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The Role of the Will

in Wellness

Andrew S. Bonci, BA, DC


Private Practice

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People are rarely aware of the real


reasons which motivate their actions.
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda (1928)

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Disclosures
I stand before you with NO conflicts of interest.
I make my living the way you do, by lifting the burden
of human suffering with the aid of chiropractic.
I have nothing to sell to you, so relax and enjoy
yourself and your time with your peers.

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Get the Notes


Obtenga las Notas
Akiru la Notojn
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or
www.slideshare.net/drbonci
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Lecture Objectives
Review the philosophy and neuroscience of the
free-will problem.
Discuss the current state of our understanding of
the neuroscience of cognition and volition.
Identify common obstacles and impediments to
volition.
Explore strategies to use the will to achieve
wellness.

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In Life We Must Weigh


Will against Wavering
Power against Weakness
Resolve against Indecision
Discipline against Waffling
Action against Idleness
We must do this in a clear effort to touch upon
healing, wholeness and wellness.
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The Facts are Never In Dispute.


The Interpretations are In Dispute.

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Parzival
If vacillation be neighbor to one's heart, this
can become distressful to the soul. Blame and
praise alike are inevitable for the man whose
courage is undaunted, mixed of white and
black as it must be, like a magpie's plumage.
Parzival
Wolfram von Eschenbach

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Uncle, What Ails Thee?


Parzival asked, in tears, Show me where the
Grail is kept ...

He turned to Anfortas and asked the long awaited


question in defiance of the sensible customs of
proper knights, Uncle, what ails you?

Greater marvel has seldom come to pass: you have


forced God by defiance to make His Trinity grant
your will.
Wolfran von Eschenbach: Parzival Book XVI

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Speaking with colleagues, I have found that


we tend to reflexively blame people
for their illnesses and lack of wellness.

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Is ill-health a question of not having:


Self-Respect?
Responsibility?
Will-Power?

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Will-Power
When people say, I have no will-power, what
they usually mean is, I have trouble saying no
when my mouth, stomach, heart wants to say
yes.
Will-power is about harnessing the three powers
of I will, I wont, and I want to help you achieve
your goals.

McGonigal Ph.D., Kelly. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It (Kindle Locations 182-183).
Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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12

Is ill-health a question of not having:


Self-Respect?
Responsibility?
Will-Power?

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13

It is no measure of health
to be well-adjusted to a
profoundly sick society.
Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Will-Power is the Power to Act


Outside of Conditioned Responses.

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Will
The faculty by which a person decides on and
initiates action.

Synonyms we use to mean Will: determination, will


power, strength of character, resolution, resolve,
resoluteness, single-mindedness, purposefulness,
drive, commitment, dedication, doggedness,
tenacity, tenaciousness, staying power

Control deliberately exerted to do something or to


restrain one's own impulses.
impulses

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Volition
In the context of volition, researchers study how
action is planned, controlled, and modulated in the
service of the agent's needs, motives, desires, or
goals.
(Prinz, Dennett, and Sebanz. Disorders of Volition. Bradford Books/MIT Press. 2006.)

Volition is viewed as an inside-out process of how


actions are formed and informed by internal
conditions.

Volitional processes can be applied consciously or


they can be automatized as habits over time.

Is wellness a volitional act?


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How Should We Understand Wellness?

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Wellness Phenomenology
Korper is a reference to the corporeal body, what
we are as physiological, neurological, and skeletal
beings.
Leib concerns how we experience this physical
matter in our everyday lives.

If Korper is the abstract body-in-general, one object


among others that is simply "there," Leib is my body
in particular, my life here and now, what I am as a
volitional,
volitional sensing person.
James Aho. Body Matters: A Phenomenology of Sickness, Disease, and Illness (p. 1). Kindle Edition.

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Wellness
The quality or state of being in good health.
The process of learning about and engaging in
behaviors that are likely to result in optimal health.

A concept and practice poorly defined,


misunderstood, misinterpreted and misapplied.

Wellness is a state of being well; a state of wellbeing.

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Well-Being
Well (adv):

Velle (Latin) "to wish, to want, to will"

Being (n):

A condition, state, circumstances; presence, fact of


existing,

Well-being (n):

Existing in a state of willingness/volition

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Halbert Dunn, MD, PhD (1896-1975)


Dunn was the first to advance the concept of
wellness in the American consciousness back in
the 1950s.

