Sunday, January 30, 2011

300: Neuromarketing

Welcome to the 300th lecture of The Philosophy Class and allow me to mention my special admiration for those here present who have endured almost all 300: Gemma, Qwark and Aristotle and Alarice.

herman Bergson: ♫♪♫♪ ♪♫♪♫ APPLAUSE ♪♫♪♫ ♫♪♫♪

Gemma Allen : wow
Bejiita Imako: \o/
Bejiita Imako: || Hoooo!
Bejiita Imako: / \
Gemma Allen : OMG!!!
Gemma Allen : omg
Gemma Allen : ♥ LOL ♥
:: Beertje :: : *•.¸'*•.¸ ♥ ¸.•*´¸.•*
:: Beertje :: : .•*♥¨`• BRAVO!!!! •¨`♥*•.
:: Beertje :: : ¸.•*`¸.•*´ ♥ `*•.¸`*•.¸
Gemma Allen : almost
Aristotle von Doobie : Bravo!.....Bravo!!!
Gemma Allen : i think i missed some
herman Bergson: yes....!
herman Bergson: I therefore said "almost all" ^_^
BALDUR Joubert: grin
Aristotle von Doobie : I am sure Gemma has the record
herman Bergson: I think so too Aristotle...

Neuroeconomics may be interesting, because it focusses on the decision-making processes in the brain. Neuromarketing is even cooler (for some parties), because it focusses on the "buy-button" in the brain.

It all began with the psychologists, who developed all kinds of tests to reveal the consumer's preferences. Then the sociologists added the test group to the marketing equipment. And now the neuroscientists offer the marketing guys the brain.

They love to scan our brains when we drool and want to buy that car. They peek in our brains at locations where we ourselves even cannot reach.

This is again a new development in the neuro-world. Again of recent date. And keep in mind, a scientific development that started 5 years or so ago on such a complex object as the brain, means nothing. It's just scratching the surface.

It all began with the neuroscientist Clinton Kilts of Emory University in Atlanta in 2003. The goal of his research wasn't at all neuromarketing. It even didn't exist then.

He was just curious about the question why certain products are popular and others just a flop. The experiment was simple. Test persons were shown a series of products that they had to rate on a scale of numbers.

Then the test persons were put in the fMRI-scanner and were shown the products again. And what happened? Every time a test person saw a product he liked the medial prefrontal cortex fired like hell.

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the anterior part of the frontal lobes of the brain. This brain region has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behaviors, personality expression, decision making and moderating correct social behavior.

So this part of the brain is highly involved with our self-identification and the construction of our personality. When you point at your forehead just above your nose you are pointing at that region of the brain…. peculiar gesture by the way :-)

Clinton Kilts had found something. Just by looking into the brain of the consumer you can see whether he likes the product or not. He concluded that there is some identification of the self with the product. The product fits in with the personality.

Don't get too upset right now. It doesn't mean that Kilts had discovered the button to push to make the consumer actually buy the product. The decision to buy something is a way more complex brain process.

A classic experiment in this matter is the Pepsi - paradox. The experiment was executed by Read Montague of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

It is already a well known fact that when you blindfolded taste Cola and Pepsi, the majority of people will say that the second one (that was Pepsi) tastes better.

Montague put people in the fMRI-scanner and made them taste the two unmarked liquids. When drinking Pepsi a part of the striatum, which is associated with the 'rewarding system' in the brain, fired significantly stronger then when the test person tasted Cola.

But here comes the catch. When the test persons were told which brown liquid was which, they all of a sudden almost all preferred the Coca-Cola, even when it wasn't the case before.

And while peeking in the brains of these versatile test persons something special was observed. The medial prefrontal cortex entered the debate with the putamen in the striatum, that gives us the feeling of being rewarded.

The brain part with the higher cognitive functions (medial prefrontal cortex) interfered and outclassed the direct experience of reward (putamen), which was caused by the taste experience.

An amazing observation, which tells us how we consciously and subconsciously experience the world around us. It is the brain that does the shopping, not we.

