Chapter 2 Neuroscience – First Impression: Option 1

--Original published at Rachel Bickelman's PSY 105 Blog

I chose to watch the TED talk about psychopathic killers because it seemed the most interesting. Jim Fallon, the featured speaker, spoke about three variables of genetics, biological-epigenetic brain damage, and environment and the timing of these variables which can lead to psychopathic killers. It is important to highlight that there is a gene, MAO-A, that is needs in a sense to be activated by an pre-adolescent traumatic event for one to be a psychopathic killer.

What I thought was most interesting is the genetic predisposition one might have to being a psychopathic killer and how gene pools and areas experiencing war and violence  may result in a “generation” of psychopathic killers.

I found Fallon’s findings to be sufficiently backed up, his tests on 70 brains of both the normal and populations of psychopathic killers had damage to the same area of the brain, the orbital cortex. with the MAO-A gene were representative and legitimate ways of measuring brain activity. Also, Fallon utilizes science, specifically genetics, to support how he came to the study’s conclusions.

A research idea that relates to this presentation could focus on the effect of violence on psychopathic tendencies. This research idea would have to be a prospective study checking -in on the participants in the future. Participants would be from geographical areas with a high level of violence to try to find a correlation between tendency of violence and exposure. Another control group would be recruited to aid as a comparison. I would measure violent tendencies in their behavior by giving them a specific situation in which violence can be chosen. I would also try to conduct a naturalistic operation to get a more genuine sense of their tendency to violence.

First Impression: The Biology of Behavior

--Original published at Cecilia's Thoughts

The biology of behavior is an interesting topic for me to learn about and I look forward to studying it further. I have some prior knowledge about the basic biology in the health field because of the pathway I took in high school. I went to a vo-tech school where I studied nursing, we learned the basic structures of neurons, the human body, cells, and the anatomy of the human body. We spent a lot of time on the structure of a neuron. The neuron is made up of many parts: the axon, the myelin sheath, dendrites, and cell receptors. I also learned about the basic body functions which hopefully will tie into this chapter of the biology of behavior. I learned about how every body part is made up of neurons, these neurons provide a certain purpose.

I also remember learning about the parts of the brain. There are multiple different lobes: the occipital lobe, the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, and the temporal lobe. All of these different lobes provide a different function for the human body. The different lobes work together along with the spinal cord in sending and receiving messages from the outside world and transporting those messages to the brain and vice versa. The body functions because of nerves, and these nerves send impulses to the brain which then causes an action. For example, when you touch something pointy, you feel that and it sends impulses to your brain to tell you to pull your finger away.



--Original published at LivsCollegeBlog

There were many choices of TED Talks to watch. I decided to watch the one titled, Toward a New Understanding of Mental Illness by Thomas Insel. This one really stuck out to me because I personally struggle with mental illness and it is a very important topic to me.

In the beginning, Thomas Insel starts with what he calls the “good news.” He compares how Leukemia, Heart Disease, AIDS, and Stroke cases have significantly decreased from between 1965-1995 and 2009-2012. The most important thing that has lead to the decreased in mortality with these cases is being able to detect it early and intervene early. Insel states, “Early detection, early intervention, that’s the story of these successes.”

On the not-so-good-news side, suicide cases have not changed in the same time span. Today, there are about 38,000 suicides per year in America. This is equal to about one person committing suicide every 15 minutes. Suicide is the third most common death of people between the ages of 15-25, twice as common as homicide, and more common than traffic deaths.

Insel talks about how there is a medical factor that affects the rate of suicide: mental illness. He displays a graph that shows that roughly 30% of all disability from medical causes can be attributed to mental disorders. Now people may argue that cancer or heart disease seems more serious than mental disorders, however, they are further down the list because of the amount of disability they cause.

There are 3 reasons that Insel gives that explain why mental illnesses are more debilitating than cancer or heart disease:

  1. Common: About 1 in 5 will suffer from a mental disorder.
  2. Disabling: About 1 in 20 people will become disabled from a mental disorder.
  3. Early Onset: About 50% will have a mental disorder by age 14, and 75% will by age 24.

No matter how you think about mental illnesses or suicide, whether it’s the brain, the neurons, or the synapses, we are just beginning to truly understand the “epidemic” that is suicide.

