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Eureka! Christmas spirit located in brain…


From Neuroscience News:

Understanding how the Christmas spirit works could be a powerful tool in treating the ‘bah humbug’ syndrome.

Oh no! Stop them before it’s too late! The world needs more of the Bah! Humbug! Sydrome.

The study involved 10 participants who celebrated Christmas, and 10 healthy participants who lived in the same area, but who had no Christmas traditions.

All participants were healthy, and did not consume eggnog or gingerbread before the scans.

Each participant was scanned while they viewed 84 images with video goggles.

Differences in the brain activation maps from the scans of the two groups were analysed to identify Christmas specific brain activation.

Results showed five areas where the Christmas group responded to Christmas images with a higher activation than the non-Christmas group.

Ah, promising …

“Although merry and intriguing, these findings should be interpreted with caution,” they explain. “Something as magical and complex as the Christmas spirit cannot be fully explained by, or limited to, the mapped brain activity alone.”More.

Never mind, they’ve located it; that’s all the information we need.

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG So, on behalf of all the other people as well as myself who have been elbowed and shoved and nearly run over while trying to buy road salt and cat food—because these “Christmas Spirit” types are killing each other over half-price wrapping paper—I just want to say … it’s a spirit, right?

Then never mind the bah! humbug!:

Fetch the vacuum cleaner.O’Leary for News


Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose, for this and many other great tips over the years.

All that said, if we kept it all closer to the following, we either wouldn’t observe Christmas or we would enjoy it more.

Is there a "Happy New Year" spirit, and is it located in a bottle? Happy New Year! Mung
@J-Mac, by saying Christmas is "BS", I'll assume you're referring to it's widely believed non-Christian origins. If that's really the case though, you're mistaken. Christmas is a calculation of Christ's birth based upon certain Jewish beliefs. (see the Calculation Theory) "Rabbinic scholars had understood the births and deaths of the Old Testament patriarchs to have occurred on the same day. Because Jesus was deemed to be perfect, his life was thought to be complete as well and to comprise a whole number of years. March 25 (the eighth Kalends of April) was believed to be the date of his conception (Annunciation) and, exactly nine months later, December 25 (the eighth Kalends of January) his Nativity. The date of Jesus' conception and crucifixion, therefore, were thought to have occurred on the same day of the year: March 25 (the eighth Kalends of April) (Tertullian, Adversus Judaeos, VIII.17; Hippolytus, Commentary on Daniel 4:23; Augustine, On the Trinity, IV.5; Dionysius Exiguus, Argumenta Paschalia, XV). Fittingly, this also was the day on which the world itself was believed to have been created. In correlating the conception of John the Baptist with the birth of Jesus, the author of a fourth-century AD tract erroneously attributed to John Chrysostom (De Solstitiis et Aequinoctiis, "On the Solstices and Equinoxes") calculated that Elizabeth (the mother of John) must have conceived on the Day of Atonement, September 24 (the eighth Kalends of October) on the mistaken assumption that her husband Zechariah then served as high priest in the Temple (cf. Luke 1:26, where she is "in the sixth month" of her own pregnancy when Mary conceives). John's birth, therefore, was presumed to be June 24 (the eighth Kalends of July) and that of Jesus six months later on December 25. The one-day discrepancy between the two dates can be attributed to how the Roman calculated the days of the month. There is one less day in June than in December, as there is when counting the six months between June 24 (VIII.Kal.Jul.) and December 25 (VIII.Kal.Jan.). John was understood to be preparing the way for Jesus (cf. John 3:30, "He must increase, but I must decrease"), just as the sun begins to diminish at the summer solstice and eventually increases after the winter solstice. Here, then, the Christian feasts were aligned with the four traditional turning points of the solar year: the birth of Jesus on the winter solstice (December 25), the conception (and death) of Jesus on the vernal equinox (March 25), the birth of John the Baptist on the summer solstice (June 24), and the conception of John on the autumnal equinox (September 24)." http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/calendar/invictus.html Yarrgonaut
Uts so like what they do its not really a spoof. It really is what they do. Thats the real spoof. Robert Byers
Bob O'H, sorry, we did not realize we ought to point out that the BMJ article was one of their venerable spoofs. Persons in doubt should check to see if the Just for Fun tag appears near the top of the page. News
Ah, the study was part of the BMJ's Christmas issue, so wasn't intended to be taken seriously. This paragraph in the discussion is a subtle admission:
We realise that some of our colleagues within the specialties of neuroscience and psychology, who we suspect could be afflicted by the aforementioned bah humbug syndrome, would argue that studies such as the present one overemphasise the importance of localised brain activity and that attempts to localise complex emotions in the brain contribute little to the understanding of these emotions. Citing a paper reporting fMRI evidence of brain activity in frozen salmon, representatives of this view have even coined terms for this practice such as “blobology,” “neo-phrenology,” “neuro-essentialism,” and “neuro-bollocks” (Grinch and colleagues, personal communication). Naturally, in keeping with the good spirit of the holiday, we disagree with these negative perspectives.
Basically, they knew the problems with fMRI (i.e. if not done carefully it can give easily false positives), and used that to make sure they got a result that could be published in this issue. The BMJ also published the rather wonderful paper on the effects of remote, retroactive intercessory prayer one Christmas. Bob O'H
Oh brother. It really goes to prove brain imaging is not imaging thoughts but just the mechanical operations. Or rather just the memory operations after the thoughts. The soul is the only thing that appreciates the great Christmastime. not the memory or imaging. did the researchers who got paid for this spend it on christmas gifts.? Robert Byers
Come on! Nobody at UD, even boaragain was able to google it and figure it out that "Christmas" is bs? A lot of corporations and a lot of religions made a lot of money of this holiday for 150 years bow that has nothing to do with Christ? Bornagain and VJTorley; here is your time to shine. J-Mac

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