The Discussion

[13:20] herman Bergson: And to coclude this 300th lecture I would like to thank Ciska for the choclate cake :-)
[13:20] herman Bergson: Thank you...
[13:21] herman Bergson: This was just an introduction to the phenomenon of neuromarketing
[13:21] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): yummy, looks delicious!
[13:21] Peli (peli.dieterle): ! ! ! Applause ! ! !
[13:21] Anja Tigerfish: Hm.......chocolate cake.....)))
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: Hooo!!!
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: Hoooo!
[13:21] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ***** APPPPPPPLLLLAAAUUUSSSSEEEEEEE***********
[13:21] Zinzi Serevi: we are nothing more then our brains i would say
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: great
[13:21] herman Bergson: Every one can have a piace after our discussion ^_^
[13:21] Bejiita Imako ♪♥♪APPLAUDS!!!♪♥♪
[13:21] Anja Tigerfish: Haha dats funny!!
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: looks tasty yes
[13:21] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i would rather have cheese cake
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: eating Toblerone rl
[13:22] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): LOL
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: also tasty
[13:22] herman Bergson: ok....calm down....there is enough for everyone
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:22] herman Bergson: Let's stick to our subject...
[13:22] herman Bergson: I would say YES Zinzi that is that we are...our brain
[13:23] BALDUR Joubert: smile.zinsi.. may be more.. may be our brains arejust what we can "see"..
[13:23] herman Bergson: Like the title of the book of Dick Swaab...Dutch neuroscientist....
[13:23] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): the interesting thing in the dissauding of our natural selection of Pepsi is the social conditioning Coca Cola has subjected us to
[13:23] Zinzi Serevi: so what is the rest
[13:23] herman Bergson: Wij zijn ons brein / We are our brain
[13:23] BALDUR Joubert: but that tells nothing about what we "are"
[13:23] Zinzi Serevi: yes it does
[13:23] herman Bergson: We are organic beings Baldur...
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): my friend drank coke every day for years we went to a fair and she picked the pepsi as the best drink in a test lo
[13:24] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): name recognition being drummed into us constantly
[13:24] BALDUR Joubert: smile beji you work in cern?
[13:24] herman Bergson: Result of 5 million years of evolution
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: that col st wars interesting, its like we have been indoctrated that coca olai nr 1 no matter the taste
[13:24] Zinzi Serevi: yes a brain is flexible and can learn
[13:24] BALDUR Joubert: the basis of organic components still materia..
[13:24] Zinzi Serevi: but you can only as far as your brains allow
[13:24] druth Vlodovic: there must be a biological component to picking what we believe is "popular" in order to maximize acceptance by others
[13:25] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): politicians do the same thing at election time....we knew that Bush was bad for us LOL
[13:25] BALDUR Joubert: lol.. yes..wehave our limits..
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): OMG!!!
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): omg yes
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: aaarrgh damn keyboard
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): at least we did ari
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:25] BALDUR Joubert: was he ari? he will just be another one in history
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: comåputer at work was hopeless too today
[13:25] herman Bergson: Let's stick to the subject Baldur....
[13:26] BALDUR Joubert: ok..
[13:26] Zinzi Serevi: ppl who have a brain injury can be total strangers to their family after
[13:26] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): yet, folks are much like sheep and can be led away from apparently what they know is good for them
[13:26] herman Bergson: let's look at what Druth said...
[13:26] BALDUR Joubert: i'm sticking to the subject..cause i question all the discoveries you cited
[13:26] herman Bergson: There is an interesting aspect in our behavior...
[13:26] herman Bergson: When we buy things....
[13:27] herman Bergson: We value the object...
[13:27] herman Bergson: next lecture I'll dig into that some more...
[13:27] herman Bergson: we put value in objects...
[13:27] herman Bergson: but not only because of the design or utility....
[13:27] herman Bergson: It also gets a social value....
[13:28] BALDUR Joubert: herman. i question cause you cite your examples as being brain ..but not subject to any influence..indoctrination of the brain..
[13:28] Zinzi Serevi: yes ppl can fall in love for things they buy
[13:28] herman Bergson: Bought my car because it is bigger than the one of my neighbor
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:28] BALDUR Joubert: so the brain structure is not the necessary cause..
[13:28] BALDUR Joubert: its the input..
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: cause is the value?
[13:29] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): it is interesting to not that things I buy must have utility but they must be pleasing in appearance also....different parts to the brain being satisfied?
[13:29] herman Bergson: the wiring of the brain makes us who we are Baldur....
[13:29] BALDUR Joubert: shit in shit out..that i learned about computers a decade ago
[13:29] Zinzi Serevi: so why do i make other choices then you do Baldur?
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:29] herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle
[13:29] BALDUR Joubert: not the wiring harman.. i disagree..
[13:29] BALDUR Joubert: it's what we learn
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: now i have banged on the keyboard a bit however and seem work better now
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: stupid machine
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:30] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): and you personal makeup will decide with is more important in you purchase
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: the wiring is the same for all..more or less..
[13:30] herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle....that is what I mean.....
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: what i tried say before however is that we seem to have been indocrtrinated that coca cola is the better one despite the taste
[13:30] herman Bergson: our brains are shaped during our personal development...
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: we are a learning species..that's how we developed
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: i like both but i think Pepsi might in fact have slightly better characteristics
[13:31] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I would classify my self as artist/scientist rather that scientist/artist so I would probably have to have the best looking product
[13:31] herman Bergson: yes Bejiita...Coca Cola has a better status than Pepsi...
[13:31] herman Bergson: Good advertizing...:-)
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: and i can differ between them in a blind test as well i think cause recognize the tastes
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: hmm yes must be the case
[13:32] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): yes, you hear Coca Cola so much , it must be the best
[13:32] druth Vlodovic: "The pepsi generation" is only good marketing until the next generation arrives lol
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: hmm
[13:32] herman Bergson: Well...they call it "BRANDING"
[13:32] BALDUR Joubert: omg..give me some rum for acuba libre..
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i just think it is amazing that our brain shows it so simply
[13:32] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): yes, akin to brainwashing
[13:32] BALDUR Joubert: so i can digest this chat
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: i however mostly get mad when they break tv show 5 th time in 15 minutes for the coca cola commercial
[13:33] herman Bergson: We'll talk about that too Bejiita...
[13:33] herman Bergson: But indeed Gemma...our brain shows the effects of branding....
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: cause i already know that
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: one time before a film is ok but not 5 6 times in it
[13:33] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): well it is a twist on the spider
[13:34] herman Bergson: The brand is connected to many more braincells than just the striatum....the reward system part
[13:34] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): one would drink more water and forget the soft drinks anyway LOL wonder if they have test the brain on those two
[13:34] druth Vlodovic: hmm, what part of the brain responds positively to repetition?
[13:34] herman Bergson: hypothalamus....
[13:34] BALDUR Joubert: how come ari prefers bourbon to scotch?
[13:35] herman Bergson: It is active when we perform long term memory storage...
[13:35] Mick Nerido: I worked at an advertising agency, they are not a clever at brain washing as most people think
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:35] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): of cours liquor and the brain have a notorous relationship
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): some are
[13:35] herman Bergson: Mick…..advertising is still an "art"
[13:36] herman Bergson: But keep in mind....
[13:36] Mick Nerido: A black art?
[13:36] herman Bergson: the neuromarketing costs a fortune to use...
[13:36] herman Bergson: and it is only a developing issue in neuroscience...a new branch
[13:37] herman Bergson: To give you an example.....
[13:37] druth Vlodovic: so the hypothalamus must have a significant effect on the medial prefrontal cortex
[13:37] Mick Nerido: explain neuomarketing please
[13:37] herman Bergson: They work together Druth...
[13:37] herman Bergson: Ok example...
[13:37] herman Bergson: A credit card company starts a campaign....
[13:38] herman Bergson: Logo of the company on houses and billboards…traditional approach...
[13:38] herman Bergson: then they showed people pictures of the creditcard held in a a certain situation...for instance in a shop
[13:39] herman Bergson: what did the brain....
[13:39] herman Bergson: It wasnt impressed by the logo pictures...
[13:39] herman Bergson: But the hand held card in the image caused the brain to fire mirror neurons....the ones related to holding or grabbing something
[13:40] herman Bergson: So such a picture has an observable effect on the brain activity
[13:41] Mick Nerido: Yes true, that's why showing a sexy woman is so prevalent it advertising products
[13:41] herman Bergson: Thence as an advertisement they suppose that it is more effective...
[13:41] herman Bergson: Yes...but there is still one thing to answer....
[13:41] herman Bergson: the process is way more complex...
[13:42] herman Bergson: When I see that sexy lady next to that spartscard I dont stand up from my lazy chair and gonna buy that car
[13:42] herman Bergson: There is a lot more to that...
[13:42] BALDUR Joubert: we are not talking about the brain..but how one can manipulatethe brain..
[13:42] BALDUR Joubert: that we know since 1933
[13:42] herman Bergson: And they still don't know where the buy-button is located ^_^
[13:42] Mick Nerido: No but your pleasure center now connects car sex
[13:43] herman Bergson: Yes Baldur.....
[13:43] BALDUR Joubert: least my side
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: if u buy this car u get lot of women who want to have sex with you sort of
[13:43] herman Bergson: That is a critical question for the next lecture.....
[13:43] herman Bergson: how far may we go peeking not our brain and for what reasons?
[13:44] herman Bergson: If you like that prospect Bejiita go and buy that car ^_^
[13:44] Mick Nerido: Heaven help us if we locate the buy neuron
[13:44] Jerome Ronzales: auto-dictaded
[13:44] BALDUR Joubert: smile of course manipulate means how someone else..something outside can manipulate.. how much is MUC H mirror behaviour etc
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: heh the problem is that I don't work that way because the woman and the car is not connected to each other really
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: the car is a mean of transportation for me thats it
[13:45] herman Bergson: smiles
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: to get from point 1 to 2
[13:45] Mick Nerido: Subliminal advertising also works without our knowing it
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: but sure nice if looks nice in design and have some power
[13:46] herman Bergson: yes...and it caused a lot of upheaval.....
[13:46] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): i think men and woman are really different in this matter
[13:46] herman Bergson: was regarded as unethical
[13:46] Mick Nerido: than there would be no exotic fast cars
[13:47] BALDUR Joubert: find in survival gene.. he makes it
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: and one think i can say about cars in general is most looikk like upside down thrash bins in wheels
[13:47] herman Bergson: As you see......revealing the working of the brain...and the way the brain....or is it US ...leads to serious questions...
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: they work but no interesting design ansd all look same
[13:47] herman Bergson: We'll continue to play around with the brian for a while yet...:-)
[13:47] herman Bergson: Such a remarkable machinery..
[13:47] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): no women seems to to hit with the need for 'diamonds'
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: eccept really expensive sport cars that only few can afford
[13:48] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): ah yes Ari:))
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: more design in general i want
[13:48] Jerome Ronzales: nowadays the polution term of using the car is related to what ppl make sense of relating it to sex and the sexy girl posing ..
[13:48] Mick Nerido: Diamonds are a ad success
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: hmm most of those cars are gas guzzlers as well
[13:49] Zinzi Serevi: yes maybe even more with a good looking man beside them
[13:49] Mick Nerido: A diamond is forever
[13:49] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: hehehe
[13:49] herman Bergson: lecture we'll try to look at a few critical questions regarding this neuromarketing.....
[13:49] Jerome Ronzales: cars aren't the pollution agents anymore but the dirty toughts ppl make, impel it to it
[13:49] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:49] herman Bergson: I think now it is time for the chocolate cake...:-)
[13:50] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): yes!
[13:50] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): Thanks you Herman
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: well this was really interesting again ㋡
[13:50] herman Bergson: So thank you all for being here again…
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: nice nice
[13:50] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty herman :-) and ty class!
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:50] Jerome Ronzales: very nice
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:50] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ^_^
[13:50] Anja Tigerfish: *^*^*^*^* Anja thinks that's *^*^*^*^*
[13:50] BALDUR Joubert: smile enjoy your cake herman.. they say ch
[13:50] Anja Tigerfish: SuperCrazyFunnyFantasticBombasticCooool
[13:50] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman:))
[13:50] Anja Tigerfish: *^*^*^*^*^* Ooww laaaaa *^*^*^*^*^*
[13:50] Jerome Ronzales: thanks and sorry the late entrance
[13:50] druth Vlodovic: thank you herman
[13:50] Mick Nerido: sorry i was late
[13:50] Anja Tigerfish: *-*rOfl*-*
[13:50] Anja Tigerfish: *-*r0fl*-*
[13:50] BALDUR Joubert: choclate makes one happy..:9
[13:50] bergfrau Apfelbaum: Bravo! -- Cheers! - Applause!
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: Interesting - thank you herman
[13:50] Dewy Fall: Thanks herman :)

