<p>The oft-repeated claim that Earth’s biota is entering a sixth “mass extinction” depends on clearly demonstrating that current extinction rates are far above the “background” rates prevailing between the five previous mass extinctions. Earlier estimates of extinction rates have been criticized for using assumptions that might overestimate the severity of the extinction crisis. We assess, using extremely conservative assumptions, whether human activities are causing a mass extinction. First, we use a recent estimate of a background rate of 2 mammal extinctions per 10,000 species per 100 years (that is, 2 E/MSY), which is twice as high as widely used previous estimates. We then compare this rate with the current rate of mammal and vertebrate extinctions. The latter is conservatively low because listing a species as extinct requires meeting stringent criteria. Even under our assumptions, which would tend to minimize evidence of an incipient mass extinction, the average rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century is up to 100 times higher than the background rate. Under the 2 E/MSY background rate, the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century would have taken, depending on the vertebrate taxon, between 800 and 10,000 years to disappear. These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way. Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and the subsequent loss of ecosystem services is still possible through intensified conservation efforts, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing.Humans are causing a massive animal extinction without precedent in 65 million years. Humans are causing a massive animal extinction without precedent in 65 million years.</p>
Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have elevated sympathetic nervous system reactivity and impaired sympathetic and cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity (BRS). Device-guided slow breathing (DGB) has been shown to lower blood pressure (BP) and sympathetic activity in other patient populations. We hypothesized that DGB acutely lowers BP, heart rate (HR), and improves BRS in PTSD. In 23 prehypertensive veterans with PTSD, we measured continuous BP, ECG, and muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) at rest and during 15 min of DGB at 5 breaths/min ( n = 13) or identical sham device breathing at normal rates of 14 breaths/min (sham; n = 10). Sympathetic and cardiovagal BRS was quantified using pharmacological manipulation of BP via the modified Oxford technique at baseline and during the last 5 min of DGB or sham. There was a significant reduction in systolic BP (by −9 ± 2 mmHg, P < 0.001), diastolic BP (by −3 ± 1 mmHg, P = 0.019), mean arterial pressure (by −4 ± 1 mmHg, P = 0.002), and MSNA burst frequency (by −7.8 ± 2.1 bursts/min, P = 0.004) with DGB but no significant change in HR ( P > 0.05). Within the sham group, there was no significant change in diastolic BP, mean arterial pressure, HR, or MSNA burst frequency, but there was a small but significant decrease in systolic BP ( P = 0.034) and MSNA burst incidence ( P = 0.033). Sympathetic BRS increased significantly in the DGB group (−1.08 ± 0.25 to −2.29 ± 0.24 bursts·100 heart beats −1 ·mmHg −1 , P = 0.014) but decreased in the sham group (−1.58 ± 0.34 to –0.82 ± 0.28 bursts·100 heart beats −1 ·mmHg −1 , P = 0.025) (time × device, P = 0.001). There was no significant difference in the change in cardiovagal BRS between the groups (time × device, P = 0.496). DGB acutely lowers BP and MSNA and improves sympathetic but not cardiovagal BRS in prehypertensive veterans with PTSD. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Posttraumatic stress disorder is characterized by augmented sympathetic reactivity, impaired baroreflex sensitivity, and an increased risk for developing hypertension and cardiovascular disease. This is the first study to examine the potential beneficial effects of device-guided slow breathing on hemodynamics, sympathetic activity, and arterial baroreflex sensitivity in prehypertensive veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.
<p>People can experience great distress when a group to which they belong (in-group) is perceived to have committed an immoral act. We hypothesised that people would direct hostility toward a transgressing in-group whose actions threaten their self-image and evoke collective shame. Consistent with this theorising, three studies found that reminders of in-group transgression provoked several expressions of in-group-directed hostility, including in-group-directed hostile emotion (Studies 1 and 2), in-group-directed derogation (Study 2), and in-group-directed punishment (Study 3). Across studies, collective shame-but not the related group-based emotion collective guilt-mediated the relationship between in-group transgression and in-group-directed hostility. Implications for group-based emotion, social identity, and group behaviour are discussed.</p>
This article examines the relationship between altruism and agency costs in family business through an in?depth case study of a family firm. We found that altruism reduced agency costs in the early stages of the business, but that agency problems increased as the venture became larger and more established. Moreover, we suggest that altruistic behavior need not be confined to family and close kin, but may extend through networks of distant kin and ethnic ties. We thus present a more complex view of the agency relationship in family business than is often portrayed in the existing literature.
