In computer programming, when algorithms are using loops/recursion without an exit condition, the algorithm will never end or get out of resources.
How does the brain work around getting into endless loops/recursions due to interconnected nets, i.e. when there are circularities in the nets? For example, neuron A activates neuron B which activates C which activates A, and so on. Or are there no circularities in the brain structure?
The brain often does create looping conditions. When these loops involve a large number of neurons, we call it a seizure. An analogy in electrical engineering would be a feedback loop -- such as literal feedback between a microphone and speakers. In the brain, fortunately, these loops are usually self-dissolving since the neurons involved will often run out of neurotransmitter or energy, or inhibitory neurons will get involved (like referees breaking up a fight). Many of the neurotransmitters and hormones in the body act as regulators of ongoing processes. There are almost always negative feedback mechanisms whose purpose is to prevent overload on various systems. The equivalent in programming would be using a counter variable in a while loop to break if it loops too many times.
This all, of course, was with respect to short pathways (small number of links). Larger, more complex pathways such as thoughts and goals are probably handled in part by different mechanisms, such as the instinct of not wanting to waste too much time getting nowhere. At the same time, getting frustrated and rage quitting is a perfect example of hormones and neurotransmitters rising to the point of stopping the loop of trying to do something that is not working as desired.
The brain is full of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are connected to more neurotransmitters, etc. And they're not just one-way. One thought leads to another which could lead back to the initial thought. And when you learn, you create new neural pathways which helps.
There’s an insidious quirk to your brain that, if you let it, can drive you absolutely batty.
This is an excerpt from my new book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.
T here’s an insidious quirk to your brain that, if you let it, can drive you absolutely batty. Tell me if this sounds familiar to you:
You get anxious about confronting somebody in your life. That anxiety cripples you and you start wondering why you’re so anxious. Now you’re becoming anxious about being anxious. Oh no! Doubly anxious! Now you’re anxious about your anxiety, which is causing more anxiety. Quick, where’s the whiskey?
Or let’s say you have an anger problem. You get pissed off at the stupidest, most inane stuff, and you have no idea why. And the fact that you get pissed off so easily starts to piss you off even more. And then, in your petty rage, you realize that being angry all the time makes you a shallow and mean person, and you hate this you hate it so much that you get angry at yourself. Now look at you: you’re angry at yourself getting angry about being angry. Fuck you, wall. Here, have a fist.
Or you’re so worried about doing the right thing all the time that you become worried about how much you’re worrying. Or you feel so guilty for every mistake you make that you begin to feel guilty about how guilty you’re feeling. Or you get sad and alone so often that it makes you feel even more sad and alone just thinking about it.
Welcome to the Feedback Loop from Hell. Chances are you’ve engaged in it more than a few times. Maybe you’re engaging in it right now: “God, I do the Feedback Loop all the time—I’m such a loser for doing it. I should stop. Oh my God, I feel like such a loser for calling myself a loser. I should stop calling myself a loser. Ah, fuck! I’m doing it again! See? I’m a loser! Argh!”
Calm down, amigo. Believe it or not, this is part of the beauty of being human. Very few animals on earth have the ability to think cogent thoughts to begin with, but we humans have the luxury of being able to have thoughts about our thoughts. So I can think about watching Miley Cyrus videos on YouTube, and then immediately think about what a sicko I am for wanting to watch Miley Cyrus videos on YouTube. Ah, the miracle of consciousness!
Now here’s the problem: Our society today, through the wonders of consumer culture and hey-look-my-life-is-cooler-than-yours social media, has bred a whole generation of people who believe that having these negative experiences—anxiety, fear, guilt, etc.—is totally not okay. I mean, if you look at your Facebook feed, everybody there is having a fucking grand old time. Look, eight people got married this week! And some sixteen-year-old on TV got a Ferrari for her birthday. And another kid just made two billion dollars inventing an app that automatically delivers you more toilet paper when you run out.
Meanwhile, you’re stuck at home flossing your cat. And you can’t help but think your life sucks even more than you thought.
The Feedback Loop from Hell has become a borderline epidemic, making many of us overly stressed, overly neurotic, and overly self-loathing.
Back in Grandpa’s day, he would feel like shit and think to himself, “Gee whiz, I sure do feel like a cow turd today. But hey, I guess that’s just life. Back to shoveling hay.”
But now? Now if you feel like shit for even five minutes, you’re bombarded with 350 images of people totally happy and having amazing fucking lives, and it’s impossible to not feel like there’s something wrong with you.
It’s this last part that gets us into trouble. We feel bad about feeling bad. We feel guilty for feeling guilty. We get angry about getting angry. We get anxious about feeling anxious. What is wrong with me?
This is why not giving a fuck is so key. This is why it’s going to save the world. And it’s going to save it by accepting that the world is totally fucked and that’s all right, because it’s always been that way, and always will be.
By not giving a fuck that you feel bad, you short-circuit the Feedback Loop from Hell you say to yourself, “I feel like shit, but who gives a fuck?” And then, as if sprinkled by magic fuck-giving fairy dust, you stop hating yourself for feeling so bad.