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

299: Neuroeconomics

Take a deep breath and read the following:

A general function of neural tissue is ongoing economic evaluation, a central function for any system that must operate with limited resources, that is, all mobile creatures.

All mobile creatures run on batteries; they must continually acquire nutrients and expel wastes in order to reproduce and survive.

Consequently, the way that mobile creatures value their internal states, sensory experience, and behavioral output influences directly how they will invest their time and energy.

Our perspective is focused. By economic evaluation, we refer to the problems that an individual nervous system faces when making rapid, moment-to-moment decisions possessing real costs and potential future payoffs (good and bad).
- end quote

Comes from the article "Neural Economics and the Biological Review Substrates of Valuation" Neuron, Vol. 36, 265–284, October 10, 2002 by P. Read Montague and Gregory S. Berns

This is the way how a neuroscientist tells us , that we are continuously involved in decision-making and calculating the risks involved, when we make a decision.

Economics is of course THE area of continuous decision-making which is important for our survival and prosperity. Thence, people have pondered about the question "How does this decision-making work?"

If we know how it works, we can predict the decisions people will make, if we know all parameters. And we could make better decisions ourselves.

Utility maximization, first proposed by Daniel Bernoulli in 1738, is used to explain decision making under risk. The theory assumes that humans are rational and will assess options based on the expected utility they will gain from each.

That is a bit how we see us in economics, or at least in economic models: as calculating, selfish and rational beings.

In "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" (1759) Adam Smith add passions to this picture. In our decision-making we are driven by emotions and beliefs and passions.

In 1937 the American economist Paul Samuelson published the article "Foundations of Economics" in which he asks for a clear and simple theory of human behavior in economics.

And there he is : the Homo Economicus. He inhabited the models, used to describe and predict economic developments with his growing rationality.

Not only were all people rational, was the idea, they also know that all others are rational too and they also know that all others know this too. Rational and selfish…

To a certain extend this model works in macro-economic theories, but people do weird things, things that do not fit this model. Thence neuroeconomics. Let's look what is going on inside those heads when decision-making takes place.

An experiment: 2 persons… gets 10 dollar and the instruction to give some to the other, at least one dollar. The 'receiver' has two options: accept whatever he gets or say 'NO" if the amount is too low. In the later case nobody gets the money.

If you are rational and selfish as receiver, everything you get for free is a profit, isn't it? And you expect that the smart "giver" will only offer ONE dollar.

But that is not how it worked out with humans. In general the "giver" offered the "receiver" about 5 dollars. The only group that acted consistently like the homo economicus was autistic people, who lack the understanding of emotions in others.

What neuroeconomists at least have discovered is what we already have learnt from Joshua Greene's findings. Like Plato already suggested: The mind is like a charioteer, whose chariot is pulled by two horses: ratio and feelings.

The metaphore needs only one small modification, as a neuroeconomist said: the ratio is a pony and the feelings are an elephant.

In other words, it has shown that in the process of decision-making our brain become a battlefield where two parties fight for control, the prefrontal cortex against the rest :-)