Animal cognition is that branch of the biological sciences that studies how animals perceive, learn about, remember, understand, and respond to the world in which they live. The mechanisms it investigates are evolved ways of processing information that promote the fitness or survival of the organisms that possess them. Interesting new findings about animal cognition have been revealed as part of the cognitive revolutions in psychology of the last 30 years. Among these are insights into how animals keep track of time, how they process numerical information, and how they navigate through space. Studies of time representation show that animals have one clock that keeps track of the time of day and another clock that times intervals as short as a few seconds. Other research indicates that animals can accurately estimate numbers of events and perhaps even summate numbers of objects and symbols that stand for numbers. Experiments on spatial representation have shown that animals use egocentric and allocentric cues to navigate from place to place. Egocentric cues are internal and are used for dead reckoning return vectors to a home base; allocentric cues are external cues, such as an environmental framework or landmarks, that are used by animals to remember and find important locations in space. Animal cognition studies also have revealed evidence for some advanced processes. As examples, pigeons show conceptual ability by learning to sort photographs into categories of people, flowers, cars, and chairs, and chimpanzees seem to reveal a theory of mind by behaving as if they understand the contents of other chimpanzees' minds.
We explore the development of the Anthropocene, the current epoch in which humans and our societies have become a global geophysical force. The Anthropocene began around 1800 with the onset of industrialization, the central feature of which was the enormous expansion in the use of fossil fuels. We use atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration as a single, simple indicator to track the progression of the Anthropocene. From a preindustrial value of 270-275 ppm, atmospheric carbon dioxide had risen to about 310 ppm by 1950. Since then the human enterprise has experienced a remarkable explosion, the Great Acceleration, with significant consequences for Earth System functioning. Atmospheric CO2 concentration has risen from 310 to 380 ppm since 1950, with about half of the total rise since the preindustrial era occurring in just the last 30 years. The Great Acceleration is reaching criticality. Whatever unfolds, the next few decades will surely be a tipping point in the evolution of the Anthropocene.
Over the past century, the total material wealth of humanity has been enhanced. However, in the twenty-first century, we face scarcity in critical resources, the degradation of ecosystem services, and the erosion of the planet’s capability to absorb our wastes. Equity issues remain stubbornly difficult to solve. This situation is novel in its speed, its global scale and its threat to the resilience of the Earth System. The advent of the Anthropence, the time interval in which human activities now rival global geophysical processes, suggests that we need to fundamentally alter our relationship with the planet we inhabit. Many approaches could be adopted, ranging from geo-engineering solutions that purposefully manipulate parts of the Earth System to becoming active stewards of our own life support system. The Anthropocene is a reminder that the Holocene, during which complex human societies have developed, has been a stable, accommodating environment and is the only state of the Earth System that we know for sure can support contemporary society. The need to achieve effective planetary stewardship is urgent. As we go further into the Anthropocene, we risk driving the Earth System onto a trajectory toward more hostile states from which we cannot easily return.
OBJECTIVE: The anticipation of adverse outcomes, or worry, is a cardinal symptom of generalized anxiety disorder. Prior work with healthy subjects has shown that anticipating aversive events recruits a network of brain regions, including the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex. This study tested whether patients with generalized anxiety disorder have alterations in anticipatory amygdala function and whether anticipatory activity in the anterior cingulate cortex predicts treatment response. METHOD: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was employed with 14 generalized anxiety disorder patients and 12 healthy comparison subjects matched for age, sex, and education. The event-related fMRI paradigm was composed of one warning cue that preceded aversive pictures and a second cue that preceded neutral pictures. Following the fMRI session, patients received 8 weeks of treatment with extended-release venlafaxine. RESULTS: Patients with generalized anxiety disorder showed greater anticipatory activity than healthy comparison subjects in the bilateral dorsal amygdala preceding both aversive and neutral pictures. Building on prior reports of pretreatment anterior cingulate cortex activity predicting treatment response, anticipatory activity in that area was associated with clinical outcome 8 weeks later following treatment with venlafaxine. Higher levels of pretreatment anterior cingulate cortex activity in anticipation of both aversive and neutral pictures were associated with greater reductions in anxiety and worry symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: These findings of heightened and indiscriminate amygdala responses to anticipatory signals in generalized anxiety disorder and of anterior cingulate cortex associations with treatment response provide neurobiological support for the role of anticipatory processes in the pathophysiology of generalized anxiety disorder.
Anxiety is a diffuse, unpleasant, and often vague subjective feeling of apprehension accompanied by objective symptoms of autonomic nervous system (ANS) arousal. The experience of anxiety is associated with a sense of danger or a lack of control over events. The psychological component varies from individual to individual and is strongly influenced by personality and coping mechanisms.