George Orwell said that to see what’s in front of one’s nose requires a constant struggle. Well, the solution to our stress and anxiety is right there in front of our noses, and we’re too busy watching porn and advertisements for ab machines that don’t work, wondering why we’re not banging a hot blonde with a rocking six-pack, to notice.
We joke online about “first-world problems,” but we really have become victims of our own success. Stress-related health issues, anxiety disorders, and cases of depression have skyrocketed over the past thirty years, despite the fact that everyone has a flat-screen TV and can have their groceries delivered. Our crisis is no longer material it’s existential, it’s spiritual. We have so much fucking stuff and so many opportunities that we don’t even know what to give a fuck about anymore.
Because there’s an infinite amount of things we can now see or know, there are also an infinite number of ways we can discover that we don’t measure up, that we’re not good enough, that things aren’t as great as they could be. And this rips us apart inside.
Because here’s the thing that’s wrong with all of the “How to Be Happy” shit that’s been shared eight million times on Facebook in the past few years—here’s what nobody realizes about all of this crap:
The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.
This is a total mind-fuck. So I’ll give you a minute to unpretzel your brain and maybe read that again: Wanting positive experience is a negative experience accepting negative experience is a positive experience. It’s what the philosopher Alan Watts used to refer to as “the backwards law”—the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place. The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make. The more you desperately want to be sexy and desired, the uglier you come to see yourself, regardless of your actual physical appearance. The more you desperately want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you. The more you want to be spiritually enlightened, the more self-centered and shallow you become in trying to get there.
It’s like this one time I tripped on acid and it felt like the more I walked toward a house, the farther away the house got from me. And yes, I just used my LSD hallucinations to make a philosophical point about happiness. No fucks given.
As the existential philosopher Albert Camus said (and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t on LSD at the time): “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”
Now, I know what you’re saying: “Mark, this is making my nipples all hard, but what about the Camaro I’ve been saving up for? What about the beach body I’ve been starving myself for? After all, I paid a lot of money for that ab machine! What about the big house on the lake I’ve been dreaming of? If I stop giving a fuck about those things—well, then I’ll never achieve anything. I don’t want that to happen, do I?”
Ever notice that sometimes when you care less about something, you do better at it? Notice how it’s often the person who is the least invested in the success of something that actually ends up achieving it? Notice how sometimes when you stop giving a fuck, everything seems to fall into place?
What’s interesting about the backwards law is that it’s called “backwards” for a reason: not giving a fuck works in reverse. If pursuing the positive is a negative, then pursuing the negative generates the positive. The pain you pursue in the gym results in better all-around health and energy. The failures in business are what lead to a better understanding of what’s necessary to be successful. Being open with your insecurities paradoxically makes you more confident and charismatic around others. The pain of honest confrontation is what generates the greatest trust and respect in your relationships. Suffering through your fears and anxieties is what allows you to build courage and perseverance.
Seriously, I could keep going, but you get the point. Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires. The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.
Pain is an inextricable thread in the fabric of life, and to tear it out is not only impossible, but destructive: attempting to tear it out unravels everything else with it. To try to avoid pain is to give too many fucks about pain. In contrast, if you’re able to not give a fuck about the pain, you become unstoppable.
You Don't Know What Makes You Happy
Happiness doesn’t work in the way most people think it does. In fact, it operates in kind of a “backwards” way. To find out what I mean, put your email in the form and receive my 24-page ebook on happiness, what it means, and how to achieve it.
29 Psychological Tricks You Can Use to Drive People Nuts
Most people are content to go about their daily lives and avoid rocking the boat. They wake up with their alarm clock, do good work at their job, then return home to enjoy the evening before doing it all over again the next day.
There are some people out there who just want to watch the world burn. They’re not necessarily evil they just enjoy shaking things up and throwing off the status quo every now and again.
And admit it — we kind of like having people like this in our lives! They certainly keep things interesting.
If you have any interest in flexing your own anarchy muscle, a good way to start is by subtly messing with other people’s minds to the point that they’re not really sure what to believe anymore. Don’t know where to start with that? Well, you’re in luck.
There are plenty of ways to keep people super confused.
A recent AskReddit thread asked people to share their own examples of subtle ways to mess with people — and Reddit delivered!
I tell people "no sneezing" when they sneeze. It confuses the sh*t outta people who realize I didn't say "bless you." –Takeshei
Never done a handshake before?
Whenever someone comes to shake my hand, I move my hand slightly to the left. All it takes is a little movement and they completely miss my hand. –DBones90
Nothing like some good old-fashioned gaslighting.
Had a manager a long time ago who wore a really nice hat outdoor (he was a little old-fashioned). My co-workers and I found the exact same hat at the local mall and bought two. One was a 1/4 size larger, the other a 1/4 size smaller. Every now and then when he'd leave the hat in his office, for instance, a trip to the restroom, we'd switch hats. The questioning look on his face every time we switched was priceless. The size difference was just enough to mess with him, without making the hat look weird. I don't know if he ever figured it out, it went on for a year and was still going on the day I left. –d2enthusiast
I'm afraid I don't.
