection can result in a form of stress. Being spurned, unaccepted, shunned, excluded, ostracized, or given the “cold shoulder” can generate feelings of sadness, grief, shame, or a sense of being worthless. It can impact cognition (thinking). Simply being asked to remember a time when the person was rejected can result in that individual scoring significantly lower on subsequent IQ tests.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Synesthete Perception

 Do Synesthetes think it is a good thing or not? 

It is a good thing? That would depend on how the individual with synesthesia perceives the phenomenon, the experiencing of a cross-tangling of two or more senses when triggered by specific stimuli. These stimuli trigger involuntary sensations of touch, sound, vision, smell, taste, or emotion that are not triggered in most other people. Some synesthetes have stated that this unique perception is a plus and helps them become more creative, each in their own way. A few have reported that the phenomenon is distracting or anxiety-producing. Some children on the autism spectrum, who also have synesthesia, have said they find synesthesia difficult. Recent advances in brain imaging techniques are expanding synesthesia research, validating the existence of synesthesia—which some have doubted. Two key brain differences have been discovered: a thicker gray matter and greater connectivity between wide-spread areas of the brain.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021


Are people born with synesthesia?

 Some scientists speculate that everyone is born with a degree of synesthesia because the infant's brain is hyperconnected, and these connections are pruned as it develops. However, the debate continues over whether everyone is born with some degree of synesthesia, or if it is a special perception of the world that only some individuals share. Synesthesia often appears during early childhood, and research has shown signs of a genetic component. Synesthesia can decrease over time, however. It has also been noted that in rare cases, synesthesia can develop later in life. This can occur temporarily from the use of psychedelic drugs, meditation, or sensory deprivation. It can be acquired permanently followed strokes, traumatic brain injury or other head trauma, or from brain tumors.

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Monday, October 18, 2021

Synesthesia Contributors

Estimates are that approximately 3-5 percent of the population has some form of synesthesia. Recent research estimates that equal numbers of males and females are synesthetes. The phenomenon of synesthesia likely stems from normal cognitive development in utero and early childhood. The baby’s brain is growing at an incredibly rapid rate during the third trimester of gestation. Between 25 weeks and 40 weeks, the size or weight of the brain increases every 48 hours. 250,000 nerve cells, or neurons, form every minute, and 1.8 million connections between those nerve cells form every second. After birth, as the brain differentiates early in life, many of these connections are pruned away—especially ones that are not being used. (Thus, the recommendation to talk, talk, talk, sing, sing, sing, and read, read, read to the newborn starting at birth!) There is speculation that synesthesia may arise from an incomplete shedding of these connections.

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Friday, October 15, 2021

Synesthesia Studies

Studies of this phenomenon at the University of Oxford in England have uncovered regions of human DNA that wires some people to “see" sounds or “hear” colors in ways that do not occur in the brains of non-synesthetes. Researchers took genetic samples from 196 individuals of 43 families. They found 121 individuals who exhibited the synesthetic trait of seeing a color in response to a sound:  "When I hear a violin, I see something like a rich red wine. A cello is more like honey." The team performed a genetic analysis that tracked common "markers,” specific sets of base pairs that were repeated throughout the genome and which vary from person to person. They identified a region on chromosome 2, which has been associated with autism, as exhibiting the strongest link.  Synesthesia appears to have roots in DNA as it tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic origin. It also appears to be affected by environmental factors. 
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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Synesthesia Types

Synesthesia is neither an illness nor abnormal and simply represent in all likelihood just one end of a spectrum where sensory inputs can trigger stronger and more widespread brain activity than in non-synesthetes. Neuroscientists estimate that nearly 130 types of synesthesia exist (e.g., unusual multisensory perceptions or cross-talk between various sensory decoding areas in the brain). For example:      

·        Tasting words or sounds when they hear them

·        Seeing sounds when seeing colors

·        Hearing visual motion

·        Time-space perception of months of the year in circular shapes

·        Experience sensations of touch or emotions when they see others being touched

·        Perceiving numbers, letters, or days of the week as having specific colors

·        Low sounds elicit visual images of dark colors

·        High sounds lead one to images of light, bright colors)

·        The meanings of words can produce the same flavors as their sound or written shape 

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Sweet Taste

Studies by Kaisu Keskitalo and colleagues in Finland reported that many human beings appear to have an innate preference for sweet taste, but the degree of liking for sweet foods varies individually. They studied the proportion of inherited sweet taste preference and performed an analysis of a genome-wide linkage to locate “Individual differences in sweet taste preferences, which appear to be partly heritable.” A locus on chromosome 16 was found to affect the use frequency of sweet foods. This result was considered to be very significant, because a sweet taste preference had not been previously shown to be heritable in humans. If an aspect of kinesthesia (e.g., sweet taste preference) is at least partially heritable, additional studies may reveal that other aspects of sensory preference also show heritability. Taste appears to be decoded in the parietal Lobes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021


I read the other day that Beyoncé has something called Synesthesia. Cross-wiring? Please help me understand what this is.

