Showing 7 posts tagged brain

The Moral of the Story: ‘The Storytelling Animal,’ by Jonathan Gottschall

"Narrative is stitched intrinsically into the fabric of human psychology."

"There are several surprises about stories. The first is that we spend a great deal of time in fictional worlds, whether in daydreams, novels, confabulations or life narratives."

"A second surprise: The dominant themes of story aren’t what we might assume them to be…They bubble with conflict and struggle…Trouble, Gottschall argues, is the universal grammar of stories.”

"When researchers pick apart the hours of dream content, it turns out dreamland is all about fight or flight."

"Neuroscience has long recognized that emulation of the future is one of the main businesses intelligent brains invest in. By learning the rules of the world and simulating outcomes in the service of decision making, brains can play out events without the risk and expense of attempting them physically."

Changing the brain requires the correct neurotransmitters, and those are especially in attendance when a person is curious, is predicting what will happen next and is emotionally engaged.”

"If the narrative doesn’t contain the suitable kind of virtue, brains don’t absorb it…This leads to the suggestion that story’s role is ‘intensely moralistic.’”

Stories serve the biological function of encouraging pro-social behavior.”

“‘If the research is correct, fiction is one of the primary sculpting forces of individuals and societies.’”

"The medium of story is changing, in other words, but not its essence. Our inborn thirst for narrative means that story — its power, purpose and relevance — will endure as long as the human animal does." — David Eagleman,

Theory of Mind and the Psychology of ‘Being Social’

"Theory of mind is the cognitive skill of understanding another person’s state of mind. It’s an ability to intuitively comprehend that other people have mental states (beliefs, intentions, desires, knowledge etc) that may differ from your own and an understanding of others’ emotions and behaviours. Closely related to empathy, theory of mind is an innate ability that everyone possesses, but that some have developed to a greater degree than others. Scientists have now proven that the size of a person’s social network is directly related to the size of part of the brain called the orbital prefrontal cortex, but that this is only true when brain size is combined with the psychological skills associated with a developed theory of mind.” — Paul Sutton, FutureComms

Top 5 Most Common Regrets of the Dying and How to Avoid Them

Image: on Flickr

How many people have ever lived on Earth? Whether you believe it’s 107,602,707,791 or not, I think we can all agree that the answer is a lot.

That means we should have tons of insight into what people regret the most when they are dying so we don’t make the same mistakes over and over and over again for thousands of years, right?

After reading countless articles on this topic, here’s what I learned…

In 2005, Scientific American and WebMD claimed, ”New research traces regret to the brain’s medial orbitofrontal cortex.” As recent as a couple months ago, published a study (reported on saying, “…brain activity in a region called the ventral striatum, which is associated with feelings of regret.”

Top 5 Most Common Regrets of the Dying (by Bronnie Ware, author of the full-length memoir, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying - A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, released worldwide):

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Top 5 Regrets, Inverted (by Paul Graham, an essayist, programmer, investor, and founder of Y Combinator):
  1. Don’t ignore your dreams.
  2. Don’t work too much.
  3. Say what you think.
  4. Cultivate friendships.
  5. Be happy.
"Managing regret productively may be an essential ingredient for mental health, a good quality of life, and a positive sense of well-being." — Michael Craig Miller, M.D. Editor in Chief, Harvard Mental Health Letter

So, what are you going to do today, this week, this month, and this year to live with no regrets?