Chapter 2 First Impression- Killers

--Original published at Kaylyn's PSY105 Blog

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I viewed Jim Fallon’s talk about going into the minds of psychopathic killers and what he observed while working with them. The killers he worked with all had damage to their orbital cortex and damage to other brain areas. He also brought up how sex may be a factor because it is carried by an X from the mother. With a female she can get another X chromosome from her father and the gene will move out of her system. Also, trauma may be another area that can influence someone to become a serial killer later in life. If a child experiences extreme trauma at a young age it can affect them later in life. This could be abuse (mental, physical, or sexual) that happens to them or that they watch happen to someone else. He shared a bit of his family tree where he is related to Lizzie Borden and that his father’s side of the family holds many killers. Neuroscience is important because it studies the functions of the brain and can help pinpoint how physical damage may affect mental illness. Certain parts of the brain can contribute to mental illness and can provide another viewpoint on mental illness. Being able to evaluate the brain’s functions is extremely interesting because it is not where we usually think of being evaluated for mental illness. Normally it is seen as a place to be diagnosed with brain issues; such as migraines, at least in my experience. I usually associate mental illness help with psychologists and psychiatrists.

Chapter 2 First Impression: Neuroscience

--Original published at Manami PSY105blog

The ted talk I chose for this week’s post titled “The real reason for brains” by Daniel Wolpert. The reason why I chose this ted talk is that the basic information of a brain such as how the brain work is necessary for me to learn neuroscience in psychology class and the title caught my attention and interests.

The speaker talks about that brain evolved to control movements with some examples and own study results. Firstly, he asked us the basic question that “why do we and all animals have brains?”. He also gave an audience the answer that the only reason to have a brain is not to feel something and think, but “to produce adaptable and complex movement”. Robots cannot act like human dexterously although technology is developed because of human control movement by the brain. He suggests that the signal which makes movements from the brain is corrupted by noise. What is difficult for robots is to minimize negative consequences by this noise. The real reason of brain is to control movements which looks simple but so complex as conclusions.

His examples are really helpful to understand his theory easily. For example, he proved this idea that the role of the brain is to move with the example of the humble sea squirt which digest its own brain when it attached the rock and does not need to move. The chess’s example to support his belief that movement is the most important use of brain is also interesting. Robot can beat human when they play chess. However, the robot cannot win five years-old kid in terms of movements of dexterous.

His presentation is trustworthy because he is professional with enough experiences of experiments. There are some steps to support his theory. He clarifies that the brain works for movements at first. Next, the method of combination between several information as belief is explained with Bayes’ rule. He also focuses that people improved movements. These facts which is also trustworthy make his suggestions strong.

The research idea based on the information presented is that how the movements will work better by developments of the brain in the future, and how will it help medical technology developments. We would research how to minimize noise and assume the situations which technology has the skill like a human.


Ch.2 First Impression- Neuroscience

--Original published at Gracie's Blog

The brain is a very intriguing topic, therefore picking a TED talk to watch was difficult. There are so many instances in life when you and another person may say a sentence or word at the same time. The TED talk I chose was “How we read each other’s minds” by Rebecca Saxe. I thought learning about reading other’s minds was an interesting topic, along with hearing how someone would address and explain reading people’s minds. Throughout this TED talk, Saxe gives examples from the experiments she conducted related to the RTP in the brain, which is used when reading and thinking about other’s feelings. As we get older our RTP develops, which gives up the ability to think about other people’s thoughts. Saxe shows an illustration of a mother looking at her baby and another of a man jumping off of a cliff, which from looking at the pictures we can come up with ideas of what the people in the pictures are thinking. During this talk I found it interesting when Saxe mentioned that we have the same brain cells as monkeys, mice, and sea slugs. I also thought the video Saxe showed of her getting a magnetic force to a certain part of her brain was fascinating because the force given gave her hand a reflex and made her drop the coin she had in her hand. I found this presenter trustworthy due the proof she gave with videos. To show an experiment Saxe conducted involving the thoughts of children she showed videos of children ages three, five, and seven. With the videos Saxe was able to prove her point, and give solid evidence that the RTP works differently depending on the age. I would conduct an experiment that shows how difference in age affects our perspective on concepts. For this experiment ages, en, sixteen, eighteen, twenty-one, and twenty-five look at pictures and determine what they think the person in the picture is thinking. Before looking at the pictures the people will get their brains imaged to see the amount of brain activity, as well as after looking at the pictures and deciding what each person is thinking in each picture. I think it would be interesting to see between what ages is there a big difference in the thoughts and how the picture is perceived.

Chapter 2 First Impression- Neuroscience

--Original published at Garrettscollegeblog

After scrolling through and reading the descriptions of the possible TED Talks available, one stood out above the rest. The description of “Miguel Nicolelis: Brain to Brain Communication Has Arrived” mentioned a “brain-controlled exoskeleton that allowed a paralyzed man to kick the first ball of the 2014 World Cup.” My initial reaction was, “How did I miss this? I watched every minute of every game in that World Cup.” After thinking for a few seconds, however, I took a second glance at the statement to assure I read it correctly. A man, paralyzed from the middle of his chest to his toes, was able to kick a soccer ball in a man-made exoskeleton being controlled entirely by his brain.

