Recent Posts

Focus, Focus, Focus
Published 10/31/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Genevieve Miller
I recently read the article "NEUROPHYSIOLOGICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, SPORT AND HEALTH DIMENSIONS OF THREE MEDITATION TECHNIQUES" written by Richard M. Buscombe. The main thing that I found useful from this article was the description of several types of meditation.  There was breath based meditation, concentrative meditation, and mindfulness meditation.  I was particularly interested in the concentrative meditation, which involves developing a focus using a mental device, such as a mantra, body sensation, breath, or specific image.  Specifically, I was intrigued by Transcendental Meditation, which utilizes a mantra, which is a word or saying that is repeated in a rhythmic cycle.  I hypothesize that there could be a similarity between this form of meditation and addiction seeking behavior.  Addicts focus on one thing, which is their addiction.  Is it possible that this focus is similar to the focus on a mantra in meditation? Additionally, there were some data collection techniques that might be useful.... read more ❯
Gambling is not just a game
Published 10/31/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Genevieve Miller
While reading the article "Compulsive features in behavioral addictions: the case of pathological gambling" written by Nadyel-Guebaly, I had several ideas for my research proposal, the biggest of which was to include gamblers as well as alcoholics. Even though gambling is a behavioral addiction and alcoholism is a substance use disorder, they have many similarities.  I think it would be interesting to compare a behavioral addiction to a biologically based addiction because they are both addictions, just with different bases.  However, it might be hard to isolate gamblers from alcoholics because gambling often occurs with alcoholism. One of the primary features of substance dependence is that "use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem." Addicts compulsively use drugs without any thought of the consequences.  This is similar to pathological gamblers, who can have a hard time quitting gambling despite negative consequences such as losing all... read more ❯
Loving the Pain
Published 10/31/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Genevieve Miller
The article "What Imaging Teaches Us About Pain" by Elizabeth Church was very informative to me. First, it describes pain.  As much as we may hate pain and avoid it at all costs, pain is actually a good thing.  It is "an alarm system that protects individual organisms from potential or actual physical threats."  It is a complex sensory and emotional experience that warns us if there is potential or actual damage to us, or if something is just wrong.  One type of pain described is nociception, which is the activation of nerve endings that respond differently to tissue-damaging stimuli.  The activation of these nerve endings may or may not be perceived as pain.  Pain is actually a very subjective experience.  Our experience of pain is completely dependent on our interpretation of it.  It is colored by our belief about the pain, our expectations, and our mood.  Our perceptions may or... read more ❯
Bells and Drool: A Way to Classically Relieve Pain
Published 10/31/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Genevieve Miller
I think that the article "Classical conditioning and pain: Conditioned analgesia and hyperalgesia" written by G.Miguez might be useful for my research proposal. This article describes how reaction to pain can actually be conditioned, or trained.  It uses the theory of classical conditioning, which was first described by Pavlov in his famous dog and bell experiment.  An unconditioned stimulus, such as food, causes an unconditioned response, such as drooling in dogs.  If a conditioned stimulus, such as the ringing of a bell, is paired with an unconditioned stimulus, then eventually the conditioned stimulus on its own will cause a conditioned response.  In this case, the ringing of a bell will cause the dog to drool even though there is no biological reason for a dog to drool at the ringing of a bell. This is important for the regulation of pain sensitivity.  In humans, several types of stressors (unconditioned stimulus) result in... read more ❯
A Cold, Painful Task
Published 10/31/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Genevieve Miller
I recently read "Effect of Brief Mindfulness Intervention on Tolerance and Distress of Pain Induced by Cold-Pressor Task" written by Xinghua Liu. This article tested short term mindfulness meditation against distraction intervention on pain tolerance and pain intensity.  The mindfulness intervention included increasing awareness to bodily sensations and objectively accepting these experiences.  Mindfulness is accepting the pain rather than avoiding or fighting it.  The distraction intervention, which in most studies is completing hard math problems, was imagining a happy scene.  A distraction from the pain can lessen it.  Surprisingly, there was no significant difference in pain tolerance and intensity between subjects who used the mindfulness method and those who used the distraction method.  I was worried that, because mindfulness is negatively correlated with cravings and addiction and it is positively correlated with increased pain tolerance, addicts, who are not naturally mindful, will have a decreased pain tolerance.  This article shows, however, that there... read more ❯
