Continental tourism can and must attract millions of tourists

first_imgOne of the theses that has been constantly receding for years is that continental tourism cannot attract millions of guests. A thesis that has no foundations or arguments, in fact, the reality is absolutely the opposite – continental tourism can and must attract millions of tourists.Minister of Tourism Anton Kliman visited Vukovar-Srijem County last week and said after the visit “Let’s not fool ourselves that hordes of strangers will be flocking here”.It is interesting that just after the press statements the Minister visited the Vučedol Museum and the Vinkovci City Museum where he could see on the spot the incredible potential of tourism in Slavonia only through the story of Vučedol culture which is the first developed and most advanced European civilization. Europe. Yes, we are talking about the cradle of European civilization that developed right on the Vinkovci-Vukovar stretch.For years, I have been claiming that the city of Vinkovci alone has the potential to attract over a million tourists a year.I am absolutely sure that “every” European tourist wants to see and experience Vinkovci, the oldest city in Europe with a continuity of life of over 8.300 years, as well as see Orion, the oldest calendar in Europe, which is much more advanced in civilization and about 350 years older. from the Stonehenge site.And that’s just the beginning of a story about significance Vučedol cultures.Egypt has its pyramids, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, England has Stonehenge… why couldn’t the people of Vinkovci have their monumental Orion? Close your eyes and visualize what it would look like… World, right? A new wonder of the world in Vinkovci! By the way, the Eiffel Tower is visited by almost seven million visitors a yearOrion, the oldest European calendar found in Vinkovci / Photo: Darko PuharićI have only touched on one tourist potential, and now consider and add other potentials. From the Danube River, which is used by millions of tourists, the Slavonian horizon, gastronomy, culture, heritage, Zagorje, Međimurje, Velebit ite continue the seriesAUSTRIA LIVES ON SUMMER TOURISM !?In Switzerland, tourism revenues amount to a staggering 28 billion Swiss francs. That is three and a half times more than the tourist income of Croatia.Interesting how Austria during the summer make more nights than in winter. Last year, 17 million tourists visited Austria in the winter months with 64,5 million overnight stays, and as many as 20 million arrived in the summer, with 67,2 million overnight stays. Of the total income from tourism, Austria earns 22,7 billion euros, of which 12,7 billion in the winter, which is slightly more than in the summer months because guests with higher purchasing power come.Switzerland and Austria do not have the sea, but they know how to make money from tourism. Why can Austria, in the summer months alone, be visited by 20 million tourists, and continental Croatia in 10 months cannot be visited by at least 5 million?Perhaps the better question is can the Adriatic accommodate more guests? Personally, I think it can’t do much, only through the extension of the season we’ve been struggling with for years. But here is a hypothesis and solution on how to extend the tourist season, make more arrivals and ultimately earn more from tourism. The solution is continental tourism!Continental tourism can have a tourist season of 10 months in which we can generate income as well as three months of sea tourism. In fact, I’m sure we can earn even more. The only problem is that we only have stories, and we don’t have content and infrastructure – again, there are tons and no pictures.Yes, it cannot today, it cannot tomorrow, nor in three years, but surely the potential of continental tourism can be turned into a rich resource in five or more years. It all starts with one passionate idea and vision. Of course only if we want to.One passionate man once said, “The difference between a dreamer and a visionary is that the dreamer has his eyes closed and the visionary has his eyes open“- Martin Luther KingWake up to dream. Goran Rihelj, editor-in-chief of the Tourist news portal HrTurizam.hrlast_img read more

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Berislav Sokač: I want to bring a part of 50 million runners to Europe in Croatia

