Memories, Sweet Memories

Română

After an excruciatingly long week, the gifts are sitting nicely wrapped under the tree, the figgy pudding is gently resting on the table, your relatives finally figured out how to unmute themselves on Zoom and are now gesturing and blasting loudly from the small computer screen that can barely contain them anymore and you’re happy you’ve finally managed to sit down today. But as you sit there, gulping eggnog and tuning out the hundredth remark about how this year is the worst, your mind starts drifting away to better times. Your memory tells you that there used to be something special about Christmas, something that you’ve somehow lost this year. And while, objectively speaking, this year is truly the worst, if you think really, really hard about it, your memory is quite often recounting tales of “better, brighter times”, similar to how your grandpa always talks about the “good ol’ days”. But is memory that reliable or, much like your grandpa, does it have an ever-so-slight tendency to brush over the more…inconvenient parts? (If you know what I mean…)

Well, this might not be what you wanted to hear, but your memory is, unfortunately, not that accurate when it comes to emotions. But before we dive into the specifics, a quick note. When researchers talk about memories, they distinguish between various types. For example, remembering how to ride a bike is known as procedural memory and is a different type of memory from, let’s say, remembering the capital of Germany, which would be semantic memory. Similarly, memories about yourself form a distinct category and are part of the autobiographical memory. We will only talk about the latter in this article, and the distinction is relevant, as these various categories of memories are usually represented in separate areas of the brain and they also tend to behave differently over time (you never forget how to ride a bike, but, spoiler alert, you might misremember how happy you once were).

Now that we’ve established that tales of “better, brighter times” are called autobiographical memories, let’s move on. Autobiographical memories, in general, contain an affective component, be it shock, anger, or joy, which enhances the amount of details contained in the memory. This happens due to the fact that emotions trigger a cascade of neurochemical interactions, which in the end strengthen the representation of the memory in the brain. Furthermore, research has shown that events in which people are personally involved are remembered more vividly. From an evolutionary perspective, this makes perfect sense: if a tiger chases you around the fifth tree from the cave, you’d better remember not to go there anymore; similarly, if that’s where you found food to last you for weeks, it would also be nice to keep it in mind.

However, while it might seem that autobiographical memories are more reliable, as they contain more details, they remain equally prone to misremembering. According to common belief, your memory stores some information and, every time you want to remember it, you just “read” from that folder, without changing anything. But actually, every time you pick up that folder, you might accidentally spill some coffee on one page or cross a few words on another. In other words, every time you remember something, you alter some details of the memory. What’s more, when it comes to autobiographical memories, your emotions (the affective component from earlier) also play an important role.

On the one hand, people tend to generally have a positive image of themselves and they also naturally strive towards improved well-being. Taken together, these things lead to an automatic, unconscious bias towards positive memories, which is already apparent during memory encoding. For example, participants who received both positive and negative feedback in an experiment showed better recall of the positive feedback compared to the negative one. On the other hand, as mentioned before, memories become altered as they are remembered. At the same time, the mood at the time of remembering tends to become imprinted on the memory itself (so if you’re really happy and you remember a sad memory, you might reappraise it such that, in the end, it doesn’t seem so sad anymore).

In other words, we usually remember more good things and forget more bad ones because our brain is trying to maintain our general well-being. And in case that might not be enough or we couldn’t forget certain things, our brain has an extra mechanism to help out: it takes advantage of the malleability of our memories and actually changes the negative ones. So next time you find yourself wondering whether you’ve really lost that Christmas “something”, you’ll know it’s probably not true. But you’ll also know your awesome brain is always looking out for you.

What did you think about this post? Let us know in the comments below.

And as always, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook to stay up-to-date with our most recent posts.

Sources

Emotion and Autobiographical Memory

Remembering the Details: Effects of Emotion

A “Rosy View” of the Past: Positive Memory Biases

Remembering the silver lining: Reappraisal and positive bias in memory for emotion

Santa’s Lie

Română

As children, we’re taught that lying is bad and we should absolutely never do it. But as we grow up, we often land in morally gray areas: should you tell your short-tempered boss that the countless hours spent in Zoom meetings make you want to poke your eyes out or would it be better to fake a smile and quietly wait for it to be over? And should you tell your children that their presents were brought by flying reindeer and a guy in a red suit or go with the sadder truth that they were delivered by an overworked and underpaid courier? If this were a philosophy blog, we could spend hours discussing what would be the moral choice and even more hours trying to define morality. But (luckily) it’s not, so we can forget about all that stuff and focus on what really matters: what are the neurobehavioural motivations for and implications of the Santa Claus lie, both from the parents’ and the children’s perspective?

