The Fearful Mind

Fear is a hardwired response, but it doesn’t have to rule our emotions.

Nearly one fifth of the U.S. adult population suffers from an anxiety disorder, according to 2018 data. At their core, the worry and panic that make up general anxiety stem from an overactive fear response in the brain. And indeed, that primordial reaction is one of the most examined topics in neuroscience— investigated in rodents, humans, other apes and even invertebrates.

But how much do those automatic feelings relate to the emotions that humans associate with fear and, subsequently, their experience in the world? To sort out the issue, as six neuroscientists discuss in a fascinating Q&A in these pages, step one is for the field to come to agreement over an exact definition of fear and how best to study it (see “Embracing Our Fear”).

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2,000 Atoms Exist in Two Places at Once in Unprecedented Quantum Experiment

The new experiment demonstrated a bizarre quantum effect from the double-slit experiment at an unprecedented scale.

Giant molecules can be in two places at once, thanks to quantum physics.

That’s something that scientists have long known is theoretically true based on a few facts: Every particle or group of particles in the universe is also a wave — even large particles, even bacteria, even human beings, even planets and stars. And waves occupy multiple places in space at once. So any chunk of matter can also occupy two places at once. Physicists call this phenomenon “quantum superposition,” and for decades, they have demonstrated it using small particles.

But in recent years, physicists have scaled up their experiments, demonstrating quantum superposition using larger and larger particles. Now, in a paper published Sept. 23 in the journal Nature Physics, an international team of researchers has caused molecule made up of up to 2,000 atoms to occupy two places at the same time.

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Physicist suggests ‘quantum foam’ may explain away huge cosmic energy


Steven Carlip, a physicist at the University of California, has come up with a theory to explain why empty space seems to be filled with a huge amount of energy—it may be hidden by effects that are canceling it out at the Planck scale. He has published a paper describing his new theory in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Conventional theory suggests that should be filled with a huge amount of energy—perhaps as much as 10120 more than seemingly exists. Over the years, many theorists have suggested ideas on why this may be—most have tried the obvious approach, trying to figure out a way to make the energy go away. But none have been successful. In this new effort, Carlip suggests that maybe all that energy really is there, but it does not have any ties to the expansion of the universe because its effects are being canceled out by something at the Planck scale.

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Novo estudo questiona: será que devemos substituir antidepressivos por exercícios físicos?








Um novo estudo sugere que os exercícios físicos são tão eficazes em aliviar os sintomas de problemas de saúde mental e transtornos de humor, como ansiedade, depressão e esquizofrenia, quanto os medicamentos tradicionais. Se confirmada, essa pode ser uma excelente notícia para pacientes que sofrem com este tipo de problema, uma vez que isso pode significar menos tempo em instalações psiquiátrica e menos probabilidade de dependência de medicamentos psicotrópicos.

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El efecto de las nalgadas y correazos en la salud de los niños

El año pasado escuché por la radio a tres periodistas de Panamá que recomendaban a los padres y oyentes volver a utilizar el castigo físico sobre sus hijos. Según estos periodistas la rebeldía, el descontrol y los problemas de la juventud se deben a que los padres de hoy no son capaces de pegarles a sus hijos cuando se lo merecen. Eso no fue todo.

El periodista más popular de los tres, dijo que los correazos y chancletazos no han matado a nadie y que ni fiebre les dan a los niños cuando se lo merecen. En otro programa, una de las periodistas le dijo a su audiencia de la mañana que el éxito de su vida profesional se lo debe a los castigos físicos que le dio su padre y que gracias a esa disciplina ella es hoy una mujer de bien.

El tercer periodista fue aún más osado y sugirió a los padres no hacerles caso a las recomendaciones de los psicólogos de evitar pegarles a los niños porque después se trauman, y aseguró además que a los niños nada les pasa cuando les dan unos buenos correazos por portarse mal.

La narrativa de los periodistas es una muestra del pensamiento imperante no solo en la sociedad panameña sino en todo el mundo. Así lo demuestra el último estudio publicado por UNICEF1, el cual reporta que el castigo físico es la forma de “disciplina” violenta más utilizada en el mundo y que el 80% de los niños de 2 a 14 años ha recibido algún tipo de castigo físico.

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