From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul> Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 10:09:16 -0500 Archived: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 10:09:16 -0500 Subject: Hamlet & The Power Of Beliefs To Shape Reality Source: ScientificAmerican.Com http://tinyurl.com/83bvnwg February 18, 2012 Hamlet And The Power Of Beliefs To Shape Reality By Maria Konnikova Writing at the close of the nineteenth century, William James, the father of modern psychology (and Henry's brother), observed that, "Whilst part of what we perceive comes through our senses from the objects around us, another part (and it may be the larger part) always comes out of our own head." We now know that it is, in fact, the larger part: perception is just as much about construal, belief, the interaction of environment and memory as it is about sensory inputs. It's a top-down world out there. What's more, our beliefs and construals can actually alter our reality. What we believe can, quite literally, be what becomes true. As an example, take intelligence, something that many people believe to be a genetically predetermined entity. While intelligence may indeed have a large genetic component, that is far from all it is. For many years, Carol Dweck has been researching two theories of intelligence: incremental and entity. If you are an incremental theorist, you believe that intelligence is fluid. If you work harder, learn more, apply yourself better, you will become smarter. If, on the other hand, you are an entity theorist, you believe that intelligence is fixed. Try as you might, you will remain as smart (or not) as you were before. It's just your original luck. Dweck has repeatedly found that how someone performs, especially in reacting to failure, largely depends on which of the two beliefs he espouses. An incremental theorist sees failure as a learning opportunity; an entity theorist, as a frustrating personal shortcoming that cannot be remedied. As a result, while the former may take something away from the experience to apply to future situations, the latter is more likely to write it off entirely. In a recent study, a group of psychologists decided to see if this differential reaction is simply behavioral, or if it actually goes deeper, to the level of brain performance. The researchers measured response-locked event-related potentials (ERPs) - basically, electric neural signals that result from either an internal or external event - in the brains of college students as they took part in a simple flanker task. The student were shown a string of five letters and asked to quickly identify the middle letter. The letters could be congruent - for instance, MMMMM - or, they might be incongruent - for example, MMNMM. [More at site... thanks to 'The Norm' for the lead] Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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