Monday, 30 April 2012

How to Make People Like You...

If you want people to like you, make them feel good about themselves. This golden rule of friendship works every time - guaranteed! The principle is straightforward. If I meet you and make you feel good about yourself, you will like me and seek every opportunity to see me again to reconstitute the same good feeling you felt the first time we met. Unfortunately, this powerful technique is seldom used because we are continually focused on ourselves and not others. We put our wants and needs before the wants and needs of others. The irony is that people will fulfill your wants and needs in any way they can if they like you.
The simple communication techniques that follow will help you keep the focus of the conversation on the person you are talking to and make them feel good about themselves.

The Big Three
Our brains continually scan the environment for friend or foe signals. People who pose a threat give off foe cues and people who do not pose a threat give off friend cues. When you meet people, ensure that you send the right non-verbal cues that signal that you are not a threat. The three primary friend cues are the eyebrow flash, head tilt, and smile.

Eyebrow Flash
The eyebrow flash is a quick up and down movement of the eyebrows. As people approach one another they eyebrow flash each other to send the message that they do not pose a threat. Since eyebrow flashes can be seen at a distance, people typically eyebrow flash as they approach others.

Head Tilt
The head tilt is a slight tilt of the head to one side or the other. This cue signals that the approaching person is not a threat because they are exposing their carotid artery. The carotid artery is the primary source for blood to reach the brain and if disrupted, causes severe brain damage or death within minutes. Exposing the carotid artery sends the signal that the person exposing their carotid artery does not pose a threat nor does the person they are approaching pose a threat.

A smile sends the message "I like you." When you smile at someone, they have a hard time not returning the smile. A smile triggers a small endorphin release in the brain, which promotes a feeling of well-being. In other words, when you smile, you feel good about yourself. This supports the notion that people will like you if you make them feel good about themselves.

Empathic Statements
Empathic statements keep the focus on the other person. Because people are typically focused on themselves, they feel good about themselves when others make them the center of attention. Empathic statements capture a person's verbal message, physical status, or emotional feeling, and, using parallel language, reflects that verbal message, physical status, or emotional feeling back to that person. Avoid repeating back word for word what the person said. Parroting can sound patronizing and sometimes condescending. The basic formula for constructing empathic statements is "So you..." This basic formula keeps the focus on the other person and away from you. We naturally tend to say something to the effect, "I understand how you feel." The other person automatically thinks, "No, you don't know how I feel because you are not me." The basic formula ensures that the focus of the conversation remains on the person you are talking to.

Example 1
George: I've been really busy this week.
Tom: So you didn't have much free time in the last few days.

Once the basic formula for empathic statements has been mastered, more sophisticated empathic statements can be constructed by dropping "So you..."

Example 2
George: I've been really busy this week.
Tom: Free time has been at a premium in the last several days.

The most effective way to flatter people is to allow them to flatter themselves. This technique avoids the problem of appearing insincere when complimenting someone. When people compliment themselves, sincerity is not an issue and people rarely miss an opportunity to flatter themselves. Consider the following examples:

Example 1
Henry: How do you manage to stay in shape with your busy schedule?

Example 2
Vickie: I haven't met one person who didn't like your home cooked pies.

Asking a Favor
Ben Franklin observed that if he asked a colleague for a favor, the colleague liked him more than if he did not ask him for a favor. This phenomenon became known as the Ben Franklin Effect. At first glance, this seems counterintuitive. If you ask a person for a favor, you would think you would like the person more because they did you a favor; however, this is not the case. When a person does someone a favor, they feel good about themselves. The Golden Rule states that if you make a person feel good about themselves, they will like you. Asking someone to do you a favor is not all about you. It is all about the person doing you the favor. Do not overuse this technique because Ben Franklin also said, "Guests, like fish begin to smell after three days" (as do people who ask too many favors.)
Getting people to like you is easy if you follow the Golden Rule. The hard part is following the Golden Rule because we must put the interest of others above our own.

by John R. "Jack" Schafer, Ph.D. 