He wrote that wellness is an integrated method of


functioning which is oriented toward maximizing the
potential of which the individual is capable, within
the environment where he is functioning.
High Level Wellness, R. W. Beatty, Ltd., 1961

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8 Points of High Level Wellness


Willingness to

face inconsistencies in our thinking

hear and examine the other fellow's viewpoints with an open


mind.

encourage freedom of expression of those around us.

adjust our own views.

make time for unhurried contacts with others when such


relationships are essential.

give credit and recognition to others when it is due them.

serve others as opportunities arise.

give freedom to those we love.


High Level Wellness, R. W. Beatty, Ltd., 1961

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Wellness as Well-Being
Wellness refers to diverse and interconnected
dimensions of physical, mental, and social wellbeing that extend beyond the traditional definition
of health.
JAMA. 2015 Jul 14;314(2):121-2.

It includes choices and activities aimed at achieving


physical vitality, mental alacrity, social satisfaction,
a sense of accomplishment, and personal
fulfillment.
Disease is incompatible with health, but not with
wellness. For example, a dying patient who has led
a rewarding life and is surrounded by a loving family
and friends may still enjoy high level wellness.
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Well-Being is Wellness
Wellness is Willingness
Wellness, therefore, Implies Free-Will

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What is Free-Will?
The popular conception of free-will seems to rest
on two assumptions:
1.that each of us could have behaved differently than
we did in the past, and
2.that we are the conscious source of most of our
thoughts and actions in the present.
Harris, Sam. Free Will (p. 6). Free Press. Kindle Edition.

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Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew


Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalidsblind,
lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight
years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there
a long time, he said to him,

Do you want to be made well?


The sick man answered him, Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone
else steps down ahead of me. John 5:2-7

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Are We Free to Choose Wellness?

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Benjamin Libet (1916-2007)


Libet was a pioneering scientist in the field of
human consciousness and a researcher in the
physiology department of the University of
California, San Francisco.

In the early 1980's, Libet's most famous work built


on the pre-volitional brain potentials known as the
Readiness Potential. These experiments came to
be known as the Free-Will Experiments.

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Readiness Potential
The Readiness Potential (Bereitschaftspotential)
also known as the pre-motor potential is a
measure of activity in the motor cortex and
supplementary motor area (SMA)
SMA that is the lead
up to voluntary muscle movement.

It is a manifestation of the cortical contribution to


the pre-motor planning of volitional movement.

It was first described Hans Helmut Kornhuber and


Lder Deecke at the University of Freiburg in
Germany in 1964.
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Readiness Potential
Libet asked,
Where does the intention
to move fall in the
Readiness Potential Curve?

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When Does Intention Appear?

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Libet Experiment

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High-Tech Support for Libet


Using fMRI scans cortical brain regions contained
information about which button subjects would
press a full 7 to 10 seconds before the decision
was consciously made.
J. D. Haynes, 2011. Decoding and predicting intentions. Ann. NY

Acad. Sci. 1224( 1): 9 21.

These brain regions included the anterior


medial prefrontal cortex and
precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex and
medial parietal cortex.

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More Support for Libet


Direct recordings from the cortex have shown that
the activity of merely 256 neurons is sufficient to
predict with 80 percent accuracy a persons
decision to move 700 milliseconds before he
becomes aware of it.

I. Fried, R. Mukamel, & G. Kreiman, 2011. Internally generated preactivation of single neurons in human medial frontal cortex predicts
volition. Neuron, 69: 548 562.
Harris, Sam. Free Will (p. 73). Free Press. Kindle Edition.

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Could the Libet Experiment


be Evidence for the Lack of Free-Will?

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So Proud of Our Will


Thus we who are so proud of our will, who believe
that we are free to act as we like, are in reality
nothing but wretched puppets of which our
imagination holds all the strings.

Emile Cou (1922)


Coue, Emile. SELF MASTERY THROUGH CONSCIOUS AUTOSUGGESTION 1922.

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The Free-Will Illusion


Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of
our own making.
Harris, Sam. Free Will (p. 5-6). Free Press. Kindle Edition.

Thoughts and intentions emerge from background


causes of which we are unaware and over which
we exert no conscious control.
control
Seeming acts of volition merely arise spontaneously
and cannot be traced to a point of origin in our
conscious minds.

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Free-Won't
Libet did not interpret his experiment as evidence
for the lack of conscious free will.

He points out that although the tendency to press a


button may be building up for 500 milliseconds, the
conscious mind retains the right to veto any action
at the last moment.
J Consciousness Studies. 10 (12): 248.

This conscious, volitional act to veto unconscious


impulses to perform a physical action is often
referred to as Free-Won't.

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Veto Power

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Neuroscience of Free-Will
What we call free will appears to be localized to
the frontal lobes,
lobes the medial most portions in
particular.

Joseph, R. . Free Will and the Frontal Lobes: Loss of Will, Against the Will, Catatonia and the Alien Hand (Kindle Location 32).