The Discussion

[13:25] herman Bergson: Thank you....:-)
[13:25] herman Bergson: If you have a remark or question, the floor is yours
[13:25] Mick Nerido: Economics can't be called a science then?
[13:26] herman Bergson: ooohhhh....
[13:26] herman Bergson: As we have seen economics is a lot of psychology....
[13:26] herman Bergson: And it depends on your definition of science....
[13:26] Anja Tigerfish: yes
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:26] herman Bergson: I think we have two...
[13:27] Mick Nerido: Can outcomes be predicted?
[13:27] herman Bergson: The physics approach and the statistical approach
[13:27] herman Bergson: Economics is a statistical science...
[13:27] herman Bergson: So predictions are statistical guesses I would say
[13:28] Mick Nerido: If we had computer running the economy would it be more rational?
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: well people must first program that computer
[13:29] herman Bergson: Interesting question.......
[13:29] herman Bergson: I dont think so....
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: cause its just a machine
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: that can only do what we tell ot how to and what to do
[13:29] herman Bergson: As Adam Smith already observed....our decisions are driven by passion
[13:29] herman Bergson: We have drives,tastes, fears, hopes.....
[13:30] Mick Nerido: Computer have no feelings or passion
[13:30] herman Bergson: Those count in the economic world
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: Mick - they have no needs- why should they need an economy?
[13:30] herman Bergson: Just look how stock exchange operates..
[13:30] herman Bergson: complete irrationality...
[13:31] Mick Nerido: Funny that it is so..
[13:31] herman Bergson: Well.....the greed crisis wasn't that funny at all :-)
[13:31] Mick Nerido: lol
[13:31] Paula Dix: Mind isnt only one thing? rational and emotional arent really working together?
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:31] herman Bergson: No Paula....
[13:32] Paula Dix: so we have more than one mind?
[13:32] herman Bergson: Evolutionary the "emotional" part of the brain is older than the cortex...
[13:32] herman Bergson: So first there are the emotional responses....fear, hope etc...
[13:33] Paula Dix: i see, then dennet is right on that text about mind being imaginary
[13:33] herman Bergson: The the prefrontal cortex kicks in and tries to control the situation
[13:33] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): :) we are exactly two folks in one
[13:33] Paula Dix: lol
[13:33] herman Bergson: By reducing the emotional part for instance...
[13:33] herman Bergson: That is why there can be panics in the stock exchange...
[13:34] herman Bergson: Rationally people say...ok no drama here....
[13:34] herman Bergson: But the emotions yell PANIC....Black Monday....Let's sell all shares of company X
[13:35] herman Bergson: and then it is a matter of who wins ^_^
[13:35] herman Bergson: In fact an enormously complex process
[13:35] Cain Levasseur: Asian Crisis a few years ago also started from fear
[13:35] herman Bergson: Well...there you have the example
[13:36] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): Panic certainly isn't rational, a prime example of our cerbral selves not harnessing our primal self
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes indeed Aristotle....and our rationality is in another part of the brain...
[13:36] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): "The Monster is out"
[13:36] Mick Nerido: Everyone can't win in the stock market
[13:36] herman Bergson: In a way ...yes ^_^
[13:36] Paula Dix: but what part decides what of these parts will win?
[13:37] herman Bergson: Good question Paula ^_^
[13:37] herman Bergson: You get the inclination to put in a your head....
[13:37] herman Bergson: The one who decides who wins...
[13:38] Marli Hax: okay then, I am sorry to leave you now, but I have to go off to bed now
[13:38] herman Bergson: Limbic system or prefrontal cortex :-)
[13:38] Marli Hax: it was a great reading herman, thank you
[13:38] herman Bergson: Sweet dreams Marli
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: ok night Marli
[13:38] Paula Dix: bye marli
[13:38] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): yes, my question is who and where is the referee?
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: Bye Marli
[13:38] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): good night marli
[13:38] Marli Hax: good night all
[13:38] Anja Tigerfish: have honey sweet dreams Marli
[13:38] herman Bergson: And here we touch on the philophy of mind
[13:39] herman Bergson: Yeah she is still so small....
[13:39] herman Bergson: To continue on your question Paula
[13:40] herman Bergson: I dont think neuroscientists KNOW who wins and why....
[13:40] herman Bergson: They observe that one of the two wins to put it simple...
[13:40] Paula Dix: makes sense :))
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:40] herman Bergson: The wireing of the brain is soooooo complex...
[13:41] Paula Dix: yes, certainly not an yes/no decision...
[13:41] herman Bergson: Left aside that not two brains are the same
[13:41] herman Bergson: No....not at all, I think
[13:41] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): Succeeding generations have to be the winners
[13:41] Cain Levasseur: and i think that to get an answer we cant only look the biological side of the problem
[13:42] Cain Levasseur: there are also cultural factors, material factors, etc.
[13:42] herman Bergson: Yes all is involved in such problems...
[13:42] herman Bergson: education, personal history...etc.
[13:42] Paula Dix: yes, many brain parts evaluating many things at the same time
[13:42] Cain Levasseur: right
[13:43] herman Bergson: exactly paula.....
[13:43] herman Bergson: And we are now at the level of observing it happen...
[13:43] herman Bergson: We only have correlations between brain events and behavior for instance...
[13:44] herman Bergson: How to interpret the relation between brain states and mental states is still a philosophical issue
[13:44] Mick Nerido: Its like perception all of us see things differently
[13:44] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): whoever survives the battle between rational and instinct will procreate and improve the species
[13:44] herman Bergson: Well Aristotle.....
[13:45] herman Bergson: That is a sound you hear among neuroscientists....
[13:45] herman Bergson: Understanding the brain will lead to a better understanding of ourselves and our behavior
[13:46] Mick Nerido: Cloning will allow one kind of brain to take over
[13:46] herman Bergson: Theoretically yes Mick...
[13:46] herman Bergson: But we KNOW for sure what will happen then...
[13:46] herman Bergson: We have patients with brain damage....
[13:47] herman Bergson: Where either the rational part of the emotional part is damaged...
[13:47] herman Bergson: These people cant live a normal life...
[13:47] herman Bergson: They are fundamentally handicapped
[13:47] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): one can cook a nice looking pudding, it is in the tasting (practical application) which will determine how well the neuroscientists can cook
[13:48] Mick Nerido: what about left and right brain control
[13:48] herman Bergson: That is a nice picture of the brain....
[13:48] herman Bergson: and very general..
[13:49] herman Bergson: The brain has a great plasticity...
[13:49] herman Bergson: So in general this picture behind me is ok....
[13:50] herman Bergson: but as I two brains are alike
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: correct
[13:50] herman Bergson: We are still at the beginning of the 5th revolution.....
[13:51] herman Bergson: Understanding the brain and ourselves...
[13:51] Cain Levasseur: ¿what do you mean by 5th revolution?
[13:51] herman Bergson: started in the last decade...about 2001 or so
[13:51] herman Bergson: It is in the first lecture on this project...
[13:52] Mick Nerido: 2nd life is like a big brain
[13:52] herman Bergson: Our view of our selves is revolutionarized....thrown over several times
[13:52] Anja Tigerfish: *-*rOfl*-*
[13:52] Anja Tigerfish: *-*r0fl*-*
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: hehee
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: well lot of peoples minds in here
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:52] Anja Tigerfish: ㋡
[13:53] herman Bergson: Yes we are only minds :-)
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:53] Anja Tigerfish: cool
[13:53] Mick Nerido: very true
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:53] herman Bergson: Well If you don't mind....
[13:53] Mick Nerido: mind over matter
[13:53] herman Bergson: I would like to thank you for your participation....
[13:53] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): the coldness of rationality and the heat of passion should mix into a lovely warmth
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: really interesting ㋡
[13:54] Cain Levasseur: Thank you
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ok all have to move on
[13:54] herman Bergson: poetic Aristotle
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: a rez party to attend
[13:54] Mick Nerido: Yes great lecture
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: cu soon again ㋡
[13:54] herman Bergson: Thank you all
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: interesting as always - thank you Herman
[13:54] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: Hooo!!!
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: Hoooo!
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: cu
[13:54] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): Thank you Professor :) stimulating as always
[13:54] Paula Dix: great! :))
[13:54] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman it's very interesting
[13:55] Anja Tigerfish: *^*^*^*^* Anja thinks that's *^*^*^*^*
[13:55] Anja Tigerfish: SuperCrazyFunnyFantasticBombasticCooool

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Monday, January 24, 2011

298: The Brain and Happiness

In the former lecture I showed you the graphics of a citation index. There was only one conclusion possible: happiness has become a hot issue for science.

But we are dealing here with a special concept of happiness. We do not mean that happiness which is a side - effect of having a good job, a family, a social network, friends. No, we mean happiness as such.

We mean that fleeting and elusive phenomenon, what not only just can become our part. No, happiness is nowadays almost regarded as a right. We HAVE to be happy, haven't we?

While we previously thought that a family, a job and friends would make you happy, content with your life, it is now almost the other way around. Your state of happiness leads to a better health, better social life and so on.

Self-help books make you believe that happiness is the medicine for the individual and the oil for the engine of society. Actually this isn't a new philosophy at all.

Just think of hedonism. Democritus ( 460 - 370 BC) seems to be the earliest Greek philosopher on record to have categorically embraced a hedonistic philosophy; he called the supreme goal of life "contentment" or "cheerfulness"

In the scientific debate about human emotions there has occurred a shift. For years we discussed depressions, but with the new anti-depressiva a pill can bring happiness again.

Now we go to the doctor, not because we suffer of a depression, but because we have a general uneasy feeling about our life, we don't know what is is, but we don't feel happy.

Even when we have a good job, friends , family and good health we are nor happy with our life. In the Netherlands you have counselors for such 'patients', who have studied philosophy. Otherwise there is Prozac….

Traditional psychology focusses mainly on mental defects and the therapy for that. In 2000 Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi published the article named "Positive Psychology" in the American Psychologist.

Psychology should focus on positive experiences, positive attitudes and positive institutions. It should concentrate on the question how to enhance the feeling of happiness of the individual, not on how to reduce the unhappiness of the patient.

