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"Immune system affects mind and body, study indicates

Immune cells produce molecule that influences vigilance, alertness in mice"

The researchers speculate that the link between the immune system and the brain could have evolved as part of a multipronged survival strategy. Increased alertness and vigilance could help rodents survive an infection by discouraging behaviors that increase the risk of further infection or predation while in a weakened state, Alves de Lima said.

"The immune system and the brain have most likely co-evolved," Alves de Lima said. "Selecting special molecules to protect us immunologically and behaviorally at the same time is a smart way to protect against infection. This is a good example of how cytokines, which basically evolved to fight against pathogens, also are acting on the brain and modulating behavior."

The researchers now are studying how gamma-delta T cells in the meninges detect bacterial signals from other parts of the body. They also are investigating how IL-17 signaling in neurons translates into behavioral changes.

I find this piece very interesting as they are now deciphering the exact molecular mechanism!

practical application #1: if you got a bad case of meningitis do not kill yourself, the depression may stop when the inflammation gets reduced, it is not like your life sucks, or at least it is not a good moment to assess that.

This website does a pretty decent work summarazing a lot of interesting research in psychology.

In a final study, Ma-Kellams and Lerner showed that experimentally inducing a more reflective, analytic mindset produced better emotion-reading skills. Seventy-four participants from the same executive course were randomly allocated to one of two conditions: to write about either a situation in which following instincts led in the right direction, or one where reasoning through the issue led to the right outcome. Participants then participated in interviews as before, and those in the second group were significantly better at reading the emotions of their counterpart.

Why is the popular belief at odds with the reality? There is a strong association between concepts of instinct and emotion generally, and popular culture often depicts rational people as confounded by emotional displays. In addition, under some conditions instinct may give us all we need, as when an emotional display is very pronounced and unmasked. But more often, what we get is subtle or ambiguous, and it can take work to read it. Whether a weak smile is an attempt at warmth or an expression of regret depends upon the details, and requires us to pull together the available clues. After all, the realm of human emotion is rarely an open and shut case.

Past research suggests that actors often seek to minimize harm at the cost of maximizing social welfare. However, this prior research has confounded a desire to minimize the negative impact caused by one’s actions (harm aversion) with a desire to avoid causing any harm whatsoever (harm avoidance). Across six studies (N = 2,152), we demonstrate that these two motives are distinct. When decision-makers can completely avoid committing a harmful act, they strongly prefer to do so. However, harming cannot always be avoided. Often, decision-makers must choose between committing less harm for less benefit and committing more harm for more benefit. In these cases, harm aversion diminishes substantially, and decision-makers become increasingly willing to commit greater harm to obtain greater benefits. Thus, value trade-offs that decision-makers refuse to accept when it is possible to completely avoid committing harm can suddenly become desirable when some harm must be committed.

From a manipulative or even dark point of view you can frame someone and convince him of already being doing harm if you want him to risk inflicting more harm in exchange of some supposed future benefit.

Or, maybe in a lighter application, frame his actions as if all harm is preventable if you want him choosing the path that reduces harm.

Then again you yourself will have to value the "harm" vs the "benefit" and decide if this is a case in which the ends may justify the means or not...

Also be careful with who do you let to know that he harmed you, as he may feel like harming you even more, then again people like this may not even have normal levels of harm aversion at all...

Human intelligence comprises comprehension of and reasoning about an infinitely variable external environment. A brain capable of large variability in neural configurations, or states, will more easily understand and predict variable external events. Entropy measures the variety of configurations possible within a system, and recently the concept of brain entropy has been defined as the number of neural states a given brain can access.

Ah! the concept of entropy has always been a fascinating one. The mighty second law of thermodynamics!

To entertain the notion  that precisely entropy, this supposedly cosmological destroyer of worlds and life processes, could be the facilitator of higher intelligence, that would be more than a colosal irony in my book of ironies...

People evaluate themselves more favorably when they are a big fish in a little pond than a little fish in a big pond. The present research demonstrates that this tendency is exacerbated in extreme social comparison conditions, explains why, and highlights practical implications. Study 1 participants were told that they were a big (little) fish in a little (big) pond or a huge (tiny) fish in a tiny (huge) pond. Results provided evidence for a huge-fish-tiny-pond effect and showed that it is significantly larger than the big-fish-little-pond effect. Study 2 demonstrated that the huge-fish-tiny-pond effect reflects a neglect group rank information and Study 3 suggests that it inflates self-views. These experiments are the first to document the huge-fish-tiny-pond effect, which was highly robust (overall d = 2.05) and suggest that extreme social comparisons magnify self-evaluation tendencies.

Finally, the researchers found evidence that this effect is driven by people focussing on their own rank within a group, rather than on how their group compares to others. Participants ranked extremely highly in their group rated their abilities as high no matter whether the group was itself of high or low rank. Similarly, those who ranked low in their group rated their ability as low, regardless of their group’s rank.

Overall the work shows that even if you are a member of an elite group, it can be demoralising to learn that you are a “tiny fish” who is performing worse than your peers, the authors write. Further work is needed to see whether this effect extends to real-world situations, and explore what its repercussions are for people’s career and study choices.

That may be interesting to be integrated with this


Great one, Stef! Thank you, it's a nice research, added it to that post.


Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

"Why Hate the Good Guy? Antisocial Punishment of High Cooperators Is Greater When People Compete To Be Chosen"


2 nice papers!


Thank you Stef, this one deserves an entry in the dictionary as its own manipulative social strategy.

Maybe "manipulative do-gooder suppression", to cover both the punishments and verbal derogation?

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

i suggest: good-guy punisher

makes me think about the punisher super-heroe going evil