I'll usually listen to whatever someone is saying and then reply with, "well you know what they always say." Then I just stop talking and never acknowledge ever having said that. –Atear This next trick is a great response to that question everybody asks but no one really wants to hear the answer to.
The infinite loop.
Me: "Hi. How are you?" Them: "I'm well. How are you?" Me: "I'm doing great. How are you?" Them: "I'm well. uh. " About 50% of the time, I get caught and just look stupid. But the other 60% of the time, I win and they look stupid. –wheeldonkey
The origins of mustardman.
In my old days as a server, I would sneak packs of mustard into coworkers pockets or aprons. I was eventually found out and titled the mustardman. –Dragothor
I tell people "No hablo ingles" when they try to stop me on the street and sell me something while speaking Spanish. They get confused for a moment and I slip away. –Lolasglasses
I'm going to start doing this.
All those useless things you sign up for and they need a number but you know telemarketers will call? I use my old work number. –shaka_sulu
Could be worse!
Someone leaves gnomes in my parents garden. We still don't know who but it happens every time they have a big gathering. –maggieminto If you work in an office, you're going to love this next one!
I hit CAPS LOCK on my coworker's lock screen every time he leaves his desk. –ArrowNG
Whenever telemarketers call me I flip the convo around to the patented line of Tupperware I created (I didn't) and no matter what they say I steer them back to my Tupperware, They usually hang up on me. –olygote
This is pure evil.
Take a screenshot of their desktop, get rid of all the icons on their desktop, then make screenshot their wallpaper. –mlpr34clopper
Maybe it it a glitch in the matrix!
Where I live, there’s this walking path that’s about 5 miles. It’s alongside a main road. Since I ride my bike a lot, I’ve had a chance to explore, and I discovered that there are plenty of loops and trails within the perimeter of that walking path. But most people in the area just know about the main path and don’t know about these loops or how long they are. So they just walk around the circle. When I’m on my bike and I see people walking the perimeter, I’ll pass them and then do one of the inner “loops" for 5-10 minutes, then I’ll go back out on the main road. Then I’ll pass the walkers I saw minutes ago. And I’ll do it again, and again. More than once I’ve heard someone say “how did she get behind us again?" like it’s some glitch in the matrix. –spaghatta111
It's simple, yet effective.
Every now and then, I swap locations of cutlery in my kitchen. For the next few days, my housemates will be getting out a knife and spoon for a meal or a fork for a coffee, and they don't know why. –PositiveOrange
I say "no pun intended" when there is absolutely no pun whatsoever. Fun to watch people reflect on it for a bit and see if they'll ask what the pun is or just pretend to get it etc. I always tell them after a minute that I was just fucking about, don't like leaving them in the dark. –Uljira
My dad is a big sports fan. We have a great relationship, but I just don’t like sports at all. I live in Seattle now and he lives in a different state. When I go home to visit, I always ask him if the Mariners are winning the game he’s watching—regardless of the sport. He falls for it every time, and it pisses him off every time. “Nice. You’re watching the game. Are the Mariners winning?" “The Mariners ARE. NOT. PLAYING! This is the NBA finals! That’s Lebron James!" “Lebron James plays for the Mariners?!" –NikonuserNW
This is a good way to make people hate you.
Not a huge deal but I like going to bars and choosing songs on the jukebox that people probably won’t like. For example, a dive bar with a rough older crowd will get a selection of boy band songs. –whoxamxi
How's the weather up there?
I'm a very tall fellow. People frequently ask me about it. So I've taken to telling them I'm 5'17. Most people get too confused by the math to continue talking to me. Win-win. –Lukavian
On Monday and Thursday at 7:30 pm wearing the same clothes I'd go into the same 7-Eleven, get the same thing, and greet the same cashier the same way and always ask him "is there a bathroom I could use?" I did that for 3.5 months. –future-dead-guy This next trick is great if you happen to have access to a bunch of office supplies.
This would drive me nuts.
During high school, I got rather good at planting light objects in peoples pockets. I practiced with pencils backstage, as it was dark, and they hardly weighed anything. I then started using paper clips as they weigh less, but you need to get really close. Now I carry paperclips and a pencil. Hang the paperclip on the end of the pencil then use that to drop the paper clip in their pocket. Most I have gotten in one person in a day is 14. –damboy99
I wonder how long it takes them to figure it out.
I like to pretend I don’t know what a simple word means and have them explain it. –L1V1NG
Imagine her panic. then relief!
Occasionally, if my co-worker is having a bad day, I will say to her "at least we only have 3 hours left" So recently, when we are down to our last 10-20 minutes I tell her "at least we only have 2 hours left" and she freaks out and looks at the clock. I like to think I'm being helpful but she doesn't always see it that way. –Crystal_helget
This is quite elaborate.
I once recorded my chickens fighting, and using an old motion-sensing Furby, made so that any time people entered my workplace, the sound of a chicken fight breaking out went off. –WeirdWolfGuy
The ultimate power move.
Having a disagreement with someone and then say 'yeah OK you're right' and walking away. Leave them with some argument blue balls. –onlysane1 You can try this next trick right now!
