Researchers Ain't Afraid of No Ghost: Scientists investigate ghost sightings

Michael Persinger, a neuroscientist at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada has conducted research on the belief that people who feel that they will see a ghost so badly probably will. One such study, published in 2001 in Perceptual And Motor Skills chronicles the experiences of a teenager who in 1996 claimed to be receiving nocturnal visits. Michael Persinger has studied the potential role that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and infrasound may plan in causing the perception that something is “haunted.”

As a result of these declarations researchers in Canada, England and elsewhere are exploring what happens in the brain to create the illusion that something is “haunted.” So far, they have found evidence that some apparitions may be brain benders caused by spiking EMFs or electromagnetic fields, and possibly even extremely low-frequency sound waves that are known as infrasounds so subtle that the ear will not register them as noise.

It was also reported that in one of these studies people are often mistaking their own mental processes as something that’s really taking place in the real world. Anything that can lead to making your mental events more similar to events that take place. It was also noted that a vivid imagination, for example, will likely make it more difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is not.

Read more about this topic here:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=ghost-lusters-if-you-want

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Autism rates and diagnostic substitution

A study recently published in the May 2008 issue of Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology investigated theories explaining the rise in autism diagnoses since 1980. Two major explanations have been proposed for the increase in the disorder. The “autism epidemic” hypothesis posits that the rise is genuine, and more children are suffering from the disorder. The “diagnostic substitution” explanation proposes that the increase is an artifact of changes in the diagnostic criteria. Autism involves communication problems, repetitive behaviours, and problems with social interactions.

The researchers examined the medical records of 38 15 to 31 year-olds who were diagnosed with a developmental language disorder in childhood, in which the child presents with language displays despite normal development in other areas. Eight of the 38 subjects would have been diagnosed with autism or milder autism spectrum disorder based on current criteria. The authors concluded that changes in these criteria may account, in part, for the increased numbers of autistic diagnoses, noting that prior to 1980, only very severe cases of autism were diagnosed. Currently, health care professionals are basing diagnoses on “subtle characteristics” that would once have been missed.

Obviously, additional research is required – this study was a very small one.

You can read more here and here.

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FA017 – Anatomy of Sibling Rivalry

Doctors Brian and Giuseppe talk about sibling conflict and sibling rivalry.

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FA047 – Anatomy of Birth to Five

Doctors Brian, Giuseppe, and Richard interview Brenda Nixon, the author of The Birth to Five Book.

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Note: Posts on Family Anatomy are for information only. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor.

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