An assessment of the Bhutanese traditional medicine for its ethnopharmacology, ethnobotany and ethnoquality: Textual understanding and the current practices
<p>Mindfulness has been associated with better psychological and physical health; although, the mechanisms of these benefits are poorly understood. We explored the role of mindfulness in stress-health pathways among undergraduates at a large public university. Participants reported on demographic and academic variables and completed data collection at two time points during the academic semester, approximately one month apart. At each collection, measures of mindfulness, perceived stress, and psychological well-being were gathered. Students provided two days of home-based saliva collection for assessment of cortisol. Mean scores were computed for each of the measures, over the two assessments. Hierarchical multiple regressions adjusting for GPA, hours of paid employment per week, minority status, and living situation explored the impact of mindfulness in our stress-health model. Students with higher dispositional mindfulness reported significantly less perceived stress and had lower overall mean diurnal cortisol. Mindfulness was associated with greater psychological well-being. Exploratory analyses suggested that future research should explore the potential mediating or moderating relationships between mindfulness, perceived stress, and cortisol. Findings suggest that mindfulness may help attenuate both psychological and physiological stress responses to college stress.</p>
<p>This paper examines the experiential dimensions of wonder and doubt as one way to articulate the creative and growth-promoting tensions between the medical/scientific model and the spiritual/mystical model. Both forms of experience, it is argued, function as necessary elements in a psychotherapy that integrates psychoanalysis and spiritual praxes. Fundamental differences between the medical/scientific model and the spiritual/mystical models are examined. The notion of the gap serves to illustrate these diametrically opposed, albeit compatible and necessary, points of view. The multifaceted layers of movement between Buddhism and psychoanalysis typify interacting dynamics between the two disciplines and provide a focal point for discussion. The paper then explores parallels between the Zen Buddhist notion of "Satori" as explicated in the writings of D. T. Suzuki and Wilfred Bion's notion of "O." Theoretical aspects of the discussion provide a backdrop for exploring clinical experience regarding the relationship between acceptance and change, the clinical relevance of the Buddhist notions of "gaining idea" and "basic goodness." The author also explores relationships between presence as actuality and ideal; knowing and not knowing; wonder and doubt. Clinical material supports the theoretical aspects of the discussion.</p>
Lymphedema, pain, and range of motion restrictions after breast cancer remain underexplored, and few interventions have been developed for these women. Together with a yoga instructor, our interdisciplinary research team developed a yoga program for women with lymphedema after breast cancer (n = 13). Qualitative interviews and participants' journals show that there were a number of benefits to the yoga program. Themes outlining these are (1) understanding arm morbidity; (2) becoming aware of posture; and (3) countering fatigue. More surprisingly, perhaps, the participants also described the ways in which yoga furthered their understandings of loss associated with disability, the fourth theme, and showed that yoga enhanced their experiences of embodiment, the final theme. Finally, we assert that our research demonstrates the potential for qualitative research connected to the evaluation of interventions and that it demonstrates the blurring of traditional boundaries between interventions and data collection.
<p>This article looks at the early uses of two metaphors for enlightenment, a bird still in the egg and a newborn lion, as well as later controversies surrounding the use and meaning of these metaphors. The metaphors were employed by Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese Buddhists, most famously in accounts of the debate between Indian and Chinese Buddhists at the Samyé (bsam yas) monastery in Tibet. Controversy often stemmed from debate as to whether or not the imagery conveyed a notion of "simultaneous" or "all-at-once" (cig car ba) enlightenment. (Ben Deitle 2006-02-23)</p>
<p>Natural environments, and particularly visual stimuli in nature, are usually perceived as restorative following stress and attention fatigue. Studies extending these findings to auditory natural stimuli have used soundscapes comprising multiple types of sound. Birdsong recurs as a type of sound used in such studies, but little is known about restorative perceptions of bird sounds on their own and how these may relate to existing theories of environmental restoration. Via semi-structured interviews with twenty adult participants, bird songs and calls were found to be the type of natural sound most commonly associated with perceived stress recovery and attention restoration. However, not all bird sounds were regarded as helpful for such processes. Three themes formed the basis of these perceived relationships: affective appraisals, cognitive appraisals, and relationships with nature. Sub-themes of the acoustic, aesthetic, and associative properties of bird sounds were also related to restorative perceptions. Future studies should quantitatively examine the potential of a variety of bird sounds to aid attention restoration and stress recovery, and how these might be predicted by acoustic, aesthetic, and associative properties, in order to better understand how and why sounds such as birdsong might provide restorative benefits.</p>
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a promising intervention for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression; however, a more detailed examination of the different elements of MBSR and various facets of mindfulness to determine what works best for whom is warranted. One hundred and two veterans with PTSD were randomly assigned to one of four arms: (a) body scan (BS; n = 27), (b) mindful breathing (MB; n = 25), (c) slow breathing (SB; n = 25), or (d) sitting quietly (SQ; n = 25). The purpose of this study was to (a) examine two separate components of MBSR (i.e., body scan and mindful breathing) among veterans with PTSD when compared to a nonmindfulness intervention (SB) and a control group (SQ), (b) assess if changes in specific mindfulness facets were predictive of post-treatment PTSD and depression for individuals who participated in a mindfulness intervention (BS vs. MB), and (c) investigate if type of mindfulness intervention received would moderate the relationship between pre- to post-treatment changes in mindfulness facets and post-treatment outcomes in PTSD and depression. Participants in the mindfulness groups experienced significant decreases in PTSD and depression symptom severity and increases in mindfulness, whereas the nonmindfulness groups did not. Among veterans who participated in a mindfulness group, change in the five facets of mindfulness accounted for 23 % of unique variance in the prediction of post-treatment depression scores. Simple slope analyses revealed that type of mindfulness intervention moderated the relationship among changes in facets of mindfulness and post-treatment depression.
