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While masks are essential in preventing the risk of Covid-19 infections, they can also have a detrimental effect on our ability to socially interact and share other people's emotions, new research suggests. The study, led by researchers at Cardiff University, found people with facial paralysis, people seeing others who wear face masks, or even children sucking on dummies, could struggle to show empathy or detect positive social cues.
"People tend to automatically imitate others' facial expressions of emotion when looking at them, whether that be a smile, a frown, or a smirk. This facial mimicry -- where the brain recreates and mirrors the emotional experience of the other person -- affects how we empathise with others and interact socially," said lead author Dr Ross Vanderwert, from Cardiff University's School of Psychology. "Our study suggests that when the movements of the lower part of the face are disrupted or hidden, this can be problematic, particularly for positive social interactions and the ability to share emotions.
Wearing a face mask continues to be vital to protect ourselves and others during the Covid-19 pandemic. | Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash
"Wearing a face mask continues to be vital to protect ourselves and others during the Covid-19 pandemic -- but our research suggests this may have important implications for the way we communicate and interact," Vanderwert added. For the study, published in the journal Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, the team recorded the brain activity of 38 individuals via an electroencephalogram whilst they watched videos of fearful, happy, and angry expressions, as well as a collection of inanimate everyday objects, as a control.
The participants were asked to watch the videos whilst holding a pen between their teeth for half the videos and without the pen for the remaining videos. The researchers were investigating, for the first time, the effect this had on a process known as neural mirroring-activity in the motor system for our own actions that is also active observing other's actions. Neural mirroring facilitates simple tasks such as hand-eye coordination and more complex tasks like understanding the emotions of others.
The results revealed that participants who could freely move their face showed significant neural mirroring when observing the emotional expressions, but not the everyday objects. While the pen was held in their teeth, no neural mirroring was observed when looking at the happy and angry expressions-but it did show neural mirroring when looking at fearful expressions. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Face masks, affect, socia, interaction, study, opinion, pandemic, facial paralysis
By Sukant Deepak
He describes himself as a 'Shiv bhakt' and a 'Muslim Jogi'. In his world, stories are not mere tales that entertain, but a tool to reinforce contemporary realities among listeners. Rich in metaphors, vivid with minute details, Jumme Khan likes to transport his audiences not to a world far away but the universe that surrounds them.
Part of a Jogi family from Pinan village in Alwar, Rajasthan and accompanied by his band of musicians, he uses a combination of harmonium, chimta, dholak, and the single-stringed bhapang - his instrument of choice - to retell stories that resound across generations. "The key here is connection. Unless people can relate, they will not enjoy it. To touch them, we have to decipher the common truth, find that elusive thread that binds us all. That is when the audience becomes one with the storyteller," he tells IANS.
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Khan, who enthralled the audience with the oral tradition of the improvisatory, communicative story-telling style of the Jogis at the recently concluded 'Mahindra Kabira Festival' in Varanasi, started singing when he was 13-years-old, and there has been no looking back ever since. "But it never gets repetitive. Every day on the stage is a new one. One is forever in search of something new that will resound with the audience," says Khan, who has also penned a song on the ongoing Corona pandemic.
For him, the magic of folk is unparalleled. He insists that nothing can replace the enigma of folk music in any culture. "Of course, this does not mean that steps are not taken to preserve it. We have seen a decline in the number of folk artists in the past few decades. But the immense power of folk seldom fails to move the audiences, including those who have always had access to modern entertainment," says Khan.
But he does feel that culture has taken a back seat in modern education. Remembering the time when schools would regularly organise cultural activities for students, he says, "It seems nowadays everything is about academics. How can we forget the fact that music and the arts play an indispensable role in all-around development? Culture opens an altogether new horizon, imparts a vision and understanding about the self. At least, give the children access and introduce them to different art forms including music. Let them decide if they want to pursue or not."
Swearing by the power of live and the energy he derives from the audiencesUnsplash
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Swearing by the power of live and the energy he derives from the audiences, Khan says that he is just not cut out for digital concerts. "They may have become a rage during the lockdowns, but I was clear that I would not be a part of them. In my art form, the live audience is an indispensable part of the whole act, without them, things will fall flat."