Didn't catch that.
Sometimes I'll just stop "talking" at random points during a conversation. Like, I'll move my mouth but cut out the middle part of the sentence. –SheZowRaisedByWolves
I salute you.
When I'm twisting a twist tie, I like to pinch it and twist it the opposite direction a few different times so it rewraps itself multiple times when you try to untwist it. –Rustic_Dragon
Have a friend named Carrie and I called her Gary for a good year before she noticed. –danoadd
I just say things that don’t add up with what they asked. Like, "How are you today?" “Yeah." Sounds dumb but it annoys the sh*t out of people and it’s hilarious. –uncle-marhty
Some people just want to watch the world burn.
I work at McDonalds. When I have to make more than one cone, I make one bigger so that there will be a fight. –NotThatType Share this with your favorite anarchist!
Psychology of Sports: How Sports Infect Your Brain
This week, fans packed stadiums in London wearing their nation&rsquos colors like rebels ready for battle in Mel Gibson&rsquos army. They screamed with excitement and anguished in defeat. Many paid thousands of dollars to travel around the globe to be there.
Among those who did not attend, 90% of people with access to a television tuned-in during past Olympics. In 2008, that was 2 out of every 3 people on the planet .
What the hell is going on here? How do sports engage, delight, and motivate people to put their lives on hold and become totally engrossed in watching other people play games? If sports can motivate people to go to great lengths, can businesses learn to instill the same loyalty and passion in their customers?
In fact, the psychology of sports that makes fans do crazy things in the name of their team can be harnessed to turn people into avid users. Innovative companies are minting habitual customers by understanding the mechanics of human behavior. Here are a few examples of the psychology of sports and the companies who have learned to exploit these same principles:
This Might Be the Year&rdquo
For a stunning example of customer loyalty, look no further than the fans of the heartbreaking Chicago Cubs. The team suffers from &ldquothe longest drought in North American sports,&rdquo 104 years without a World Series win. Yet, despite the century of defeat, Forbes magazine rated the team as having the 4th most loyal fans in baseball.
Why do Cubs fans keep coming back? What keeps them engaged year after losing year? Though sports columnists and diehards provide detailed bullet-points intellectualizing why &ldquothis is our year&rdquo , the answer lies in two cognitive hacks, which at times produce seemingly irrational behavior &ndash hope and variable rewards.
From then-candidate Barak Obama&rsquos iconic campaign poster to Pepsi&rsquos recent campaign ad , it&rsquos clear that hope sells. According to BJ Fogg of Stanford University&rsquos Persuasive Technology Lab , the pursuit of hope is a key motivator of human behavior.
While every sports fan appreciates the power of hope, few comprehend the zombie-like power variable rewards can have on the brain. A classic behavioral mechanic deployed by slot machines and video games, random reinforcement kicks the brain&rsquos dopamine system into high-gear. We&rsquore mesmerized by the prospect of another chance to find a reward, a win, a prize &ndash an endless search for the satisfaction that is never fully realized.
Sean Markey is a 29 year-old special education teacher in Salt Lake City . He is also an addict. Markey is hooked to Quora , a social question and answer app, which he says he uses up to a dozen times a day. Scrolling through his Quora stream provides Markey with a steady supply of stimulation. Though Markey understands how addictive the service is, he&rsquos powerless against Quora&rsquos variable rewards.
Like a Cubs fan holding on to the elusive promise of a championship victory for just one more year, Sean can&rsquot help but check his Quora feed searching for that enticing answer just another swipe away. &ldquoI never know what type of questions I&rsquoll get,&rdquo Markey said. &ldquoWill there be a question that could drastically change my worldview? I don&rsquot know, but if I don&rsquot check, I&rsquoll never know. So I find myself going back several times a day.&rdquo
The More You Pay, The Better the Game
Jay Acunzo is also hooked, not to Quora but to his favorite sports team, the New York Knicks. Come what may, the 26 year-old says he will remain a fan. Last year, he spent several hundred dollars in tickets along with hundreds more for gear and related paraphernalia.
But for Xandra Kredlow, Acunzo&rsquos girlfriend of over 3 years, the Knicks are just a money-sucking distraction. Xandra couldn&rsquot care less about assists or rebounds. She&rsquoll attend a game from time to time, but if she is like the women in a recent study , she does so to spend time with a loved one, not follow the action on the court. But what explains how differently people feel about sports?
Two more psychological phenomenon help explain why some people engross themselves in fandom while others do not. The first aspect of this cognitive cocktail is known as an escalation of commitment bias . Research reveals that the more effort people expend in doing a behavior or acquiring a set of beliefs, the more likely they are to continue doing the behavior or holding on to their point of view.
In sports, the effort comes early in life. Children quickly go from playing backyard games to wanting to be like their favorite sports heroes. Every practice is a bit of work , increasing the love of the game. While very few children grow up to play sports professionally, they continue to associate with the joy they felt playing the games of their youth. As fans age, they begin to invest in the game not with physical effort, but with their leisure time and disposable income. And there is reason to believe that the more fans spend, the more they love their team.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory may provide an answer to how fans&rsquo enthusiasm rises with the degree of effort expended. If fans perceive that they are paying more to watch the team than the enjoyment received, a mental conflict ensues. The only way to resolve this discrepancy is to love the team enough to justify the costs.
