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Functional neuroimaging studies have implicated the fusiform gyri (FG) in structural encoding of faces, while event-related potential (ERP) and magnetoencephalography studies have shown that such encoding occurs approximately 170 ms poststimulus. Behavioral and functional neuroimaging studies suggest that processes involved in face recognition may be strongly modulated by socially relevant information conveyed by faces. To test the hypothesis that affective information indeed modulates early stages of face processing, ERPs were recorded to individually assessed liked, neutral, and disliked faces and checkerboard-reversal stimuli. At the N170 latency, the cortical three-dimensional distribution of current density was computed in stereotactic space using a tomographic source localization technique. Mean activity was extracted from the FG, defined by structure-probability maps, and a meta-cluster delineated by the coordinates of the voxel with the strongest face-sensitive response from five published functional magnetic resonance imaging studies. In the FG, approximately 160 ms poststimulus, liked faces elicited stronger activation than disliked and neutral faces and checkerboard-reversal stimuli. Further, confirming recent results, affect-modulated brain electrical activity started very early in the human brain (approximately 112 ms). These findings suggest that affective features conveyed by faces modulate structural face encoding. Behavioral results from an independent study revealed that the stimuli were not biased toward particular facial expressions and confirmed that liked faces were rated as more attractive. Increased FG activation for liked faces may thus be interpreted as reflecting enhanced attention due to their saliency.
<p>Below is the abstract from a study published in <em>Nature</em> magazine in 1982 by Herbert Benson and others on the Tibetan yogic practice of "inner heat" or Tummo (Tibetan: gtum mo). This was one of the first scientific studies which focused on the physiologic changes which accompany this practice. (Zach Rowinski 2005-01-11)</p> <p><strong>Author's Abstract:</strong> Since meditative practices are associated with changes that are consistent with decreased activity of the sympathetic nervous system, it is conceivable that measurable body temperature changes accompany advanced meditative states. With the help of H.H. the Dalai Lama, we have investigated such a possibility on three practitioners of the advanced Tibetan Buddhist meditational practice known as gTum-mo (heat) yoga living in Upper Dharamsala, India. We report here that in a study performed there in February 1981, we found that these subjects exhibited the capacity to increase the temperature of their fingers and toes by as much as 8.3?C.</p>
Experienced Qigong meditators who regularly perform the exercises “Thinking of Nothing” and “Qigong” were studied with multichannel EEG source imaging during their meditations. The intracerebral localization of brain electric activity during the two meditation conditions was compared using sLORETA functional EEG tomography. Differences between conditions were assessed using t statistics (corrected for multiple testing) on the normalized and log-transformed current density values of the sLORETA images. In the EEG alpha-2 frequency, 125 voxels differed significantly; all were more active during “Qigong” than “Thinking of Nothing,” forming a single cluster in parietal Brodmann areas 5, 7, 31, and 40, all in the right hemisphere. In the EEG beta-1 frequency, 37 voxels differed significantly; all were more active during “Thinking of Nothing” than “Qigong,” forming a single cluster in prefrontal Brodmann areas 6, 8, and 9, all in the left hemisphere. Compared to combined initial–final no-task resting, “Qigong” showed activation in posterior areas whereas “Thinking of Nothing” showed activation in anterior areas. The stronger activity of posterior (right) parietal areas during “Qigong” and anterior (left) prefrontal areas during “Thinking of Nothing” may reflect a predominance of self-reference, attention and input-centered processing in the “Qigong” meditation, and of control-centered processing in the “Thinking of Nothing” meditation.
Experienced Qigong meditators who regularly perform the exercises "Thinking of Nothing" and "Qigong" were studied with multichannel EEG source imaging during their meditations. The intracerebral localization of brain electric activity during the two meditation conditions was compared using sLORETA functional EEG tomography. Differences between conditions were assessed using t statistics (corrected for multiple testing) on the normalized and log-transformed current density values of the sLORETA images. In the EEG alpha-2 frequency, 125 voxels differed significantly; all were more active during "Qigong" than "Thinking of Nothing," forming a single cluster in parietal Brodmann areas 5, 7, 31, and 40, all in the right hemisphere. In the EEG beta-1 frequency, 37 voxels differed significantly; all were more active during "Thinking of Nothing" than "Qigong," forming a single cluster in prefrontal Brodmann areas 6, 8, and 9, all in the left hemisphere. Compared to combined initial-final no-task resting, "Qigong" showed activation in posterior areas whereas "Thinking of Nothing" showed activation in anterior areas. The stronger activity of posterior (right) parietal areas during "Qigong" and anterior (left) prefrontal areas during "Thinking of Nothing" may reflect a predominance of self-reference, attention and input-centered processing in the "Qigong" meditation, and of control-centered processing in the "Thinking of Nothing" meditation.
Abstract One of the enduring puzzles in biology and the social sciences is the origin and persistence of intraspecific cooperation and altruism in humans and other species. Hundreds of theoretical models have been proposed and there is much confusion about the relationship between these models. To clarify the situation, we developed a synthetic conceptual framework that delineates the conditions necessary for the evolution of altruism and cooperation. We show that at least one of the four following conditions needs to be fulfilled: direct benefits to the focal individual performing a cooperative act; direct or indirect information allowing a better than random guess about whether a given individual will behave cooperatively in repeated reciprocal interactions; preferential interactions between related individuals; and genetic correlation between genes coding for altruism and phenotypic traits that can be identified. When one or more of these conditions are met, altruism or cooperation can evolve if the cost-to-benefit ratio of altruistic and cooperative acts is greater than a threshold value. The cost-to-benefit ratio can be altered by coercion, punishment and policing which therefore act as mechanisms facilitating the evolution of altruism and cooperation. All the models proposed so far are explicitly or implicitly built on these general principles, allowing us to classify them into four general categories.
BACKGROUND:Stress reduction and comprehensive lifestyle modification programs have improved atherosclerosis and cardiac risk factors in earlier trials. Little is known about the impact of such programs on quality-of-life (QoL) and psychological outcomes. Given recent significant improvements in cardiac care, we evaluated the current benefit of stress reduction/lifestyle modification on QoL and emotional distress in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). METHODS: 101 patients (59.4 +/- 8.6 years, 23 female) with CAD were randomized to a 1-year lifestyle/stress management program (n = 48) or written advice (n = 53). QoL and psychological outcomes were assessed with the SF-36, Beck Depression, Spielberger State/Trait Anxiety, Spielberger State/Trait Anger and Perceived Stress Inventories. Group repeated-measures analyses of variance were performed for all measures. RESULTS: Adherence to the program was excellent (daily relaxation practice 39 +/- 5 vs. 5 +/- 8 min, respectively; p < 0.001). Both groups improved comparably in most dimensions of QoL, and significantly greater improvements for the lifestyle group were found for physical function and physical sum score (p = 0.046 and p = 0.045). Depression, anxiety, anger and perceived stress were reduced similarly in both groups. However, intervention x gender interaction effects revealed greater benefits among women in the lifestyle intervention vs. advice group for depression and anger (p = 0.025 and p = 0.040), but no effects for men. CONCLUSIONS: A comprehensive lifestyle modification and stress management program did not improve psychological outcomes in medically stable CAD patients. The program did appear to confer psychological benefits for women but not men. Further trials should investigate gender-related differences in coronary patient responses to behavioral interventions.