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For centuries, common wisdom has been that the most effective way to forget a horrible memory is to talk it out. Today researchers understand that the process of erasing painful and traumatic memories is more complex, because the memory itself is always changing. Wired writes in The Forgetting Pill Erases Painful Memories Forever:
New research is showing that every time we recall an event, the structure of that memory in the brain is altered in light of the present moment, warped by our current feelings and knowledge. That’s why pushing to remember a traumatic event so soon after it occurs doesn’t unburden us; it reinforces the fear and stress that are part of the recollection.
Neuroscientists have a molecular explanation of why and the methodology os how the brain processes painful memories and illnesses like PTSD and addiction. Soon, writes Wired, people will have a choice of whether or not to take a pill that will erase painful memories.
Ethics & Wealth
It’s no surprise that rich people driving luxury cars have few qualms about running lesser beings in smaller cars off the road. But taking candy from children? Surely a new study reported in the National Academy of Science is exaggerating when it concludes that people driving expensive cars are more likely to cut off pedestrians in San Francisco, more likely to cheat to win a prize, pocket extra change handed to them in error and ‘yes’ take candy from children.
Because rich people have more financial resources, they’re less dependent on social bonds for survival, the Berkeley researchers led by Paul Piff, who is studying for a doctorate in psychology. Self-interest reigns among the rich, causing them to have fewer qualms about breaking the rules.
“There is a strong notion that when people don’t have much, they’re really looking out for themselves and they might act unethically,” said Scott Wiltermuth, who researches social status at USC’s Marshall School of Business and wasn’t involved in the study. “But actually, it’s the upper-class people that are less likely to see that people around them need help — and therefore act unethically.” via LA Times
Women’s health care won a victory in the US Senate yesterday when the chamber voted 51-48 to block an amendment by Missouri Republican Roy Blunt that would have cancelled President Barack Obama’s administration mandate that health insurers cover contraception without charge for employees of religiouisly-affiliated institutions.
The Republican measure “takes aim at women’s access to health care,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat. “It would allow any employer or insurer to deny coverage for virtually any treatment for virtually any reason.” Mammograms, flu shots and prenatal care are among the services women could be denied, Reid said. via BloombergBusinessweek
Democrats say that Republicans in moderate states like Massachusetts will pay a price in the November elections for supporting a bill that doesn’t reflect the views of the majority of Americans, including large blocks of Republicans.
A new poll suggests that Democrats may dead-on, especially if the Republican War on Women continues. It’s been decades since women’s rights had such extensive coverage in the public press.
Sixty-three percent of Americans said they supported the new birth control coverage requirement in a Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in mid-February. Breaking down the numbers, 8 in 10 Democrats supported the measure but only 4 in 10 Republicans voiced approval, writes the New York Times. 6 in 10 people calling themselves Independents voiced support for the measure.
Kaiser found little gender gap differences in support. Among younger Republicans 18 to 49, just over half supported the birth control program, with only 1 in 3 Republicans over 50 supporting the measure. The study confirmed disappointment verging on disgust that Republicans were making these issues a priority instead of jobs.
Writing for The Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky says that Mitt Romney backed himself in a serious corner when he first declared himself against the Blunt-Rubio contraception amendment on Wednesday and then reversed himself. Romney supported an identical bill — as did most Republicans a decade ago — when he was governor of Massachusetts.
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