It’s imagination vs reality…
How does one distinguish one from the other when it comes to what you know?
Because is what you think you know, really mirrors reality?
[via Popsci] Did you actually open the refrigerator a few minutes ago, or were you just thinking about it and imagined that you did? If you can remember correctly, you might have an extra fold in your brain.
A fold in the front brain called the paracingulate sulcus, or PCS, can apparently help people more accurately remember whether something was imagined or really happened, or which person actually said something. It’s one of the final structural folds to develop before birth, and its size varies greatly in the general population, according to researchers at the University of Cambridge. People with the fold were significantly better at memory tasks than people without the fold, the researchers say.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience, involved 53 healthy adult volunteers with no reported history of cognitive difficulties, according to a Cambridge news release. And everyone thought they had a good memory before the tests.
Participants were chosen based on MRI scans that showed a clear presence or absence of the PCS fold. Then they were presented with word pairs and half-pairs — like “Laurel and Hardy” or “Laurel and ?” In the second test, they were asked to imagine the other word, and then either they or the study leader actually said the word aloud.
Then they had a memory test, where they tried to remember whether they had actually seen the second word or just imagined it, and which person said the word out loud, Cambridge says. People with a PCS remembered correctly a lot more often.
This work has implications for some mental disorders like schizophrenia, in which the line between reality and imagination is unclear to the patient. In other studies, schizophrenic patients reportedly have had reduced PCS areas, according to Jon Simons of Cambridge’s Experimental Psychology department and Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute.
What to do about this isn’t clear — because the fold happens so shortly before birth, it’s not something that can be physically changed. But understanding the PCS’ role in memory and reality perception could have some impact on drug treatments for mental disorders.
But when it comes to Zombies…
Does it really matter if they exist in your reality?
[via LiveScience] Zombies, à la the walking dead, don’t exist in the real world, but they have been a big part of pop culture and show up time and again in history and folklore.
As portrayed in the classic 1968 film “Night of the Living Dead,” zombies are lumbering, flesh-eating corpses. Some say this film reinvented zombies, who were shown in earlier films such as 1932′s “White Zombie” as “beings whose brains had been zapped by some ‘master’ who was then able to control their actions,” according to the University of Michigan website.
Zombies are even mentioned in Haitian folklore, with the Haitian word “zombi” meaning “spirit of the dead.” These tales showed voodoo priests who had the ability to resurrect the deceased through the administration of a magic powder. And according to legend, “In Haiti a zombi is someone who has annoyed his or her family and community to the degree that they can no longer stand to live with this person. They respond by hiring a Bokor, a vodoun priest who practices black magic and sorcery, to turn them into a zombi,” according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has jumped on the zombie bandwagon, with a post on their website in May 2011 entitled “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.” The post, a tongue-in-check way to promote real disaster preparedness, went viral that week.
Of course, the CDC was not suggesting we need to worry about zombies. “If you’re prepared for the zombie apocalypse, you’re also prepared for hurricanes and flooding,” said CDC spokesperson Dave Daigle at the time. Another scientific endeavor, by the Oxford Internet Institute, visualized in map form the global distribution of Google Maps references to “zombies.”
While no scientific evidence suggests human zombies exist, there are plenty of zombies in the animal kingdom.
Recent research in a Thai rain forest showed how a parasitic fungi, a species of Ophiocordyceps, forces an infected ant to wander drunkenly over the forest’s low leaves before clamping its jaws around the main vein on the underside of a leaf in an ant-zombie graveyard. [Mind Control: Gallery of Zombie Ants]
By watching 16 infected ants bite down, the researchers, who describe their findings in the journal BMC Ecology, found that the ants’ last bites took place around Noon, indicating they are synchronized to either the sun or a related cue, like temperature or humidity. Another study found the fungus not only guided timing of death but also the zombie ant’s whereabouts, on the undersides of leaves sprouting from the northwest side of plants that grow on the forest floor. That’s where temperature, humidity and sunlight are ideal for the fungus to grow and reproduce and infect more ants.
Zombie caterpillars have also been spotted by scientists, with one study revealing the mastermind behind the gypsy moth caterpillar’s zombie-like run for treetops once infected with a virus. Turns out, a single gene in the virus turns the caterpillars into tree-climbing zombies. Once up high in the trees, the caterpillars die and their bodies liquefy, raining deadly “zombie” virus onto their brothers and sisters below. [Read More]
Animal worlds aside?
For those who live in the human reality, and desire a zombie reality, that is?
Though they might not exist now…
Zombieism is a lifestyle, a pop culture phenomenon and I accept the right for some to view it as such and portray it in any way they choose.
Heck, I can even celebrate the thought!
If you start looking at my head, and the brain it holds closely therein?
Warning: I have a piano and I know how to use it!