Research has shown that focusing on positive things, doing good deeds deliberately and positive altruistic action increase the general level of your feeling of happiness.

What is happening here and what part is the brain playing? It now is generally assumed that every person has his characteristic level of happiness or content..

You certainly recognize the always smiling and cheerful colleague, what ever happens to him and on the other side that person, who is never satisfied, always complains about everything.

The geneticist David Lykken showed in 1996 with a research among 4000 Americans that 50% of our feeling of happiness depends on our genes and only 8% on income, religion, marital status and education. The remainder can be attributed to the hazards and joys of daily life.

So the intention to make people happier, makes hardly any sense, according to Lykken. But is this true? What happens in the brain? Can that be influenced or changed even?

One thing is at least discovered by Richard Davidson. The primary locations in the brain for our feeling of happiness or wellbeing are found in the left prefrontal cortex, so in the left hemisphere.

And the higher the activity there relative to activity in the right prefrontal cortex the higher the feeling of wellbeing, the standard mood or temper of a person is.

Patients with damage in the left prefrontal cortex are much more susceptible for depressions. Targeted action, wanting something to do and being interested in the outer world are directed by the left hemisphere.

Davidson disagrees with Lykken and asserts that the influence of the genes is only a 30%. Research on Tibetan monks has shown that the checkpoint of our standard mood or sense of wellbeing CAN be influenced by meditation.

They are, so to speak, world champions in being happy. That is the reason that meditation enjoys the attention from leading scientists. This is not about buddhism, but about the mental techniques used in meditation.

A result of this research is "mindfulness meditation". It can be described as a calm awareness of one's body functions, feelings, content of consciousness, or consciousness itself. It has a positive influence on the brain.

There is a lot on youTube about this subject, but the presentation "‪Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation‬" [ ]
is interesting in relation to our project.

The Discussion

[13:23] herman Bergson: May this be a happy ending of this lecture ^_^
[13:23] Paula Dix: :))
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): very good
[13:23] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks...feel free
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): I will watch it all later
[13:23] herman Bergson: is a 48 minutes movie....
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ahha
[13:24] Uallas Borgin: Maybe it was addressed at the beginning but I could not he here, but...
[13:24] Paula Dix: I've seen a discovery show about this, they took people photos from college and compared with persons 20 years later, all had "happiness levels" same as expressions in photos
[13:24] herman Bergson: an interesting lecture on neuroscience and mindfuness
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): they also say exercise helps with a feeling of well being
[13:24] Uallas Borgin: aren't we focussing too much on happiness?
[13:24] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): shall we pass the 'soma' around, Huxley may have been right
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): or "happiness"
[13:24] Paula Dix: also, when you have very good or very bad things the level changes, but 2 years later you are back to your level
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes is exactly what I said in the beginning...
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): very true
[13:25] Uallas Borgin: our grandparents were content to just get by
[13:25] herman Bergson: The present attitude is almost that we have a RIGHT to be happy
[13:25] Uallas Borgin: provide food for the children
[13:25] Paula Dix: or an obligation to be happy...
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): we don't really know how they felt about happiness tho
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): it was not discussed much
[13:25] Uallas Borgin: now we want a fulfilling job and relationship
[13:26] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): especially with grandchildren!
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes Paula...that is even more frustrating .
[13:26] Paula Dix: if someone criticize you and you say "but I'm happy this way" its an argument ending
[13:26] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): we can be as happy as we want to be
[13:26] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): some folks donotwantto be happy
[13:26] herman Bergson: Well scientifically ...what is interesting is
[13:26] Maga Randt: but think that even though ppl want to b happy they are afraid of being so :((
[13:27] herman Bergson: that every person has a kind of checkpoint...a default level of happiness...
[13:27] herman Bergson: Your overal general mood....
[13:27] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): religion tells us we should not be happy, we do not deserve to be
[13:27] Paula Dix: oh, same show said in the average, most people are a bit above medium of happiness scale
[13:28] herman Bergson: And what research HAS demonstrated is that you can push that level upward by meditation
[13:28] Paula Dix: lol Ari thats true, christians should fear god
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: hmm I'm mostly jkind of happy, was a bit mad now first cause of sl struggle but now Im happy again ㋡
[13:28] herman Bergson: This means....meditation really changes the brain
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: and all is like it should be
[13:28] Paula Dix: herman how definitive is that change by meditation??
[13:29] herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle....that is a serious social problem
[13:29] Maga Randt: depends on the religion Aristotle
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: hmm meditation is an interesting thing for sure
[13:29] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): does mediatation allow us to push all the preconceived notions of unhappiness out?
[13:29] Ixax Xigalia: I see frequent near miracles with meditation with my students.
[13:29] herman Bergson: Well they did experiments in a company of 200 employees...
[13:30] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i think when it is consistant ari
[13:30] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): it helps a lot
[13:30] herman Bergson: Everybody was busy busy busy and in stress....
[13:30] Zinzi Serevi: mind fulness is just a hype
[13:30] Uallas Borgin: The meditation we are speaking of here is Buddhist or Hindu in nature
[13:30] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): prevention may be the best cure
[13:30] herman Bergson: they took a group and gave them a training in learnt from buddhism...
[13:30] herman Bergson: Just the training...nothing religious etc.
[13:30] Uallas Borgin: it is practiced in the east as a religious practice
[13:31] herman Bergson: And it worked....
[13:31] herman Bergson: it had a lasting effect on the stress level...the general wellbeing...
[13:31] Paula Dix: they told what happened if they stop meditating?
[13:31] Ixax Xigalia: yes, of course it works. Has been working for thousands of years. hehehe
[13:31] Zinzi Serevi: their are many ways to happiness
[13:31] Zinzi Serevi: mind fulness is just one method
[13:32] herman Bergson: Indeed fact it was there in the monastaries here in Euroope....
[13:32] herman Bergson: But lost out of sight..
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes is just one method...
[13:32] herman Bergson: I think it doesn't matter how you meditate....
[13:32] Ixax Xigalia: yes, lost or killed off during the inquisitions
[13:33] herman Bergson: Hello Kiki !! :-)
[13:33] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): what are you supposed to think about when you meditate?
[13:33] Zinzi Serevi: no its the art to change your thoughts about things
[13:33] Kiki Walpanheim: Hello Professlor
[13:33] Kiki Walpanheim: *professor
[13:33] Anja Tigerfish: huhu..Kiki
[13:33] Kiki Walpanheim: hi all
[13:33] Kiki Walpanheim: hi anja
[13:33] Uallas Borgin: I suppose christian monks in prayer arrive at the same effect
[13:33] Maga Randt: Hi Kiki
[13:33] herman Bergson: What philosophically important here is to note how a mental state....happiness changes by changing a brain state
[13:33] Paula Dix: hi kiki
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: hi iki
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: kiki
[13:34] herman Bergson: We will discuss this issue later in the project, but keep this already in mind....
[13:34] Zinzi Serevi: its not working on the ones who are really depressed
[13:34] Zinzi Serevi: then you cannot without medication
[13:34] herman Bergson: What I am talking about is mainly the material part of the mind - body problem at the moment
[13:34] Paula Dix: "really depressed" then means something more serious in the brain?
[13:35] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): if the left prefontal cortex is damaged, what part of the brain repairs it in meditation?
[13:35] Zinzi Serevi: yes
[13:35] Kiki Walpanheim: hi paula, bejiita
[13:35] Paula Dix: :)
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): hihi
[13:35] Kiki Walpanheim: hi gemma
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes.....people with defect in the left prefrontal cortex are easily into a depression
[13:36] Uallas Borgin: how about really depressed ppl and meditation?
[13:36] Paula Dix: but meditation will work on them also?
[13:36] Zinzi Serevi: i dont think that will help them
[13:36] Uallas Borgin: are there instances where meditation is not advised?
[13:36] herman Bergson: I have no information on that Uallas
[13:36] Paula Dix: i mean the left prefrontal cortex damaged people
[13:36] Uallas Borgin: oh ok
[13:36] herman Bergson: When there is braindamage.....medication wont help
[13:36] Paula Dix: and meditation?
[13:37] herman Bergson: on the other hand.....
[13:37] Paula Dix: lol that was lag, not me :)))
[13:37] herman Bergson: the placticity of the brain is remarkable...
[13:37] Zinzi Serevi: yes it is !
[13:37] herman Bergson: it still is uncharted territory in neurosciences....
[13:37] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yes we are watching the progress of our arizona who was shot in the head a little over a week ago
[13:37] herman Bergson: But the brain can do strange things....
[13:37] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): amazing
[13:38] Paula Dix: wow Gemma!
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:38] herman Bergson: Oh my.....Yes I have been thinking about her too....
[13:38] bergfrau Apfelbaum: my job needs me :-( .... i am so "happy" that there is this class! see u Thursday
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye ㋡
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): bergie
[13:38] herman Bergson: smiles...
[13:38] Paula Dix: lol berg. bye!
[13:38] herman Bergson: Bye Bergie...
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: cu berg
[13:39] Kiki Walpanheim: cu bergfrau
[13:39] herman Bergson: There are cases that other parts of the brain take over functions of damaged parts
[13:39] Zinzi Serevi: yes
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: also must move on a while, seems some friends have some new place they are starting up and want me to come by a little
[13:39] Ixax Xigalia: or have almost no brain and function nearly normally.... mind is not brain (:
[13:39] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye ㋡
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: must check what that can be
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: cu later ㋡
[13:40] Kiki Walpanheim: cu beijiita
[13:40] herman Bergson: Ok Bejiita :-)
[13:40] herman Bergson: As you see even SL offers you a busy life...
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): sure does!!!!!!
[13:40] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): ofcourse it does:)
[13:40] Zinzi Serevi: no time to be depressed in here..:)
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:40] Paula Dix: I dont know Ixax, plasticity can explain that
[13:40] Kiki Walpanheim: yes there are four events of notices i received for this time slot right now
[13:41] herman Bergson: Well Ixax....mind and brain.....that discussion is what we are heading at.....
[13:41] Uallas Borgin: tc everyone
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye ㋡
[13:41] Uallas Borgin: see you next time
[13:41] Uallas Borgin: . . . . . .
[13:41] Uallas Borgin: /|\ Blessings /|\
[13:41] Ixax Xigalia: (: cool
[13:41] Paula Dix: bye!
[13:41] herman Bergson: Ok....I guess it is time to thank you all for your participation
[13:41] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...:-)
[13:41] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): Thank you, Professor
[13:41] Zinzi Serevi: thank you Herman
[13:41] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Ixax for your note:)
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:42] Ixax Xigalia: Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): will nto be here tuesday
[13:42] herman Bergson: My pleasue Ixax
[13:42] Kiki Walpanheim: thank you professor
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i dont think
[13:42] Ixax Xigalia: You're welcome.
[13:42] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman for this lecture
[13:42] Ixax Xigalia: is there a group for notices?
[13:42] Anja Tigerfish: Very very very thanks professor
[13:42] herman Bergson: Yes the Class has a group Ixax
[13:43] herman Bergson: If you like to join Ixax
[13:43] Ixax Xigalia: Yes, I would
[13:43] herman Bergson: Nice you were here too Zinzi :-)
[13:43] herman Bergson: moment
[13:44] herman Bergson: Did you receive an invitation Ixax?
[13:44] Ixax Xigalia: yes, thank you
[13:44] herman Bergson: great :-)
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