From a behavioural perspective, studies have shown that parents generally strongly promote the existence of Santa Claus in front of their children, regardless of child age (and, as we all know, the older the children get, the more elaborate the lies have to be). When questioned with respect to their motivations for encouraging this belief, parents usually report that they wish to create magic for their children and to “allow them to be kids for as long as possible”. But neuroscience suggests there might be an underlying reason: parents might also be motivated by a desire to return to the joy of childhood themselves. In line with this observation, parents also tend to describe themselves as predominantly sad when their children stop believing in Santa Claus.

When it comes to children though, the scientific literature is not so clear. Some studies describe children as having quite strong negative reactions, such as disappointment, sadness or anger upon finding out the truth, while others suggest that, even though these reactions might be present, they are usually short-lived and become quickly replaced by more positive emotions. Furthermore, because there are relatively few studies specifically on this topic, what often gets brought up as an argument against Santa Claus is more general research concerning the negative impact of parental lying on the long-term behaviour of children (which does indeed lead to increased lying and poorer psychosocial adjustment in adulthood). Based on this observation, coupled with the idea that, when someone is lied to, they become rightfully distrustful of that person, many articles jump to the conclusion that lying about Santa will ruin your kids’ lives.

“Really?”, you might think. “I believed in Santa when I was a kid and I turned out just fine.” And I agree with you. Many of us grew up with the Santa lie and we didn’t turn into pathological liars. What’s more, as parents, we are continuously choosing to let our children believe in the magic of Christmas and of Santa Claus (not because we want to make fools out of them, but because we want them to develop the same fond memories we ended up having about the winter holidays).

So in conclusion, if you want your child to believe in Santa Claus, you probably don’t have to worry about ruining their lives (but you might end up hurting their development if you constantly lie to them about other things). And when the jig is up, even though both you and your kid might feel sad about, just know that the kid will probably get over it quite fast. Now stop worrying and go wrap those presents. After all, Santa’s elves won’t do it for you.

What did you think about this post? Let us know in the comments below.

And as always, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook to stay up-to-date with our most recent posts.

Sources

Encounter with reality: Children’s reactions on discovering the Santa Claus myth

Ho! Ho! Who? Parent promotion of belief in and live encounters with Santa Claus

A wonderful lie

Parenting by lying in childhood is associated with negative developmental outcomes in adulthood

Learning through observing: Effects of modeling truth‐ and lie‐telling on children’s honesty

Holidays and Mental Health

Română

Winter holidays are supposed to be times full of sugar, spice, and everything nice, but even the most Christmas-cheerful among us have to admit that the reality doesn’t always meet these expectations. On the contrary, the expectation of “a great time” or even “the perfect holiday” tends to bring about a lot of stress and anxiety (just think about the last time you went gift-hunting right before Christmas), as well as depressive symptoms (for example, due to not being able to be around your loved ones). Grounded in these observations, urban legend has it that holidays lead to an increase in mental disorders. More specifically, countless newspaper stories about increases in suicide are thrown at us every year, in an attempt to warn us about the impending doom that the horrifying monster of Christmas is about to rain down on us (of course, in addition to all the other impending doom that constantly threatens our meek existence; because if you’re not scaring your audience, you’re not doing it right). But, coming back, just because a belief is popular, it doesn’t automatically make it true, so in this post we’re asking ourselves: is that really true?

In order to answer this question, studies have focused mainly on three topics: substance abuse, mood disorders, and, finally, self-harm and suicidal behaviour. So let’s look at each of them separately.

Substance abuse

Several studies have reported that, during the holiday period, there is an increase in the number of deaths caused by alcohol poisoning. However, although one reason for this observed increase could be that people are indeed self-medicating with alcohol because holidays make them depressed, there are other potential explanations, which are at least equally plausible. People drink more during festive events because this is a time for relaxation, when they don’t have to worry about the next day’s hangover and they can just let loose. They also tend to consume more alcohol because that’s what others around them are doing. And of course, some need that one (or ten) extra shots just to be able to get through the never-ending annual interrogatory regarding their life plans (or lack thereof).

Mood disorders

At the same time, the same studies have also confirmed that people do tend to report lower moods, decreased life satisfaction, as well as decreased emotional well-being. In other words, it’s true that people tend to feel lousier around Christmas and that these feelings can cause higher depression rates during the holiday season. Based on participants’ reports, these feelings seem to be caused by the belief that others are having a better time.