Thirty years of imagining and fifteen years of planning led up to the unbelievable event that took place on June 12th, 2014. The Brain Machine Interface is what made this dream a reality. This machine uses sensors to read and analyze electrical brainstorms, which then create motor commands. Nicolelis and his partner then transformed the motor commands into digital demands in order for electrical devices to act out.

The most interesting part of this TED Talk emerged from the monkey experiment. In this experiment, a monkey controlled a virtual arm, moving it into designated circles on the screen simply by imagining. I always imagined this type of technology so far in the future I had no idea it already existed and had been used on such a stage as the FIFA World Cup.

Miguel Nicolelis proves himself very trustworthy because of his passion for the subject. He goes through thirty years of peers calling him crazy and years of trial and error. Along with his passion, he utilizes evidence from the World Cup as well as the monkey experiment.

A research idea that came to mind from this experiment was using these same sensors to achieve control over video game characters just through imagining. I would conduct this through creating an entirely new console gaming system. Similar sensors used in the Brain Machine Interface would connect to the console replacing the controller entirely. Instead of these sensors controlling the console as a whole, they will control aspects inside the game, such as characters and decisions.

Chapter 2 First Impression

--Original published at HarrysCollegeBlog

Going into this assignment, I decided to choose the mind of a killer Ted talk, due to a lack of interest among the other decisions. Before going into the video, im expecting some sort of talk about justification of their actions of some sort on the killer’s part. Immediately upon going in, He talks about genes, and it surprises me that Genes could have something to do with someone deciding to be a killer. Environment and Brain damage I did expect, but inherited genes, not so much. A Normal person can be warped into a bad person by circumstance I understand well, life is cruel and unforgiving. But the MAOA Gene being passed down genetically from the Mother of all people was shocking. Here in America, we see mothers typically being very kind, gentle and caring, but this gene that is passed down from such a gentle mother being able to turn people into murderers is so ironic.

The Ted Talk itself Gave me good insights on how far we can fall, just based off of our family heritage, and the events that surround our youth. It really makes me appreciate being in such a peaceful part of the world, where this is a lot less likely. It makes me wonder if I, if given bad experiences in my youth, could’ve ended up like this, with such common use of violence to solve problems. One can only wonder at the possibility.

Chapter 2 Blog Post

--Original published at Zachs College Blog

I personally chose the “exploring the mind of a killer” TED talk because I have always had an interest in knowing what differentiates the mind of a killer and of an everyday person. Also, I’ve been a big fan of NCIS & Criminal Minds. When examining the factors that make up a killer, we consider genetics, brain damage, and interactions with their environment. When brain damage occurs, the timing of the incident plays a large role as well. High risk genes or the “violence gene” can be found in the normal everyday person, but are found more intensely In people who kill. Growing up witnessing extreme forms of violence can be a larger factor in why people become psychopathic killers. Personally, I found that the fact that genetic makeup and brain make up can influence the tendencies of a killer from generations to generation was the most interesting point in the talk. I found Jim Fallon a very trustworthy and reliable source because he performed multiple brain scans on known psychopathic killers and his own family tree which all showed the same results. Also, Fallon is a professor at the University of California and has been a neuroscientist for about 35 years so I believe his information provided is very credible. A research study that I would perform would be a study on the number of psychopathic killers that were women and men. I would compare these numbers because the variance of the High Risk Gene is found in our mothers and which is then passed to their son genetically. I want to see if it is true that men are more known to be classified as psychopathic killers than women.


--Original published at AlyssaM

I was first drawn to the TED talk: “Rebecca Saxe: How We Read Each Other’s Minds” because it seems like with two people I know, it happens very frequently. It was about how people try to understand what another is thinking in order to understand them and rationalize certain aspects. She described a section of the brain dedicated to this process and that novelist use it often when creating characters. She explained the tiny magnetic pulses that could be used to slightly influence reactions in the brain. I found most interesting that there is a small part of the brain that specializes in such procedures, as compared to woven into another function of the brain. The presenter, Rebecca, I thought was mostly trustworthy compared to other sources. She had a lot of charts to demonstrate her point, although it is unclear how many participants took part in the making of the stats. She also had several examples in an experiment and displayed the videos from different ages. However, she did not point out if she studied more than the few in the videos. I would do a research project similar to what she did with the young children, to see how others see different situations. I first would write various stories that makes a person think deeply about another’s actions. For example, good versus evil and if the evil is justified because of their broken past. Should the good be allowed to destroy the evil, when they were only hurt, or should they try to heal the evil; would be part of the study I would analyze.