Category Archives: Interesting Life changing stuff
Check out this utube TED talk, by researcher Dr Kristen Neff on “compassion toward self” and the benefits. She goes on to explain the difference between “self esteem” that is based on being better than someone else, v.s. self compassion. Research on the tangible benefits of self compassion for happiness, psychological health and achievement is discussed.
Her explanation (and numerous studies) are in agreement with the first principle of learning theory: 1. Behaviors that are followed by a positive outcome increase. And behaviors that are followed by an unpleasant outcome decrease. Makes sense if you think about. If, what you do works, you’ll do it again. If what you do does not work, than you’ll stop and try something else.
Our brains have evolved to use behavior to effect the world around us and to adapt to changing circumstances. Being kind to yourself as you strive toward change, just works better.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/IvtZBUSplr4“>Dr Neff on compassion toward yourself
Wonderful news from science on the treatment of anxiety in both animals and humans. Fluoxetine, (a medicine for the treatment of anxiety) has been shown to stimulate the growth of new nerve cells. Specifically, cells in the memory storage and sorting area of the brain. As new cells grew, individuals were able to calm down more quickly. They were able to tell the difference between old (anxiety) memories and new (positive) memories. Several studies were done where positive memories were created in people and animals. The circumstances that trigger an anxiety memory were copied, but with a slight change (like room color or smell) . Plus, and most important was that the events in the new circumstance ended with something positive for the individual. (This type behavior therapy is called desensitization/counter-conditioning). Individuals who grew more new cells, more quickly reduced their anxiety or fear.
How did new cells result in less anxiety? There is increase of new cells available to remember new events. Then, new, but similar events are paired with a positive outcome. Sequences of events are stored in the brain as “memory patterns” The individual remembers, both the old and new memory patterns. With practice or repetition of patterns with the positive outcomes, the individual will learn the difference between old, fearful, v.s. new, more positive, memory patterns. The new memory patterns compete with the old pattern and the best outcome wins. The result is less and less fear. This works, as long as the outcomes of similar events remain positive.The new cells, that were stimulated to grow by an anti-depressants, more quickly create new memory patterns. The final observation was that the new, positive, memory patterns are then stored long term in the brain and remain after the medication is stopped.
Then the rule “use it or lose it”, comes into play. Anxiety can return if old memory patterns are practiced more than the new memory patterns. This leads to a regression or return to fearful behaviors and emotions. A little regression is normal, whenever life is stressful, but long term stress or just lack of practicing the skills, that once work, lead to more serious regression.
This is the first evidence that shows a rapid change in fear/anxiety is directly proportion to new cell growth and that medications increase growth of new cells.
In summary: Anxiety emotional states change more quickly when two things happen together.
1. Beneficial change in the environment, so that situations that creates fear/anxiety are changed and have positive outcome. (or at least block/prevent a negative outcome).
2. Anti-depressant Fluoxetine at therapeutic dose.
This study explains, what has been observed, in behavior medicine for a long time. First, that medications alone are not enough to change anxiety. Second, the combination of medication and behavior modification (or therapy) are the quickest treatment for anxiety. Finally, that the improvement is permanent.
Here is a link to the study:
A fun informational video introducing the concept of reinforcer strength and its affect on behavioral choice, by James Fritzler and Susan Friedman, PhD.
For a given learner… Dog, human, mouse etc.
in a given environment,
presented with a given cue…
there are always competing rewards (reinforcers) available,
for a wide variety of behaviors.
Some are weak… some are stronger…
but the strongest reinforcers produce the strongest behaviors.
So listen up: life is full of choices. The behaviors that produce the strongest reinforcers are the behaviors our learners will do more.
This is called The Matching Law!
The supermarket is becoming more confusing! This fact makes feeding our families quality and healthful food a challenge…..
I write allot about the petfoods & nutrition products for Cats and Dogs. Readers may already realize it is difficult to select good quality and healthful petfood for our pets. Well, the pet-care marketplace is confusing and becoming more so, as companies use more clever advertizing to increase sales.
Well Dr Lustig has tackled the same issue where it relates to human health and everyday food from supermarkets. This is a link to his articles is you do not want to read his new book called Fat Chance.
I highly recommend this website!!
Great talk about why we struggle to allow into our world, new information when, “we know what we know”.
Takes about 15 minutes to watch this video about how we and creatures map reality.
Applies to pet owners because many problem behaviors that happen in the average home are based on the principles revealed in this TED talk. Basically, our prior learning results in ideas and remembered brain images, about a subject within our world. These image-ideas can interfere with seeing what is really happening. Our brains are constantly editing out information that is in the environment, so that we only pay attention to what is judged important. This is a brain based shortcut for daily living. Obviously, we don’t take as long to do activities of daily life compared to when we first learned them. This is the result of editing out any information that is not important to the task. How does this interfere with learning as life goes on? We create a very detailed map of the world as we acquire experiences. This map is brought out of our memory as we go through our day. Visual maps, hearing maps, feeling and movement maps and even thinking and emotional maps. There is even an area of the brain dedicated to making us feel certain about our maps. Even though we know that maps are only a guide, as we gain repeated experiences we begin to feel certain that our personal map is the same as reality. This is how phobias are formed and knowing that repeating experiences creates a new map is also how phobias are treated effectively.
Hopefully by now, someone has taken a photo or video of you that demonstrates that what you remember can be very wrong. Yet we are stuck with feelings of certainty about how we see the reality around us. Luckily neuroscience is pointing out that each persons and each species only perceives a small portion of the world.
Let me explain how this applies to animal training. First, the experience of eye sight, hearing, feeling sensations, smells and second how this information is identified by the brain is very different between us and our animal companions. Many of the difficulties, that happen within human-animal households, can be traced to these facts. We do not see, feel, smell, hear, experience the same World. Modern pet training differs from, the older, so called “Leader of the Pack” beliefs, by applying what has been learned through 200 years scientific study of how animals really experience their world. More importantly, modern science applies the two principles: one – what can be measured can be improved and two – what we know today is just a map of reality so learning never ends.
It is essential to document training ideas, methods and results in ways that can be objectively measured. Renowned Innovators and Entrepreneurs know that accepted thinking gets in the way of discovery. They also know the importance of measuring results. So as you train your animals I suggest that we all; test ideas, document objectively, retest, retest and have someone else look over your methods and results.
Once one realizes that accepted ideas can get in the way of seeing reality this is the best we can do, for now…..
A must see video for anyone interested in improving your life or the lives of others. Fascinating info about the brain.