Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Mind - Missing Ingredient?

Steven Pinker, research psychologist and professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT and author of "Words and Rules", HERE asks :

"What is the missing ingredient — not genes, not upbringing — that shapes the mind?"

Astrologers may know the answer, but not exactly how the process works. Why not test a theory that broad astrological principles may be involved in the answer to this question? Astrologers, in cahoots with psychologists such as Professor Pinker, might discover much of value to both science and astrology .

Brief extracts:

"If genes have any effect at all, it must be total. But the data show that genes account for about only about half of the variance in personality and intelligence (25% to 75%, depending on how things are measured). That leaves around half the variance to be explained by something that is not genetic........................
...............growing up in the same home — with the same parents, books, TVs, guns, and so on — does not make children similar.

So the variation in personality and intelligence breaks down roughly as follows: genes 50%, families 0%, something else 50%. As with Bob Dylan's Mister Jones, something is happening here but we don't know what it is. (I say......"Or do we?")

Perhaps it is chance. While in the womb, the growth cone of an axon zigged rather than zagged, and the brain gels into a slightly different configuration. If so, it would have many implications that have not figured into our scientific or everyday way of thinking.................... "

And again...

David Sloan Wilson's article
"Are Liberals and Conservatives Different Species? The Answer is Yes" is an interesting read, but realising that astrology cannot command the $$$ required for an experiment such as the one he describes leaves on feeling a tad deflated. If only more scientists would open their minds, experiments like this one could be modified to take in birth data so that it could be analysed by astrologers. Dream on!

Another piece along similar lines:: Howie Klein on
The Liberal Mind vs the Conservative Mind -- Genetic?

Would we be any better off knowing the whys and wherefores of astrology though? I used to think so - passionately. I've lately grown doubtful. There are people with too much power who would be more than happy to use any tiny piece of information for their own benefit and enrichment, to the detriment of others....namely the rest of us. It'd be just another gadget in the already overflowing toolbag of the oligarchs, the 1%, the NSA, etc.etc.etc.


Paulo Renato Scheunemann said...

That is very interesting... maybe that 50% that is unknown is what we call the soul, without actually knowing exactly what the soul is, like Dylan's song, something happens , that makes us who we are, but we don't know what it is... In the doctrine of spiritism, Kardec attempts to merge Science and faith, and they believe that the spirit shapes the flesh according to its predispositions... I don't claim this to be truth, but it's still interesting how these subjects can converge...
Cheers! =)

mike said...

Well, too many things to be said about this post, Twilight...I'll limit myself!

The measure of intelligence itself is very difficult. I've worked with individuals that had PhDs and were considered brilliant. They were walking photocopiers and could retain information with ease. Many of these same individuals were brain dead when it came time to APPLY this information in the laboratory and-or interpret analytical results. Likewise, I've known individuals that were not the best at memorization tasks, but stellar at applying information to the task at hand.

I do believe that the environment plays a role. There are many child prodigies whose parents recognized and encouraged the displayed behavior...sometimes at great monetary and time expense. Many children do not have the parental support to exploit their inherent gifts. Better educated parents are probably more likely to have the income and ability to recognize and encourage their children's gifts.

I'll use myself as an example! I commented on your post yesterday about my not singing or playing a musical instrument. I loved singing and very much desired a musical instrument. My parents were too poor to purchase and instrument for me, which was required. Elvis Presley, et al, were popular at the time and I tended to sing in the more trendy fashion...twanging notes at the end of refrains, etc. I had three singing instructors in a row that could not stand this and made an example of me on how NOT to sing. That ended that!

I'm in agreement with your comments regarding astrology...possibly very valuable for understanding one's personality traits. I've always been flummoxed by the yin-yang, positive-negative potentiality of astrology. An astrological chart indicates energy patterns, but it does not predetermine how that individual will embrace and employ the energies. I can make generalized statements about a natal chart, at best. Now, that could be a complete lack on my part...my lack of comprehensive interpretation skills.

