What is thy name?
July 27, 2015 8:28 PM   Subscribe

"Humans as Superorganisms: How Microbes, Viruses, Imprinted Genes and Other Selfish Entities Shape Our Behavior" by Peter Kramer and Paola Bressan discusses the idea that an individual homo sapiens is only one component of the human superorganism we call a person, focusing on the psychological and psychiatric ramifications thereof. (Paola Bressan previously.)
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth (17 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
Been wondering when something like this was going to hit the airwaves. Haven't read it all yet, but the idea is really interesting--especially when read alongside something like "First Person Plural."

And it's the implications in areas like agency, criminal guilt/intent, and mental health that are even more interesting...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:52 PM on July 27, 2015

Why am I reading a paper on brain parasites right before bed?

Oh yeah, brain parasites.
posted by swift at 9:15 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

Recent & related: Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood? (The New York Times Magazine)
posted by The Minotaur at 9:20 PM on July 27, 2015 [5 favorites]

Hmm. "Salty, sweet, sour, bitter, umami, hearing."

That about sum this one up, too?
posted by notyou at 9:22 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's Ted. Thank you for asking.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 9:25 PM on July 27, 2015

This doesn't surprise us... me... umm... it... at all.
posted by not_on_display at 9:31 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

just call me Shitload, 'cuz there's a shitload of us in here
posted by infinitewindow at 10:15 PM on July 27, 2015 [9 favorites]

My name is Legion. Staph to my friends.
posted by benzenedream at 11:52 PM on July 27, 2015 [8 favorites]

Note: the main link is a PDF.
posted by Small Dollar at 6:12 AM on July 28, 2015

So the correlate with this paper should be Honeybee Democracy by Thomas Seeley at Cornell who has done the bulk of his research over 4 decades on how a honeybee colony makes decisions much like the human brain. Fascinating stuff.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:11 AM on July 28, 2015 [4 favorites]

Ever since the RadioLab episode about the way the brain reaches decisions aired, I've tended to use the word "choral" to describe how the human mind works. It's clear I'm not being scientifically rigorous, but damn if it isn't a useful metaphor when you're in a family full of musicians.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 8:32 AM on July 28, 2015

Every time I read an article mentioning that most of us are infected with toxoplasma gondii, I wonder why nobody seems to treat it like it's anything to worry about, and then I'm like, oh yeah, brain parasites.
posted by Joe Chip at 9:04 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oops second time someone said oh yeah, brain parasites in this thread. Oh yeah, brain parasites.
posted by Joe Chip at 9:05 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

It appears that the average human bacterial load is approximately 2 to 9 pounds, depending upon which reference source is consulted. Below you'll find a variety of sources from which to choose.

Mass estimates are easy to find. Volume estimates not so much. If I excrete a 12 inch long 1 inch diameter cylinder of feces, what is the volume fraction of that which is perishing bacteria? Is some sort of proper goodbye called for?
posted by bukvich at 10:15 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Speaking of the human microbiome and psychology...

I have a friend who has stomach issues. She's also had a couple manic/delusional episodes. I noticed that these seemed to coincide with the time her stomach issues were in remission and she seemed to be doing better health-wise.

Shortly after her last episode, I'd pondered the role of gut serotonin and the human microbiome and it's applicability to manic/delusional states and found a few papers on Schizophrenia.

Interestingly, when I look now (last I looked as October 2014), it seems there's quite a bit more information. Here's the Google Search on that.
posted by symbioid at 10:59 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

This whole set of inquiries is facinating as it goes forward and more implications arise. Now perhaps we can find an answer to the question, "Why did he, she, it, they, yo, y'all, do that?
posted by Oyéah at 11:01 AM on July 28, 2015

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