You know, sometimes life can be rough. We all got hard things to deal with, right? Sometimes we lose people. Sometimes people hurt us. And some days we're just not feeling it and we don't even know why. When I'm feeling down one thing I like to do is play a game. I feel like games can really bring us together. - Life got you down? Play a relaxing game of Dungeons & Dragons with action star Vin Diesel.
Open Mind - "This is a website with numerous peer-reviewed philosophical texts covering a wide range of topics and disciplines that are available for free. This means that the texts are not restricted to the use of academics and students in the developed world who can afford to download them, but are available to anyone, anywhere." [more inside]
"Fuck Yes!" or No - "Think about this for a moment: Why would you ever choose to be with someone who is not excited to be with you?" (Fuck Yes, No Less - "How many of us have been taught to let persuasion and doubt override our instincts? How many of us have been taught to live in the grey?") [more inside]
Facebook scientists, having apparently become bored with optimizing advertising algorithms, are now running social science experiments on the users. Link to the actual paper. I assume they are already selling this to the advertisers as a way to alter "brand perceptions."
You should be ashamed -- or maybe not. 'Shame on you. These three simple words can temporarily -- or, when used too often, permanently -- destroy an individual's sense of value and self-worth.' A paper by Thomas Scheff, professor emeritus of sociology at UC Santa Barbara 'The Ubiquity of Hidden Shame in Modernity' explores the danger of hidden emotions: ""In modernity, shame is the most obstructed and hidden emotion, and therefore the most destructive," said Thomas Scheff, professor emeritus of sociology at UC Santa Barbara. '"Emotions are like breathing -- they cause trouble only when obstructed." When hidden, he continued, shame causes serious struggles not only for individuals but also for groups.' [more inside]
Why do we feel happy when we listen to sad music? A study from the Tokyo University of the Arts and RIKEN says that while we expect sad feelings to result from sad music, often the emotions are more neutral or even positive. [more inside]
The two aspects of empathy, cognitive and affective, as described succinctly and clearly by neuroscientist Simon Baron Cohen. Ever wondered how chronically abusive people seem to have X-ray vision knowing just what cruel thing to say to hurt most? It's because they have greater cognitive empathy and less - or very little - affective empathy. Psychologist, Daniel Goleman adds another aspect of empathy into the picture, compassionate empathy.
"I wish to dispel the notion that women are “more emotional.” I don’t think we are. I think that the emotions women stereotypically express are what men call “emotions,” and the emotions that men typically express are somehow considered by men to be something else." Jen Dziura in The Gloss: "When men are too emotional to have a rational argument."
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
TED (Transformations, Emotional Deconstruction) is a large, wall-based installation created by Sean Hathaway, consisting of an array of 80 Teddy Ruxpin dolls that speak emotional content gathered from the web via synthetic speech with animated mouths.
A pilot study testing for statistically significant blood biomarkers found in early-onset MDD: "Discovery of blood transcriptomic markers for depression in animal models and pilot validation in subjects with early-onset major depression" [PDF], published by the online, open source journal Translational Psychiatry**, April 2012, Volume 2. [more inside]
Psychology Today delves into the societal and psychological issues raised by casual sex.
No one rivals Doom! NO ONE! Doom is supreme! There is no power on earth, no intellect in all creation to equal Mine!
experienceproject and Is It Normal? invite and share people's stories of literally any life experience, from trivial to all-important, from people missing their dogs to procrastination, from experiences with LSD to stories of having given birth, and from being the other woman to belly button phobias, walking in circles while listening to music, and much more.