From Doing to Being
Escalation of commitment explains part of the reason why we get hooked to sports, but there is another attribute, which helps mint lifelong loyalists. Sports shape our self-identity. Research suggests that the way we wish to perceive ourselves has a profound impact on how we behave. For example, people who took a survey on &ldquobeing a voter&rdquo were much more likely to actually vote than people who took the same survey about &ldquovoting.&rdquo The simple switch in the survey, from a verb defining an action (voting), to a noun defining the self, (voter), dramatically increased turnout .
When people change the way they define themselves, they begin to behave in ways consistent with that belief. A real fan dresses in team colors. A real fan watches every game. A real fan is loyal to the end.
Of course, people perceive what it means to be a fan differently, which explains why everyone doesn&rsquot show up to the office wearing team jerseys and face paint. However, the way we define who we are has a measurable impact on how we act, from the sports we watch to the products and services we use. Several companies utilize the phenomenon of escalations of commitment and self-image shaping to drive customer engagement.
Apple brilliantly defined what it means to be a fan of it&rsquos products, first with their &ldquo Think Different &rdquo campaign and later within the famous &ldquo Get a Mac &rdquo commercials. Apple coupled itself with being young and innovative, while defining its competition, the PC, as the opposite. By manifesting its products as real people &mdash &ldquoI&rsquom a Mac. I&rsquom a PC.&rdquo &mdash it made the metaphor crystal clear. Apple also uses escalations of commitment, starting with the entry level iPod, in an attempt to eventually take over every possible screen, from phone to TV.
Another company, StackExchange, provides a surprising example of using escalations of commitment and shaping of self-image to create super users. The site, which started as a forum for answering technical questions, is almost completely run by its members and now hosts vibrant forums on hundreds of topics. On average, visitors post 5,600 questions to the site every day. How does StackExchange bring order to the flood of questions and ensure people get answers quickly? Simple, it makes its users do the work .
Each question asked, answered, and promoted, further commits the user to the system. A task as easy as a one-click up-vote, signifying satisfaction with an answer, can evolve into complex and time-consuming jobs. At other companies, this kind of work would be completed by paid staff. But at StackExchange, top users spend several hours per day managing content and moderating the community, all without receiving a dime.
According to Jeff Atwood, co-founder of StackExchange, &ldquoOur most active members see themselves as more than just users. They view themselves as owners.&rdquo Atwood continues, &ldquoWhen users view themselves as responsible for the quality of the site, their usage explodes.&rdquo It is here that StackExchange begins to change users&rsquo self-image. These users turned owners, see themselves as having a special responsibility to the site just as sports fans are convinced their loyalty matters to the team. Their participation becomes part of who they are, not just what they do.
Sports are Weird
Wherever we observe unusual human behavior, it&rsquos often useful to ask &ldquowhy?&rdquo Spectator sports are such a common facet of our lives that we sometime fail to appreciate their ability to make us do highly unusual things &mdash behaviors rarely observed outside the context of organized competition.
Let&rsquos face it, the ritual of dressing in special attire, wearing colors signifying a tribal-like affiliation, and paying top dollar for the right to watch people we&rsquove never met play a game for our amusement, is quite frankly, weird. But the reasons why we behave the way we do under these peculiar circumstances provide practical lessons for building better products, and perhaps better lives.
Sports are fundamentally human and more importantly, they are fun. Porting some of the same psychological tenets of sports into business is more than just a ploy to make products more addictive, it&rsquos a way to increase customer satisfaction. Sports make people happy. Fans come to watch the games to feel good and even when their teams lose, they leave happy enough to return again for the next game, and the next, and just one more.
The Truth About: The Mandela Effect
The human mind is possibly the greatest mystery of all. Even after centuries of scientific study, there is much still to unlock concerning how the brain works. Some believe, for example, in latent psychic powers or abilities that defy our understanding of what we are capable of. What, for instance, truly controls our own impulses and thoughts? What are the limitations on human consciousness? Of all these mechanisms, perhaps memory, however, could be said to be the most important. It is our memories that define us. They shape the very beings that we are and who we will become. Traumatic memories may damage us psychologically, while happier memories we will cherish into old age. But what if they were wrong?
The Mandela Effect is an alleged phenomenon whereby people believe that something in society, often an item of popular culture, is not how they remembered it. The inference is that history has been altered. The alleged phenomenon takes its name from the late South African president and human rights activist Nelson Mandela, with some believing that the original record had Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s, swearing that they “remember” this event featuring on the news.
Famous people dying who are “already” dead is a regular feature of claims surrounding the Mandela Effect. Other significant incidences include the fact that Looney Tunes is not called Looney Toons, Sex and the City is not called Sex in the City, and Froot Loops have never been Fruit Loops. Indeed, the list of apparent changes to the timeline is endless. The Monopoly Man doesn’t really have a monocle, Pikachu doesn’t have any black in his tail, Forest Gump never said “Life is Like a Box of Chocolates,” and neither did Darth Vader say, “Luke, I am Your Father.”
Explanations as to what may cause these changes from those who believe the theory include changing history, possibly through the effects of humanity’s future ability to time travel. Others suggest that parallel universes may be involved where we are somehow being shunted into versions of the universe slightly different from the original. Some lay the blame at the feet of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider.
Scientists themselves raised the possibility of unexpected phenomena at the Swiss facility, their theories based on top-level research in the fields of theoretical physics and time travel. In 2009, two scientists hypothesized that something from the future may have interfered with the LHC to stop the discovery of the Higgs boson, which was eventually confirmed to exist in 2013.
“While it is a paradox to go back in time and kill your grandfather, physicists agree there is no paradox if you go back in time and save him from being hit by a bus. In the case of the Higgs and the collider, it is as if something is going back in time to keep the universe from being hit by a bus. Although just why the Higgs would be a catastrophe is not clear. If we knew, presumably, we wouldn’t be trying to make one.” — Holger Bech Nielsen of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto
The immediate problem with these theories is that time travel is improbable under the conditions envisioned by popular culture and those who believe in the Mandela Effect. It is more than possible to send a human being into the future given that time slows down the faster you move through space, the future creation of near light-speed technology making this inevitable. However, there would be no way for the subject to return to the past. While Einstein theorized the possibility of an Einstein-Rosen bridge, a type of wormhole linking two points in spacetime, this would still not allow us to travel back beyond the point of the creation of the bridge. Equally, the grandfather paradox and ripple effect mean that even the slightest change to the past could have devastating consequences for not only history but potentially reality itself. Which, of course, is what the Mandela effect is suggested to be.
Parallel universes, meanwhile, are something there may be more evidence for. We don’t know the shape of spacetime. There is the distinct possibility it might be flat and infinite, and with infinity comes infinite possibilities however, that is on the prerequisite of possibility. Just because something has endless chances of happening doesn’t mean it will if that thing is impossible. For example, you could toss a coin an infinite number of times, but it would never fall “tails” if it was a two-headed coin. However, we know that our planet is possible, and therefore it is logical that given infinite chances, a world the same would be created. Yet this alternate Earth would be within our own universe and reality and not the traditional vision of a parallel planet running alongside our own in a differing reality as postulated by the Mandela Effect, that being new universes created following every different outcome of an event.
Here we come into the realms of free will and predestination. Free will suggests that all our actions are “free,” and we could have made any choice we liked over everything from dinner to marriage or running for president. Predestination states that we are fated to take the same path no matter what, and our free will is merely an illusion of choice. If predestination is true, then there would be no parallel universes as no actual choice has ever been made, with the reverse being true of free will. If free will exists and daughter universes are possible, then alternative Earths running alongside our own may just be possible.
“We are not down to a single, unique universe, but our findings imply a significant reduction of the multiverse to a much smaller range of possible universes.” — Stephen Hawking
However, the truth of the Mandela Effect likely has a far less cosmic answer. Mandela, of course, lived to be president of South Africa and enjoy a respected position as an elder statesman of world affairs, dying in 2013. Yet after initially being posted to the internet by “paranormal consultant” Fiona Broome, many others agreed with her assessment and also claimed to “remember” Mandela dying in prison, with some, like Broome, even “remembering” a moving eulogy by his “widow” Winnie Mandela. So many people couldn’t be wrong, could they?
The Mandela Effect is a classic example of a small number of incidences being blown into something much bigger. It sits aptly as one of the prevailing conspiracy theories of our fake news era. Even if the number who “remember” Mandela dying is in its thousands, that is still a tiny fraction of the billions who remember his passing in 2013 and subsequent funeral. However, instead of accepting the clear evidence of a mistake, those who believe often double-down on being single arbiters of “truth.”
These beliefs are often posted in forums and online communities dedicated to investigating the Mandela Effect “phenomena,” which automatically puts them into the realm of confirmation bias. Other users will back up the notion that history has changed, rather than the memory of the alleged “original” object being false. If put to a broader audience, these falsehoods would likely be debunked by the majority who remember correctly. These forums appear to be significant while actually being a small number of a general population, giving the illusion of genuine phenomena in society. However, that is not to say those partaking are “lying” in the truest sense of the word.
Confabulation is a symptom of some memory disorders. Named by the noted German psychiatrist Karl Bonhoeffer, confabulation is when an individual gives a false answer to a question or as part of a statement while being entirely sure they are telling the truth, coming about through having a legitimate memory disorder. This disorder allows the subconscious to “fill in the blanks” of their memory with what they perceive must have happened, rather than what did. Much of this will be simple “confabulations of embarrassment,” small scale falsehoods to cover personal embarrassment, such as arriving late or forgetting a wallet. However, at the other end is “fantastic confabulation,” where the subject will tell elaborate falsehoods. As a symptom rather than a disorder, confabulation can be part of various conditions or come from injury or mental illness. These conditions include schizophrenia, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and traumatic injury to the brain.
However, there is significant evidence that confabulation may be more common than we think and not, in fact, exclusive to those with evident disorders. The concept of the memory being wrong has been central to countless criminal cases. Indeed, research has shown that our memories are not quite as perfect as many would like to think. Our brains are open to altering what we believe we saw when faced with opposing information and happy to fill in empty spaces in our recollection with what our brain tells us “must” have happened.
A 2017 study by the University of Huddersfield in the UK found that 32% of 600 test subjects gave false witness statements over a bar fight central to the research. Some of those involved in the study were deliberately told to lead other participants away from the truth, with witnesses willingly altering what they actually saw when faced with these opposing viewpoints. This is part of the Misinformation Effect, a term coined by another prominent psychologist, Elizabeth Loftus. Following a 1978 study, Loftus concluded that our recollection is open to change when we are presented with “new” information, saying: “the misinformation effect refers to the impairment in memory for the past that arises after exposure to misleading information.”
It would be fair to conclude that the Mandela Effect is a combination of both the Misinformation Effect and confabulation, with these false memories attributable to one or the other. Take, for example, the Monopoly man. Not recalling the image entirely, the mind remembers a posh capitalist of the pre-WW2 era, complete with a top hat. Our cultural familiarity with such pictures of the period adds a monocle, not because it actually existed, but because the mind filled the blank space with another image that we have filed away in an association. Similarly, it is logical that Darth Vader may have said, “Luke, I am your father” rather than simply “I am your father,” the brain easily adding the name that is the subject of the line. Equally, the phrase has been continually quoted wrong throughout popular culture alongside the Forest Gump example, this “new information” replacing the memory of what we actually heard.
Science-Fiction has long dealt with the concept of false or implanted memories, with films such as Vanilla Sky and Total Recall famously addressing the issues. More broadly, theories of mind manipulation will always fly well in conspiracy circles, explaining how the concept of the Mandela Effect has become so popular online. There is a great fascination with the universe and what might be possible in humanity’s future, with ideas of parallel universes and time travel being particularly enthralling as science still has no definitive answer.
However, the truth is that a combination of factors seems to be behind the Mandela Effect. False memories have been proven to be easily created through the brain’s openness to altering what we believe we saw and heard, either through creating the blank space ourselves or taking on new information and replacing truth with falsehood. These false memories are given social and cognitive reinforcement through being broadcast in a bubble of belief, the subject being assured their memories are true through confirmation bias. Yet, there is still a lack of complete understanding around the workings of the human mind and how we process memory, with science having yet to unlock much of what makes us tick. Whether the truth lay in the mysteries of the universe or in our own minds, the Mandela Effect proves that science has as much to uncover here on Earth as it does in the stars.
At conception the egg and sperm cell are united to form a zygote, which will begin to divide rapidly. This marks the beginning of the first stage of prenatal development (germinal stage), which lasts about two weeks. Then the zygote implants itself into the lining of the woman’s uterus, marking the beginning of the second stage of prenatal development (embryonic stage), which lasts about six weeks. The embryo begins to develop body and organ structures, and the neural tube forms, which will later become the brain and spinal cord. The third phase of prenatal development (fetal stage) begins at 9 weeks and lasts until birth. The body, brain, and organs grow rapidly during this stage. During all stages of pregnancy it is important that the mother receive prenatal care to reduce health risks to herself and to her developing baby.
Newborn infants weigh about 7.5 pounds. Doctors assess a newborn’s reflexes, such as the sucking, rooting, and Moro reflexes. Our physical, cognitive, and psychosocial skills grow and change as we move through developmental stages from infancy through late adulthood. Attachment in infancy is a critical component of healthy development. Parenting styles have been found to have an effect on childhood outcomes of well-being. The transition from adolescence to adulthood can be challenging due to the timing of puberty, and due to the extended amount of time spent in emerging adulthood. Although physical decline begins in middle adulthood, cognitive decline does not begin until later. Activities that keep the body and mind active can help maintain good physical and cognitive health as we age. Social supports through family and friends remain important as we age.
Self Check Questions
Critical Thinking Questions
1. What are some known teratogens, and what kind of damage can they do to the developing fetus?
2. What is prenatal care and why is it important?
9. Would you describe your experience of puberty as one of pride or embarrassment? Why?
10. Your best friend is a smoker who just found out she is pregnant. What would you tell her about smoking and pregnancy?
11. Imagine you are a nurse working at a clinic that provides prenatal care for pregnant women. Your patient, Anna, has heard that it’s a good idea to play music for her unborn baby, and she wants to know when her baby’s hearing will develop. What will you tell her?
2. Prenatal care is medical care during pregnancy that monitors the health of both the mother and fetus. It’s important to receive prenatal care because it can reduce complications to the mother and fetus during pregnancy.
3. In the embryonic stage, basic structures of the embryo start to develop into areas that will become the head, chest, and abdomen. The heart begins to beat and organs form and begin to function. The neural tube forms along the back of the embryo, developing into the spinal cord and brain. In the fetal stage, the brain and body continue to develop. Fingers and toes develop along with hearing, and internal organs form.
4. The particular quality or trait must be part of an enduring behavior pattern, so that it is a consistent or predictable quality.
5. The sucking reflex is the automatic, unlearned sucking motions that infants do with their mouths. It may help promote survival because this action helps the baby take in nourishment. The rooting reflex is the newborn’s response to anything that touches her cheek. When you stroke a baby’s cheek she will naturally turn her head that way and begin to suck. This may aid survival because it helps the newborn locate a source of food.
6. With the authoritative style, children are given reasonable demands and consistent limits, warmth and affection are expressed, the parent listens to the child’s point of view, and the child initiates positive standards. Children raised by authoritative parents tend to have high self-esteem and social skills. Another parenting style is authoritarian: The parent places a high value on conformity and obedience. The parents are often strict, tightly monitor their children, and express little warmth. This style can create anxious, withdrawn, and unhappy kids. The third parenting style is permissive: Parents make few demands, rarely use punishment, and give their children free rein. Children raised by permissive parents tend to lack self-discipline, which contributes to poor grades and alcohol abuse. However, they have higher self-esteem, better social skills, and lower levels of depression. The fourth style is the uninvolved parent: They are indifferent, uninvolved, and sometimes called neglectful. The children raised in this parenting style are usually emotionally withdrawn, fearful, anxious, perform poorly in school, and are at an increased risk of substance abuse.
7. Emerging adulthood is a relatively new period of lifespan development from 18 years old to the mid-20s, characterized as a transitional time in which identity exploration focuses on work and love. According to Arnett, changing cultural expectations facilitate the delay to full adulthood. People are spending more time exploring their options, so they are delaying marriage and work as they change majors and jobs multiple times, putting them on a much later timetable than their parents.
Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All
As Jim Rohn says, &ldquoWhat is easy to do is also easy not to do.&rdquo And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.
This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We&rsquore stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren&rsquot just distractions for the time they&rsquore being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.
Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.  Yes, you read that correctly&mdashdistractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.
Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.
These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.
Are explicitly Infinite Loops handled in .NET as a special case?
Earlier today, as I was coding a method and it struck me that I wasn't sure exactly why the idiom I was implementing compiles. If everything else is abstracted away, it would look something like this:
You have an explicitly infinite loop, and some set of conditions inside the loop that cause the loop to end with a return statement. Let's ignore for the time being why I was doing this as opposed to checking for a termination condition in the while clause as the answer is convoluted and irrelevant -- what I want to know is why the compiler doesn't flag this with a "Not all paths return a value." error, as, strictly speaking not all paths do return a value. The case in which the while loop is never entered (which, of course, never happens) doesn't return anything.
Now, there are two reasons I can imagine it happening: this is a side effect of optimization that's occurring for other reasons, or this case is explicitly being handled by the compiler to allow this idiom. My instinct is that it's probably the first case. It doesn't surprise me at all, for instance, that this compiles:
Because the compiler sees a constant true in the if, and optimizes the conditional away. I don't really get why this would "fix" the first example, though.
Oh, and even more weirdly, if some optimization that gets rid of the loop is in play, this compiles:
I would think that the entire inner loop would be optimized away, getting rid of all of the valid returns. What's actually going on here at the bytecode/compiler level that makes this all make sense?
Sources of Negativity
Any negative experience begins in consciousness—meaning, that it all starts with an evaluation. Some form of psychological or emotional need is not met and when that happens, the mind perceives the experience as falling short of its preconceived expectations. Therefore, any negative experience is essentially a negative interpretation of what has taken place. In reality, any experience has a neutral meaning it’s neither good nor bad in any absolute sense. It’s only your subjective and constructed understanding of the event that gives it a positive or negative evaluation.
Another factor that complicates negative experiences is what’s known as the negativity bias. The negativity bias is the tendency of your nervous system to preferentially look for negative experiences (the bad news) over positive ones (the good news). As counterintuitive as this seems, the negativity bias is the byproduct of millions of years of evolution it’s a survival mechanism that taught you to favorably look for danger because by doing so you could anticipate a threat and take preemptive steps to fight or flee, thus guaranteeing your survival. Those early hunter-gatherers who weren’t inclined to be on the lookout for danger didn’t live long enough to pass that trait on to us. Unfortunately, the negativity bias is still very much a part of your brain and nervous system, and although life-threatening situations are relatively rare now, you may still look for and cling to the negative, often resulting in a pessimistic, distrustful, and cynical attitude toward life.
Now that you see where negativity arises and why you’re neurologically wired to seek it out, let’s take a look at six pathways for negative energy cleansing from your mind and body.
Why does this loop not ackowledge the first two inputs?
I'm writing a main method that asks the user for input in the form of the length of the radius and height of a cone, and then calls 3 other mathematical methods to determine the area of the bottom of the cone, as well as the surface area and volume of it.
The idea is that you should be able to enter several sets of inputs, and signal that you're done by entering "q". An example input could for example be " 10 5 6 8 7 5 q". The program should then calculate everything three times, with two sets of radius and height and then break the loop. Instead, it ignores the first two inputs and does the remaining four perfectly. It basically computes n-1 sets of heights and radiuses, where n is the numbers of sets provided. I'd really appreciate some help on this.