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Video: The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

The subconscious mind is a remarkable source of power greatly misunderstood and wholly under utilised by us all. This video highlights just some of the key factors involved with the subconscious and what we can do to use it better.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Creativity and Mental Illness

Having the fortune of previously studying under Shelley Carson it is nice to read about her research and what new frontiers are being breached in psychology. I find the link between creativity and mental illness fascinating; what a fine line it can sometimes be... 

Ignoring what seems irrelevant to your immediate needs may be good for your mental health but bad for creativity.

Focusing on every sight, sound, and thought that enters your mind can drive a person crazy. It interferes with an animal's hunt for something to eat, or a busy person's efforts to sleep. As you might guess, psychologists have a term for ignoring the irrelevant; they call it "latent inhibition." A team of them at Harvard has discovered that students who score low in this seemingly vital trait are much more likely to be creative achievers than those who excel in putting things out of their minds.

"Scientists have wondered for a long time why madness and creativity seem linked, particularly in artists, musicians, and writers," notes Shelley Carson, a Harvard psychologist. "Our research results indicate that low levels of latent inhibition and exceptional flexibility in thought predispose people to mental illness under some conditions and to creative accomplishments under others."
Carson, Jordan Peterson (now at the University of Toronto), and Daniel Higgins did experiments to find out what these conditions might be.

They put 182 Harvard graduate and undergraduate students through a series of tests involving listening to repeated strings of nonsense syllables, hearing background noise, and watching yellow lights on a video screen. (The researchers do not want to reveal details of how latent inhibition was scored because such tests are still going on with other subjects.)

The students also filled out questionnaires about their creative achievements on a new type of form developed by Carson, and they took standard intelligence tests. When all the scores and test results were compared, the most creative students had lower scores for latent inhibition than the less creative.
Some students who scored unusually high in creative achievement were seven times more likely to have low scores for latent inhibition. These low scorers also had high IQs.
"Getting swamped by new information that you have difficulty handling may predispose you to a mental disorder," Carson says. "But if you have high intelligence and a good working memory, you are more likely to be able to combine bits of new information in creative ways."

IQ and creativity

Whether IQ tests are the best way to measure intelligence is debatable, but some studies do show a correlation between high IQ and creativity. Such studies conclude that the two increase together up to a score of 120. Beyond that level, little increase in creativity has been found. (The average IQ score of the general population is 100.)
"We didn't find this," Carson notes. "We saw creativity increase as IQs climb to 130 (the average score of Harvard students), and even up to 150."
Bothered by the nebulousness of IQ tests, Carson is seeking to find "more specific functions" that protect creative people from going nuts. Work already done suggests that a good working memory, the capacity to keep in mind many things at once, can serve such a function. "This should help you to better process the increasing information that goes along with low latent inhibition," Carson explains. "We're doing more experiments to determine if that is so."

She and her colleagues also plan to check out ways to reduce the blocking of seeming irrelevance with drugs. Many creative people have touted the value of alcohol and other stimulants, such as amphetamines, for this purpose. Carson wants to find a way to do the same thing without the unwanted side effects of drugs and alcohol. She is investigating non-addictive drugs and ways to manipulate biorhythms, the 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, with varying exposures to bright light.

Another possibility goes to the different stages of paying more attention to what is around you. First there's insight, where creative ideas form and which may be enhanced by a buzz of unrelated stimuli. Then comes evaluation and editing, which require focus and concentration. Carson and her colleagues have started testing creative people to see if they can manipulate their attention filter during these different stages.

Creativity and madness

How can people lower their inhibition quotient and increase creativity on their own? There's really no good answer to that question yet. "We may have identified one of the biological bases of creativity," Carson says, "but it is only one among many. Creativity also is associated with a variety of personality traits, social and family factors, and direct training."

There also remain fundamental biological riddles to solve. Cats, rats, mice, pigeons, and other animals show latent inhibition. When they discover something is useless for helping them to survive, ignoring it helps them survive. Then there's that mysterious connection between psychosis and creativity to probe. "Highly creative people in our studies," Carson notes, "showed the same latent inhibition patterns found in other studies of schizophrenics.

