Monday, July 29, 2013

What Modern Men Want

Recently The New York Post bellowed the headline: How the price of sex has dropped to record lows It referred to the dating game and outlined a study by social psychologists from the University of Minnesota. Apparently while many men were hit hard after the global financial crisis, the research found that in the bedroom, men were the big ‘financial’ winners. Women, according to the story are jumping into the sack faster than ever before, without men having to bother with romance or even paying for a second date.

Journalist and author Samantha Brett explores this shift in her upcoming book “What Modern Men Want”.

Here is a snippet:

  •          Modern men want to be needed
  •         Modern men aren't afraid of successful women but don't want    it thrown in their faces
  •          Modern men want to earn sex
  •         Modern men only want to commit to a woman they can respect
  •          Modern men do want to get married - but in their own time

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Could we be living in the White Queen's kingdom?

Remembering the past is one thing but can we remember the future. That is, can we remember today what might happen to us tomorrow? We know for example that causes precede their effects and our actions are directed towards the future. This is true for what we know of memory. Our perceptions are the effects of external stimuli and causeality in the same way hinders our ability to remember the future.

Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, the White Queen tells Alice that in her land, "memory works both ways." Not only can the Queen remember things from the past, but she also remembers "things that happened the week after next." Alice attempts to argue with the Queen, stating "I'm sure mine only works one way...I can't remember things before they happen." The Queen replies, "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards."

How much better would our lives be if we could live in the White Queen's kingdom, where our memory would work backwards and forewords? For instance, in such a world, you could take an exam and then study for it afterwards to make sure you performed well in the past.

Could we be living in the White Queen's kingdom?

Yoon-Ho Kim, R. et al,  reported in early 1999 an elaboration on a quantum eraser experiment (Quantum Eraser Delayed Choice) involving the concepts considered in Wheeler's delayed choice experiment. What was able to be gleaned from this experiment is interrupted by many as evidence for backward causation.

The experiment doesn’t make bedtime reading but goes a little like this: two photons A‘ and B‘ are put into an entangled quantum state. The state or behavior detected in photon A is dependent on the detection of its entangled twin photon B. However, the detection of A‘s behavior occurs some nanoseconds before the detection of photon B. Thus, it would seem that the detection of photon B has a (nonlocal) effect on the behavior of photon A, which is temporally prior to it, and so can potentially be interpreted as a case of backward causation.

At the same time research from a different domian  may be indicating that our brain has the ability to not only reflect on past experiences, but also anticipate future experiences. This ability for the brain to "see into the future" is often referred to as psi phenomena.

Dr. Bem, a social psychologist at Cornell University, conducted a series of studies that will soon be published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. One such experiment involves recalling a list of given words.

We know that rehearsing a set of words makes them easier to recall in the future, but what if the rehearsal occurs after the recall? In one of the studies, college students were given a list of words and after reading the list, were given a surprise recall test to see how many words they remembered. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Panic and hoaxes

While having coffee and biscotti with a colleague today the conversation turned to Freud, psychoanalysis and his use of the term substrate. We are only at the beginning of a new science. I was successful in digging up buried monuments from the substrata of the mind.” Later I gave this some more thought while listening to Orson Wells’ 1938 famous hoax, the War of the Worlds broadcast that panicked the American nation.

It's interesting to note that we as users of search engines such as Google seem to be tying our searches for hoaxes and terms involving "panic" in a loosely corelated way (see graph above). 

The graph above illustares the correlation between google searches for hoaxes in history and searches based on the term "panic" using Google's search volume index. The blue graph represents trends for searches for hoaxes.

I'm not sure if Freud's work with hysteria was necessarily linked with panic response. Freud and psychoanalysts of the period were not so interested in thinking about the anxiety attack as a biochemical disorder - they had, after all other stories, narratives such as neurosis and unconscious conflict.

The 1938 broadcast of the War of the Worlds starring Orson Welles and those men from Mars directly spawned a raft of now famous sociological investigations and surveys of the American psyche. It's been said that particular hoax [frightened] some 1.2 million people.

Could a similar hoax work as well today? The temptation is to think that people are less naive and probably cynical to this sort of media manipulation. We're all used to questioning the 'truth' as it is presented to us. We also have many more channels of information to go on. It's not just the Radio anymore. 

In the new connected world the search for the [truth] is only a few keystorkes away. But more importantly, it's like panic has shifted from that of the collective of yesteryear to a new locus -  the individual.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Streaking at the big games

I’m not a huge rugby league fanatic but like the other 2 Million plus viewers I stayed up past 8pm to watch the 3rd State of Origin match between the Blues and the Maroons last night.

Even if you didn’t watch the match, you will know by now that Queensland ran in for a try as a streaker was being man-handled by security staff in the dying minutes of the game. That gave Queensland another set of six tackles and deprived the Blues, according to sports commentators, the chance to head down the other end to score.

Apparently the same said streaker has some form. During the finals two years ago he stormed on to Allianz Stadium during the sudden-death clash between the Wests Tigers and New Zealand. It’s even rumored that the stunt was the result of a Facebook challenge, which attracted thousands of amused people willing to chip in to pay the fine.

Footy aside, and if for a minute we set aside the notion streakers are usually encouraged by some amount of alcohol, a bet, a challenge or a dare, peer pressure, perhaps even breaking a taboo - why would anyone want to run through a packed stadium stark naked?

Well opinion in the 70's insisted that streaking was not exhibitionism.  An article in the British Medical Journal asserted, "streaking is the antithesis of flashing.  And there is no lingering to see the... look of dawning interest that the flasher so vainly hopes his victim will show." 

Running naked to gain some attention is however a form of egotistically showing oneself off and isn’t exhibitionism sexual in some way.  According to Freud, it's an infantile form of sexual pleasure.  You're being looked at and you're being given attention.  From the moment we're born we have a love of looking… a sexual curiosity, and streaking satisfies that in a way.