Self-harm and suicide

But here’s the kicker: self-harm and suicide attempts are actually lower during the Christmas period compared to the rest of the year (although, unfortunately, they tend to spike afterwards). Moreover, there are fewer patients who require admission into the psychiatric emergency services over the holidays, so, in that sense, Christmas seems to have sort of a protective effect against psychiatric pathology.

Conclusion

To sum up, winter holidays do lead to extra alcohol consumption (not a shocker) and more deaths due to alcohol poisoning, as well as an increase in mood disorders. However, the number of suicides, as well as the number of people requiring hospitalization in psychiatric facilities is actually decreasing during Christmas.

What did you think about this post? Let us know in the comments below.

And as always, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook to stay up-to-date with our most recent posts.

Sources

The Christmas Effect on Psychopathology

Suicide rate is lowest during the holiday season, but news stories continue to say the opposite

Christmas Cheer in the Brain

Română

We all have that one friend who, as soon as December 1st strikes, breaks out the Christmas decorations, starts blasting “Jingle Bells” all day long, and goes on and on about how “’tis the season to be jolly” (hint: if you can’t think who that friend might be, it’s probably you). But what makes some people be overwhelmed by joy and nostalgia in relation to Christmas, while others would rather cut their ears off before listening to yet another merry carol? That’s exactly what a group of scientists at the University of Denmark set out to investigate.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they monitored the brain activity of 20 people while they viewed both Christmas and non-Christmas images. These 20 people were also split into two groups, based on their Christmas celebration habits: 10 of them routinely celebrated Christmas, while the other 10 had absolutely no Christmas-related traditions.

What the researchers found was that the Christmasy group had increased activity in a bunch of brain areas (sensory motor, premotor, and primary motor cortex, as well as the inferior and superior parietal lobules) compared to the non-Christmasy group when viewing Christmas-related images. These areas have been associated with spirituality, experiencing emotions shared with others, and recognition of facial emotions, among others, so if there is such a thing as a representation of the Christmas spirit in the brain, it makes sense to find it in this network.

Grinch’s side

Before you go celebrate these findings with another mug of mulled wine (or drown your sorrows in it, depending on what side of the fence you’re on), it’s worth taking a second to ask: do these findings really prove once and for all that the Christmas spirit lives in the inferior parietal lobule? Short answer: hard nope.

Long answer: while the study brings some evidence in support of this hypothesis, there are several other things that need to be investigated. For one, were there any other differences between the two groups that might’ve led to these results? (Researchers only asked them about their Christmas habits.) Would the same pattern of activation be observed if the participants had viewed other, non-Christmas images that made them feel joyful and nostalgic? Does this work for other holidays (e.g., Diwali or Easter)? The results should also be replicated in a larger group of people. And finally, neuroscientists are still debating whether trying to localize complex emotions in specific parts of the brain even makes sense in the first place, so the answer throw this study in a new light. But that’s a whole other rabbit hole and we’ve definitely not had enough mulled wine for that just yet.

What did you think about this post? Let us know in the comments below.

And as always, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook to stay up-to-date with our most recent posts.

Source

https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h6266

Why Do We Sleep?

“Why do we sleep?”, your kid might ask in an annoying, but curious voice over and over again as you actually start falling asleep. But do you actually know the answer to that? “Just resting our eyes and shutting down our brains, sweetie!” Wrong again, Karen. If you think it shuts down, like a computer… Read more Why Do We Sleep?

Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

Română One of the most popular methods in neuroscience and cognitive psychology is to correlate various behaviours, either normal or abnormal, with different patterns of brain activity. An implicit hope when it comes to abnormal behaviour is that, if we are capable of isolating the brain region which shows a dysfunction in relation to the… Read more Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

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Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

Română One of the most popular methods in neuroscience and cognitive psychology is to correlate various behaviours, either normal or abnormal, with different patterns of brain activity. An implicit hope when it comes to abnormal behaviour is that, if we are capable of isolating the brain region which shows a dysfunction in relation to the… Read more Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

On the English Bias in Science Communication

Română In the scientific world, English has become the dominant language. Most scientific articles are published in English, most advanced science books are written in English, and most scientific conferences are held in English. In theory, this sounds great. By having all scientists capable of speaking the same language, one basically eliminates this barrier, thus… Read more On the English Bias in Science Communication

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It’s nice to meet you.