"Both madness and creativity must involve many different genes," Carson points out. "It's not impossible that the two share some of these genes. It's my hope that future research into this and other areas will help us progress toward silencing the demons of mental disorders that often coexist with the muses of creativity."
Until then, the situation is cogently expressed by this old joke:
A man is driving past a mental hospital when one of the wheels falls off his car. He stops and recovers the wheel but can't find the lug nuts to secure it back in place. Just then he notices a man sitting on the curb carefully removing small pebbles from the grass and piling them neatly on the sidewalk.
"What am I going to do?" the man asks aloud. The fellow piling the pebbles looks up, and says, "Take one of the lug nuts from each of the other wheels and use them to put the wheel back on."
The driver is amazed. "Wow!" he exclaims. "What a brilliant idea. What are you doing in a place like this?" he asks, nodding toward the mental institution.
"Well," the man answers, "I'm crazy, not stupid."
"That's exactly what our research is about," Carson comments. "It shows that, to be creative, you can be bright and crazy, but not stupid."

By William J. Cromie

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Study Shows 20% of Children 'Hear Voices'

Hearing voices may affect over a fifth of schoolchildren aged 11 to 13, a psychiatric study has found.

In most cases, the auditory hallucinations stop with time, the findings show. But children who continue to hear voices could be at risk of mental illness or behavioural disorders.
Researchers carried out psychiatric assessments of almost 2,500 children aged between 11 and 16 in Dublin.
They discovered that 21%-23% of younger adolescents, aged 11 to 13, had experienced auditory hallucinations.
Of this group, just over half were found to have a non-psychotic psychiatric disorder such as depression.
Just 7% of older adolescents aged 13 to 16 reported hearing voices - but almost 80% of those who did had a diagnosable psychological problem.
Lead researcher Dr Ian Kelleher, from the Department of Psychiatryat the Royal College of Surgeons, said: "We found that auditory hallucinations were common even in children as young as 11 years old." 
"Auditory hallucinations can vary from hearing an isolated sentence now and then, to hearing 'conversations' between two or more people lasting for several minutes.
"It may present itself like screaming or shouting, and other times it could sound like whispers or murmurs. It varies greatly from child to child, and frequency can be once a month to once every day.
"For many children, these experiences appear to represent a 'blip' on the radar that does not turn out to signify any underlying or undiagnosed problem.
“However, for the other children, these symptoms turned out to be a warning sign of serious underlying psychiatric illness, including clinical depression and behavioural disorders, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
"Some older children with auditory hallucinations had two or more disorders. This finding is important because if a child reports auditory hallucinations it should prompt their treating doctor to consider that the child may have more than one diagnosis."
The findings are published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
Co-author Professor Mary Cannon, also from the RSCI's Department of Psychiatry, said: "Our study suggests that hearing voices seems to be more common in children than was previously thought.
“In most cases these experiences resolve with time. However in some children these experiences persist into older adolescence and this seems to be an indicator that they may have a complex mental health issue and require more in-depth assessment."

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Video: The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil

An exert from the presentation that discuses just how 'normal' humans can perform acts of 'evil'.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Having Children; Pros, Cons and New Research