Stressing that while there were many platforms (festivals, etc) including those provided by the government, it was important that honest and qualified people be made part of the decision-making committees. "You just cannot expect artists to make rounds of programme officials trying to impress them. When as a country, we take so much pride in our culture, is it not important that this sector be streamlined and right people be recruited in the decision making bodies?" (IANS/PR)
Keywords: Shiv Bhakt, Dholak, Rajasthan
Today, we are exposed to a gazillion beauty product launches every now and then. The cosmetic industry is ever-changing and always gives us something new to wish for. But how much thought do we actually put in before buying the skincare product for ourselves? You should always pay attention to the products and their ingredients. Choosing products from a company with a reputable line of products can be helpful, since each component may be designed to work in conjunction with the others. You can also be assured of the products' quality and may better be able to predict how your skin will react to trying a different product in the same line.
Skin is one of the largest organs of the body. Because of this, caring for your skin can directly affect your overall health. Your skin acts as a protective shield and is most vulnerable to outside elements. It's affected by more factors than you may think. In addition to this, your health also affects your choice of skincare products and vice-versa.
Nandeeta Manchandaa, Founder of ENN shares the whys and hows:
Let's talk Vitamins: Your body needs all essential vitamins for proper functioning and if any vitamin is a miss, then effects show on your skin too. Like- dark spots, pigmentation are often seen on people with melanin issues, or even in pregnant ladies. So Vitamin-C rich products are the go-to to combat this issue.
Your body needs all essential vitamins for proper functioning and if any vitamin is a miss, then effects show on your skin too. | Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash
Baby on the way: Another major health factor that influences your skin care product selection is -- pregnancy! Pregnant women undergo 360-degree change internally and externally while their hormones are at their peak -- it gives way to allergic reactions, limitations of using certain products/ ingredient applications too. They are advised to stay away from Retinol (found in all anti-ageing creams), Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic acids (for face washes and cleansers) Essential oils (are the base for any serum, facial oils) So better to opt for clean and natural products as substitutes for the same.
Pregnant women undergo 360-degree change internally and externally while their hormones are at their peak. | Photo by Alicia Petresc on Unsplash
PCOD/PCOS: Thanks to the sedentary lifestyle and long working hours, one health issue in women that has been on the rise is PCOD (Poly Cystic Ovary Disorder) and PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome) Hormonal imbalances coupled with weight issues show their effect on skin too. A majority of women suffer from symptoms like cystic acne, excessively oily skin and scalp, open pores, blackheads/whiteheads, dark spots, dark patches to name a few. In this case, choosing products that will not irritate your skin or aggravate inflammation is your best bet. Avoid products with cocoa butter, isopropyl myristate, oleic acid lanolin, and butyl stearate. Chlorophenols are used as preservatives in cosmetics and have been linked to acne so these too must be avoided.
Avoid products with cocoa butter, isopropyl myristate, oleic acid lanolin, and butyl stearate. | Photo by Sabrina May on Unsplash
This is why we see the trend of clean beauty, Vegan beauty and herbal products flooding the markets because they claim to be free from all the nasties and let you get the maximum benefit of skin care products without any guilt. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: herbal products, PCOD, PCOS, vegan beauty, vitamins, beauty, India, skincare, products )
Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO. Several crypto wallets were drained before the platform could stop the cyber attack. In a tweet, Badger said it has received reports of unauthorised withdrawals of user funds. "As Badger engineers investigate this, all smart contracts have been paused to prevent further withdrawals. Our investigation is ongoing and we will release further information as soon as possible," the company said late on Thursday.
According to the blockchain security and data analytics Peckshield, the various tokens stolen in the attack are worth about $120 million, reports The Verge. According to reports, someone inserted a malicious script in the user interface (UI) of their website. Badger has retained data forensics experts Chainalysis to explore the full scale of the incident and authorities in both the US and Canada have been informed. "Badger is cooperating fully with external investigations as well as proceeding with its own," it said. DeFi is a collective term for financial products and services that are open, decentralised and accessible to anyone. DeFi products open up financial services to anyone with an internet connection and they are largely owned and maintained by their users. While the attack didn't reveal specific flaws within Blockchain tech itself, it managed to exploit the older "web 2.0" technology that most users need to use to perform transactions, according to reports. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: crypto wallets, BadgerDAO, decentralised finance, Blockchain, 120 million, crypto tokens, Hackers)