first_imgDo you know that there are currently over 50 million runners in Europe and the number of runners is growing day by day? We are talking about amateurs, not professionals, who run marathons and half marathons, and most often they are business people who generate over 9 billion Euros of revenue each year to hotels, carriers and race organizers. The total income does not include spending on gastronomy, sports equipment, souvenirs, etc … “This is a great potential, and we are a God-given country with climate and geography and we have the opportunity to be full every weekend, especially on the Adriatic.”Points out Berislav Sokač, the organizer of the Run Croatia races, which are held throughout Croatia.The idea for organizing races throughout Croatia and the project Run Croatia, Berislava Sokač came naturally because she is an amateur runner, and she started with the decision to end her rich business career, which he spent in Oracle. The specificity of the Run Croatia project is that these are not classic races, but differ from other races through two main factors. The first is the organization of the race itself, which aims to organize races according to high European standards to which European runners are accustomed, and the second is the sale of experiences, ie the promotion of the Croatian tourist offer. This second factor is the motive of this article, and the way Sokač does it thrilled me. Here is the story…”The idea from the beginning is that Run Croatia is not just running but movement. The goal is to move each location through the synergy of different industries through all the tourist aspects that the city offers. What foreign runners are looking for is an experience, an indigenous experience. When runners come to a place, they have not only come to run but want to get to know that place through all their senses. From gastronomy, history, culture, etc.… because running is not running but movement and way of life. Personally, I proactively encourage the local community to join our story as much as possible, from local restaurants to local indigenous entities. ” Berislav Sokač points out and adds that through the positive energy of running they combine gastronomy, culture, entertainment, ie the promotion of the Croatian tourist product.Through the Run Croatia league platform 10X10 ‘in 2016, ten races will be held in ten different locations in Croatia (Ludbreg, Zadar, Osijek, Split, Trakošćan, Novalja, Pula, Šibenik, Papuk, Zagreb), and as the conversation went on deeper so Sokač fascinated me more and more by thinking and examples of how he promotes the local indigenous story. On the island of Pag, a whole tourist story was organized for all fans and relatives, so that while the runner participates in the race, they have organized quality content, and not to wait for hours at the finish line with coffee. “We paid special attention to the organization for fans and relatives for whom we organized a bus to visit the centuries-old olive groves before the start of the race and get to know the cultural and historical story of the island of Pag. Also, as part of the race, a children’s race was organized, but it was canceled due to rain.”Sokač points out and adds that the 10 × 10 league is designed to connect different localities in Croatia so that runners can learn something new about Croatia. “There were more runners in Rovinj who were in Rovinj for the first time and that’s great. The idea is to educate runners to be ambassadors of running and Croatian tourism, and they do that by sharing their experiences on social networks and digital channels. “It is interesting how the idea for the race on Pag came about and how the whole story came to an end, which is the goal of sustainable tourism. Involving as many local actors and industries as possible is the only sustainable way to develop long-term and quality tourism. ” On the island of Pag, I noticed that tourism is stagnant, ie the whole image of the island of Pag is like a fun destination in the context of Zrce.”Said Sokac. The project was also presented to the owners of clubs in Zrće who supported it and got involved in the whole story. “Sport brings better guests than just entertainment, these are guests who have more money and who like to have fun. After the race and the whole program, an autochthonous guest dinner was organized, and at the end the boat runners return to Novalja for the After party.. ”Rounded promotion and tourist story of the whole island of Pag. Great concept, isn’t it?Here is a story from Ludbreg where, thanks to the race, an all-day event was organized at a time when there are no tourists in the city. “In Ludbreg, in cooperation with the local authorities, we managed to start the whole community and we made an all-day event all deserving of our race. For the next year, we have made a special package “Runnig weekend”, where all restaurants in Ludbreg, which are empty at the time, will offer promotional prices for all runners and guests, and the menu will be exclusively indigenous food. This year we managed to organize an Ethno Fair where, among other things, there were Međimurje gibanice and hand-made autochthonous works. ” said Sokač and added that in Rovinj the entire section of the race was closed to traffic and that it was a special experience for runners. ” We also work on educating the local population so that when there are races to close traffic in the city. This is the European standard because it is important that the runner is undisturbed, that there is no noise and interference so that the experience of passing through certain localities is complete and that he enjoys the scents and benefits of our nature.”Said Sokac.Concept Run Croatia is to connect as many service business verticals as possible, which has proven to be a winning combination, both for runners and for tourist destinations. In the end, Sokač points out that he wants to bring as many quality guests as possible to Croatia and a large part of the 50 million European runners to Croatia. Another example of how to become and what it means to be an ambassador of Croatian tourism is that Sokač certainly rightly enters this category.This is a great example of how tourism is linked to all activities and how the goal is to connect all industries through sustainable tourism because without it there is no long-term development. The sun and the sea as a tourist product are no longer enough, and much larger tourist destinations than Croatia are aware of that. Follow this great example of the Run Croatia concept and I sincerely hope that the mentioned 10 × 10 league will spread to as many cities as possible.Tourism consists of emotions, experiences and stories. Tell stories.last_img read more

