Imagination Is Crucial For Altruism

Discussion in 'Scientific Studies' started by haidut, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. haidut

    haidut Member

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    A great study that once again links altruistic behavior with metabolism and energetics. I posted in the past about the studies on egalitarian beliefs / attitudes being more energetically expensive than selfish ones, and as such implying that people with the former beliefs are in better metabolic health.

    Egalitarian Values Require Mental Effort: Research suggests humans naturally tend towards hierarchical structures : MHOCStrangersBar
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    Similarly, there are several studies linking the capacity for imagination to intensity of metabolism and even respiratory quotient (a metric for carbohydrate oxidation level/intensity).
    For Babies, Life May Be a Trip

    Now, the study below provides evidence linking imagination to altruism, which further strengthens the link to oxidative metabolism and overall health. In fact, the study claims that the relationship is linear - i.e. the greater the ease of imagination activity in certain brain areas the more altruistic the behavior of that imaginative person. So, maybe the crises of democracy and social interactions we are seeing currently around the world are really just a sign/symptom of poor health/metabolism. As such, the goal should NOT be "more discourse" (as politicians keep demanding) about how to simplistically address those signs/symptoms. The discourse (and action) should be why is people's health so poor and how it can be improved, because that is the fundamental cause of social/national discord. And on a more practical note, independently of any politician, given the relationship between dopamine and imagination it may be feasible to increase altruism by increasing dopamine signalling and/or blocking serotonin.

    role for the medial temporal lobe subsystem in guiding prosociality: the effect of episodic processes on willingness to help others
    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-07/bc-tbp071119.php

    "...Neuroimaging helped the researchers identify multiple neural pathways that explain the relationship between imagination and the willingness to help others, researchers from Boston College and the University of Albany, SUNY, reported recently in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience."

    "...The study discovered evidence for the direct impact of scene imagery on willingness to help, according to Boston College Associate Professor of Psychology Liane Young, a co-author and the principal investigator on the project. While study participants imagined helping scenes, neural activity in MTL predicted overall willingness to help the person in need, according to the article, "A role for the medial temporal lobe subsystem in guiding prosociality: the effect of episodic processes on willingness to help others," which was published in the journal's April 14 edition. "If we are able to vividly imagine helping someone, then we think we're more likely to actually do it," said Young, director of the Morality Lab at BC. "Imagining the scenery surrounding the situation can also prompt people to take the perspective of the people in the situation who need help, which in turn prompts prosocial action."

    "...Neuroimaging revealed that the willingness to help was also predicted by activity in the RTPJ, a critical node that's involved in taking the perspective of other people, according to the researchers. However, in the second experiment, when the team used TMS to temporarily inhibit activity in the RTPJ, they found that the altruistic effect of vividly imagining helping remained significant, suggesting that this effect doesn't depend exclusively on perspective-taking."

    "...This contradiction may be explained by lower MTL activity reflecting greater ease of imagining episodes, and that ease of imagination means that participants are more willing to help. Consistent with this account, the team found that when participants reported finding it easier to imagine or remember helping episodes, they also tended to report being more willing to help the person in need."
     
  2. Xref

    Xref Member

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    This is fascinating. I am 99% aphantasic. I can vaguely and fragmentedly see . I can't imagine situations.
    I can dream though, very very vividly, smell, sound, image, touch

    Considering what you've said altruism, it confirms to my personality and further makes me more aware of how NOT altruistic I am.

    Thanks!
     
  3. Sofia

    Sofia Member

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    Very interesting!
     
  4. nwo2012

    nwo2012 Member

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    As such, the goal should NOT be "more discourse"

    Yes but whose goal, certainly not that of the so-called elite (AKA inbred scumbags).
     
  5. mrchibbs

    mrchibbs Member

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    I definitely feel it. Before my metabolic/health problems empathy came easy, greater feelings of connectedness with the world etc.
    A couple years of stress can erode all of that, and suddenly it becomes hard to care for others, or even appreciate art, or be concerned
    about social issues. Every single way in which you react to your environment feels off. I think the spike in 'autism' merely reflects generalized decline in metabolic energy, as I suspect everyone canshow signs of 'autistic symptoms' when they don't have enough energy.

    I think this fits in with what Ray had envisioned 25 years ago with Generative Energy, the greater the metabolic capacities,
    and having kids inherit positive adaptations and growing bigger brains, bigger lungs etc. Imagine this effect on a global scale,
    where it could lead humanity...
     
  6. nwo2012

    nwo2012 Member

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    This all makes sense, however there are other factors that can change how we feel about others. I am at the peak of my metabolic health journey but due to the ever increasing dumbness of the sheeple I am finding it harder to have any empathy towards them and often feel like I would like to go at the average Covidiot with a hatchet. So it's not all clear cut.
     
  7. mrchibbs

    mrchibbs Member

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    I don't know where you are in recovery, but this can be a phase too. As my metabolic health has recovered slowly, I've gone through several of emotional periods, which is a long ways from the state of apathy of rock bottom metabolism. I think part of ''coming back to life'' is experiencing a lot of bottled up emotions, and with enough energy, the brain goes to work in restoring old pathways/creating new meaning from past experiences and how we interact with the world.
     
  8. nwo2012

    nwo2012 Member

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    Im not disagreeing with the premise of what you are saying but regardless of metabolic health it is hard for ANYONE who is awake to feel empathy for the average dumbed down zombie that currently roams the world. Begging to be locked down, begging to be vaccinated, begging to be treated like a piece of meat at airports, literally ready to fight to the death to save the system. These people deserve no empathy. I have plenty of empathy for my family and close friends, but beyond that it gets harder by the day.
     
  9. Hugh Johnson

    Hugh Johnson Member

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    Were you always as enlightened as now? Perhaps you too once did what you were told, and you can from there understand how they feel.
     
  10. nwo2012

    nwo2012 Member

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    I hear you. And I do try to run that through my head often and that is how I am able to function within healthcare. Lol you sound like my wife. :lol:
     
  11. mrchibbs

    mrchibbs Member

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    Not judging, you could be right. Maybe that's part of it, realizing that certain things matter more than others.
     
  12. nwo2012

    nwo2012 Member

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    I guess so. But it would be good if we could improve the metabolic health of the vast majority and perhaps that would also lead to their awakening?
     
  13. mrchibbs

    mrchibbs Member

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    I think that's Ray's thesis in his 1994 book Generative Energy
     
  14. opethfeldt

    opethfeldt Member

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    Everyone deserves empathy. These people are full of serotonin and stress hormones. It's hardly their fault they have the views they do. What we should be doing is helping them see the truth. I do understand it's difficult to get them to see it but to go as far as to say they don't deserve empathy is a little harsh.
     
  15. nwo2012

    nwo2012 Member

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    You are of course correct. Well not the sociopathic inbreds though. They deserve only the most painful deaths imaginable.
     
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