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Psychology and Spirituality

 BBC News

It has long been known that happiness depends on many different life circumstances.

Now scientists have developed a mathematical equation that can predict momentary delight. They found that participants were happiest when they performed better than expected during a risk-reward task. Brain scans also revealed that happiness scores correlated with areas known to be important for well-being. The team says the equation, published in PNAS Journal, could be used to look at mood disorders and happiness on a mass scale. It could also help the UK government analyse statistics on well-being, which they have collected since 2010.

Happiness equation

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By Dr Llewellyn Cox, Principal, LieuLabs

On an otherwise unremarkable Saturday in June 2014, a group of computer scientists, public figures, and celebrities gathered at London’s Royal Society. They were all there for one reason — to engage in a text-based chat game to determine if a computer could pass the “iconic” Turing test.

A few hours later, the results were in. Professor Warwick of Reading University announced that a chatbot had successfully tricked 33% of the judges into thinking it was a real boy, and had therefore become the first computer to have passed the Turing test:

It is fitting that such an important landmark has been reached at the Royal Society in London, the home of British science and the scene of many great advances in human understanding over the centuries. This milestone will go down in history as one of the most exciting. — Prof. Kevin Warwick

 

HER

Within hours, breathless tweets, likes and pins swept across the internet, announcing this amazing result to the world, or at least across the subculture that apparently really f***ing loves science, but doesn’t seem to have much time or inclination toward actual critical analysis. A day or so later came the rebuttals and debunkings from the more inquisitive corners of the online universe. So what really happened, and what does a machine passing a Turing test mean for society?

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By Dr Llewellyn Cox, Principal, LieuLabs

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Image from: The Maury Show

The young gentleman on the Maury Show is looking uncomfortable. He shuffles uncomfortably in his seat as the genial Maury Povich reads aloud the results of his recent polygraph test to the audience in the studio, who dutifully greet each new result with a hearty chorus of boos.

You told the Lie Detector that you did not sleep with Tiffany’s best friend, Candace.

The Lie Detector determined that was a lie.

More booing. Tiffany, a heavy-set young woman sitting in the next seat along, jumps to her feet and screams a continual stream of expletives at the young man that lasts for at least a minute. The censorious *bleep* edit will be working overtime on this episode. An immense bodyguard effortlessly holds her back as she flails madly around him with her fists, trying to make contact with the young man’s face. Eventually, she gives up and storms off the stage, a mobile camera crew hot in pursuit as she flees backstage to the Green Room.

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By Dr Llewellyn Cox, Principal, LieuLabs

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ASK a person to describe themself, and they will probably recite a list of their physical features — their height, weight, the color of their skin, hair, and eyes. If they’re more a more externalized type, they might mention their job, sexuality, religion, or a major life achievement. Some might feel a desire to be precise and catalog their external features: their eyes, face, arms, hands, legs, feet, fingers, and toes for you.

Few will ever mention their brain.
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By Dr Llewellyn Cox, Principal, LieuLabs

Why Your Mind Will Never Be Uploadable.

The rise of computing and the exponential rate of increase in processing speed pose an intriguing questions for scientists; what happens when computers become smarter than their human masters — the so-called “Technological Singularity”. Will machines take over? Would they turn on humans and destroy us? Will we increasingly integrate computing modules into our bodies to cure disease or enhance our natural abilities? What effect does all of this technology have on issues of equality and power among the various members of the human race?

One of the popular philosophies attached to this futurist realm is the idea of transcendence (now a major motion picture!). That is, the concept that a person’s mind could be digitally uploaded to a computer, thus “transcending” the limitations of the biological body to acquire immortality. It’s a relatively widespread idea that has been written about extensively in popular science literature, even making a cameo in an episode of “The Big Bang Theory”. It is also a major theme for followers of Transhumanist philosophy. As the world focuses more and more on the implications of our technological development, transcendence is becoming one of those concepts in popular science that are so widely-known that they become accepted as inevitable, regardless of the state of current scientific knowledge regarding their actual feasibility. Fortunately, no one reading this in the early 21st Century will achieve immortality by uploading their mind to Amazon. Read More

Self-compassion.   It took me more than 15 years after business school and some major setbacks to grasp this concept, a simple but powerful concept which would have made my life during that time so much happier and my struggles so much easier.

Vanessa Loder graduated exactly a decade later from the same school – Stanford University, but she learned this, and several other important things, much faster, which she writes about in this article below.

Not only that, she is bringing these lessons to other high-achieving women, teaching them “how to shift from overwhelm to ease”.  After a highly-coveted career in private equity, she founded Akoya Power and later co-founded Mindfulness Based Achievement, the New MBA, bridging business and technology with mindfulness and personal growth, to support overwhelmed women in giving themselves permission to create a fulfilling life based on their passions and values.

Mindfulness Based Achievement is offering its next online course starting on April 28th and in person program in San Francisco starting on May 6th.   Click for details.

 

7 Things I Wish I Learned in Business School

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Vanessa Loder, Co-Founder, Mindfulness Based Achievement (“the New MBA”). She received her MBA from Stanford University and is trained in hypnosis and past life regression healing.

By Vanessa Loder

 

Would you spend $200,000 on something if it didn’t make you happier? As it turns out, you can invest over $200,000 all in on a top MBA program these days and while you will on average earn more and have a better network upon graduation, that $200,000 investment does not guarantee you will feel happier.

I had a truly wonderful experience at Stanford Business School and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. And, now that I’ve quit my “safe” job in private equity to run my own business teaching Mindfulness Based Achievement programs to people who want to create Success with Ease, I’ve learned that there are some universal principles that are highly effective at 1) increasing happiness and 2) increasing success – and, surprisingly, I was completely unaware of these concepts while I was at Stanford.

I believe learning these seven practices is the best investment any individual can make in her or his career, and the research backs me up:

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SPARQ – Social Psychological Answers to Real-world Questions, is a new center in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University.   Its Solutions Catalogue collects proven-effective interventions for social and environmental problems.  

Heal Past Traumas by Writing About Them

Problem

Routine stresses and traumatic life events like a divorce make us more prone to illness.

Solution

Writing about upsetting experiences makes us happier and healthier… Read More

Scientific Learning

where neural understanding interacts with the rest of life

The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education

where neural understanding interacts with the rest of life

Musings on Memory and Aging

where neural understanding interacts with the rest of life

where neural understanding interacts with the rest of life

Stanford Center on Longevity

where neural understanding interacts with the rest of life

where neural understanding interacts with the rest of life