All parents know that having kids is a blessing — except when it’s a nightmare of screaming fits, diapers, runny noses, wars over bedtimes and homework and clothes. To say nothing of bills too numerous to list. Some economists have argued that having kids is an economically silly investment; after all, it’s cheaper to hire end-of-life care than to raise a child. Now comes new research showing that having kids is not only financially foolish but that kids literally make parents delusional.
Researchers have known for some time that parents with minors who live at home report feeling calm significantly less often than than people who don’t live with young children. Parents are also angrier and more depressed than nonparents — and each additional child makes them even angrier. Couples who choose not to have kids also have better, more satisfying marriages than couples who have kids. (More on 5 Pregnancy Taboos Explained (or Debunked))
To be sure, all such evidence will never outweigh the desire to procreate, which is one of the most powerfully encoded urges built into our DNA. But a new paper shows that parents fool themselves into believing that having kids is more rewarding than it actually is. It turns out parents are in the grip of a giant illusion.
The paper, which appears in the journal Psychological Science, presents the results of two studies conducted by Richard Eibach and Steven Mock, psychologists at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. The studies tested the hypothesis that “idealizing the emotional rewards of parenting helps parents to rationalize the financial costs of raising children.”
Their hypothesis comes out of cognitive-dissonance theory, which suggests that people are highly motivated to justify, deny or rationalize to reduce the cognitive discomfort of holding conflicting ideas. Cognitive dissonance explains why our feelings can sometimes be paradoxically worse when something good happens or paradoxically better when something bad happens. For example, in one experiment conducted by a team led by psychologist Joel Cooper of Princeton, participants were asked to write heartless essays opposing funding for the disabled. When these participants were later told they were really compassionate — which should have made them feel better — they actually felt even worse because they had written the essays. (More on Five Things for the New Mom Who Has Everything)
Here’s how cognitive-dissonance theory works when applied to parenting: having kids is an economic and emotional drain. It should make those who have kids feel worse. Instead, parents glorify their lives. They believe that the financial and emotional benefits of having children are significantly higher than they really are.
To test their hypothesis, Eibach and Mock recruited 80 parents at public locations in the northeastern U.S. Forty-seven of the parents were women, and all had at least one child under 18. Eibach and Mock then split the participants into two groups. Those in the first group were asked to read U.S. Department of Agriculture data from 2004 showing that it costs an average middle-income family in the Northeast $193,680 to raise a child to the age of 18.
The second group was asked to read the same data, but participants in that group also received information that adult children provide financial and other support to aging parents so that parents are often more financially secure in their later years than nonparents.
Both groups then read eight statements about parenting and rated their agreement with those statements on a five-point scale from -2 (strongly disagree) to +2 (strongly agree). The statements included falsehoods like “Nonparents are more likely to be depressed than parents” and “Parents experience a lot more happiness and satisfaction in their lives compared to people who have never had children.” (More on Five Ways to Stop Stressing)
The results confirmed Eibach and Mock’s hypothesis. Parents who read only the data showing how expensive kids are should have responded more negatively to parenting. But in fact they idealized parenting far more than those who were also given the information about the benefits of parenting later on.
Why? For the same reason you keep spending money to fix up an old car when it just doesn’t work — or keep investing in the same company when it’s failing. Humans throw good money after bad all the time. When we have invested a lot in a choice that turns out to be bad, we’re really inept at admitting that it didn’t make rational sense. Other research has shown that we romanticize our relationships with spouses and partners significantly more when we believe we have sacrificed for them. We like TVs that we’ve spent a lot to buy even though our satisfaction is no lower when we watch a cheaper television set.
To confirm their results, Eibach and Mock conducted a second experiment, this time with 60 parents. The second study was identical to the first but added a control group that got no information about parenting at all. The second experiment also added measures of participants’ enjoyment of time spent with their kids and intentions to spend future time with them. And the subjects were asked to compare spending time with their children to spending time with their spouse or partner, spending time with their best friend, and spending time on a favorite hobby.
Once again, those who read only about how expensive kids are idealized parenthood far more than those who read about both the costs and the benefits of raising children (and far more than the control group did). They were also significantly more likely to believe that spending time with kids is more rewarding than other activities, even though researchers have found that when you measure how rewarding parents found any given day spent with their children, they rated that day worse than they had expected to. (More on 5 Little-Known Truths About American Sex Lives)
Does this mean you shouldn’t have kids? Yes — but you won’t. Our national fantasy about the joys of parenting permeates the culture. Never mind that it wasn’t always like this. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we thought nothing of requiring kids to get jobs even before they hit puberty. Few thought of it as abuse. Reformers helped change the system — and rightly so — so that children could be educated. But this created a conundrum. As Eibach and Mock write, “As children’s economic value plummeted, their perceived emotional value rose, creating a new cultural model of childhood that [one researcher] aptly dubbed ‘the economically worthless but emotionally priceless child.’” Or, as the writer Jennifer Senior put it in a New York magazine article last summer, “Kids, in short, went from being our staffs to being our bosses.”
Of course parents should be commended for one little thing they do: maintain the existence of humanity. I praise them for that, but I think they’re both heroes and suckers.
Read more:

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Why People Are So Often the Opposite to What They Appear

An introduction to the ego defence mechanism of reaction formation.

