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I guess I’ll Go Eat Worms

Lonely people are screwed; we desperately need other people, but studies show our brains can make us unpleasant company

(Image via PostSecret)

Image via PostSecret

by Robin Marantz Herring


"In one MRI study, for instance, Cacioppo put subjects into a scanner and showed them negative images that had either a social or a non-social context. (A negative social image might be a picture of two men arguing; a negative non-social image might be of a shark.) Subjects who had been identified as lonely paid more attention to the negative social images. “The lonelier the brain,” Cacioppo said at a TEDx talk last year, “the more visual cortical activity is devoted to that negative social image.” Lonely people also showed less activation, when looking at negative social images, of the temporal parietal junction, the brain region involved in taking another person’s point of view.

In another study, Cacioppo brought lonely and non-lonely young adults into a sleep lab. The lonely subjects, he found, had more disordered, less restorative sleeping, with more micro-awakenings during the night, almost as though they were remaining vigilant for social rejection — or for threats of any kind — even as they slept. As a result they didn’t feel refreshed after sleep, and tended to get drowsy during the day.”

The visible face of intention: why kinematics matters

“A key component of social understanding is the ability to read intentions from movements. But how do we discern intentions in others’ actions? What kind of intention information is actually available in the features of others’ movements? Based on the assumption that intentions are hidden away in the other person’s mind, standard theories of social cognition have mainly focused on the contribution of higher level processes. Here, we delineate an alternative approach to the problem of intention-from-movement understanding. We argue that intentions become “visible” in the surface flow of agents’ motions. Consequently, the ability to understand others’ intentions cannot be divorced from the capability to detect essential kinematics. This hypothesis has far reaching implications for how we know other minds and predict others’ behavior….”

Rising temperatures can be hard on a dog’s life


"…Leaving your dog unattended in a hot car can be deadly. Nelson says if temperatures are around 80 degrees Fahrenheit or above, your pets shouldn’t be left in the car. Cracking the windows doesn’t let in enough cool air and the temperature inside the car can soar to more than 100 degrees in just a matter of minutes.

Even walking your dog at this time of year can be dangerous. If your dog is lagging behind, panting excessively or has saliva thicker than usual, it’s time to cool off your canine, Nelson said.

"If you continue to push your dog and its internal temperature rises, it’s going to get weaker and more wobbly," Nelson said. "The dog may start to seizure and even become unconscious as symptoms progress. Those high temperatures will shut down the internal organs, which can be fatal when a dog overheats that much. Even if you get the dog to a veterinary clinic, it may be too late."

For minor overheating, you can cool your dog off by wetting it down with water and letting it rest in the shade. You also can turn a fan on the dog or put it in an air-conditioned car. To avoid heat exhaustion, walk your dog during the coolest parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening.

If your dog is experiencing more severe symptoms of heat exhaustion, wet him down with water and get him to a veterinarian immediately — as timely treatment is imperative in trying to reverse any damage the heat has done to the dog’s body. While driving to the veterinarian, directing your car’s air vents toward your dog while it is wet will also aide in the cooling process.

A dog’s tolerance of heat varies depending on its breed and age, Nelson said. Elderly dogs and puppies can’t regulate their body temperatures as well, so they will have a harder time coping with the heat. Dogs with shorter snouts, like boxers and pugs, already have difficulty breathing, making them more susceptible to the effects of heat.

"These breeds already have compromised airwaves, so when they’re panting heard because of the heat, it starts to cause swelling of the tissues in their throat," Nelson said. "They then can’t move the air very well and they can quickly succumb to the effects of heat stroke."

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