People with certain kinds of obsessive-compulsive disorder feel a need to repeatedly perform certain physical rituals or routines, such as washing their hands, to gain relief from obsessional thoughts. Now research suggests that when we see someone else perform an action, it triggers the same regions of our brains as when we do the action ourselves.
According to a new study by Baland Jalal at the University of Cambridge and VS Ramachandran of the University of California, San Diego, this kind of "vicarious exposure" could lead to new kinds of treatments for OCD. From New Scientist:
“Watching a video of someone washing their hands might be enough to reduce the urge to perform the action in real life,” (Jalal) says. “We could put these videos into an app.”
Exposure therapy is a popular treatment for OCD, and involves people experiencing their obsessive trigger without being allowed to perform the compulsion that makes them feel better. Jalal says that an app may make it possible to do this kind of treatment virtually, rather than with a therapist in a clinic, making it easier and accessible to more people.
At the very least, such an app could be a less harmful substitute for individuals who have compulsions that are bad for their health, he says: “For instance, we might be able to give people who pull their hair out obsessively relief from their urge by watching a video of themselves doing it instead. It might at least act as a kind of benign substitute that’s used alongside more conventional treatments.”
In 1964, a German experiment asked people to randomly tap their fingers — whenever they wanted — while having their brain’s electrical activity monitored. The scientists discovered something nifty: The Bereitschaftspotential, a little burst of electrical activity the subjects’ brains gave off in the milliseconds just before the finger-tap. Neuroscientists were fascinated: We now had […]
The esteemed research institute and medical school Johns Hopkins Medicine is starting the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research thanks to $17 million in private donations. The generous funders include Boing Boing pal and author Tim Ferriss, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, TOMS shoes founder Blake Mycoskie, and investor Craig Nerenberg. Psychedelics have tremendous unlocked therapeutic […]
On Slate Star Codex (previously), Scott Alexander breaks down Invisible Designers: Brain Evolution Through the Lens of Parasite Manipulation, Marco Del Giudice's Quarterly Review of Biology paper that examines the measures that parasites take to influence their hosts' behaviors, and the countermeasures that hosts evolve to combat them.
Breaking into the big leagues as a project manager isn’t done overnight, but there are principles that anyone can learn, and they’re applicable to nearly any business. No matter what your field, if there are multiple teams working toward a common goal, you’re going to need a roadmap. The Project Management Professional Certification Training Suite […]
On the one hand, nostalgia is “a corruption of the historical impulse,” according to William Gibson. On the other hand, “Super Mario Bros.” will never not be cool. Luckily, there’s a way to satisfy that retro gaming while still keeping an eye on the future: The GameShell Kit. This thing is simultaneously the last handheld […]
The field of data analytics can get intimidating, even for business professionals who constantly rely on it. But at its heart, its purpose is to simplify. To take mounds of information and distill their insights into a single clear picture. Currently, the go-to software for painting that picture is Tableau. And if you want to […]