Stimulated by a recent meeting between Western psychologists and the Dalai Lama on the topic of destructive emotions, we report on two issues: the achievement of enduring happiness, what Tibetan Buddhists call sukha, and the nature of afflictive and nonafflictive emotional states and traits. A Buddhist perspective on these issues is presented, along with discussion of the challenges the Buddhist view raises for empirical research and theory.
The distinct definition of stress postulated by Buddhist and Western cultures is the foundation for their different coping styles, traditions, and practices. Dukkha, derived from Buddha's Four Noble Truths, appears on the surface similar to psychological stress. Further examination of the Eastern cosmology yields a fundamental disagreement between Western psychological theory and Buddhists' conception of suffering and stress related to incorporating reality into the formulation. Cross-cultural research on traditional approaches to coping with occupational stress found that problem solving was the most effective strategy, however in Thailand meditation helped nurses cope with a variety of stressors such as dealing with death and dying.
<p>Here is an accessible introduction to Buddhist thought, which takes readers completely unfamiliar with the subject as quickly as possible to an accurate appreciation and understanding of the main ideas, tracing their development from teh time of Buddha, and opening up the latest scholarly perspectives and controversies. by focusing on classical India (including modern Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) as well as areas of Central Asia and South-East Asia direcly influenced by India, this book provides the essential foundation for an appreciation of Buddhism as a whole.</p>
Commentator Paul Raeburn examines an Exxon-Mobil project to drill oil in the Central African country of Chad. Proceeds are set to go to help the people of the struggling nation, and Raeburn says if the plan works, it could start a new trend for business endeavors with developing countries.
<p>Environmentalists have been criticizing the ethics of business people concerning the natural environment. Citing Thomas Berry as an example, this paper attempts to bring his three abstract values (presence, subjectivity, and communion) closer to the understanding of the average business person through meditation. The introduction describes business ethics in terms of relationships to the individual, or the ethical ‘I’ to the natural environment, or the ethical ‘You’ and to interpersonal relationships, or the ethical ‘We.’ Meditation is also defined, according to Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1986), as a meditative experience together with a period of reflection and small-group discussion. More specifically, meditation takes on three forms. Part one describes nondiscursive meditation in the context of what Berry means by presence. The problem addressed here is how to meet and cultivate the ethical ‘I.’ Part two will deal with semidiscursive meditation in the context of what Berry means by subjectivity, or the ethical ‘I’ in relation to the earth. The earth then becomes the ethical ‘You.’ Part three will deal with Berry's definition of communion, or the ethical ‘We.’ The practice of discursive meditation gradually leads to what Thomas Berry calls a renewed ‘visionary experience.’ The article concludes with a redefinition of business ethics in terms of our relationships to ourselves, as human persons, to the earth as our living environment, and to each other as members of the human community. The redefinition of our relationships through meditation is ‘visionary,’ or a new ‘paradigm,’ that, hopefully, will lead to the renewed ethical practice that other environmentalists are also advocating, for example, Arnold Berleant.</p>
<p>Business Ethics through philosophy includes threeelements: ethical thought, meaning meditation; ethicaldefinition, referring to philosophical readings;ethical values, in reference to case work in practicalethics. The purpose of this article is to show how businessethics can be conceived as an ethical vision,nourished and integrated around a philosophicalviewpoint.</p>