Why You Shouldn't Blame Lying On The Brain

Richard Gunderman, Indiana University

The recent finding that telling lies induces changes in the brain has stimulated a number of misrepresentations that may wreak more harm on our understanding than the lies on which they report. CNN’s headline runs, “Lying May Be Your Brain’s Fault, Honestly,” and PBS reports, “Telling a Lie Makes Way for the Brain to Keep Lying.”
These stories are based on a study from University College London using a brain imaging technique called functional MRI. The authors report that as subjects tell lies, activation of the amygdala, an area of the brain associated with emotion and decision making, actually decreases, suggesting that subjects may become desensitized to lying, thereby paving the way for further dishonesty.

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Why You Must ‘Kill’ the Buddha

The phrase, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him,” is often used in Zen teachings, but it is a misunderstood adage. At first glance, this koan, a puzzle meant to radically shift one’s consciousness, seems crude, and non-spiritual, even. Why would someone seeking enlightenment ever ‘kill’ anything, especially when the Buddha himself preached the precept, “do no harm.” The meaning of the phrase is meant to be jarring, even paradoxical. When Buddhist master Lin Chi said this to his Zen students, that was his entire point.

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A Sixth Sense? How We Can Tell That Eyes Are Watching Us

Harriet Dempsey-Jones, University of Oxford

We’ve all had that feeling that somebody is watching us – even if we’re not looking directly at their eyes. Sometimes we even experience a feeling of being watched by someone completely outside our field of vision. But how can we explain this phenomenon without resorting to pseudoscientific explanations like extrasensory perception (or a “sixth sense”)?

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Why Do Only Some People Get 'Skin Orgasms' From Listening to Music?

Mitchell Colver, Utah State University

Have you ever been listening to a great piece of music and felt a chill run up your spine? Or goosebumps tickle your arms and shoulders?

The experience is called frisson (pronounced free-sawn), a French term meaning “aesthetic chills,” and it feels like waves of pleasure running all over your skin. Some researchers have even dubbed it a “skin orgasm.”

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Placebo Effect is All in Our Heads

By Pat Anson, Editor

A new study has given researchers a better understanding why some people given a simple sugar pill will say it significantly reduces their pain. It’s all in their heads. Using functional magnetic resonance brain imaging (fMRI), scientists at the Northwestern Medicine and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) have identified for the first time the region of the brain that's responsible for the "placebo effect" in pain relief.

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