University Press. Kindle Edition.

Libet's original experiment in 1983 explicitly


identified the frontal motor circuits of the brain as
the cause of conscious intention.

Disorders of Volition (Bradford Books) (Kindle Location

1128). Kindle Edition.

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Neural Model for Free-Will


1.Early preparatory signals from the basal
ganglia, substantia nigra and striatum.
2.Conscious intention and deliberation from the
medial prefrontal cortex.
3.Motor preparation from the Supplemental Motor
Area.
4.Motor execution from the primary motor cortex,
spinal cord and muscles.
Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 Dec;9(12):934-46.

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Neural Model for Free-Will


Globus
Pallidus

Thalamus

Striatum
Substantia
Nigra

Pre-MC

Motor Cortex

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Neural Model for Free-Will


mPFC

Basal Ganglia
Substantia Nigra
Striatum

SMA

*
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Motor Execution

What are the


Basic Philosophical Arguments
Framing the Free-Will Problem?

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Determinism/Libertarianism
Determinism is the philosophical doctrine that all
events transpire in virtue of some necessity and
are therefore inevitable.

Predestination is the doctrine that all events have


been willed by God, usually with reference to the
eventual fate of the individual soul.

Libertarianism is an incompatibilist position that


argues that free will is logically incompatible with a
deterministic universe and that agents have free
will.
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Agent Causality
Agent-Causality is the idea that agents can start
new causal chains that are not pre-determined by
the events of the immediate or distant past or the
physical laws of nature.

Agents possess volition and, therefore, free-will.

The first agent-causal libertarian was Aristotle.

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Agency is Tied to a Self


The self can be considered that being which is the
source of consciousness, the agent responsible
for an individual's thoughts and actions, or the
substantial nature of a person which endures and
unifies consciousness over time.

According to John Locke


of episodic memory

(1632 - 1704)

, the self is a product

Psychol Rev. 2000 Apr;107(2):261-88.

Locke posits an "empty" mind, a tabula rasa, which


is shaped by experience; sensations and reflections
being the two sources of all our ideas.

Gazzaniga refers to this as the Interpreter.


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Chiropractic, Self and Agency


Article 54. INNATE MIND.

Innate Mind is the activity of Innate Intelligence in


the Innate Brain as an organ.

The product of this activity is Innate Thoughts, or


Mental Force.

Subconscious?

Article 55. EDUCATED MIND.

The activity of Innate Intelligence in the Educated


Brain as an organ.

The product of this activity is Educated Thoughts;


such as, reasoning, will, memory, etc.

Conscious?

Stephenson, R. Chiropractic Textbook. 1927.

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Our Belief in Free-Will Rests in


Our Ability to Consciously Set Goals
and Achieve Them.

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Conscious Goals
As humans, we generally have the feeling that we
decide what we want and what we do.
Our behaviors seem to originate in our conscious
decisions to pursue desired outcomes, or goals.

Science 329, 47 (2010)

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Conscious Goal Setting


Most models of goal pursuit share the three
following basic features:
Psychol. Bull. 120, 338 (1996).

One takes a possible outcome or goal in mind

One considers whether the actions and resources


to attain the outcome are available

One assesses the value of the outcome the extent


to which it is rewarding or desirable

Whether people set an outcome that comes to


mind as a goal to pursue depends on its
attainability and desirability.
desirability
Science 329, 47 (2010)

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Goals are Mental Representations


Cognitive scientists contend that our ability to
produce desired outcomes is derived from our
capacity to mentally represent what we want and
do: to build and store mental representations of
goals.

These goal representations function as beacons for


behavior,
behavior motivating action and guiding its course.
Science 329, 47 (2010)

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Conscious or Unconscious
Goals direct attention and behavior, even in the
absence of conscious awareness of the goal.

Annu. Rev.

Psychol. 61, 467 (2010). Psychol. Bull. 126, 925 (2000).

The operation of higher cognitive processes


supporting goal pursuit does not care much about
the conscious state of the individual.
Science 329, 47 (2010)

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Does the Libet Experiment


Expose Unconscious Agency or
Unconscious Will?

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Unconscious Agency

Unconscious
Agency

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Unconscious Influences
A man sits in his office deciding what stocks to
buy.
He imagines, no doubt, that he is planning his
purchases according to his own judgment.
In actual fact his judgment is a mlange of
impressions stamped on his mind by outside
influences which unconsciously control his
thought.
Bernays, Edward. (1928) Propaganda (p. 25). Ig Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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Edward Bernays
The systematic study of mass psychology
revealed to students the potentialities of invisible
government of society by manipulation of the
motives which actuate man in the group.