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Christmas Cheer in the Brain

Română

We all have that one friend who, as soon as December 1st strikes, breaks out the Christmas decorations, starts blasting “Jingle Bells” all day long, and goes on and on about how “’tis the season to be jolly” (hint: if you can’t think who that friend might be, it’s probably you). But what makes some people be overwhelmed by joy and nostalgia in relation to Christmas, while others would rather cut their ears off before listening to yet another merry carol? That’s exactly what a group of scientists at the University of Denmark set out to investigate.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they monitored the brain activity of 20 people while they viewed both Christmas and non-Christmas images. These 20 people were also split into two groups, based on their Christmas celebration habits: 10 of them routinely celebrated Christmas, while the other 10 had absolutely no Christmas-related traditions.

What the researchers found was that the Christmasy group had increased activity in a bunch of brain areas (sensory motor, premotor, and primary motor cortex, as well as the inferior and superior parietal lobules) compared to the non-Christmasy group when viewing Christmas-related images. These areas have been associated with spirituality, experiencing emotions shared with others, and recognition of facial emotions, among others, so if there is such a thing as a representation of the Christmas spirit in the brain, it makes sense to find it in this network.

Grinch’s side

Before you go celebrate these findings with another mug of mulled wine (or drown your sorrows in it, depending on what side of the fence you’re on), it’s worth taking a second to ask: do these findings really prove once and for all that the Christmas spirit lives in the inferior parietal lobule? Short answer: hard nope.

Long answer: while the study brings some evidence in support of this hypothesis, there are several other things that need to be investigated. For one, were there any other differences between the two groups that might’ve led to these results? (Researchers only asked them about their Christmas habits.) Would the same pattern of activation be observed if the participants had viewed other, non-Christmas images that made them feel joyful and nostalgic? Does this work for other holidays (e.g., Diwali or Easter)? The results should also be replicated in a larger group of people. And finally, neuroscientists are still debating whether trying to localize complex emotions in specific parts of the brain even makes sense in the first place, so the answer throw this study in a new light. But that’s a whole other rabbit hole and we’ve definitely not had enough mulled wine for that just yet.

What did you think about this post? Let us know in the comments below.

And as always, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook to stay up-to-date with our most recent posts.

Source

https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h6266

Why Do We Sleep?

“Why do we sleep?”, your kid might ask in an annoying, but curious voice over and over again as you actually start falling asleep. But do you actually know the answer to that? “Just resting our eyes and shutting down our brains, sweetie!” Wrong again, Karen. If you think it shuts down, like a computer… Read more Why Do We Sleep?

Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

Română One of the most popular methods in neuroscience and cognitive psychology is to correlate various behaviours, either normal or abnormal, with different patterns of brain activity. An implicit hope when it comes to abnormal behaviour is that, if we are capable of isolating the brain region which shows a dysfunction in relation to the… Read more Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox.

Read our privacy policy for more info.

Why Do We Sleep?

“Why do we sleep?”, your kid might ask in an annoying, but curious voice over and over again as you actually start falling asleep. But do you actually know the answer to that? “Just resting our eyes and shutting down our brains, sweetie!” Wrong again, Karen. If you think it shuts down, like a computer… Read more Why Do We Sleep?

Could Alzheimer’s Disease Be Caused by Viruses?

Română As you probably know, Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating neurological disorder affecting primarily older adults. Its most prominent symptom is progressive and irreversible memory loss. Furthermore, despite major concerted efforts of the world’s best scientists, to this day, this disorder remains shrouded in mystery, both in terms of causes, as well as potential treatments.… Read more Could Alzheimer’s Disease Be Caused by Viruses?

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It’s nice to meet you.

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Holidays and Mental Health

Română

Winter holidays are supposed to be times full of sugar, spice, and everything nice, but even the most Christmas-cheerful among us have to admit that the reality doesn’t always meet these expectations. On the contrary, the expectation of “a great time” or even “the perfect holiday” tends to bring about a lot of stress and anxiety (just think about the last time you went gift-hunting right before Christmas), as well as depressive symptoms (for example, due to not being able to be around your loved ones). Grounded in these observations, urban legend has it that holidays lead to an increase in mental disorders. More specifically, countless newspaper stories about increases in suicide are thrown at us every year, in an attempt to warn us about the impending doom that the horrifying monster of Christmas is about to rain down on us (of course, in addition to all the other impending doom that constantly threatens our meek existence; because if you’re not scaring your audience, you’re not doing it right). But, coming back, just because a belief is popular, it doesn’t automatically make it true, so in this post we’re asking ourselves: is that really true?