Angry Jane Doe: "I have started to sleep around. I sleep with men I am not dating. I sleep with men and refuse to date them, actually. I come to their houses, fuck them, say thank you for a nice time, and don't let the door hit me on the ass on the way out. You might think this is a pretty good deal, but it is not. Because I fuck and tell. Because I'm pissed." (NSFW.) [more inside]
What do Singing in the Rain, Live Is Life, Don't Worry, Be Happy, I Will Survive and Ça fait rire les oiseaux have in common? In a study, French-speaking Internet users identified these five pop songs out of 100, as the most pernicious earworms. Here are their top 25 picks from BRAMS, including audio clips. [more inside]
The "Still Face" Paradigm (YT video) designed by Dr. Edward Tronick of Harvard and Childrens Hospital’s Child Development Unit, is an experiment which shows us how a 1-year old child will react to a suddenly unresponsive parent. It allows us to understand how a caregiver's interactions and emotional state can influence many aspects of an infant's social and emotional development. [more inside]
How are you feeling today? Are you energetic? Relaxed? Drunk? Maybe you're horny or lost in thought. Perhaps you're knitting, cooking, or doing some spring cleaning. Maybe you're simply untroubled. Whatever your mood, Stereomood will provide a soundtrack. (Warning: All links autoplay sound.) [more inside]
Can robots feel human emotions? "Hal, switch to manual hibernation control." "I can tell from your voice harmonics, Dave, that you're badly upset. Why don't you take a stress pill and get some rest?" "I'm sorry, Dave, but in accordance with special subroutine C1435-dash-4, quote, When the crew are dead or incapacitated, the onboard computer must assume control, unquote. I must, therefore, overrule your authority, since you are not in any condition to exercise it intelligently." "Hal," said Bowman, now speaking with an icy calm. "I am not incapacitated. Unless you obey my instructions, I shall be forced to disconnect you. previously
The True Love Project — People are exhorted to "say cheese" for the camera so their faces will approximate a happy look. Other emotional states, such as love, are far more complex and not easily photographed. Love is intimate and deeply personal, and its expression may be hard to share in a staged setting. Hypnosis opens a pathway into the unconscious, the neurological realm of emotional memory. In TRUE LOVE a group of volunteers worked with a professional hypnotist to reach, in trance, a point where they were able to visualize the camera as a beloved person. The resulting images captured people who were actually in love with the camera.
How do you ask a stranger (not necessarily fluent in English) to recall and describe their private emotions? A research project visually displays anger, joy, fear, sadness, and love.
The Feel Tank. "We are a feel tank, but this does not mean that we do not think. We are governed by outrage that the desires and demands for a less bad life and a better good life continue to go unrecognized."
Universe is the newest project from Jonathan Harris, who was also behind the amazing WeFeelFine, and the Yahoo Time Capsule. Here's a talk he gave about his projects at TED 2007.
The history of emotions has yielded substantial studies on love, anger, fear, grief, jealousy, and many other discrete emotions. However, there is no particular study of cheerfulness, a rather moderate emotion, which, for reasons that I will discuss further, has remained unnoticeable to the scholarly eye. Based on much of the historical literature on emotions, some primary sources and some other areas of cultural history, I outline here the social use and conceptualization of cheerfulness over the last three centuries. I argue that, in the modern age, cheerfulness rose in value and became the most favored emotion for experience and display; as such, it was individually sought and socially encouraged until it became the main emotional norm of twentieth-century America.From Good Cheer to "Drive-By Smiling": A Social History of Cheerfulness
And the Taxonomy of Emotion Terms there is of interest on its own.
Language started with emotional signaling. That's the thesis of a new book, The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, And Intelligence Evolved From Our Primate Ancestors To Modern Humans, by Stanley I. Greenspan and Stuart G. Shanker.
Lived emotional experience is key to language learning, the authors suggest. "Mathematicians and physicists may manipulate abstruse symbols representing space, time, and quantity, but they first understood those entities as tiny children wanting a far-away toy, or waiting for juice, or counting cookies. The grown-up genius, like the adventurous child, forms ideas through playful explorations in the imagination, only later translated into the rigor of mathematics."The book is very ambitious, and I don't think we'll ever know where language came from, but this sounds like a more fruitful line of thinking than Chomsky's deus ex machina "language gene" mutation.
Emotional rescues. An article by Susam Tomes questions how much distance is required by a performer in order to communicate emotion effectively. Does the on-stage show of emotion by some musicians distract from their performance? Compare and contrast: cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Jacqueline du Pré with the immobile, stone-visaged Jascha Heifetz. [via Arts & Letters Daily]
Eric Conveys an Emotion. Not just the easy ones like fear, annoyance, and did I leave the oven on?, but also the universal states of the human condition: realizing Dan Quayle is your father, the blue screen of death, caught downloading naughty pictures, erectile dysfunction. Requests cheerfully accepted.
"The study of feelings, once the province of psychology, is now spreading to history, literature, and other fields." Scholarship on the emotions is a rich field for historians and philosophers. Martha Nussbaum (previously discussed here) has written on historical views of the relationship between morality and emotion, and delves more deeply into it in her recent book, Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions. Of particular relevance these days may be M.F. Burnyeat's new book, Restraining Rage: The Ideology of Anger Control in Classical Antiquity, which focuses on Classical views of anger and its proper place in human action. Many today could learn from Marcus Aurelius: "as grief is a mark of weakness, so is anger, for both have been wounded and have surrendered to the wound." [First link via Ye Olde Phart.]
Disgust is universal it seems. Can anyone think of any other universal disgusts out there?
Next generation emoticons or another step in tearing down cultural (and man-machine?) walls?