We Hallucinate Much More Than Previously Thought
There’s a good chance you’ve hallucinated before. If you’ve ever felt the buzz of your phone against your thigh only to realize the sensation was entirely in your head, you’ve had a sensory perception of something that isn't real. And that, according to the psychologist Philip Corlett, is what makes a hallucination. Hallucinations can be far more banal: an imagined text message, a phantom raindrop, a new parent's mistaken sense of her child by her bedside. A survey in the early 1990s found that 10 to 15 percent of the population of the United States experienced vivid sensory hallucinations at some point in their lives. And scientists have begun to take seriously the idea that voice hearing and other forms of auditory hallucination can be benign or "nonclinical." This newfound ubiquity has come with a host of questions. Why is it so common for people to perceive what isn't there, and how does the brain allow this to happen in the first place? To find answers, researchers have turned to the mechanics of how we perceive reality itself.
For Corlett and Powers, both from the Yale School of Medicine, hallucinations have everything to do with expectations. In a paper in Science, they explore how the mysterious experiences fit into a larger, speculative idea about how the brain works—and, in a sense, what the brain is. The pair recounts a 2017 study they conducted, in which their group tried to induce hallucinations both in people who commonly report hallucinations across the psychotic spectrum and in people who don't normally hallucinate. The participants were taught to expect to hear a tone after being shown a flashing light, and then were made to press a button when they thought they heard a tone. They were told to hold down the button longer to rate their confidence in what they heard. People who regularly hallucinate held the button—that is, they hallucinated—significantly longer than those who don't.
Corlett and Powers see this experiment as evidence for their perspective on how people understand the world around them. By their way of thinking, the brain works by "predictive coding": integrating new information based on the beliefs built on old information. "When we go about the world, we're not just passively perceiving sensory inputs through our eyes and ears," Corlett says. "We actually build a model in our minds of what we expect to be present."
This mental setup works great for allowing us to move smoothly through the world, taking in each detail without a second thought. But sometimes, Corlett and Powers say, the brain has the capacity to overpredict: It can expect something that isn't there, and this expectation can be so strong that we actually perceive the nonexistent thing. Thus, a hallucination.
QUANTUM HEALTH TIP: Much of this "predictive coding" has to do with replacing the present moment with memories of past present moments, thus creating an inaccurate picture of present time reality. Therefore, intentional focus on the present increases situational awareness. Use our Zen Meditation Elixir to help focus attention in the present moment leading to more accurate perception of the world around us.
Science is Revealing Music as a Universal Language
Using over a century's worth of research in ethnomusicology from 315 cultures, as well as a new collection of song recordings from around the world, scientists have performed a cross-cultural analysis of the similarities and differences in our music. The research team found that the underlying structures and melodic elements of songs are similar worldwide, such that the behavioral context of a song can be predicted just by its acoustic features.
In all, they collected recordings of 118 songs from 86 cultures spanning 30 geographic regions. But this is only a small part of this so-called Natural History of Song. The team also poured over a large ethnographic database of 315 cultures, looking for mentions of song. Every single culture had music described. So, over 5,000 descriptions of songs, including over 2,000 translations of song lyrics, from 60 cultures across 30 geographic regions also went into the database.
Then came the hard work of cataloging and analyzing the songs. They used a number of tools, including listener ratings, machine summaries, and expert transcriptions and summaries. In the end, they had a comprehensive database they could cross-reference to understand how humans write music all around the world, with a particular focus on healing songs, love songs, dance songs, and lullabies. "Lullabies and dance songs are ubiquitous and they are also highly stereotyped," said evolutionary biologist Manvir Singh of Harvard University.
In previous research, the team found that even when they had never heard a particular song before, listeners were relatively accurately able to gauge when a song was, for example, a lullaby. This new research seems to support those findings--regardless of spoken language, humans have a universal language in song. This, the researchers believe, means that there could be something about our brains that understands music on a universal level.
