Here are my top picks from the neuroscience-mindfulness spectrum for this week.
1. We judge our previous decisions based on new information
From The Journal of Neuroscience
Thinking about thinking (known as metacognition) is hugely important for adaptation, however, little is known about it. The results of this study demonstrate that the information used to make the initial decision differs from the information that is used in metacognitive judgments.
2. Obesity is linked to memory problems
From The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Obesity could play a part in the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease. It appears that the relationship is a two-way street: being overweight or obese impacts memory function, then the memories of eating experiences change and thus affect future eating behavioural patterns.
3. There is little or no diagnostic specificity in the fMRI results for mental illness
From Human Brain Mapping
It appears that individuals with mental illness – regardless of the diagnosis – have abnormalities in their limbic system responses to various tasks. The limbic system is associated with emotion.
Put simply, the fMRI of a depressed person isn’t different to the fMRI of a person with a (seemingly) completely different disorder schizophrenia.
This could be a reflection on insufficient sample sizes. It could also be a reflection on the worry of going into an MRI scanner. A number of studies emerged recently showing that we’re possibly misinterpreting the findings of fMRI.
4. Fat shaming is associated with poor health outcomes
Individuals suffering from obesity who self-stigmatise may be at an increased cardiometabolic risk. Physiological and psychological mechanisms linking weight bias internalisation and metabolic syndrome warrant further research.
One of the researchers commented:
“There is a common misconception that stigma might help motivate individuals with obesity to lose weight and improve their health,” Pearl said. “We are finding it has quite the opposite effect.
When people feel shamed because of their weight, they are more likely to avoid exercise and consume more calories to cope with this stress.”
5. Thinking loops lead to emotional loops
From Tara Brach
Tara Brach humorously talks about the relationship between biases, emotion, beliefs and thinking. Emotions can subside in 90 seconds unless we generate cycles of thinking that re-trigger and reinforce them.
Have a great weekend everyone.