The Priming Effect – Your Thoughts, Friends, Environment = Future You

The Priming Effect - Your Thoughts, Friends, Environment = Future You - 2

Introduction

With my head stuck into Thinking Fast and Slow, the voluminous book by Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman, I started becoming more familiar with the field of behavioral economics. Kahneman discusses extensively about cognitive biases and automatic (unconscious) mechanisms that drive human behavior (unconscious to you and me of course – unless you are actively aware of them).

Such mechanisms may allow deceitful/scheming/manipulating entities to exploit us for different purposes.

Other biases may provide rationale behind personal development babble. One of them, the focus of this write-up, is the priming effect. It caught my interest and it made me read a few scientific papers about it. Over the last few decades the priming effect has received a cocktail of appraisal and criticism on behalf of the research community.

In short, “priming is an implicit memory effect in which exposure to one stimulus (i.e., perceptual pattern) influences the response to another stimulus.” (more)

The Ketotic Brain compared to the Glycolitic Brain [Studies and Anecdotes]

The Ketotic Brain - Differences Compared to the Glycolitic State - 1

Introduction

I’ve briefly touched the subject of ketotic brain metabolism in some of my past posts. I’d say there’s much more to this subject than what I wrote before. Here I will discuss additional research findings along with a few personal experiences (anecdotes). My focus is on GABA and glutamate mediated effects.

I’ll begin with some personal reports:

Ever since I started experimenting with ketosis back in 2013 I noticed a dramatic shift in my mental condition. Prior to ketosis I was following a normal diet (glycolitic). I remember experiencing post-meal energy crashes that would last for a few hours and would render me mildly mentally incapacitated (exaggerating claim). If I were to engage in cognitive tasks of any kind, it would not have been easy to get through.

How to Manipulate Statistics in Research – A Short Guide to Bad Science

How to Manipulate Statistics in Research - A Short Guide to Bad Science

Introduction

Today I’m not gonna teach you how to deceive. But, I’m gonna show you how statistics can be deployed for wrongdoing. In particular, I’m going to discuss a few methods that are often applied to research studies so that desired results are more easily attained.

The untrained eye (at least 90% of us) is unaware of such practices, mostly because of the lack of education in critical thinking, logical fallacies, math, and statistics. Hopefully, this will help.

I have learned about these strategies while reading Bad Science, a sobering and, at the same time, funny work by Ben Goldacre [1].

Goldacre shoots at the field of ‘nutritionism’ (or: over-complication of simple and sensible dietary advice) and at those who package sophisticated strategies – such as complex diets, detoxes, light therapies, the worship of one food or another, promotion of, so called, super foods, etc.

If you want to improve your health, things should be fairly simple: eat clean, exercise, sleep. This will get you at least 80% closer to your end goal. Then, you can use other fancy strategies to get even closer.

My Belly Fat Progression by DXA – [2013 – 2016]

My Belly Fat Progression by DXA - [2013 - 2016]  - TFM

Those of you close to me are familiar with the details of my fat loss experiment, which I underwent between ~October and December 2013. For those who don’t know, I posted the details here.

To increase the accuracy of my approach I used a DEXA scanner. I wanted to measure the progression of my body composition. I got kindof captivated with the device, which is why I continued doing DEXA scans every few months ever since.

Almost three years later, I decided to make some sense out of the pile of papers (DEXA scans) in my drawer. So, here is some data on the dynamics of my abdominal fat (see top graphic).  

Step-wise Approach to Improve your Thinking Skills – 7 Books

Stepwise Approach to Improve your Thinking Skills - [7 Books]

Most of us assume we are reason-driven creatures; we assume we hold the power to each and every decision we make; we assume we are highly cognitive. I know I lived my life with these automatic assumptions until not so long ago. But as I learned more about the way our brain works physiologically and as I became aware of its inborn flaws and fallacies I gradually stepped away…

Daily life is mostly driven by habits. Little consideration is put to active, careful decision making. Metacognition (thinking about thinking) is something that mostly nobody is familiar with. Logical fallacies rule our lives. No, this is not the most pessimistic scenario I’m trying to paint here. This is something that we must be aware of.

For now, I’ve put up a list of seven books that should initiate you into the process of becoming a better thinker, of improving your cognitive abilities. These books help me tremendously; and I have a feeling they may serve you to the same purpose. This list is not exclusive as I may add more titles in the future.

What I’ve Been Reading Recently – My Bookshelf #9

What I've Been Reading Recently - My Bookshelf #9

Intro

I read 39 books in 2016 (as of April). I’m ahead of my last year’s count (this time, last year). I don’t do speed reading. I try to read slowly. I enjoy it. It’s not a hobby. It’s something I do everyday for a substantial amount of my time.

Most of the books I read this year are non-fiction. A few of them are audiobooks (fiction and self-development) and approximately 10-12 of them are programming books – which I had to go through even slower because they implied practicing with code.

What I’m currently mostly interested in is: genomics, bioinformatics, epigenetics and small-scale entrepreneurship. It’d be only reasonable to think that the books I read come from these fields.

Additionally, I read research studies, and, besides audiobooks, I listen to podcasts, interviews and watch lectures on these subjects. Coursera’s online courses also take a stretch of my time.

Energy Metabolism in the Fasted State – [Cahill’s Research]

Energy Metabolism in the Fasted State - [Cahill's Research]

Prolonged fasting has received a lot of attention from the scientific community, historically speaking. And it’s still on the radar today because it may elicit powerful positive effects in many subjects (not for everyone). The sad part is that it fails to become popular as a practice possible because there are little ‘stakes’ (skin in the game) to promote it – it’s not financially feasible to tell someone not to eat anything or not to consume this weight loss pill or that longevity boosting pill. Hopefully, you get the point.

15 Compounds with Effect on Lifespan

15 Compounds with Effect on Lifespan

A crowd-funded project on the topic of longevity was successfully funded on June 16, 2015. The scope of the project was to create a longevity cookbook. They raised $57,770. In March 2016, the team published the first chapter of the book for free. It details a list of compounds that have been research and could be used to increase lifespan. In short:

My Blood Work #4 – March 2016 – [Variations]

My Blood Work #4 - March 2016 - [Variations]

Introduction

The last time I posted about my blood work was in Nov. 2015. Here is my March 2016 update:

CRISPR/Cas9 for Genome Editing – March 2016 Perspective

CRISPR-Cas9 for Genome Editing - March 2016 Perspective

This line made the news on March 22, 2016:

Scientists have removed HIV from human immune cells using a new gene-editing technique. They’ve managed to shut down HIV replication permanently.

It’s based on a study published at the beginning of March 2016 in Nature. It goes to show the power of genome editing technologies such as the CRISPR/Cas9 complex.

Okay, and what else can we do with DNA editing?! Well, we can:

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