297: Happiness and the Brain

Have you ever googled on for instance "Happiness"? You get 64.000.000 hits in 0.13 seconds! Or a google search on the literal statement "How to feel happy". It gives you 493.000 hits in 0.15 seconds.

You even will find the World Database of Happiness, directed by the Dutchman Ruut Veenhoven of the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. Let me quote the first lines of its philosophy:

- quote:
Happiness is a highly valued matter. Most people agree that it is better to enjoy life than to suffer, and endorse public policies that aim at creating greater happiness for a greater number of people. Though not everybody accepts the utilitarian axiom that happiness is ultimately the only value, the desirability of happiness as such is almost undisputed.
- end quote

The MacMillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy tells us:
- quote
As an object of philosophical inquiry, the concept of happiness is as old as philosophy itself. It was central to the ethical thought of the Greeks, most famously Aristotle, and was restored to this position of prominence by the nineteenth-century utilitarians.
- end quote

For a long time to find happiness we focused on studying our physical and mental diseases and tried to find a cure for them. And as you saw….the direct study of happiness itself was more the playground of the philosophers.

This has changed in the passed 20 years or so. Happiness has become a real subject of scientific investigation and research. As I said, we already have a World Database of Happiness and associated with it we have the "Journal of Happiness Studies" also published by a Dutch Academic publisher.

The Journal was probably first published in 1996, but look at the graphics behind me. That index started counting in 2005, but that doesn't matter. What you see is absolutely clear: Happiness is a HOT issue in the sciences.

- quote
The Journal of Happiness Studies is a peer reviewed scientific journal devoted to subjective well-being. It covers both cognitive evaluations of life, and affective enjoyment of life. Next to contributions on appraisal of life-as-a-whole, the journal accepts contributions on life domains and life-aspects.
- end quote

Again a layer is peeled of from the realm of philosophy. Happiness has become measurable, quantifiable. The economists and sociologists take care of the abstract perspective, for instance the collective happiness of a whole country.

The psychologists and neuroscientists take care of the individual and how he experiences happiness. And lots of test persons are happy to fill out questionaries or be put in a fMRI - scanner.

Why this change in focus? Why has happiness become a legitimate object of scientific attention? And what do we mean by happiness?From the quotes you already get an impression of what is meant by happiness today.

It all began with the Easterlin Paradox. The Easterlin Paradox is a key concept in happiness economics. It is named for economist and USC Professor Richard Easterlin who discussed the factors contributing to happiness in the 1974 paper "Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? Some Empirical Evidence."

Although income per person rose steadily in the United States between 1946 and 1970, average reported happiness showed no long-term trend and declined between 1960 and 1970.

The American dream shattered…… more money doesn't make you happier. Once we have a reasonable income it seems that extra money does not make a difference with respect to our basic feeling of happiness or wellbeing.

This caused the avalanche of studies on happiness. Besides that it is a prosperity phenomenon, says Ruut Veenhoven, the Western World has solved so many of its problems that it is hard to figure out how we can improve life further.

One thing is clear, studies by Ruut Veenhoven and Michael Hagerty (2003) and economists Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson, both of the University of Pennsylvania (2008) have shown that the Eastelin paradox in fact does not exists, that there is no paradox and countries did indeed get happier with increasing income.

Thus, a bonus of 1.000.000 Linden dollars would definitely increase my happiness. Next lecture we'll see how individual happiness works .