Typically, in the human brain, colors and numbers tend to be experienced as separate categories and are processed in discrete neural networks. Synesthesia is a neurologic phenomenon involving the conscious processing of multisensory stimuli. The brains of Synesthesiacs tend to process these ordinarily separate categories in the same or overlapping brain areas. Immersing oneself in one of the senses tends to stimulate associations with the other senses. Even microscopic changes in brain wiring can lead to different realities. Many well-known composers, musicians, artists, writers, and so on reportedly are Synesthesiacs. The list includes names such Duke Ellington, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Billie Eilish, Lorde, Kanye West, Billy Joel, Franz Liszt, Carol Steen, Itzhak Perlman, Jean Sibelius, Leonard Bernstein, Richard Wagner. Van Gogh, Marilyn Monroe, Edgar Degas, Charli XCX, Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Wonder … More tomorrow. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Sense of Smell

Olfactory receptor cells—neurons in your nose that allow you to smell—are neurons that can regenerate throughout life. Although these cells are continually being born and dying, they maintain the same connections as their ancestors. The result is that once you learn a smell, it always smells the same to you despite the fact that there are always new neurons smelling it! Generally, breathing through one nostril activates the opposite brain hemisphere. According to Rita Carter in the book Mapping the Mind, smell is the exception to the brain’s cross-over rule. That is, odors are processed on the same side of the brain as the nostril that senses them. Bandler and Grinder. in their book Reframing, reported that due to the way smells are processed neurologically, they have a much more direct impact on behavior and responses than do other sensory inputs. Odors are decoded in the 2nd brain layer, the mammalian layer. 

Friday, October 8, 2021

Sensory Decoding

Sensory data enters through the brain stem and then is triaged to the correct decoding centers in the cerebrum and in the limbic area. Without the decoding process your brain would be unable to make sense of the sensory data. In that case you might be diagnosed with specific anosmia, the label for a condition described as odor blindness.


  • Studies by Weiner and Brown in 1993 found that certain aromas inspire individuals to set higher personal goals, take on greater challenges, and get along better with others.
  •  Neurologist Alan Hirsch discovered that groups exposed to the aroma of peppermint solved puzzles 30 percent faster than the unexposed control groups. Basil, lemon, cinnamon, and rosemary seemed to have a similar stimulating effect.
  • According to Richard Restak, MD, in Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot, smell, more than any of the other senses, provides the surest way to enhance your emotional memory. 
  • Candace Pert PhD in her audio presentation Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind, pointed out that smell passes through only one synapse (the space between two neurons) to arrive at appropriate decoding centers. Hearing passes through three or four synapses, while vision passes through seven.


Thursday, October 7, 2021

Odor Power

Odors powerfully impact human beings, as evidenced by the perfume industry. Quotes about “smell” also show the power of odors. For example:

  • Benjamin Franklin: Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.
  • Diane Ackerman: Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.
  • Doug Coupland: Try not thinking of peeling an orange. Try not imagining the juice running down your fingers, the soft inner part of the peel. The smell. Try and you can't. The brain doesn't process negatives.
  • Margaret Thatcher: I seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air.
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes: Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.
  • Shakespeare: What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The Smell Survey

A smell survey of 1.5 million participants done by the National Geographic Society in 1987 showed that age brought with it little decline in smell ability among respondents. That’s good news since much of taste is contingent on the sense of smell. The study also reported that:


  • Woman can smell more acutely than can men
  •  During pregnancy women may experience a diminished sense of smell 
  • Nearly two persons in three have suffered a temporary loss of smell 
  • 1.2 percent of individuals cannot smell at all

 Have you ever waited for the “next elevator” because such a strong odor emanated when the door opened?

Have you ever experienced an illness such as COVID-19 during which you lost the ability to taste and/or smell?

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Kinesthesia & Music

Kinesthesia: The two parietal lobes interpret data related to taste, touch, position sense, physical stimuli, and odors—which can trigger memories faster than any other type of sensory data. These neurons fire when decoding kinesthetic data and during movement imagery. This sensory system also helps you to decode the vibrations of sound waves that beat against the skin and/or that are felt in the 2nd brain layer or limbic system. In combination with the frontal cortex, this system helps you manage your relative position to bounded shapes such as instruments (e.g., the way in which you hold a musical instrument, maintain your position on the piano or organ bench). Those with a kinesthetic preference may gravitate toward tactile memorization (sensing positions of fingers, hands, and body, and how it feels to reproduce the music). They may use musculature to represent the music, modeling important features of musical patterns by means of physical memories (e.g., tap toes, “dance it out” from head to toe). 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Auditory Sense & Music


Auditory: The two temporal lobes interpret data related to sounds that are heard. This system facilitates emphasis on tone color, pitch, and dynamics. It fires when decoding sounds and during auditory imaging. In combination with your frontal cortex, it allows you to decode patterns of vibrations, and enables you to sustain musical anticipations for several seconds as you await their resolution. Individuals with an auditory preference may tend to memorize by recalling the sound of the music, the intervals between notes, volume-of-sound differences, and the distinctive tones typical of the key signature(s). They may hum along with the music or use the body as a resonator for the music, allowing themselves to be played as an instrument, as it were. More tomorrow.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Visual Sense & Music

Does sensory preference influence how individuals approach musical activities?

 I believe Sensory Preference can impact how a person approaches musical activities. In other words, some types of musical activities may be easier for the individual to learn. Following are examples.

Visual: The two occipital lobes interpret data related to sight. Estimates are that 60 percent of the population has a visual preference. This sensory system helps you recognize the signs and symbols that represent musical sounds (reading music). The occipital lobes are active when decoding visual data and during visual imaging. In combination with the frontal cortex, it enables you to maintain the image of an instrument in consciousness. Individuals with a visual preference may be inclined to memorize music by mentally seeing the notes on the page or by noticing musical patterns on the keyboard. They may find it easier to notate music legibly.  More tomorrow.