10 Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology and the Mind

The complexity of the human mind continues to remain mysterious despite all (limited) information psychologists have about it. There are ways scientists can actually track the parts of the brain used to solve problems and experience emotions, but as much as psychology focuses on the mind, it also focuses on emotions, which are somewhat elusive to scientists. Best Psychology Schools Online developed an infographic on top 10 evolutionary approaches to psychology and the mind in order to understand the inner workings of the mind, as the human brain is one of the most fascinating and challenging objects of a scientific study.

1. Successful Trial for Alzheimer’s Vaccine

  • Alzheimer’s has no cure – contemporary medicine can only help alleviate symptoms
  • The CAD106 vaccine triggers the body’s immune system to attack harmful beta-amyloids
  • 80% of subjects developed protective antibodies against beta-amyloid
  • No side effects were experienced throughout the three year study

Source: http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/08/trial-of-alzheimers-vaccine-is-successful/39885.html

2. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

  • Developed in 1992 and fine-tuned over the past 20 years
  • Lets scientists monitor which areas of the brain are active when a person is: solving a mathematical problem, experiencing anger, love, or joy, navigating a large city, completing mundane tasks, making judgments
  • Could be the new tool to cure neural abnormalities seen in: autism, depression, schizophrenia

Sources: http://www.cis.rit.edu/htbooks/mri/chap-1/chap-1.htm, http://www.sigmascan.org/Live/Issue/ViewIssue/477/5/the-brain-imaging-evolution-in-psychology/, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/03/scanner.aspx

3. Correlation Between Genes and Intelligence

  • Testing revealed significant evidence showing that intelligence is, at least partially, based on genetics
  • Researchers compared the DNA of 3,500 people
  • 40% of differing intelligence among test subjects was linked to genetic variation
  • Studied more than 500,000 locations on chromosomal DNA
  • 2 types of intelligence: Fluid intelligence (on the spot thinking) – 51% of variation associated with genetic differences; Crystallized intelligence (vocabulary) – 40% of variation associated with genetic differences

Source: http://advancedcognitivepsychology.blogspot.ro/

4. Genetic Similarities Between Autism and ADHD

  • Several genetic changes are present both autism and ADHD
  • ADHD affects 4% of school-aged children
  • Autism affects 1 in 300 children
  • The most significant discovery was the prevalence of mutation in the ASTN2 in children with ADHD or autism
  • The disruption of the ASTN2 gene is associated with a higher risk for neuropsychiatric disorders in general

Source: http://advancedcognitivepsychology.blogspot.ro/

5. Your Brain On Love

  • A study scanned the brains of married couples who claimed to be “madly in love”
  • Reward centers in the brain experienced an increase in activity – similar to cocaine’s effect on the brain
  • Another study showed the calming effects of love
  • Holding a lover’s hand during the threat of electric shock reduced stress and pain

Sources: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/the-brain-on-love/?hp, http://www.anatomy.uci.edu/journal_10-11_pdf/Seese_2_9_11.pdf, http://pss.sagepub.com/content/17/12/1032.abstract

6. Global Human Consciousness

  • An endeavor to connect people and computers in a global, symbiotic network would create a collective intelligence greater than the sum of its parts
  • Collective intelligence, expedited by computer networks, would foster: greater teamwork, improved group dynamics, a general increase in human endeavors

Source: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/a4bce7e8-e32b-11e0-bb55-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1yHhyxKgv

7. Using Virtual Avatars to Generate Out Of Body Experiences

  • Experimenters conducted a study to understand how our brains translate sensory information into an understanding of our body’s position in space
  • Using digital 3D objects, they were able to trick participants’ minds into believing that their avatars’ bodies were their own
  • They “felt” everything that happened to their digital selves
  • Rather than being some sort of spiritual experience, they are actually a manipulatable brain malfunction

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/feb/17/people-virtual-reality-avatars

8. Erasing Memories

  • Researchers administered drugs to mice during the memory building process, inhibiting the hippocampus’ ability to convert short-term memory to long-term memory
  • Using an artificial hippocampal system, researchers were able to prevent the mice from recalling long-term memory
  • Additionally, the device can be used to strengthen long-term memory
  • Possible applications include use for sufferers of Alzheimer’s, stroke, or brain injury

Source:  http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/usc-restoring-memory-repairing-damaged-brains-124051534.html

9. Social Networking And The Mind

  • Social networking can be used to assist shy teens in becoming more outgoing and empathetic
  • Being behind a screen in a “public” place allows for greater confidence in interactions
  • Those who are more active on Facebook display more virtual empathy
  • Yet, it may also increase narcissism in teenagers and result in poorer school performance

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/09/how-facebook-and-social-m_n_921905.html#s324841&title=Narcissism

10. Rewiring The Brain

  • Researchers who are seeking out new ways of relieving pain discovered that how we think about pain greatly influences our experience of it
  • Perception of pain is highly individual
  • Test subjects watch scans of their brains reacting to pain in real-time and, through practice, learn to control the response
  • This is an important step in curbing the abuse of narcotic pain relievers

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204323904577038041207168300.html

Here’s the infographic from Best Psychology Schools Online.

10 Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology and the Mind

Infographic Source: Best Psychology Schools Online

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2 responses to “10 Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology and the Mind

  1. Pingback: 10 Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology and the Mind | Behavioural Economics | Scoop.it·

  2. Pingback: 10 Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology and the Mind | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it·

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