|Subject: Sex, drugs and rock and roll: all humour the same part of your brain
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Date Posted: Tue, Mar 13 2007, 03:06:02pm
Sex, drugs and rock and roll: all humour the same part of your brain
By John E. Carey - posted Friday, 2 March 2007
Sex, drugs and rock and roll are ticklers for your “entertainment centre of the mind”. Doctors call it the “temporal lobe”. Some women call it their “G Spot”. The “pre-frontal lobe” is where you do “executive functions” like thinking, decision making and the like.
Gee: The temoporal lobe! I call it the fun factory.
The temporal lobes are involved in the primary organisation of sensory input.
The same part of your brain that allows you to enjoy a painting is also the place that processes, humor, joy, sex and, believe it or not: meditation and prayer!
But enjoy your fun as long as you can because there are many health issues that threaten your mind’s entertainment centre: one of the biggest is Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is a complex disease that gradually destroys a person’s memory, ability to learn, reasoning, ability to make judgments, communication skills and the ability to carry out normal daily activities. Scientists have struggled to understand the biology of the disease and its root causes for years.
In November, 2006, the University of Indiana Medical School completed an interesting study on the parts of the human brain most engaged while playing activity-based or violent video games.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain function, the Medical School of IU found that adolescents who had played violent video games exhibited more brain activity in a region thought to be important for emotional arousal and less activity in a brain region associated with executive functions. Executive functions are the ability to plan, shift, control and direct one’s thoughts, ideas and behaviour.
“Our study indicates that playing a certain type of violent video game may have different short-term effects on brain function than playing an exciting but non-violent game,” principal study investigator Dr Vincent Mathews said.
The group that played the non-violent game exhibited more mental stimulation or activation in the prefrontal portions of the brain. The prefrontal lobes are believed to control inhibition, concentration and self-control. The non-violent game players also showed less activation in the area involved in emotional arousal.
“This data differs from our earlier studies because in this study adolescents were randomly assigned to play either a violent or a non-violent game,” said William Kronenberger, associate professor of psychology at the IUSM Department of Psychiatry. “Therefore, we can attribute the difference between the groups specifically to the type of game played. Earlier studies showed a correlation between media violence exposure and brain functioning, but we did not actually manipulate the teens’ exposure to media violence in those earlier studies.”
Future studies to better understand the duration and meaning of the relationship between exposure to media and brain function are planned.
So why do we talk so much about video games? Because doctors now believe you can overwork and burn out your fun factory. Too many video games and you just can’t get enough and it becomes harder and harder to find enjoyment.
Anybody remember the Woody Allen movie Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask?
In that movie, from 1972, Woody tells us some of his freaky ideas about having fun.
The next year Woody made a movie called Sleeper. In that movie he introduces us to the machine called the “Orgasmatron”. It is some kind of sexually stimulating phone booth. You go in looking fine and you come out with your hair and clothes all mess up, a huge grin on your face, and you want a drink and a smoke …
I think some of these video games kids are playing are the closest thing we’ve ever produced that is like the “orgasmatron”. But video games are a form of recreation self amusement like masturbation and doctors really believe if you do it too much you can fry some electrons in the fun factory.
So all things in moderation!
Some squirm at the notion that drug experiences are on the same level of “true” religious experiences. If manifestations of religious or spiritual experiences are simply the result of firing synapses in the brain, it would severely undercut the idea of an objective existence of “God”.
Dr Andrew Newberg, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has pioneered neuroimaging techniques of both believers and non-believers alike.
He found certain areas in the temporal lobe were excited during prayer or meditation: this is where the brain rates the significance of events which are then strongly internalised.
I’m not fond of Frederick Niche, but it appears that there is some literal truth in his statement that religion is the “opiate of the masses”. Some words and ideas borrowed from our friends here.
First published at Peace and Freedom on February 26, 2007.
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