Monday, December 08, 2008

Wired For Change

An article at Live Science, "Some Brains Are Wired For Change", by Amelia Thomas caught my eye last week. Astrologers have long realised that the inbuilt easy acceptance of change some individuals are born with has specific astrological indications. A preponderance of well aspected personal planets in the mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces) or positive emphasis on the zodiac sign Aquarius or planet Uranus.

According to the linked article, scientists are finding that:

"People who welcome new experiences have stronger connections between their memory and reward brain centers than people who tend to avoid anything new, research now shows.

Specifically, people who actively seek lifestyle changes may have a more developed connection between two specific brain areas: the hippocampus, a site for storing and retrieving new and old memories, and the ventral striatum, a reward system which is responsible for those carpe diem moments, said researcher Dr. Bernd Weber of the Life & Brain Center at the University of Bonn in Germany. Turns out, if the hippocampus identifies an experience as new, it then relays signals to the striatum to release neurotransmitters which lead to positive feelings.

"The strength of the connection is positively correlated to novelty seek[ers] ... but this does not imply that having weaker connections is a 'bad' thing," Weber told LiveScience.

Weber and his University of Bonn colleague Michael X. Cohen used non-invasive MRI imaging technology on 20 subjects to follow the flow of diffused water through their brain tissues. The information was then used to reconstruct a nerve pathway to the striatum. If the pull of water diffusion is stronger, that in turn implies a stronger nerve fiber tract, Weber said.

The test candidates also took personality surveys, choosing the best descriptions of their attitudes about trying new things. The data revealed the relationships between a person’s personality and their physical brain structure.

"Brain 'wiring' and personality are not really one causing the other," Weber said. It's more likely to be an interaction between the two."

All of which leads me to wonder whether if, at certain times in the cycles of the year, vibrations, electri-magnetic waves, ....or something.... provide a helpful mix to strengthen, in a newly born child, the connections between specific centers in the brain described in the article. If so, do these times coincide with times when astrological doctrine expects similar characteristics to be identifiable in a personality?

Other characteristics might be similarly led by conditions at certain points in the yearly cycle. I don't find this an outlandish idea at all. We are all part of the same universal physical network. "We are star stuff" - a scientist called Carl Sagan said so!

We must not discount family inheritance of physical or mental strengths and weaknesses, of course, but astrological links within families are known to exist.

It's unlikely that data obtained from surveys such as the one described would ever be made available to astrologers, more's the pity.


anthonynorth said...

Interesting research. They may crack astrology yet - but you'll have more trouble cracking them to admit it!

Twilight said...

Yes, AN, I'm sure you're right!
Best we could hope for is that it'd be moved out of the drawer marked "Superstition" and added to the "UFOs and other unexplained matters" drawer.

Wisewebwoman said...

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio...."
What do we know, T. Not much. A teaspoon to an ocean.
But I like your ruminations on all of it.

Twilight said...

Thanks, WWW.
Yes, we are but skimming the surface of everything - probably getting many wrong ideas too!