"We propose that the music of a society is not a fixed inventory of cultural behaviors, but rather the product of underlying psychological faculties that make certain kinds of sound feel appropriate to certain social and emotional circumstances," they wrote in their paper. "Musical idioms differ with respect to which acoustic features they use and which emotions they engage, but they all draw from a common suite of psychological responses to sound."
It is, the team believes, a step towards finally unlocking and building a universal musical grammar, as well as understanding how our minds create and respond to music.
QUANTUM HEALTH TIP: This type of research points out how the human condition transcends cultural programming, languages, and may even describe a basic feature of how consciousness interacts with the world. Other experiments with plants and animals also indicate similarities in how music is perceived. Use the Schumann Resonance Crystals to help align and resonate with the consciousness of earth itself, broadcasting it's own special music.
Stress Prevents the Brain from Learning
A recent study conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center identified one of the brain systems in charge of repair and new connections. Microglia cells act as repair/connection bots for the mind, working to rewire your brain when you're learning, whether, by study, daydreaming, getting triggered or action. What's interesting is that stress seems to shut down this system, giving us insights into how we might maintain health into old age.
The brain is constantly rewiring itself based on what's happening in our lives. When we get stressed and don't know how to deal with the situation, triggering the freeze response, this produces brain changes that result in PTSD symptoms. Conversely, when we manage a stressful situation with bravery, this produces brain changes that result in the reverse of PTSD, resilience and enhanced learning capacity.
This study demonstrates the mechanism whereby prolonged stress degrades the brain, and literally prevents learning. This is likely why those who experience chronic unaddressed stress and anxiety often have difficulty learning and adjusting to life. Why? Because the mechanism that facilitates adaptivity, learning, or healing, can't work properly due to chronic stress.
For example, after experiencing a minor tragedy or traumatic event, you might consciously deal with the bulk of the situation, while later, you'll feel "aftershocks"—you might find yourself staring blankly into a cup of tea in deep reverie as you contemplate the deeper meaning of things. What is likely happening is that the brain is repairing itself from the trauma, which you feel as deep inner introspection, as the newness of your own mind begins to dawn on you. Later, you'll notice these changes in your behavior, as a heightened state of sensitivity or alertness with respect to the specifics of the original trauma—PTSD responses.
The study's implication is that learning how to downgrade stressful states, likely through mindfulness practices, will help retain mental faculties into old age. What's more, the treasure trove of wisdom contained within any life experience, especially challenging ones, will be more accessible the more we learn how to work with the body and brain's natural systems.
Of course, the reduction of stress can be induced through the body, using techniques like EFT, meditation, and consuming herbs or substances designed to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system—the body's natural "de-triggering" anti-anxiety system.
Health & Healing Hack of the Week
Another great morning practice is three-level breathing. Begin with inhaling through the nose, using the lower belly muscles. Inhale about one-third of a full inhalation. For the second part, inhale using the mid-chest muscles or lower part of the lungs, and then finish the inhale at the very top of the lungs. Hold for a few moments and then exhale fully through the mouth. Three or four of these will get the energies moving and stimulate the endocrine system and serotonin release. The sequence also stimulates the Vagus Nerve energizing and calming the nervous systems. From 25 No Cost Health & Healing Hacks by Boyd Martin)
Quantum Healer of the Week
To help people find the choices and possibilities that they thought were gone for them or perhaps they never even realized those existed for them at all. I like to use my unique combination of skills to get people out of their pain, trauma, drama, and stories and into creating a life of expanded possibilities! I like to assist them to bring more ease and joy to their lives by helping them discover that they have more choices and possibilities for changing what isn't working in their lives than they ever thought they had. Everything is Energy! When you change your energy, you change your body and your life! It's all about following the energy and choosing what is a contribution to your life! I use many different tools to assist you in transforming your life and bringing more ease, less pain, greater healing and much more to you, your life and your body! WEBSITE
Company & Product News
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Gem Elixir for the Month
Spiritually: Sharpens intuition, clairvoyance, and spiritual awareness and is good for meditation. It invokes high states of consciousness and spiritual awareness and encourages service to humanity.
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