Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Independence and interdependence - urban and rural America

200 Years of Books Prove That City-Living Changes Our Psychology

UCLA researcher Patricia Greenfield has long suspected that the environment around us influences our psychology – not in the classic sense that our family life or peer groups sway our behavior, but in a much broader way. Human psychology adapts differently, she theorized, to rural settings than to urban ones.

Rural living, with its subsistence economies, simpler technologies, and close-knit communities, demands of people a greater sense of deference to authority and duty to each other. Urbanization, on the other hand, generally comes with greater wealth and education, and complex technology and commerce. Adapt to life in a city, and a different set of values becomes more important: for starters, personal choice, property accumulation, and materialism.

"When you have greater wealth, you have more choices," Greenfield says. When you live in a city, there are simply more paths to chose, more things to do, more ways you might spend your money. Greater education brings choice, too. In this way, personal choice – and an emphasis on the individual – becomes more central in an urban world to our values, our behavior, and our culture.

This implies that as a society slowly urbanizes over time, its psychology and culture change, too. But Greenfield hasn't been able to prove that until now. In her latest research, published in the journal Psychological Science, she leverages an enormous quantifiable dataset on American culture over the last two centuries that never existed before: the Google Books Ngram Viewer........"

for the rest of this article go here:

If these research findings are so - then what are appropriate responses?

Since psychology is a cause-and-effect tendency, knowing these tendencies, what is skillful and appropriate individually, in the groups we are part of and on a broader social and political level?


Monday, August 12, 2013

Neurescience exploration and consequences

Interesting articles and comments regarding future directions:

Bursting the Neuro-Utopian Bubble

".....Rafael Yuste, lead author of an ambitious brief that appeared in the prominent neuroscience journal Neuron in 2012. The paper proposed the need for the “Brain Activity Map Project, aimed at reconstructing the full record of neural activity across complete neural circuits.” This April, the Obama administration endorsed the project, setting aside $100 million for it in 2014 alone, and renaming it the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative, or the Brain Initiative for short.
Pyschosocial problems cannot simply be solved in the neuroscientist’s lab.
The project has been compared by the administration to the Human Genome Project, which focused on a problem — the sequencing of the human genome — as daunting as the recording and mapping of brain circuits in action. The success of the Human Genome Project was both scientific and financial: the $3.8 billion invested in it by the federal government has reportedly returned $796 billion, a fact that advocates of the Brain Initiative have been quick to cite as justification for their own undertaking.
Critics of the Human Genome Project have voiced many concerns about genomic sequencing, most of which can also be leveled at the Brain Initiative: What happens when health insurance companies get hold of this information? Could it lead to invasions of our privacy? And, perhaps most fundamentally, aren’t these scientists once again trying to play God? ......."