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PSYC 309 (42)
Todd Handy (35)
Lecture 5


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University of British Columbia
PSYC 309
Todd Handy

NYT article (add prof title) In battle, hunches prove to be valuable -gut feeling/hunch often first clue for troops that avoid I.E.D.s (improvised explosive devices -how can some people’s brains sense danger and act on it before others? Maybe small differences in how brain processes images, reads emotions, and manages stress Ex army green berets and navy seals have same cortisol spike in threatening situations as less trained soldiers BUT their cortisol levels drop off faster -speed that brain reads + interprets sensations like feelings in body and body language central to avoiding threats -emotions help us solve a problem before we’re conscious of it -troops foiled more than half IEDs ex decoy bomb seen, soldier saw block of concrete that was ‘too symmetrical’ and it turned out real bomb was in it -ppl best at IED detection had knowledge gained thru experience; many had good depth perception, ability to stay focused for long time, anamoly detection (ex picking out weird shapes in complex background) -experiment: students pick out figures of ppl or cars that flashed on a screen; 4 pics at a time, told to only look at those to one side of the center but their brains still registered presence of people and cars in pics they weren’t paying attention to -ppl good at finding IEDs pick up details and bigger picture: tension, unusual daily routine, oddities in behaviour -experiment: ‘Iowa gambling task’ card game, each participant gets $2000 and had to choose cards from any of 4 decks; 2 decks had smaller penalties 2 decks had larger; subjects said they ‘liked’ a deck better before they could explain why -brain scans of people playing card game: orbitofrontal cortex active (decision making) and insula (brain integrates sensations from different parts of body) -gut feeling not always right -ex no one shot at or threw grenades at soldiers one day. Sgt realized there was a bomb in a ca r 9?) holding two boys -troops good at finidng bombs in simulations think of themselves as predators, not prey, maybe helps reduce stress and less stress makes us better at picking up subtle clues -threats (ex angry face) lead to more activation of insula in navy soldiers Journal article (add prof title) Defective somatic markers in sub-clinical psychopathy (from Wikipedia: somatic marker hypothesis: emotional processes can guide or bias behavior/decision making; somatic markers are associations btw reinforcing stimuli that induce a physiological affective state) -damasio’s somatic marker hypothesis argued to be specifically applicable to psychopathy -patients with orbitofrontal lesions don’t have punishment learning in the Io
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