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Golden Pen Awards of the Croatian National Tourist Board

first_imgThe Croatian National Tourist Board has now traditionally, for the thirteenth time, organized the Golden Pen, the awarding of prizes and recognitions for foreign journalists. This year, the Golden Pen was held in Kvarner, ie in Opatija and Mali Lošinj, in the period from 15 to 16 May.In addition to the Croatian National Tourist Board as the holder and main organizer, this year the partners were the tourist boards of Kvarner, the city of Opatija and the city of Mali Lošinj. With the awarding of the Golden Pen, the Croatian National Tourist Board emphasizes the value of a professional approach to writing about Croatia in foreign media, and ultimately it is an opportunity to thank journalists for their contribution to the promotion of Croatian tourism in the world. “Foreign guests make up about 90 percent of tourist traffic in Croatia and that is why this award has a special importance and weight in contributing to the promotion of Croatian tourism in foreign markets. Beautiful stories and impressions about Croatia, created on the basis of personal experience, are the best recommendation and motive for all those who have not yet discovered the charms and natural beauties of our country to do so soon. “, said the Minister of Tourism Gary Cappelli during the award ceremony “Golden Pen”.This year’s nominations by category for the Golden Pen were received from the Croatian National Tourist Board abroad, and they are applications for the following markets: Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Hungary, Netherlands, Benelux, Germany, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, USA, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and the United Kingdom. The categories in which the awards were presented are for written material, for an online article and blog, for TV and for radio. This year, a total of 29 nominations were received, ie 33 journalists were nominated, and 27 of them participated in the award ceremony and accompanying program, as part of which they visited and got to know the host destinations.The most significant award is, as every year, the Grand Prix, and this year it was won by a French journalist for written material. Jean Louis Tremblais of Figaro Magazine for his report “Lošinj and Cres, an archipelago of golden fleece“. The winner of the award for TV reportage is an Italian journalist Marco Preti, with RAI 3 (CORAL CLIMB FOR RAI 3), for the report “Slavonia”. He won the Grand Prix for the blog Ronald Kordiš from Slovenia for his blog HAD.SI, ie for the publication “Motovun – ideas for a Sunday trip”.The Golden Pen project enables continuous cooperation and informing foreign media about Croatian tourism and spreading positive news about opportunities in Croatian tourism, maintaining a positive image of Croatia as a desirable tourist destination and Croatian tourism in the world in general. We also remind you that in previous years the hosts of the Golden Pen were Zagreb, Split, Rovinj, Dubrovnik, Čakovec, Osijek, Otočac, Zadar, Šibenik and Split.last_img read more

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Big Data reveals classical music creation secrets

first_imgPinterest Share on Twitter A team of scientists has shed light on the dynamics of the creation, collaboration and dissemination processes involved in classical music works and styles. Their study focuses on analysing networks of composers contemporary to CD publications, using modern data analysis and data modelling techniques.These findings have just been published in EPJ Data Science by Doheum Park from the Graduate School of Culture Technology at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejeon and colleagues. This work explores the nature of culture in novel ways, as part of a broader movement of applying quantitative methods to music, the visual arts and literature.The study is based on the largest classical music recordings database to date, using online retailer ArkivMusic and music reference site AllMusicGuide. The authors first focused on understanding how fundamental properties of the network of Western classical music composers correlate with the artistic styles and active periods of their composer. They found such network displays the small-world property and a modular structure. LinkedIn Share on Facebookcenter_img Park and colleagues also looked at how a network of classical composers developed over time. Specifically, they studied how different composers are “listened to together” by consumers of classical music CDs–a very important aspect in cultural studies. They, then, demonstrated how consumers relate to different composers and styles. This, in turn, provides useful tools to predict the future landscape of the classical recording market.Specifically, they found that the composer network has evolved by concentrating on top composers while its size grew steadily. In the future, the musical recording landscape is likely to be concentrated around a few composers with an increasing prominence and a greater diversity thanks to a growing number of recorded composers. Email Sharelast_img read more

