Emerging Paradigms of Consciousness Research: News and Views on Consciousness and Mind Science Connected and Gathered from around the Internet

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. ~ Albert Einstein "

Psychology

The Ayahuasca Effect

This is a really interesting article by Kirby Surprise Psy.D looking at ayahuasca as a plant medicine, and examining how it effects brain chemistry, as well as his own profound personal experience with this most incredible shamanic brew.

"The world’s most powerful antidepressant and psychotherapeutic agent may be a natural herbal tea."

http://www.ayahuasca.com/science/the-ayahuasca-effect/

The man who hand-draws mathematical fractals

An interesting story about a guy who now sees the world as fractals after an unfortunate brain injury. He has since become an amazing fractal artist..
Check it out

Uncoiling the spiral: Maths and hallucinations

Think drug-induced hallucinations, and the whirly, spirally, tunnel-vision-like patterns of psychedelic imagery immediately spring to mind. But it's not just hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, cannabis or mescaline that conjure up these geometric structures. People have reported seeing them in near-death experiences, as a result of disorders like epilepsy and schizophrenia, following sensory deprivation, or even just after applying pressure to the eyeballs. So common are these geometric hallucinations, that in the last century scientists began asking themselves if they couldn't tell us something fundamental about how our brains are wired up. And it seems that they can.

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The Passion Cycle

Are lovers struggling against a neurochemical tide?

As we become sexually aroused, dopamine (the "I gotta have it!" neurochemical) rises in our reward circuitry. It is also implicated in addictions. In fact, in 2003 Dutch scientist Gert Holstege announced in a press release pertaining to his research that brain scans of orgasm resembled brain scans of shooting heroin. What goes up must come down.

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Have Scientists Finally Discovered Evidence for Psychic Phenomena?!

In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, the White Queen tells Alice that in her land, "memory works both ways." Not only can the Queen remember things from the past, but she also remembers "things that happened the week after next." Alice attempts to argue with the Queen, stating "I'm sure mine only works one way...I can't remember things before they happen." The Queen replies, "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards."

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Hypnosis Reaches the Parts that Brain Scans and Neurosurgery Cannot

Whenever AR sees a face, her thoughts are bathed in colour and each identity triggers its own rich hue that shines across her mind's eye. This experience is a type of synaesthesia which, for about one in every 100 people, automatically blends the senses. Some people taste words, others see sounds, but AR experiences colour with every face she sees. But on this occasion, perhaps for the first time in her life, a face is just a face. No colours, no rich hues, no internal lights.

If the experience is novel for AR, it is equally new to science because no one had suspected that synaesthesia could be reversed.

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The Power of Mind and the Promise of Placebo

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For decades, the gold standard of medical research has been the double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. You give one group of patients a medicine you want to test, and another group a dummy pill that has no active ingredients. Neither the patients nor doctors know who is getting which.

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Biofeedback for Your Brain?

There is new evidence that people can learn to control the activity of some brain regions when they get feedback signals provided by functional magnetic resonance brain imaging (fMRI).

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The Stroop Effect

Run through each list naming each colour that you see, without actually reading the words. If English is your first language the second list will likely cause a little conflict in your brain, slowing you down or causing you to stumble.

Stroop Effect: The Stroop Effect is a psychological test that demonstrates how difficult it is for the brain to overcome certain ingrained, learned responses, such as reading.

This psychological test demonstrates how difficult it is for the brain to overcome certain learned processes such as reading, but hypnotic suggestion has been found to overcome this effect.

The following articles provide a good summary of the research:

The Various Manifestations of Déjà Vu Experience

Déjà vu refers to "any subjectively inappropriate impression of familiarity of a present experience with an undefined past." (Neppe, 1983, The Psychology of Déjà Vu)

Check out this article for a full list of terms for the different variations of déjà vu..

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..Is all that we see or seem,
but a dream within a dream.
Edgar Allan Poe