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“Thinking about Not-Thinking”: Neural Correlates of Conceptual Processing during Zen Meditation

Recent neuroimaging studies have identified a set of brain regions that are metabolically active during wakeful rest and consistently deactivate in a variety the performance of demanding tasks. This “default network” has been functionally linked to the stream of thoughts occurring automatically in the absence of goal-directed activity and which constitutes an aspect of mental behavior specifically addressed by many meditative practices. Zen meditation, in particular, is traditionally associated with a mental state of full awareness but reduced conceptual content, to be attained via a disciplined regulation of attention and bodily posture. Using fMRI and a simplified meditative condition interspersed with a lexical decision task, we investigated the neural correlates of conceptual processing during meditation in regular Zen practitioners and matched control subjects. While behavioral performance did not differ between groups, Zen practitioners displayed a reduced duration of the neural response linked to conceptual processing in regions of the default network, suggesting that meditative training may foster the ability to control the automatic cascade of semantic associations triggered by a stimulus and, by extension, to voluntarily regulate the flow of spontaneous mentation.


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"Exposed Untruths Continue to Shape Voter Impressions"


"The viral photo of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in her stars and stripes bikini, proudly gripping a rifle, flooded Internet wires—only to spread once more when the photo proved to be a fake.

But the image's influence holds, even though it's a fraud. And 2006 research by John Bullock of Yale University supports the lasting influence of misinformation.

Bullock showed subjects the transcript of an ad created by a pro-choice group stating that John Roberts, then a Supreme Court nominee, had supported violence against abortion clinics.

Then subjects were shown an unequivocal refutation of the ad.

56 percent of the Democrats had disapproved of Roberts before seeing the ad, but that percentage jumped to 80 after seeing the false information.

Here's the interesting part: After the ad was discredited, the percentage of Democrats against Roberts dropped—but only to 72 percent, so the number who were unsupportive remained higher than before exposure to the ad.

Interestingly, Republican disapproval also rose after reading the ad transcript, but returned to the baseline after the ad was debunked.

As we may have already intuitively concluded: the lasting impact of misinformation during campaigns seems to be dependent on subjects' preexisting views as to whether they buy into negative (or positive) information about a candidate.

Remember this, when we read in the papers that nearly a third of voters believe, incorrectly, that Barack Obama is Muslim. Perhaps because of inaccurate rumors that Obama took his oath on the Koran, instead of, as is the true case, on the Bible."


Tirado daqui

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Badass of the Week


Este site é uma delicia.



While the Knights Templar may be considered by many to be the sexier 11th century military order (in so much as a brotherhood of celibate monks can be considered "sexy"), a lot of people don't realize that the Knights Hospitaller were seriously fucking harsh.  Founded in 1080 and initially tasked with aiding poor, sick, and wounded knights and pilgrims traveling in the Holy Land, these warrior-monks quickly discovered that it's way more awesome (not to mention easier) to inflict traumatic gaping flesh wounds rather than treat them.

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"A modest proposal" para resolver o problema energético.



Sörgel spent years promoting his scheme to save Europe: the construction of vast hydroelectric dams spanning the Mediterranean. The massive turbines would furnish a surplus of power, and the re-engineered sea would turn the life-hostile Sahara desert into a fertile wetland.

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Deus abençoe os Japoneses!



Japan has announced that their long-term space development plans now include building a space-elevator.

The JSEA or Japanese Space Elevator Association believes it can build one for about 1 trillion yen or a little less than 10 billion US dollars.

So is this worth even attempting or is it way too premature for such a Sci-Fi concept?

A space elevator is kind of like a normal elevator only without any building around it and about 11 million times taller.

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