The Selfish Gene

“To quote The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins, on the subject of the relationship between evolution and survival mechanisms: ‘A duck is a robot vehicle for the propagation of duck genes.’ This is but another way of making Darwin’s point that if emotions are that widespread across both human and animal kingdoms, they have been proved, evolutionary, as crucial to the process of survival, and are inextricably linked to the origins of the species.” ~ Candace B. Pert, Ph.D.

Crossing the Unknown Sea

“A good work and a good, dedicated life, almost always in the end … after all the seemingly necessary cover ups … means visibility… it means coming out of hiding.

It is all very well having a dream, but the moment we put the dream to hazard, we have the possibility of failing. How many times have we kept a hope or dream in abeyance because the possibilities of failure were too much to contemplate? If we failed at that central, precious thing then who would we be? Could there be any one left at all? Far better to choose something smaller, something we don’t care about, or some logistical task we don’t mind getting wrong, something we could recover from, something where we are, in effect, really invisible, to ourselves and to the world. Better to choose a world where things don’t matter. Better not to appear fully on life’s radar screen. But making ourselves visible is to arrange for the possibilities of a different kind of disappearance – into the work, the task, the audience, the life that opens up, where the fearful one who first dreamt is burned away by anticipation and a living contact with a future we might want to call our own…making ourselves visible enables us to be found and then invited in by the world we desire.”

~ David Whyte

Mindfulness & Reflection

“Executive function (EF) skills are essential for academic achievement, and poverty-related stress interferes with their development. This pre-test, post-test, follow-up randomized-control trial assessed the impact of an intervention targeting reflection and stress reduction on children’s EF skills. Preschool children (N = 218) from schools serving low-income families in two U.S. cities were randomly assigned to one of three options delivered in 30 small-group sessions over 6 weeks: Mindfulness + Reflection training; Literacy training; or Business as Usual (BAU). Sessions were conducted by local teachers trained in a literacy curriculum or Mindfulness + Reflection intervention, which involved calming activities and games that provided opportunities to practice reflection in the context of goal-directed problem solving. EF improved in all groups, but planned contrasts indicated that the Mindfulness + Reflection group significantly outperformed the BAU group at Follow-up (4 weeks post-test). No differences in EF were observed between the BAU and Literacy training groups. Results suggest that a brief, small-group, school-based intervention teaching mindfulness and reflection did not improve EF skills more than literacy training but is promising compared to BAU for improving EF in low-income preschool children several weeks following the intervention.”

More on Mindfulness Plus Reflection Training: Effects on Executive Function in Early Childhood via Front. Psychol.

The Truth Effect

“Repeated information is often perceived as more truthful than new information. This finding is known as the illusory truth effect, and it is typically thought to occur because repetition increases processing fluency. Because fluency and truth are frequently correlated in the real world, people learn to use processing fluency as a marker for truthfulness. Although the illusory truth effect is a robust phenomenon, almost all studies examining it have used three or fewer repetitions. To address this limitation, we conducted two experiments using a larger number of repetitions. In Experiment 1, we showed participants trivia statements up to 9 times and in Experiment 2 statements were shown up to 27 times. Later, participants rated the truthfulness of the previously seen statements and of new statements. In both experiments, we found that perceived truthfulness increased as the number of repetitions increased. However, these truth rating increases were logarithmic in shape. The largest increase in perceived truth came from encountering a statement for the second time, and beyond this were incrementally smaller increases in perceived truth for each additional repetition. These findings add to our theoretical understanding of the illusory truth effect and have applications for advertising, politics, and the propagation of ‘fake news.'”

The effects of repetition frequency on the illusory truth effect via Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications.

Cues to Deception

The best lie is a half truth.

“Do people behave differently when they are lying compared with when they are telling the truth? The combined results of 1,338 estimates of 158 cues to deception are reported. Results show that in some ways, liars are less forthcoming than truth tellers, and they tell less compelling tales. They also make a more negative impression and are more tense. Their stories include fewer ordinary imperfections and unusual contents. However, many behaviors showed no discernible links, or only weak links, to deceit. Cues to deception were more pronounced when people were motivated to succeed, especially when the motivations were identity relevant rather than monetary or material. Cues to deception were also stronger when lies were about transgressions.”

More on Cues to Deception via Psychological Bulletin.
Art: Dark Krystal by Laureth Sulfate. Photographie et art numérique, 2020.

অভিসার

“Valérie PRATS (Diplômée de l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux arts de Paris, née en 1969) fait de la peinture post impressionniste proche parfois de l’expressionnisme figuratif. Son travail a connu une grande visibilité dans les années 2000 en Normandie. Une exposition personnelle lui a été consacrée au Château de la Roche-Guyon dans le Val d’Oise en 1996 et en 2009 à l’Orangerie du Parc de la Tête d’Or à Lyon. Valérie Prats a réalisé de nombreuses expositions depuis plus de vingt ans en Normandie, dans la région lyonnaise, et dans le Gard. Elle développe un travail pictural dans la lignée des peintres de la réalité poétique. Sa création récente interroge la relation à l’aspect fugitif de la réalité, avec une palette de vrai coloriste et des fonds presque archaïques.”

via Artistes Contemporains.

Valérie Prats expose ses toiles à l’Orangerie du parc de la Tête d’Or.
Photo: Jacqueline Ashby

Aristolochia Labiata

“The fascinating flowers of this climber are filling the  air with a putrid aroma in the Palm House. A Brazilian native, Aristolochia labiata is one of approximately 300 species of Dutchman’s pipes. Most are evergreen or deciduous climbers, though a few are shrubs or scandent perennials. All have white, purple or brown heavily veined petalless, and often zygomorphic flowers (having one plane of symmetry). In this species the flowers are fleshy in appearance, and have a large calyx and an inflated tube. The flower colouring and the pungent scent of rotting carrion help to attract pollinating flies to the flowers. The flies are drawn into the flower to access the reproductive organs by a translucent window in the base of the tube, and the tube has downward-facing hairs which ensure the flies can’t escape until the flower is pollinated. Once pollination has occurred the hairs relax and the flies escape from the flower.”

via Cambridge University Botanic Garden.
Aristolochia Labiata. Botanical Garden of Tête d’Or Park. Photo: Jacqueline Ashby

Coup de Cœur

Quand on a pas ce que l’on aime, il faut aimer ce que l’on a

“La Centauresse et le faune ou Centauresse et Faune est une sculpture d’Augustin Courtet installée dans le jardin du Palais Saint-Pierre en 1849 avant d’être transférée au parc de la Tête d’or à proximité de la Porte des Enfants du Rhône. La statue a été coulée par le fondeur parisien Édouard Quesnel.”

via Wikipedia.