The Discussion

[13:21] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:21] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh that would be nice
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[13:22] herman Bergson: The floor is yours :-)
[13:22] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i am sure that happiness also resides in some special part of the brain
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:22] BALDUR Joubert: hm.. we have about 6 billions of individuals.. we'll never finish our studies of happines lol
[13:22] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): nope
[13:23] herman Bergson: that is what I will reveal in the next lecture Gemma ^_^...I'll show you the location :-)
[13:23] Anja Tigerfish: ㋡
[13:23] herman Bergson: It is indeed an interesting concept....
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i have already seen it somewhere else
[13:24] herman Bergson: is it a feeling that can grow indefinitely.....and to what heights then?
[13:24] herman Bergson: or is it a constant
[13:24] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): the decline of happiness cited in the 60's is interesting, I wonder how war and the draft played a part in that
[13:24] herman Bergson: yes indeed Aristotle...
[13:25] BALDUR Joubert: how about reseaching on the question of happiness in a evolutionary /survival context first
[13:25] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): and overall, how peace and war weight on happiness
[13:25] herman Bergson: these were American researchers…I mean on an American population
[13:25] BALDUR Joubert: basics
[13:25] herman Bergson: this World Database of Happiness is not a joke..
[13:25] herman Bergson: real scientific source...
[13:26] herman Bergson: Maybe you'll find an answer there Aristotle
[13:26] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): of course we American like to accept all this war is a UN brotherhood and try to make everyone miserable
[13:27] BALDUR Joubert: smile..collecting stamps does not tell you much about the counties that printed them..i am very doubtful about any conclusions made on the subject
[13:27] herman Bergson: that is the contrary of happiness....
[13:28] herman Bergson: a lot of countries do research on the wellbeing of their inhabitants nowadays Baldur
[13:28] herman Bergson: Oh read my words.....
[13:28] BALDUR Joubert: many nations today in un..and how many will you give the credit
[13:29] herman Bergson: I already jumped to the meaning "wellbeing" for happiness
[13:29] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): wellbeing, and war does create jobs, folks should be happy then
[13:29] herman Bergson: smiles
[13:30] Anja Tigerfish: brrrrr
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: smile..even the US..CAN WE GOVE THEM CREDIT for actiong for the wellbeing...happiness of their people? see the resistance in the senate again
[13:30] herman Bergson: In fact that happened before World War II Aristotle...
[13:30] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): the cold war brought us extreme happiness in the 50s
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: unthinkable in europe
[13:30] herman Bergson: The preparations for war were a push for the economy and employment
[13:31] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): and the aftermath of war world 2 GI bill
[13:31] BALDUR Joubert: ari..wars like that profit the economy..and as there are less unemployed cause a couple ot millions are dead....
[13:31] herman Bergson: We could do a small classroom test....
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ahha
[13:32] herman Bergson: is everybody HAPPY ?????
[13:32] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): how much do you think the government is responsible for wellbeing and happiness?
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yep
[13:32] Anja Tigerfish: *:-.,_,.-:*'``'*NOOOOOO!!!!*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: I am ㋡
[13:32] herman Bergson: oops
[13:32] herman Bergson: only the responses???
[13:32] BALDUR Joubert: lol..what you think.. a many of us hermans thinks happy ..
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): hmmm
[13:33] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I am determined to be happy regardless of the government
[13:33] herman Bergson: what do you mean Baldur ?
[13:33] herman Bergson: good Aristotle
[13:33] BALDUR Joubert: you asked if everyone is happy..
[13:33] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): folks I love make me happy
[13:33] BALDUR Joubert: depends of what we think of..
[13:33] herman Bergson: Yes Baldur
[13:34] BALDUR Joubert: in class being here i say yes.
[13:34] herman Bergson: You didn't answer
[13:34] herman Bergson: Great... :-)
[13:34] BALDUR Joubert: if i think of the subject..and the explanations for humans.. i cray out loud no
[13:34] herman Bergson: Oh..I should answer the question too of course...
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: my friends make me happy ㋡
[13:34] herman Bergson: My anser is a definite YES
[13:34] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): that is good
[13:34] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I hope that happiness adheres to my individualist philosophy, we are responsible
[13:35] herman Bergson: Next lecture you will know more Aristotle ^_^
[13:35] BALDUR Joubert: which means i will ignore all around me..cause happiness is a individual feeling
[13:35] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): as always, Herman :)
[13:35] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I do ignore most folks Baldur
[13:36] herman Bergson: You dont need to ignore others to be happy yourself Baldur
[13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): goodness no
[13:36] BALDUR Joubert: sure..i f beertje asked me to go dance with her after class ..i wpould be happy..
[13:36] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I concentrate on the worthy
[13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): come to wildsky
[13:36] herman Bergson: smiles
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): qwarkk wil be playing
[13:36] herman Bergson: I can imagine....
[13:36] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): LOL
[13:36] herman Bergson: I have the same idea Baldur ^_^
[13:36] BALDUR Joubert: smile.. but not thinking of all the others who would have wanted to dance qwith her lol
[13:37] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): well, that makes me smile to ponder it, but you are out of luck I would think Baldur
[13:37] herman Bergson: What did I say ...:-)
[13:37] BALDUR Joubert: who are unhappy lol
[13:37] herman Bergson: Well...let me make you all happy and dismiss class.....
[13:37] herman Bergson: who knows with whom Beertje will be dancing ^_^
[13:37] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I read teh paper each moring and have spells of unhappness
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): no clue
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh yes ari
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): well some anger too
[13:38] BALDUR Joubert: smile.. so finally the beatles were not that wrong:)
[13:38] herman Bergson: Papers arent meant to make you happy Aristotle...I am sorry:-)
[13:38] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): but then I see the those folk sI turly care about and care about me and the happiness returns
[13:39] herman Bergson: smiles...
[13:39] herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle...
[13:39] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): that is what makes life delicious
[13:39] herman Bergson: We ignore what is in those newspaper and only read Gemmas articles
[13:39] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): LOL we should
[13:39] BALDUR Joubert: smile..evdrt thought why films without ha happy enbding make less on the box office then those even stupid that have?
[13:39] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ah
[13:40] herman Bergson: Is that so Baldur?
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): well depends on the artistic values
[13:40] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): yes Baldur, I am sure but Polyanna is a fraud....without sadness there would be n value to happiness
[13:41] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): no*
[13:41] BALDUR Joubert: its so..many films had tochange their endingn becasue the producers didn'tagrre with a sad ending
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): wel we wll find out about that thursday
[13:41] herman Bergson: The Greek invented the Tragedy....
[13:41] BALDUR Joubert: smile. i'm a cinephil
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:41] Anja Tigerfish: cool
