Navigation Links
From terror to joy: faced with death, our minds turn to happier thoughts
Date:10/22/2007

Philosophers and scientists have long been interested in how the mind processes the inevitability of death, both cognitively and emotionally. One would expect, for example, that reminders of our mortality--say the sudden death of a loved one--would throw us into a state of disabling fear of the unknown. But that doesn't happen. If the prospect of death is so incomprehensible, why are we not trembling in a constant state of terror over this fact?

Psychologists have some ideas about how we cope with existential dread. One emerging idea--"terror management theory" --holds that the brain is hard-wired to keep us from being paralyzed by fear. According to this theory the brain allows us to think about dying, even to change the way we live our lives, but not cower in the corner, paralyzed by fear. The automatic, unconscious part of our brain in effect protects the conscious mind.

But how does this work? Psychologists Nathan DeWall of the University of Kentucky and Roy Baumeister of Florida State University ran three experiments to study existential dread in the laboratory. They prompted volunteers to think about what happens physically as they die and to imagine what it is like to be dead. It's the experimental equivalent of losing a loved one and ruminating about dying as a result.

Once the volunteers were preoccupied with thoughts of death and dying, they completed a series of word tests, which have been designed to tap into unconscious emotions. For example, volunteers might be asked to complete the word stem "jo_" to make a word. They could make a neutral word like job or jog, or they might instead opt for the emotional word joy. Or, in a similar test, they might see the word puppy flashed on a screen, and they would instantaneously have to choose either beetle or parade as the best match. Beetle is closer to puppy in meaning, but parade is closer to puppy in emotional content. The idea is that the results represent the unconscious mind at work.

The results, as reported in the November issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, are intriguing. The volunteers who were preoccupied with thoughts of death were not at all morose if you tapped into their emotional brains. Indeed, the opposite: they were much more likely than control subjects to summon up positive emotional associations rather than neutral or negative ones. What this suggests, the psychologists say, is that the brain is involuntarily searching out and activating pleasant, positive information from the memory banks in order to help the brain cope with an incomprehensible threat.


'/>"/>

Contact: Catherine West
cwest@psychologicalscience.org
202-783-2077
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Psychological consequence of terrorist attacks
2. Doctors May Not Be Ready To Tackle Bio-terrorism
3. US is unprepared for a bio-terrorist attack
4. Ricin Vaccine protection against bio-warfare and bioterrorism
5. Saving Infants From The Clutches Of Terror
6. India & Singapore Join hands to Fight Terror & Drug Trafficking
7. NIMH Grants Funds To Study The Impact Of Terrorism
8. A New drug Developed To Fight The Bio-Terrorism Threat Of VEE Virus
9. Tobacco Smugglers are Helping Terrorists: WHO
10. $ 8.1 Million Grant to Tackle Bioterrorism
11. Potential Threats of Bioterrorism
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... PurhealthRX , a leading ... Purzorb™ technology. Applying the Purzorb™process to full spectrum CBD oil will revolutionize the rapidly ... CBD form that can be easily incorporated into liquid products, while reducing costs to ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Many families have long-term insurance ... care insurance companies have a waiver for care if the client has a cognitive ... the family pays for care, is often waived, so the benefits from their insurance ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor ... that explains one of the most popular and least understood books in the Holy ... and puzzling descriptions that have baffled scholars for centuries. Many have tossed it off ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “America On The Brink”: ... “America On The Brink” is the creation of published author, William Nowers. ... As a WWII veteran, he spent thirty years in the Navy. Following ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The company has ... today’s consumer and regulatory authorities worldwide. From Children’s to Adults 50+, every formula ... the highest standard. , These products are also: Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Vegan, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... -- The Rebound mobile app is poised to become a ... of prescription drug addiction. The app empowers users to develop ... down their dosage in a safe, controlled manner while maximizing ... first 100,000 people to sign up will enjoy 3 months ... ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... 28, 2017 Cohen Veterans Bioscience and Early ... of wearable and home sensors for real-time monitoring of ... Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on disruptive health solutions ... affordable analytical system to record and integrate behavioral, cognitive, ... ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... YORK , Sept. 27, 2017  DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), a ... today announced that its MyDario product is expected to appear on The ... when The Dr. Oz Show airs in your area: http://www.doctoroz.com/page/where-watch-dr-oz-show ... The nine-time Emmy award-winning, The Dr. Oz ... The ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: