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  #1  
Unread February 24th, 2006, 01:48 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Evolved Psychology - Brain Region Tied to Regret Identified

From www.SciAm.com
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Brain Region Tied to Regret Identified

It's human nature to sometimes regret a decision. Now scientists have identified the brain region that mediates that feeling of remorse: the medial orbitofrontal cortex.

Giorgio Coricelli of the Institute of Cognitive Sciences at the National Science Research Center in Bron, France, and his colleagues designed a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment to monitor how people make decisions and feel about them after the fact. The team presented volunteers with two choices, one of which carried higher risk than the other, but had the potential for greater reward as well. After indicating their choices, the subjects were told the outcome of their decision. In some cases, however, the researchers also revealed what would have happened if they had chosen differently. Choosing the less lucrative option and learning the other one was better was strongly correlated with activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex, which sits above the orbits of the eyes in the brain's frontal lobe. The amount of activity observed was also tied to the level of regret, which corresponded to the difference between the result of the choice made and that of the alternative outcome.

When participants were assigned one of two possibilities and thus felt no control over the outcomes, this activity was not observed, suggesting a feeling of personal responsibility helps govern OFC activity in addition to feelings of regret. The findings support previous studies involving patients with damaged OFC areas who do not experience regret and are also unable to alter their behavior to avoid situations that would induce the feeling. A paper describing the results was published online yesterday by Nature Neuroscience. --Sarah Graham
The human brain evolved and here is a part of the human brain that has an emormous effect on a person's psychology. What could be more devastating to a person's 'personality' than to lose the feeling of regret/remorse?

Run over a dog? "So, what?" Cheat on your wife? "Who cares?" Spoil all of your food? "Big deal." Lose the company's biggest client? "Doesn't bother me." Disavow Jesus Christ? "I don't care."

Is a 'good' person who has an aneurysm that wipes out this part of the brain suddenly an 'evil' person who belongs in the fires of Hell? Is a child born with an undeveloped medial orbitofrontal cortex an innately 'bad' person?

No, we behave as our brains allow. This is proof that there is no 'Free Will'.
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  #2  
Unread February 25th, 2006, 11:28 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Evolved Psychology - Brain Region Tied to Regret Identified

Quote:
TJ: . . . we behave as our brains allow. This is proof that there is no 'Free Will'.
Yep. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. were all just behaving as their brains allowed. Hell TJ, that’s all you and I are doing, right? I mean what other “choice” do “we” have?
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  #3  
Unread February 25th, 2006, 01:14 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Evolved Psychology - Brain Region Tied to Regret Identified

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Originally Posted by Fred H.
Yep. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. were all just behaving as their brains allowed. Hell TJ, that’s all you and I are doing, right? I mean what other “choice” do “we” have?
By jove, I think you've got it! This is one of your first posts replying to me that isn't insulting or misrepresenting me. Thanks!!!

Yes, they were just behaving as their brains allowed. They had brains that thought quite a lot of themselves; as you and I also seem to have. They also had laws/religions that were not quite sufficient to rein them in and enough angry/scared people to follow their orders. A bad mix of megalomaniacal predilections and a fertile social environment. We must continue to support countries that have the sort of checks and balances that can lessen the possibility that those sorts of things can ever happen again.

It was predetermined that they would do exactly what they did; they had psychologies that were destined to take advantage of their environment. As long as we keep this in mind rather than curse the gods or the devil, we can make healthy, rational decisions. In other words, forcing other countries to bow to our god, no matter how much we think that might benefit them in the end, is not now, and never was, a rational choice if we want peace in the near term.
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  #4  
Unread February 26th, 2006, 10:43 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Evolved Psychology - Brain Region Tied to Regret Identified

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TJ: It was predetermined that they would do exactly what they did; they had psychologies that were destined to take advantage of their environment. As long as we keep this in mind rather than curse the gods or the devil, we can make healthy, rational decisions.
Of course TJ, psychologies, environment, and predetermination—how could it be otherwise? Sheds new light on war crimes and genocide—instead of the simplistic old defense, “I vas just following orders,” we now have a more nuanced, “I vas just predetermined; und my psychology just destined me to take advantage of mine environment.” Sounds like something comrade Milošević might be able to use.
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  #5  
Unread February 26th, 2006, 01:41 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Evolved Psychology - Brain Region Tied to Regret Identified

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Originally Posted by Fred H.
Of course TJ, psychologies, environment, and predetermination—how could it be otherwise? Sheds new light on war crimes and genocide—instead of the simplistic old defense, “I vas just following orders,” we now have a more nuanced, “I vas just predetermined; und my psychology just destined me to take advantage of mine environment.” Sounds like something comrade Milošević might be able to use.
Yes, we're in agreement once again! That's exactly my point, you and I are destined to do what our brains tell us. Just as your brain had in the past quoted my words to give the entirely wrong tone or mangled Margaret's words to a laughable caricature of her intent, their brains told them what they were doing was the right thing to do; whether out of greed or justice over prior abuses, I don't know. Whether you did those dishonest things because of a sense that the end of convincing us to your POV justified the means or sheer cruelty or retribution for some pain you've suffered, I don't know. Regardless, I don't hate you for doing those things; you sound like a decent person and you had some condition in your brain that made those things 'right' from your perspective. Even if it were from pure cruelty, I'd argue that is physical and not different from an aneurysm taking out the 'regret' module in your brain, in which case I pity you rather than hate you.

But there's still no blindness here, society was destined to identify those as antisocial behaviors and punish them accordingly. We have laws that change the environment as much as possible and jails if those laws are not enough in themselves to prevent people from behaving badly. So, in other words, if their defense is "my psychology just destined me to take advantage of mine environment" then our right is to lock them up. Milošević should be punished and I'd hope that punishment would include sitting in the bottom of a pit where anyone who lost a family member could at least pee on him.

Great posts, thanks!
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  #6  
Unread February 28th, 2006, 05:24 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Thumbs down Re: Evolved Psychology

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TJ #1: No, we behave as our brains allow. This is proof that there is no 'Free Will'.
#3: It was predetermined that they would do exactly what they did; they had psychologies that were destined to take advantage of their environment.
#5: you and I are destined to do what our brains tell us.
#5: But there's still no blindness here, society was destined to identify those [Stalin, Mao, etc.] as antisocial behaviors and punish them accordingly.
Stalin & Mao were punished by “society?”—They were the “society,” back when they were in charge. Hello?

OK, so it’s your view that while individuals are “destined” to behave however it is that they behave, “society,” nevertheless, has somehow, concurrently, been “destined” to “identify” & “punish” “antisocial behaviors”; and that that apparently, somehow, eliminates any implied “blindness” . . . in (using Dawkins’s words) a pitiless, indifferent universe of “electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication.”

Well Tom, your doublethink just isn’t terribly convincing. So nothing has changed—the actual evidence continues to indicate that we humans do indeed have some amount of free will, and moral responsibility, individually and collectively (and I’d add, in a universe that is not here just somehow by chance). Even Todd agrees that we have some sort of “free will”—although he doesn’t seem to appreciate that human consciousness requires more than algorithms.

Your doublethink and/or lack of rigor has become more tedious than I care to continue to respond to.

Last edited by Fred H.; February 28th, 2006 at 08:34 PM.
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  #7  
Unread March 1st, 2006, 09:47 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Evolved Psychology

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
Stalin & Mao were punished by “society?”—They were the “society,” back when they were in charge. Hello?
The whole world is 'society', we did the best we could and did not allow them the ultimate power they probably craved. And the world doesn't remember them as heroes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
“society,” nevertheless, has somehow, concurrently, been “destined” to “identify” & “punish” “antisocial behaviors”; and that that apparently, somehow, eliminates any implied “blindness”
No, I never said that society eliminates blindness. I've said repeatedly that our brains' capacity to weigh evidence and decide eliminates blindness. Our determined choices are not blind. I know this is a hard concept to grasp but it's very freeing once you understand it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
the actual evidence continues to indicate that we humans do indeed have some amount of free will, and moral responsibility
There is no evidence of free will. No matter how many times you say otherwise. Your quote of my "No, we behave as our brains allow. This is proof that there is no 'Free Will'" was only slightly misleading. The preceding words detailed the fact that there's a module in the brain that supplies 'remorse' and 'regret', and that some people don't have it, is proof that there is no free will.

Without the feedback of a feeling that your actions are wrong, there's no way for you to stay on the course of your "moral responsibility"; your will is NOT free, it's at least dependent on the 'proper' development and functioning of this part of your brain. So this is evidence that there is no free will. You would not be proud at all of a Fred without this part of your brain and you would be unfairly doomed to whatever horrible consequences your religion threatens.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
Your doublethink and/or lack of rigor has become more tedious than I care to continue to respond to.
I understand the frustration you must feel toward my replies, and I'm truly sorry for that; it must be tough. I don't get into arcane nuances (on purpose), I don't get mad at you (because of my philosophy) and I don't get hurt by your insults and condescension (because, at the moment, you can't help it), so there's nothing left for you to do but address the 'straightforward' facts. Regardless, you are Fred and you are an important part of society.
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  #8  
Unread March 1st, 2006, 08:59 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Evolved Psychology - Brain Region Tied to Regret Identified

So now you blame the behavior of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. on the lack of “feedback,” a lack of “proper development and functioning” of their “remorse and regret” “module.”
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  #9  
Unread March 2nd, 2006, 11:55 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Evolved Psychology - Brain Region Tied to Regret Identified

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Originally Posted by Fred H.
So now you blame the behavior of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. on the lack of “feedback,” a lack of “proper development and functioning” of their “remorse and regret” “module.”
Yes, quite possibly. But it might instead be blamed on real or imaginary feelings of justice, I don't know. Or maybe they were convinced that they were actually helping the masses.

Regardless, the underlying point is that you and I would make the same choices given the same experiences and brains; there's nothing else to guide us.

I'm glad, though, you've chosen to my "respond to" my "doublethink and/or lack of rigor". I welcome any chance to reiterate my views and/or make them more clear.
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  #10  
Unread March 4th, 2006, 04:08 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Evolved Psychology - Brain Region Tied to Regret Identified

And here's another point, just to drive these facts home: Why are all of these examples of "immoral" people men? Do women just happen to be more moral through the strength of their characters?

Before you jump on the instinctive reflex of "because society gives men all the power" (I'd answer that men grabbed all the power because they were driven to), let's consider a few more questions: Why are most of the people in jail men? Why was a man just thrown in jail for making out with 10 women against their will? Why aren't women planting hidden cameras in men's locker rooms? Why aren't as many women being fired from their jobs for downloading porn at their desks? Why do we have such a problem with pedophile priests and not pedophile nuns? Am I more "moral" because I am attacted to women, not girls or boys? Am I more "moral" because I have an engineering degree and a great job and don't want to risk what I have to hold up a gas station? Are the presidents' daughters more "moral" because they were given good educations and don't have to prostitute themselves?

I think the answers are based on evolutionary psychology and would be generally opposite between your philosophy and mine.
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