Regarding liberal vs conservative, I think that is heavily persuaded by the parental environment. A person that has a hate-factor for race, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, etc, probably gained those particular beliefs from their environment. Some manage to buck the trend.

From my observations of children, they are extremely plastic and can be easily shaped mentally and emotionally. An astrological interpretation of their natal chart, parental observation and support of their child's innate potentialities, and the parents' level of intelligence, both mental and emotional, bigotry, and financial abilities to aid that child...these factors will go far to assist a child to exhibit and excel with their "gifts". I believe that ALL individuals are gifted, but most have never had the opportunity to express the distinctive talents.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - My History of Science professor, way back when, made a very clear distinction regarding creativity. Prior to the industrialized era, ALL disciplines encouraged creativity. More often the working class was excluded, as they had mundane survival tasks, whereas the rich or patrons of the rich were favored. Post-industrial society only encourages creativity in the liberal arts. Otherwise, the education is directed toward fitting-in to pre-existing industries.

There are individuals that can perceive novel trends in industry, but quite often that's a matter of "better lucky than good".

Twilight said...

Paul Renato Scheunemann ~
That's one explanation, and as it's likely we'll never know the true answer, it's a nice one to believe. :-)

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks for your thoughts - lots to chew on there!

There are so many ingredients in what makes us into what we become - mind-wise, it's not easy to identify them all, or to weigh their individual influence upon each of us. Two people with broadly similar background, environment and genes can develop very differently. It's an eternal mystery.

Yes, re different kinds of intelligence - the PhD kind often stumbles when confronted with more practical matters away from academia. We found this regularly, each summer in the office when a temporary university student or two would be brought in, allegedly to help cover for vacation absences. It eventually became a standing joke in the office that we must not ever expect too much of them in the intelligence department....and we were really a very warm and easy-going lot :-) It took a lot to get us into that mindset!

The liberal v. conservative thing truly is a puzzle which even astrology doesn't much help with. I think, as you say, early parental (and other - important other)influence has to play into this: teachers, employers, siblings with strong views....and not forgetting in some cases a simple bloody-mindedness, the urge to go against the grain sometimes plays in too.

Vanilla Rose said...

Okay. Sorry. Not sure how astrology can account for differences in identical twins brought up together.

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~~ Astrologers would say, I think, that each twin is bound to have been born at a slightly different time - maybe only a few minutes difference - but there HAS to be a difference, and during that time difference tiny things will have happened astrologically - change of degree of zodiac sign perhaps for some planet or Moon. What applies to one set of twins will not apply to all sets.

What I think about the twin question is this: the best test of whether astrology is working is not in comparing their personalities, but in comparing the timing of main events of their lives, the ways in which their lives unfold - are the ways similar (rather than identical).

Vanilla Rose said...

The difference is very small in the case of twins born by C-section. About a minute in some cases. I'd be more inclined to look at womb positions (maybe one was more comfy than other) and then, after birth, slightly different life experiences. Especially if parents trying to bring them up as separate individuals and so they aren't always in the same place at the same time.

Even conjoined twins, presumably born by C-section, as quickly as surgeons can get them out, manage somehow to have separate personalities. Despite always being in the same place at the same time and sharing genes.

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~ Those are all plausible points, yes.

I suspect that astrologers, or some of them, might point out that C section births do not allow for the natural urge of the twin babies to "choose" their times of birth, the time most "in tune" with their genes, DNA, whatever.

I don't know, so will not pretend to know, VR.....I'm an only child myself and have no children, so am a poor judge of such things.
Intuition or guesswork tells me that conception and natural birth times will usually coincide with astrological line-ups which blend with genes/DNA. :-)

mike (again) said...

This seems like a good post to insert this link...a scientific study of the full moon's affect on sleep:


Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks for that - will study it carefully when back home.

I've noticed that Mars' position has an effect on my own sleep pattern - when home I'll look for a post I think I wrote about it....unless my memory deceives me. I know I've mentioned it somewhere in the past, could have been on a message board/forum BB (before blog). :-)