In order to answer this question, studies have focused mainly on three topics: substance abuse, mood disorders, and, finally, self-harm and suicidal behaviour. So let’s look at each of them separately.

Substance abuse

Several studies have reported that, during the holiday period, there is an increase in the number of deaths caused by alcohol poisoning. However, although one reason for this observed increase could be that people are indeed self-medicating with alcohol because holidays make them depressed, there are other potential explanations, which are at least equally plausible. People drink more during festive events because this is a time for relaxation, when they don’t have to worry about the next day’s hangover and they can just let loose. They also tend to consume more alcohol because that’s what others around them are doing. And of course, some need that one (or ten) extra shots just to be able to get through the never-ending annual interrogatory regarding their life plans (or lack thereof).

Mood disorders

At the same time, the same studies have also confirmed that people do tend to report lower moods, decreased life satisfaction, as well as decreased emotional well-being. In other words, it’s true that people tend to feel lousier around Christmas and that these feelings can cause higher depression rates during the holiday season. Based on participants’ reports, these feelings seem to be caused by the belief that others are having a better time.

Self-harm and suicide

But here’s the kicker: self-harm and suicide attempts are actually lower during the Christmas period compared to the rest of the year (although, unfortunately, they tend to spike afterwards). Moreover, there are fewer patients who require admission into the psychiatric emergency services over the holidays, so, in that sense, Christmas seems to have sort of a protective effect against psychiatric pathology.

Conclusion

To sum up, winter holidays do lead to extra alcohol consumption (not a shocker) and more deaths due to alcohol poisoning, as well as an increase in mood disorders. However, the number of suicides, as well as the number of people requiring hospitalization in psychiatric facilities is actually decreasing during Christmas.

What did you think about this post? Let us know in the comments below.

And as always, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook to stay up-to-date with our most recent posts.

Sources

The Christmas Effect on Psychopathology

Suicide rate is lowest during the holiday season, but news stories continue to say the opposite

Christmas Cheer in the Brain

Română

We all have that one friend who, as soon as December 1st strikes, breaks out the Christmas decorations, starts blasting “Jingle Bells” all day long, and goes on and on about how “’tis the season to be jolly” (hint: if you can’t think who that friend might be, it’s probably you). But what makes some people be overwhelmed by joy and nostalgia in relation to Christmas, while others would rather cut their ears off before listening to yet another merry carol? That’s exactly what a group of scientists at the University of Denmark set out to investigate.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they monitored the brain activity of 20 people while they viewed both Christmas and non-Christmas images. These 20 people were also split into two groups, based on their Christmas celebration habits: 10 of them routinely celebrated Christmas, while the other 10 had absolutely no Christmas-related traditions.

What the researchers found was that the Christmasy group had increased activity in a bunch of brain areas (sensory motor, premotor, and primary motor cortex, as well as the inferior and superior parietal lobules) compared to the non-Christmasy group when viewing Christmas-related images. These areas have been associated with spirituality, experiencing emotions shared with others, and recognition of facial emotions, among others, so if there is such a thing as a representation of the Christmas spirit in the brain, it makes sense to find it in this network.

Grinch’s side

Before you go celebrate these findings with another mug of mulled wine (or drown your sorrows in it, depending on what side of the fence you’re on), it’s worth taking a second to ask: do these findings really prove once and for all that the Christmas spirit lives in the inferior parietal lobule? Short answer: hard nope.

Long answer: while the study brings some evidence in support of this hypothesis, there are several other things that need to be investigated. For one, were there any other differences between the two groups that might’ve led to these results? (Researchers only asked them about their Christmas habits.) Would the same pattern of activation be observed if the participants had viewed other, non-Christmas images that made them feel joyful and nostalgic? Does this work for other holidays (e.g., Diwali or Easter)? The results should also be replicated in a larger group of people. And finally, neuroscientists are still debating whether trying to localize complex emotions in specific parts of the brain even makes sense in the first place, so the answer throw this study in a new light. But that’s a whole other rabbit hole and we’ve definitely not had enough mulled wine for that just yet.

What did you think about this post? Let us know in the comments below.

And as always, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook to stay up-to-date with our most recent posts.

Source

https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h6266

Why Do We Sleep?

“Why do we sleep?”, your kid might ask in an annoying, but curious voice over and over again as you actually start falling asleep. But do you actually know the answer to that? “Just resting our eyes and shutting down our brains, sweetie!” Wrong again, Karen. If you think it shuts down, like a computer… Read more Why Do We Sleep?

Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

Română One of the most popular methods in neuroscience and cognitive psychology is to correlate various behaviours, either normal or abnormal, with different patterns of brain activity. An implicit hope when it comes to abnormal behaviour is that, if we are capable of isolating the brain region which shows a dysfunction in relation to the… Read more Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox.

Read our privacy policy for more info.

Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

Română One of the most popular methods in neuroscience and cognitive psychology is to correlate various behaviours, either normal or abnormal, with different patterns of brain activity. An implicit hope when it comes to abnormal behaviour is that, if we are capable of isolating the brain region which shows a dysfunction in relation to the… Read more Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

On the English Bias in Science Communication

Română In the scientific world, English has become the dominant language. Most scientific articles are published in English, most advanced science books are written in English, and most scientific conferences are held in English. In theory, this sounds great. By having all scientists capable of speaking the same language, one basically eliminates this barrier, thus… Read more On the English Bias in Science Communication

Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox.

Read our privacy policy for more info.

Christmas Cheer in the Brain

Română

We all have that one friend who, as soon as December 1st strikes, breaks out the Christmas decorations, starts blasting “Jingle Bells” all day long, and goes on and on about how “’tis the season to be jolly” (hint: if you can’t think who that friend might be, it’s probably you). But what makes some people be overwhelmed by joy and nostalgia in relation to Christmas, while others would rather cut their ears off before listening to yet another merry carol? That’s exactly what a group of scientists at the University of Denmark set out to investigate.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they monitored the brain activity of 20 people while they viewed both Christmas and non-Christmas images. These 20 people were also split into two groups, based on their Christmas celebration habits: 10 of them routinely celebrated Christmas, while the other 10 had absolutely no Christmas-related traditions.

What the researchers found was that the Christmasy group had increased activity in a bunch of brain areas (sensory motor, premotor, and primary motor cortex, as well as the inferior and superior parietal lobules) compared to the non-Christmasy group when viewing Christmas-related images. These areas have been associated with spirituality, experiencing emotions shared with others, and recognition of facial emotions, among others, so if there is such a thing as a representation of the Christmas spirit in the brain, it makes sense to find it in this network.

Grinch’s side

Before you go celebrate these findings with another mug of mulled wine (or drown your sorrows in it, depending on what side of the fence you’re on), it’s worth taking a second to ask: do these findings really prove once and for all that the Christmas spirit lives in the inferior parietal lobule? Short answer: hard nope.

Long answer: while the study brings some evidence in support of this hypothesis, there are several other things that need to be investigated. For one, were there any other differences between the two groups that might’ve led to these results? (Researchers only asked them about their Christmas habits.) Would the same pattern of activation be observed if the participants had viewed other, non-Christmas images that made them feel joyful and nostalgic? Does this work for other holidays (e.g., Diwali or Easter)? The results should also be replicated in a larger group of people. And finally, neuroscientists are still debating whether trying to localize complex emotions in specific parts of the brain even makes sense in the first place, so the answer throw this study in a new light. But that’s a whole other rabbit hole and we’ve definitely not had enough mulled wine for that just yet.

What did you think about this post? Let us know in the comments below.

And as always, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook to stay up-to-date with our most recent posts.

Source

https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h6266

Why Do We Sleep?

“Why do we sleep?”, your kid might ask in an annoying, but curious voice over and over again as you actually start falling asleep. But do you actually know the answer to that? “Just resting our eyes and shutting down our brains, sweetie!” Wrong again, Karen. If you think it shuts down, like a computer… Read more Why Do We Sleep?

Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

Română One of the most popular methods in neuroscience and cognitive psychology is to correlate various behaviours, either normal or abnormal, with different patterns of brain activity. An implicit hope when it comes to abnormal behaviour is that, if we are capable of isolating the brain region which shows a dysfunction in relation to the… Read more Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox.

Read our privacy policy for more info.

Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

Română One of the most popular methods in neuroscience and cognitive psychology is to correlate various behaviours, either normal or abnormal, with different patterns of brain activity. An implicit hope when it comes to abnormal behaviour is that, if we are capable of isolating the brain region which shows a dysfunction in relation to the… Read more Neurofeedback – Reality or Myth?

Why Do We Sleep?

“Why do we sleep?”, your kid might ask in an annoying, but curious voice over and over again as you actually start falling asleep. But do you actually know the answer to that? “Just resting our eyes and shutting down our brains, sweetie!” Wrong again, Karen. If you think it shuts down, like a computer… Read more Why Do We Sleep?

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It’s nice to meet you.

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