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): see you thursday
[13:42] herman Bergson: Well The 300......that move about the Spartans against Xerxes...
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: aaa cu then
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye ㋡
[13:42] herman Bergson: atthe end all 300 died....
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: ;(
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:42] Anja Tigerfish: •´¨*•.¸.♥ Bye Bye ♥.¸.•*¨`•
[13:42] herman Bergson: Yes a great movie ^_^
[13:42] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): who wants to watch such a movie to begin with?
[13:42] BALDUR Joubert: lol.. its based on a comic strip
[13:43] BALDUR Joubert: and its a comic strip even as a movie..
[13:43] herman Bergson: I did Aristotle....:-)
[13:43] Qwark Allen: see you later
[13:43] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): one should enlist inthe miltary if they wantto see such horrifice things
[13:43] Qwark Allen: ¸¸.☆´ ¯¨☆.¸¸`☆** **☆´ ¸¸.☆¨¯`☆ H E R MA N ☆´ ¯¨☆.¸¸`☆** **☆´ ¸¸.☆¨¯`
[13:43] Qwark Allen: ty
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: cu soon
[13:43] herman Bergson: Bye Qwark!
[13:43] Qwark Allen: was interesting as allways
[13:43] BALDUR Joubert: by q
[13:43] herman Bergson: Bye Bejiita
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:43] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): bey Qwark
[13:43] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): Vietnam was all it took for me
[13:44] herman Bergson: I understand..
[13:44] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I suppose I am predudiced LOL
[13:44] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): prejudiced*
[13:44] BALDUR Joubert: yyou werenpt happy when they swen t into savethe poor viets from communism ari`?
[13:44] herman Bergson: That's ok....we all are
[13:45] BALDUR Joubert: look at he figures.. how many approvedot the firsst irak wae`?
[13:45] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): teh military-industrial complex has been rolling since
[13:45] BALDUR Joubert: wR?
[13:45] BALDUR Joubert: smile as tinme goes bye..
[13:46] BALDUR Joubert: peoplethink of the casualties money spent..
[13:46] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): the timeframe of the happiness of folks is intrigueing in regards to war and peace
[13:46] herman Bergson: yes inded Aristotle....
[13:46] BALDUR Joubert: ari..look at documentariesof the forst peopleserehappy to go to war. of for youthe civilwar..
[13:46] herman Bergson: It is very well possible that you find info on that in th WOld Database
[13:47] herman Bergson: let me find the URL
[13:47] herman Bergson:
[13:47] BALDUR Joubert: so many who wanted to participate afraid the war would be over beforethey can be in action..
[13:47] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): the blending of and overlap between happiness and unhappiness as war ebbs and flows
[13:48] herman Bergson: The Database collects all scientific studies on happiness
[13:48] BALDUR Joubert: they were happy to be enrolled..
[13:48] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): cool, thanks Herman
[13:48] Anja Tigerfish: *^*^*^*^* Anja thinks that's *^*^*^*^*
[13:48] Anja Tigerfish: SuperCrazyFunnyFantasticBombasticCooool
[13:48] Anja Tigerfish: *^*^*^*^*^* Ooww laaaaa *^*^*^*^*^*
[13:48] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): :)
[13:48] BALDUR Joubert: so happiness.. iof one doesn't try to understand the basic instincts..
[13:49] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): your enthusiasm is nice to see Anja
[13:49] Anja Tigerfish: :))
[13:49] Anja Tigerfish: ㋡
[13:49] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): well taht is another thing Baldur.....
[13:49] BALDUR Joubert: canot beundersstood bys looking at our society not even the precedent ones..
[13:49] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): is satisfiying the primal urges being happy?
[13:50] BALDUR Joubert: smile.. are there primal urges which could produce the feeling of hapiness..
[13:50] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): as always, this class makes me think
[13:50] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): which is a grand thing
[13:50] herman Bergson: reveal some details....
[13:50] BALDUR Joubert: if so..which.. and why.
[13:51] BALDUR Joubert: and are they genetically imposed..or culturaélly?
[13:51] herman Bergson: happiness is in our brain.....and it can be influenced...
[13:51] BALDUR Joubert: socially?
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:51] herman Bergson: pretty interesting research results
[13:52] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): well, Thursday then :)
[13:52] herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle...same time same place :-)
[13:52] BALDUR Joubert: smile.. if it can be influences it proofs that its cultural not genetic
[13:52] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): good byt every one, thanks again Herman
[13:52] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): smiling
[13:52] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): bye
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: bye Ari
[13:52] Anja Tigerfish: •´¨*•.¸.♥ Bye Bye ♥.¸.•*¨`•
[13:52] herman Bergson: right Baldur....30% genetic only
[13:53] Anja Tigerfish: oooooo
[13:53] BALDUR Joubert: smile..ok.. theree we have a basis.. to explore:)
[13:53] Anja Tigerfish: ....and 70
[13:53] Paula Dix: hi
[13:54] BALDUR Joubert: having a draqgomnin your you think its genetic ?
[13:54] herman Bergson: yes Anja...influenced by nurture and environment and what you do yourself
[13:54] herman Bergson: Hi Paula^_^
[13:54] BALDUR Joubert: PAULA ..)
[13:54] Anja Tigerfish: Greetings Paula
[13:54] Paula Dix: too late... :(((
[13:54] herman Bergson: unfortunately ..yes
[13:55] Paula Dix: lol
[13:55] Paula Dix: but i have to work :)))
[13:55] BALDUR Joubert: even if herman grows his tulips outside:)
[13:55] BALDUR Joubert: tulips
[13:55] Paula Dix: its almost 8pm for me now, work went a bit late than the usual 6pm
[13:56] Paula Dix: what you grow tulips outside in winter?
[13:56] herman Bergson: It is spring for me Paula....
[13:56] BALDUR Joubert: smile paula..what a pity..cause you would have learned tonight that happiness is leaving at 6 and be here for class in time:)
[13:57] Paula Dix: lol
[13:57] Paula Dix: i will warn my boss of that
[13:57] BALDUR Joubert: grin right herman?
[13:57] herman Bergson: true...
[13:58] Paula Dix: guys check this link:
[13:58] herman Bergson: this class was about missed happiness by an hour Paula
[13:58] Paula Dix: and that makes me sad
[13:58] BALDUR Joubert: come on.. we are stiil her to cheer yuo up:)
[13:58] Paula Dix: :)))
[13:58] BALDUR Joubert: that should make you happy:)
[13:58] Paula Dix: I will have to be happy reading the site later
[13:58] Bejiita Imao: ㋡
[13:59] Paula Dix: btw, finished october already :))
[13:59] Bejiita Imao: ok time to move on
[13:59] Bejiita Imao: cu
[13:59] Paula Dix: bye
[13:59] BALDUR Joubert: bej..we must talk one day .about cern..
[14:00] BALDUR Joubert: thinking that you are there..
[14:00] Paula Dix: what about cern? exploded or they found the god particle?
[14:00] herman Bergson: watching......
[14:00] BALDUR Joubert: smile..
[14:00] Paula Dix: amazing video
[14:01] BALDUR Joubert: those brazilians.. nothing goes without god--
[14:02] Paula Dix: lol
[14:02] Paula Dix: normaly a bunch of them, its scary
[14:02] BALDUR Joubert: but i noticed thaT THE ruffle in the slums and even the mudslides were no longer connected to a divine
[14:02] Paula Dix: oh, this time it also got rich people
[14:03] BALDUR Joubert: jusdt human ..and society..
[14:03] Paula Dix: high level hotels on the mountains, big mansions
[14:03] herman Bergson: fascinating.....
[14:03] BALDUR Joubert: well compared to queensland.. its just a small case event.
[14:04] Paula Dix: amazing, isn't? I was surprised with africa, with what people tell about i was expecting them to stay there on the corner
[14:04] Paula Dix: lol Baldur, that was the worst that ever happened in brazil
[14:05] BALDUR Joubert: though victims were ore important..but ..why shpould we fee unhappy cause there are 600 dead.. 53 in cairo.. 150 in ceylon..and so in
[14:05] Paula Dix: yes, lots of people die all the time
[14:06] Paula Dix: a friend said luckily or we would have no space pretty soon :))
[14:06] BALDUR Joubert: and most because ot he stupidity ofmen..not nature
[14:06] Paula Dix: yes, true
[14:06] herman Bergson: well my dear friend..I got to go :-)
[14:07] Paula Dix: ok, i will play with blender :)))
[14:07] herman Bergson: Bye..:-)
[14:07] Paula Dix: bye!
[14:07] Paula Dix: bye Baldur!

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