An important method of transforming uncomfortable or unacceptable feelings into something more manageable is 'reaction formation', which is the superficial adoption and exaggeration of ideas and impulses that are diametrically opposed to one's own.
For example, a man who finds himself attracted to someone of the same sex may cope with the unacceptability of this attraction by over-acting heterosexual: going out for several beers with the boys, speaking in a gruff voice, banging his fists on the counter, whistling at pretty girls (or whatever people do these days), conspicuously engaging in a string of baseless heterosexual relationships, and so on.
Other, classic, examples of reaction formation are the alcoholic who extolls the virtues of abstinence, the rich kid who organizes anti-capitalist rallies, the absent father who occasionally returns with big gestures to spoil and smother his children, and the angry person who behaves with exaggerated calm and courtesy.
An especially interesting case of reaction formation is that of two people who matter deeply to each other, but who argue all the time to suppress their mutual desire and dependency. Typically, A accepts that B is really important to him, but B does not accept this of A; thus, B initiates arguments so as to help deny those feelings, and A initiates (or participates in) arguments so as to help cope with that denial, that is, to safeguard her ego, vent her anger, and temper her feelings.
Another, rather special, case of reaction formation is the person who hates the group but not the individual members of the group with whom he is personally acquainted; this helps to explain such phenomena as the misogynist who is devoted to his wife or the racist who marries a coloured person.
Behaviour that results from reaction formation can be recognizedor as least suspectedas such on the basis that it tends to have something of a manic edge, that is, it tends to be exaggerated, compulsive, and inflexible. More importantly, perhaps, is that the person's behaviour does not seem to ‘add up' in the context of his bigger picture, and may therefore appear to be groundless, irrational, or idiosyncratic. In many cases, the behaviour is also dystonic, that is, out of keeping with the person's ideal self-image, and therefore damaging to his deep-seated goals and ambitions andultimatelyto his sense of worth and his actual worth.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Bullying Basics

With all the talk about bullying in the media (most recently spawned by the film ‘Bully’) do we really know what it is?

Violence Prevention Works defines bullying as aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power. Most often repeated over time. Bullying can manifest in physical violence (the most obvious acts of bullying), verbal attacks, and non-verbal behavior (i.e. exclusion from activities, being the last student chosen for a sports team at recess) which I consider acts of relational aggression.
All types of bullying are detrimental to a developing child’s sense of self-worth. We know that children who are victims of bullying are:
  • More likely to do poorly in school.
  • More likely to have or develop mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
  • More likely to develop substance abuse issues.
  • More likely to bully themselves.
A subcategory of bullying that I often discuss with students, faculty and parents is the aforementioned relational aggression. Relational aggression is conceptualized as behaviors that harm others by damaging, threatening to damage, manipulating one’s relationships with his/her peers, or by injuring one’s feelings of social acceptance. For purposes of this blog post, when I refer to bullying, I am discussing both bullying and relational aggression. 
Some examples are:
  • Excluding someone from an activity.
  • Purposefully not allowing someone to sit at a lunch table.
  • Ignoring someone.
  • Rumor spreading.
The Ophelia Project has been at the forefront of educating the public at large about relational aggression.
When discussing bullying, I highlight the many roles involved:
  • The bully = the person instigating the act.
  • The victim = the person being target
  • The bystander(s) = the person or people that are witness to the act. They can be active or passive.
What makes bullying such a malignant problem is that the negative mental health effects are not temporary once the behavior ends.While many people who were victimized as children grow up to be healthy and well-adjusted adults, there is growing research that shows depression and low self-esteem stemming from being a victim stays with people into adulthood.
Additionally, victims of bullying are more likely to end up in other relationships in which they are victimized such as dysfunctional and abusive romantic relationships.
Our early relationships from infancy and childhood shape how we think relationships “should be” as adults. Therefore, if a child learns early on that his/her relationships are defined by humiliation, dis-empowerment, aggression and maltreatment then that child can go on to recreate the victim-bully dynamic in all their relationships well into adulthood.
At Freedom Institute where I am a counselor, we conduct workshops with students, faculty, and parents on how to identify bullying, what to do when it is observed, and how to foster a safe school environment. We work to empower bystanders to be upstanders, people that stand up to the bully and ally themselves with the victim. The less a young person feels isolated, the less impact the bully has on the victim’s well-being.
While our focus at Freedom Institute has been on substance abuse prevention, the impact that bullying has on young people is not mutually exclusive to the choices they make regarding substance use.
In my private practice with adults, the way in which being bullied as a child shapes one’s self concept is never lost on me. I cannot forget one of my first patients – a young man in his mid-twenties who struggled with severe depression. He sought therapy to address his self-confidence at work and felt angry all the time. When I asked him when he could remember feeling this way for the first time, he recalled being bullied so often that he would write self-described hate letters to the students that targeted him while in school to cope.
During treatment, we often discussed how feeling victimized and angry interfered with effectively communicating with colleagues while making friendships and any potential romantic relationships difficult. Simultaneously, we explored his adolescence but with me in the role of an upstander. I empathized with him and helped the younger version of himself that was still reeling from the pain begin to heal.
Since the blog went live last week I’ve gotten messages from friends, colleagues and even a comment on a post sharing how bullying has affected them. It’s a testament to how important it is to keep this topic in our consciousness! The more we explore bullying with our young people, the more empowered they will be.
We want our children to stand up for themselves and be upstanders for each other. Bullies need other kids to buy in to the dynamic for it to continue. Upstanders have the most power to change the dynamic between a bully and a target. Keep your eyes open for my next post on how to help our kids be upstanders.