Craving a Fix
Published 10/31/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Genevieve Miller
I recently read the article "Cognitive and affective mechanisms linking trait mindfulness to craving among individuals in addiction recovery"  by E.L. Garland that I think I can use in my research proposal. The article is about how mindfulness is related to craving.  Craving is the subjective experience of physical data related to the withdrawal from the cue (alcohol, drugs, etc.).  More than just the physiological experiences, craving is the inner interpretation of those experiences.  It is the constant thought of the craved substance, the anticipation of how good it will feel when the addict finally gets the substance, and all of the thoughts and behaviors that drive individuals to acquire the substance no matter what the cost.  I want to utilize this behavior in addicts to see if they are so focused in their cravings that they ignore reality, in the form of ignoring pain.  I wonder if their need for... read more ❯
A Guided Path Through Pain
Published 10/30/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Genevieve Miller
The most important piece of information I gleamed from HC Fox's article "Frequency of recent cocaine and alcohol use affects drug craving and associated responses to stress and drug-related cues" was the use of guided imagery.  Guided imagery involves "re-living" a recent stressful or drug-related personal event through guided imagery and recall.  I feel like this would be a good way to have the addicts in my study focus on their addiction before the pain test.  Instead of just telling the addicts to think of their addiction, this method would be standardized and repeatable, meaning the participants would all be told to imagine the same scenario.  It might be how they felt when they last indulged in their addiction, or imagining a scenario where they can indulge in their addiction all they want with no consequences.  I want to try and mimic the obsession that comes with intense addiction, and... read more ❯
Pain Sensitivity in Opiate Addicts
Published 10/30/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Genevieve Miller
I recently read the article "Abnormal pain response in pain-sensitive opiate addicts after prolonged abstinence predicts increased drug craving" written by Ren Zhen-Yu.  This article is a great foundation for what I want to write my research proposal on. In the article, the different intensities of cravings of opiate addicts was related with how much pain was felt.  Overall, the opiate addicts  in this study showed a shorter tolerance for pain than control subjects, which is one of the reasons I have decided to use alcoholics instead of opiate addicts in my study.  Opiate addicts can show either an increased tolerance to pain or a decreased tolerance to pain, depending on what stage of addiction the individual is in-development, maintenance, withdrawal periods, and periods of abstinence.  This could be because opiates have a specific receptor in the brain, since our bodies can actually produce certain opiates (endorphins).  Also, opiates such as morphine... read more ❯
ADHA: Liability or Assett?
Published 10/30/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Andrea Roulaine
Considering the social context of ADHA, could ADHA be an asset or a liability? Dan Eisenberg, PhD, and Benjamin Campbell in their article, The Evolution of ADHD: Social Context Matters, ask a very good question to begin with: Why hasn’t natural section removed the genes that underlie ADHA from the human population? According to Eisenberg and Campbell, we must consider our current and past social environments over our evolutionary history, along with genetic and molecular evidence.  Humans today live in a very different environment than our hunter-gatherer ancestors did over 10,000 year ago. According to the article, learning took place through play, observation, and informal instruction, rather than a structured classroom almost all of us have experienced today.  The genetics of AHDA plays a key role as well. It turns out that the 7R (ADHD associated) allele of the DRD4 gene was created around 45,000 years ago and was selected... read more ❯
Becky Read-Wahidi's Successful Dissertation Defense: Devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Psychosocial Stress among Mexican Immigrants in the South
Published 10/30/2014 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author camedeiros
On Tuesday, October 7, Becky Read-Wahidi successfully presented and defended her dissertation, titled "A Model Guadalupan: Devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Psychosocial Stress Among Mexican Immigrants to the South." This was the first Anthropology Department Defense this academic year. Becky began her presentation with some historical background on the Virgin of Guadalupe, who appeared to Indian peasant Juan Diego in 1531 with instructions to build a church in her honor. The Virgin of Guadalupe has been officially recognized by the Catholic Church, and has her own festival occurring on December 12. She is indigenous to Mexico, and is seen as a resistance to social injustice. Becky focused on the idea that the Virgin of Guadalupe could be a Mexican master symbol. Becky then... read more ❯

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