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Study describes brain circuitry for selecting among sensations

first_imgLinkedIn Share on Facebook Share Pinterest Share on Twittercenter_img “One of the purported functions of this corticothalamic pathway is to focus attention on certain kinds of sensory stimuli at the expense of others,” said corresponding author Barry Connors, chair of neuroscience at Brown.The researchers isolated the key circuits in mice (people have the same basic circuitry) and actively manipulated them to observe their physiology at work. What they learned is that the cortical neurons control the activity of the connected thalamic neurons by varying the frequency of their signals.“When the cortex is ‘off’ there is a certain amount of thalamic input coming in in,” said co-author Scott Cruikshank, assistant professor (research) of neuroscience. “When the cortex turns ‘on’ a little bit, it actually suppresses that. When it turns on at a higher frequency, it enhances relative to being off. It can modify thalamic throughput in either direction.”Illuminating the brainTo conduct the research, Connors, Cruikshank, and lead author Shane Crandall, a postdoctoral research fellow in neuroscience, focused on the circuits running between the neocortex and the thalamus that process sensory information from the mouse’s whiskers. The mice in the study were genetically engineered such that the cells in the cortex that project neurons into the thalamus could be controlled — turned on an off — by flashes of visible light, a technique called “optogenetics.”In a lab preparation they stripped down the neural tissue to better highlight the circuit. Then they electrically stimulated the cells in the thalamus to act as if they were reporting sensory information. With those neurons activated, they used the light flashes to operate the cortical neurons at different frequencies. Their goal was to see whether and how the cortical cell activity would affect the thalamic cell activity.That’s how they found that when the cortical cells fire at low frequencies (less than a spike per second), they inhibit the thalamic cells. The cortical cells essentially hush their thalamic underlings. But when the scientists made the cortical neurons fire away faster — 10 times a second — then the thalamic targets increased their activity, becoming stimulated by those signals.That result was not what conventional wisdom predicted, Crandall said. Many neuroscientists figured the cortex throttled the thalamus more simply. If the cortical neuron sent a signal to the thalamic neuron, they presumed, it would increase the activity of that circuit and suppress the activity of those nearby. But here the results suggest that the cortical signals vary by frequency to either suppress or enhance the thalamic neurons independently.In further experiments the scientists measured how physical properties of the circuits, such as the conductance of the thalamic cells, changed with the different frequencies of cortical activity. They also examined which neurotransmitter receptors on the thalamic neurons were involved (NMDA, AMPA, and GABA). These studies showed that the frequency-dependent switching of thalamic cells between inhibition and excitation was associated with different balances of activity among all three of these receptors.Experiments also showed that neurons called TRN cells were important for inhibiting the thalamic cells, and that their influence disappeared at the higher frequencies of cortical activity.Finally, the researchers showed that by generating brainwaves at the gamma frequency in the cortex, which often occur naturally, they could also stimulate greater activity in the thalamus.When one understands a circuitThe study illustrates at the circuit level how the cortex appears to dynamically modulate the influx of sensory information from individual neurons in the thalamus. With the circuits now well-observed in a lab tissue preparation, team members will continue their studies of corticothalamic communication in behaving rodent models. Can they, for instance, focus the attention of a mouse on a particular whisker by activating the relevant circuit of cortical and thalamic neurons?Connors said that knowing what the circuits’ normal functioning looks like could help neurologists understand how it may differ in certain disorders, such as in schizophrenia.The data will also allow the team to collaborate with colleagues to create a computer model of the corticothalamic circuits, which would allow for further studies using simulations.And finally, Crandall is also onto another important question: What motivates a particular cortical neuron to increase or decrease its activity in order to control its thalamic counterpart? We consider only some of the sights, sounds, and sensations we experience. A new study by Brown University neuroscientists details how the neocortex selectively samples from the flow of sensory information that might otherwise flood it.The usual metaphor for the neocortex is that it is the brain’s chief executive. It’s the region for complex cogitation and decision-making based on raw information gathered by the senses and delivered by its loyal lackey, a region called the thalamus. But the idea of a simple one-way rush of sensory information into the cortex doesn’t explain why cortical neurons project 10 times more tendrilous axons into the thalamus than thalamic neurons send into the cortex.The curiosity that neuroscientists have had about this considerable infrastructure for cortical communication to the thalamus has led to the hypothesis that the cortex somehow controls the throughput of the thalamus. Perhaps the cortex uses these connections to tap streams of particular interest from the rushing floodwaters of incoming information. The new study, published in Neuron, not only adds considerable support to that idea, but also explains in detail how the cortex does it. Emaillast_img read more