Taken from

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Video: Why Are We Happy? Why Aren't We Happy?

Observations on human happiness by Dan Gilbert...

Thursday, 12 April 2012

A Biological Basis for the Unconscious?

Today, the question of how people make decisions is an animated and essential one, capturing the attention of everyone from neuroscientists to lawyers to artists. In 1956, there was one person in all of New York known for his work on the brain: Harry Grundfest. An aspiring psychiatrist who was born in Austria in the 1930's, Eric Kandel took an elective in brain science during medical school and found himself studying alongside Grudfest at Columbia University

“What is it you want to study?” Grundfos asked Kandel. “I want to know where the id, the ego, and the super-ego are located in the brain,” Kandel replied. Grundfest looked at him as if he was crazy. “I haven’t got the foggiest notion whether these constructs exist," he said. "But the way to approach the brain is to study it one cell at a time. Why don’t you study how the cells work?”

That’s exactly what Kandel did, earning a Nobel Prize in physiology/medicine in 2000 for his discoveries concerning signal transduction in the nervous system, which showed that memory is encoded in the neural circuits of the brain. But Kandel’s fascination with Freudian psychology remained a constant driving force throughout his career.
It wasn't clinical practice or theory that interested him. He turned down a cushy position as chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard early in his career so that he could continue to work in the lab. There he discovered that learning gives rise to anatomical changes in the brain, inferring that psychoanalysis, if it was effective, must have lasting and structural effects on the brain. (This is what we mean we talk today about “rewiring” the brain.)
Recent studies by Helen Mayberg back up this conclusion. Through imaging, Mayberg found a particular area, Brodmann Area 25, that was hyperactive in the brains of patients who were depressed. After undergoing therapy, patients who reported a change in their symptoms showed a corresponding change in this abnormality. 
Likewise, a famous 1971 experiment by Benjamin Libet shook up the scientific community by unearthing biological mechanisms that underlie decision-making, which has traditionally been seen as an abstract concept. Libet asked subjects to press a button wearing electrodes attached to their heads. Before they'd consciously decided to move their hand to press the button, an electrical potential appeared in their brains. "That means the decision was made unconsciously," says Kandel. "Do you think Freud would have been surprised about that? He said from the very beginning, much of our mental life is unconscious." 
What's the Significance?
To Kandel, the research reflects a larger truth: that consciousness and decision-making, what we know of as the human mind, arises in the brain: "All mental functions, from the most trivial reflex to the most sublime creative experience, come from the brain."
People find reductionism threatening, he says, only if they perceive it as a challenge to their spirituality or humanist values. But reductionism is not inconsistent with either as a philosophy. As a "theory of everything," it would be a failure. As a theory of biology, it's been a resounding success. 
When the English physician William Harvey was trying to understand how the body works, he found that the heart functioned not as the seat of the soul, but as a pump to move blood through the body. "Does that make it any less magical? Do I have less respect for your heart or my heart because I realize how it functions?" asks Kandel.
The answer is of course, no. The study of the brain is about adding another dimension to our understanding of human experience, not undermining the extraordinary complexity of human thought, creativity, and emotion. In that way, it's a compelling example of our ability to reflexively know ourselves.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

