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In times of unexpected uncertainty, such as the sudden appearance of a global pandemic like Covid-19, people may be more prone to paranoia, warn researchers.
Paranoia is a key symptom of serious mental illness, marked by the belief that other people have malicious intentions. But it also manifests in varying degrees in the general population.
“When our world changes unexpectedly, we want to blame that volatility on somebody, to make sense of it, and perhaps neutralize it,” study senior author Philip Corlett from the Yale University (US), said in a paper published in the journal eLife.
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“Historically in times of upheaval, such as the great fire of ancient Rome in 64 C.E. or the 9/11 terrorist attacks, paranoia and conspiratorial thinking increased,” Corlett added.
The prevailing theory is that paranoia stems from an inability to accurately assess social threats.
But the research team hypothesized that paranoia is instead rooted in a more basic learning mechanism that is triggered by uncertainty, even in the absence of social threat.
“We think of the brain as a prediction machine; unexpected change, whether social or not, may constitute a type of threat — it limits the brain’s ability to make predictions,” said study researcher Erin Reed.
“Paranoia may be a response to uncertainty in general, and social interactions can be particularly complex and difficult to predict,” Reed added.
In a series of experiments, the research team asked participants with different degrees of paranoia to play a card game in which the best choices for success were changed secretly.
People with little or no paranoia were slow to assume that the best choice had changed.
However, those with paranoia expected even more volatility in the game. They changed their choices capriciously — even after a win.
The researchers then increased the levels of uncertainty by changing the chances of winning halfway through the game without telling the participants.
This sudden change made even the low-paranoia participants behave like those with paranoia, learning less from the consequences of their choices.
In a related experiment, the research team trained rats, a relatively asocial species, to complete a similar task where the best choices of success changed.
Rats who were administered methamphetamine — known to induce paranoia in humans — behaved just like paranoid humans.
They, too, anticipated high volatility and relied more on their expectations than learning from the task.
The research team then used a mathematical model to compare choices made by rats and humans while performing these similar tasks.
The results from the rats that received methamphetamine resembled those of humans with paranoia, researchers found. (IANS)
By Siddhi Jain
The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.
Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.
Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background
The Guwahati-born author says, "With this book, I'm not trying to take away the job of parents in forming habits, I simply want to do my part as a parent. It is important that we impart the right values in our kids in a bid to build a better, more inclusive and tolerant global society that is fair to everyone." The author's first attempt at a book was an Assamese poetry 'Anubhav', published in 2010.
Set to be published under the label of Author's Channel, the book is like an adventure; a journey into uncharted territories, untouched subjects and matters long ignored. In her words. "The book takes a critical stand in defense of people in society who have had to undergo severe emotional torture for no cause of theirs. It is a terrible conception to think such people any less of a human just for being different," says publisher Aruna Naidu. By September 30, this title, priced at Rs 299, will be available online and in offline bookstores. (IANS/ MBI)
Rajesh U Pandya, Managing Director, KAI India, gives easy and completely doable tips to follow at home:
* Refrain from harsh soaps: You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. Your soap can have a moisturizing element in it like aloe vera or shea butter. Ensure that you're washing your hands with normal water as hot water can make your hand's skin dry and scaly.
Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. | Pixabay
* Be aware of nail or cuticle inflammation or redness: If there are any signs of infection, disinfect the skin as soon as possible with an anti-bacterial or anti-fungal ointment.
(Article originally written by N.Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Nails, groom, hand, exfoliate, chew, nail clipper, bite, cuticle
Bitcoin will grow by a tenfold
Bitcoin, is the oldest and most solid of the market. | Photo by Executium on Unsplash
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The current Bitcoin price means is time to buy:
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