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Older patients recover more slowly from concussion

first_imgShare LinkedIn Share on Twitter For this study, Dr. Chen and colleagues used fMRI to evaluate the effect of age on working memory performance and functional activation in the brain after MTBI. The researchers performed fMRI exams on 13 young adults (21-30 years old) and 13 older adults (51-68 years old) with MTBI and 26 age- and gender-matched controls. The first fMRI scan was performed within one month post-injury. A follow-up scan was performed six weeks after the first exam. The researchers then analyzed post-concussion symptoms, neuropsychological test results and working memory activity in both groups.The analysis revealed that while performing working memory tasks, the young patients with concussion had initial activation that was greater than normal, known as hyperactivation, compared to young controls in the right precuneus and right inferior parietal gyrus of the brain, whereas the older patients had hypoactivation (less than normal) compared to older controls in the right precuneus and right inferior frontal gyrus.In comparing the patients in initial and follow-up study, the young patients had significantly reduced post-concussion symptom score at follow-up than at the time of the initial exam, but no significant change of the post-concussion symptom score was observed in the older patients, who also showed persistent hypoactivation.“Taken together, these findings provide evidence for differential neural plasticity across different ages, with potential prognostic and therapeutic implications,” said the study’s co-author, Ying-Chi Tseng, M.D., from Shuang-Ho Hospital. “The results suggest that MTBI might cause a more profound and lasting effect in older patients.”The researchers hope that these findings might eventually lead to the development of separate management strategies for different age groups following concussion. Older individuals may have a more difficult time recovering from concussion, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), or concussion, accounts for 75 percent of all TBI and represents an important public health problem. Difficulty in working memory is frequently reported in patients after concussion. However, neuropsychological tests, computed tomography (CT) and conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) generally fail to reveal abnormal findings in these patients. Functional MRI (fMRI) has been increasingly used in assessing patients with MTBI.“Old age has been recognized as an independent predictor of worse outcome from concussion, but most previous studies were performed on younger adults,” said the study’s lead author, David Yen-Ting Chen, M.D., from the Department of Radiology at Shuang-Ho Hospital, Taipei Medical University, in New Taipei City, Taiwan.center_img Pinterest Share on Facebook Emaillast_img read more

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Speed reading promises are too good to be true, scientists find