13 Facts About Dreams

Dreaming is one of the most mysterious experiences in our lives. (What Are Dreams and What Do They Mean?) During the Roman Era, some dreams were submitted to the Roman Senate for analysis and dream interpretation. (The Meaning of Dreams) They were thought to be messages from the gods. Dream interpreters even accompanied military leaders into battles and campaigns! In addition we know, that many artists have received their creative ideas from their dreams. But what do we know about dreams? Here are 13 interesting facts for you. (Original Source

1. You Forget 90% of Your Dreams

Within 5 minutes of waking, half of your dream is forgotten. Within 10, 90% is gone.

2. Blind People also Dream

People who became blind after birth can see images in their dreams. People who are born blind do not see any images, but have dreams equally vivid involving their other senses of sound, smell, touch and emotion. READ MORE

3. Everybody Dreams

Every human being dreams (except in cases of extreme psychological disorder). If you think, you are not dreaming, you just forget your dreams.

4. In Our Dreams We Only See Faces, That We already Know

Our mind is not inventing faces – in our dreams we see real faces of real people that we have seen during our life but may not know or remember. We have all seen hundreds of thousands of faces throughout our lives, so we have an endless supply of characters for our brain to utilize during our dreams.

5. Not Everybody Dreams in Colour

A full 12% of sighted people dream exclusively in black and white. The remaining number dream in full color. Studies from 1915 through to the 1950s maintained that the majority of dreams were in black and white, but these results began to change in the 1960s. Today, only 4.4% of the dreams of under-25 year-olds are in black and white. Recent research has suggested that those changing results may be linked to the switch from black-and-white film and TV to color media.

6. Dreams are Symbolic

If you dream about some particular subject it is not often that the dream is about that. Dreams speak in a deeply symbolic language.  Whatever symbol your dream picks on it is most unlikely to be a symbol for itself.

7. Emotions

The most common emotion experienced in dreams is anxiety. Negative emotions are more common than positive ones. READ MORE ABOUT NIGHTMARES

8. Recurring Dreams

While the content of most dreams is dreamt only once, many people experience recurring dreams—that is, the same dream narrative is experienced over different occasions of sleep. Up to 70% of females and 65% of males report recurrent dreams.

9. Animals Dream Too

Studies have been done on many different animals, and they all show the same brain waves during dreaming sleep as humans. Watch a dog sleeping sometime. The paws move like they are running and they make yipping sounds as if they are chasing something in a dream.

10. Body Paralysis

Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is a normal stage of sleep characterized by rapid movements of the eyes. REM sleep in adult humans typically occupies 20-25% of total sleep, about 90-120 minutes of a night’s sleep.
During REM sleep the body is paralyzed by a mechanism in the brain in order to prevent the movements which occur in the dream from causing the physical body to move. However, it is possible for this mechanism to be triggered before, during, or after normal sleep while the brain awakens. READ MORE

11. Dream Incorporation

Our mind interprets the external stimuli that our senses are bombarded with when we are asleep and makes them a part of our dreams. This means that sometimes, in our dreams, we hear a sound from reality and incorporate it in a way. For example you are dreaming that you are in a concert, while your brother is playing a guitar during your sleep.

12. Men and Women Dream Differently

Men tend to dream more about other men. Around 70% of the characters in a man’s dream are other men. On the other hand, a woman’s dream contains almost an equal number of men and women. Aside from that, men generally have more aggressive emotions in their dreams than the female lot.

13. Precognitive Dreams

Results of several surveys across large population sets indicate that between 18% and 38% of people have experienced at least one precognitive dream and 70% have experienced déjà vu. The percentage of persons that believe precognitive dreaming is possible is even higher, ranging from 63% to 98%.