first_imgShare on Facebook Share on Twitter Pinterest Email LinkedIncenter_img Learning to speed read seems like an obvious strategy for making quick work of all the emails, reports, and other pieces of text we encounter every day, but a new report shows that the claims put forth by many speed reading programs and tools are probably too good to be true. Examining decades’ worth of research on the science of reading, a team of psychological scientists finds little evidence to support speed reading as a shortcut to understanding and remembering large volumes of written content in a short period of time.“Speed reading training courses have been around for decades, and there has been a recent surge in the number of speed reading technologies that have been introduced to the consumer market,” says Elizabeth Schotter, a psychological scientist at the University of California, San Diego and one of the authors of the report. “We wanted to take a close look at the science behind reading to help people make informed decisions about whether to believe the claims put forth by companies promoting speed reading technologies and training courses.”The report, published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, shows that that there are no magic shortcuts when it comes to reading more quickly while still fully understanding what we’ve read. Share “The available scientific evidence demonstrates that there is a trade-off between speed and accuracy — as readers spend less time on the material, they necessarily will have a poorer understanding of it,” explains Schotter.Reading is a complex dance among various visual and mental processes, and research shows that skilled readers already read quickly, averaging 200 to 400 words per minute. Some speed reading technologies claim to offer an additional boost by eliminating the need to make eye movements by presenting words rapidly in the center of a computer screen or mobile device, with each new word replacing the previous word. The problem, Schotter and colleagues find, is that eye movements account for no more than 10% of the overall time we spend reading, and eliminating the ability to go back and reread previous words and sentences tends to make overall comprehension worse, not better.The biggest obstacle, science shows, isn’t our vision but rather our ability to recognize words and process how they combine to make meaningful sentences.“So-called solutions that emphasize speeding up the input without making the language easier to understand will have limited efficacy,” says Schotter.While some may claim prodigious speed reading skills, these claims typically don’t hold up when put to the test. Investigations show that these individuals generally already know a lot about the topic or content of what they have supposedly speed-read. Without such knowledge, they often don’t remember much of what they’ve read and aren’t able to answer substantive questions about the text.This doesn’t mean that we’re necessarily stuck reading at the same speed all the time, however. Research does show that effective skimming – prioritizing more informative parts of a text while glossing over others — can be effective when we’re only interested in getting the gist of what we’re reading, instead of a deeper, more comprehensive understanding.In fact, data suggest that the most effective “speed readers” are actually effective skimmers who already have considerable familiarity with the topic at hand and are thus able to pick out key points quickly.The one thing that can help boost overall reading ability, science shows, is practicing reading for comprehension. Greater exposure to writing in all its different forms provides us with a larger and richer vocabulary, as well as the contextual experience that can help us anticipate upcoming words and make inferences regarding the meaning of words or phrases we don’t immediately recognize.Ultimately, there is no one ability or strategy that will enable us to zip through a novel in one sitting or process an inbox full of emails over the course of a lunch break.“There’s no quick fix,” says Schotter. “We urge people to maintain a healthy dose of skepticism and ask for supporting scientific evidence when someone proposes a speed reading method that will double or triple their reading speed without sacrificing a complete understanding.”last_img read more

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Parkinson’s disease diagnosis may be preceded by increased risk of injury-causing falls

first_imgYears before Parkinson’s disease (PD) is diagnosed, patients may be at higher risk for injurious falls or hip fractures, according to research published this week in PLOS Medicine. Peter Nordström and colleagues at Umeå University, Sweden, found that patients with PD were more likely to have had a hip fracture or injurious fall in the years preceding their diagnosis than controls without PD, and individuals who suffered injurious falls were more likely than controls with no fall-related injuries to be diagnosed with PD in the following years.Nordström and colleagues used data from the Swedish National Patient Register to identify 24,412 Swedish citizens who were diagnosed with PD between 1988 and 2012, matching each case with up to ten controls (a total of 243,363). During an average of 20 years prior to PD diagnosis, 18.0% of cases and 11.5% of controls had at least one fall that caused an injury requiring emergency care. After adjusting for other factors that might affect an individual’s risk of a fall, PD was associated with a 19% higher risk of injurious falls up to ten years before diagnosis and with a 36% higher risk of hip fracture more than 15 years before diagnosis, with stronger associations closer to the diagnosis.In a second cohort, 622,333 individuals with a record of injurious falls were matched with individuals with no history of falls. The researchers found 0.7% of individuals with an injurious fall and 0.5% of controls were diagnosed with PD during follow-up, and after adjusting for other factors, there was an 18% greater risk of PD diagnosis in the ten years following an injurious fall. Share on Facebook LinkedIn Email Sharecenter_img The use of diagnoses obtained from registers means PD could not be clinically confirmed, which may limit the accuracy of these findings. Additionally, this study cannot prove that there is a shared causal link between injurious falls and PD and the findings need to be confirmed in other settings and populations. Nevertheless, this study provides insights into the early stages of PD. The authors say: “These findings suggest that clinically relevant neurodegenerative impairment could be present many years before the clinical onset of the disease.” Pinterest Share on Twitterlast_img read more

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This type of meditation may reduce racial bias — in just 7 minutes

first_imgResearchers Alexander Stell and Tom Farsides were interested in how the practice of Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) may reduce racial prejudice; results of their study are published in the journal Motivation and Emotion.Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) is a Buddhist concept that focuses on compassion and kindness toward self and others. Previous studies have shown that LKM positively impacts pro-social behavior and increases individual well-being and overall positive affect.Participants in the study included 50 female and 19 male, white undergraduate students; mean age was 23.7 years. Participants responded to an ad “investigating the effect of imagery on categorization.” Email Share on Facebook Pinterest Sharecenter_img Share on Twitter LinkedIn Racial bias, strength of positive emotions during an intervention (in this case, participation if either a LKM or imagery focused group), and exposure to images of different races were part of the measurement process. Random assignment to either a LKM or imagery group was made (34 and 35 participants, respectively).Over the course of 7 minutes, in the LKM group, relaxation was emphasized, and participants were instructed to imagine someone who cares deeply for them.  At the 4-minute mark, instructions were provided for participants to open their eyes and direct feelings of health, happiness and well-being toward an image of a gender matched black person. For the imagery group, instructions were virtually the same, but without a focus on directed loving kindness.Stell and Farsides found that participants in the KLM group had a reduction in racial bias toward the targeted racial group, in this case, black people; these results were not present in a non-targeted group, Asian people. “One possible reason for this difference, which should be tested in future research, is that KLM enacts both a specific effect on the target of meditation and their group, as well as a diffuse, but perhaps weaker, effect on other groups.”  Additional results indicate that “other regarding positive emotions,” serve to mediate the practice of KLM on racial bias; in other words, positive emotions such as gratitude and love help predict bias reduction.Study limitations include the undergraduate student sample and the brevity of the intervention. However, given the short-term nature of the intervention, reducing racial bias after just 7 minutes holds promise for the role KLM may play as an intervention in reducing prejudice.last_img read more

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The psychedelic drug ayahuasca could help us better understand and treat anxiety: study

first_imgEmail Share Share on Twitter LinkedIn Long-term use of ayahuasca, a psychedelic drink used medicinally by indigenous Amazon tribes, may have the potential to serve as the basis for treatments for anxiety disorders, according to a study on fear reactions in rats published in the journal PLoS ONE.Ayahuasca has traditionally been used in healing ceremonies, and altered emotional states and sensory hallucinations. It is brewed from the vine of the caapi plant, along with a mixture of other native Amazon plants. Chemical analysis shows that the drink contains compounds affecting brain systems related to regulation of the neurotransmitters serotonin and MAO-A. It has also been shown to affect activity in the hippocampus and amygdala in rats, areas of the brain related to memory and emotion.A team of scientists led by Vanesa Favaro, of the Universidade Federal de São Paulo, conducted a series of studies aimed at determining whether the neural effects ayahuasca led to behavioral changes related to anxiety. Forty-six rats were divided into four experimental groups. Three groups received different doses of ayahuasca, and the fourth group received a placebo. Ayahuasca was administered daily for a period of 30 days. The rats were trained to complete two different types of mazes.center_img Pinterest Share on Facebook They then were exposed to a fear conditioning procedure, in which they learned to associate a noise with receiving electric shocks. Fear was assessed by the time the rats froze their movements after later being separately exposed to the chamber where they received the shocks (contextual fear) and the noise that accompanied them (tone fear).The rats who received the lowest dose of ayahuasca froze longer than those in the placebo group after being placed in the contextual fear condition, but not after hearing the tone. This reaction suggests that the rats’ emotional memory formation process was affected by certain levels of ayahuasca exposure. Ayahuasca did not affect rats’ ability to learn and remember how to complete the mazes.The study authors conclude that, when used repeatedly, ayahuasca alters brain chemistry in ways that may affect certain types memory related to emotional content, but does not have the same impact on other types of memory. Specifically, ayahuasca appeared to strengthen memories of the context in which fear was experienced. Although applications of these findings in humans remain years away, the authors suggest that they may one day help to develop treatments for anxiety-related disorders and other conditions in which memory and emotion play an important role.last_img read more

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