If we understand the mechanism and motives of the


group mind, is it not possible to control and
regiment the masses according to our will without
their knowing about it?
Bernays, Edward. (1928) Propaganda (p. 24). Ig Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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We Must Widen Our Concept


Libet's experiment does not tell us that we do not
choose to initiate an action: it just tells us that we
have to widen our concept of who we are to
include our unconscious selves.

Why should we not be our unconscious,


unconscious as well as
our conscious, selves?

McGilchrist, Iain. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (p. 188). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.

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Unconscious Goals
Research in social cognition shows that goals
themselves can arise and operate unconsciously.
unconsciously

Social situations and stimuli in the surroundings


activate or prime goals in peoples minds outside of
their awareness, thereby motivating and guiding a
variety of social and personal behaviors.
J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 81, 1014 (2001).
Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. 38, 1013 (2008).
Br. J. Soc. Psychol. 44, 47 (2005).
Science 329, 47 (2010).

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Unconscious Will
Scientific study of goal pursuit has discovered that
goal representation and goal pursuit also operate
without conscious awareness,
awareness and hence, human
behavior may originate in a kind of unconscious
will.
will
Science 329, 47 (2010)

Understanding this mechanism is especially


important because unconscious goal pursuit is
proposed to play a key role in many aspects of
social life, such as consumer and health behavior,
moral behavior, and social discrimination.

Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. 36,

147 (2006).

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Can the mind ever be totally free, or is it the


very nature of the mind to be conditioned?
Jiddu Krishnamurti

We live between free choice and


conditioned habits.
Bruce Dickson

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What is Meant by the


Unconscious or Subconscious Mind?

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Consciousness
Consciousness is a state of mind in which there is
knowledge of ones own existence and of the
existence of surroundings.
surroundings
Damasio, Antonio. Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious

Brain (Kindle Location 2439). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Damasio (1999) in The Feeling of What Happens


argues that our conscious awareness is predicated
on sophisticated brain maps.

We only become aware or conscious of bodily


emotional states once the brain stem and higher
centers map and then, remap these states.

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Conscious Mind and Thought


The qualities of conscious thought are:

Intentional

Controllable

Linear in nature

Accessible to awareness, i.e. verbally reportable

Bargh JA, Morsella E. The Unconscious Mind. Perspectives on psychological science: a journal of the Association for Psychological
Science. 2008;3(1):73-79.

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Sub/Unconscious Mind
The sub/unconscious mind consists of the
processes in the mind which occur automatically
and are not available to verbal introspection,
introspection and
include thought processes, memories, interests,
and motivations.
J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 1999 Fall;47(4):1061-106.

Conscious processes are expensive: They


require not only a lot of time, but also a lot of
memory. Unconscious processes, on the
other hand, are fast and rule-driven.
Gazzaniga, Michael S..

Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (p. 79). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

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Is Your Body Your Subconscious Mind?


What we experience as a 'feeling' is the actual
vibrational dance that goes on as the peptides
bind to the receptors,
receptors whether it happens in your
conscious awareness or not.

Below what we notice happening,a huge amount of


emotionally mediated information is being
exchanged throughout the body and the brain,
much of which never rises into our consciousness.

This is why I say : "Your body is your subconscious


mind."
Pert, Candace. Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind. SoundsTrue (2000).

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Defining Mind
A spectacular consequence of the brains
incessant and dynamic mapping is the mind.
The mind is a subtle, flowing combination of
actual images and recalled images.

Damasio, Antonio (2010-11-09). Self Comes

to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain (Kindle Location 1182). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition

It appears to me that there is a tiering or


stratification of mind where we have a(n):

Conscious Mind
Subconscious Mind
Autonomic Mind

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Stratifications of Mind
Autonomic Mind

First order maps of body states associated with feelings


of emotion, autonomic regulation and a protoself. There
is body awareness, but no self-awareness.

Subconscious Mind

Second order maps of neurohormonal states associated


with a nonverbal, present moment narrative and a Core
Self. There is both both awareness and self-awareness.

Conscious Mind

Third order maps of neurohormonal states associated


with a verbal narrative capable of time-travel and an
Autobiographical Self. There is both awareness and selfawareness.
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Where is the Sub/Unconscious


Mind Located?

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Commissurotomy
In the early 1940s, neurosurgeon William P. Van
Wagenen,
Wagenen performed commissurotomies on
twenty-six patients with severe uncontrollable
epilepsy in order to limit epileptic seizure activity
to one half of their brains.

The neurologist Andrew Akelaitis had found that


cutting through the corpus callosum in human
subjects produced no behavioral or cognitive
effects.
Gazzaniga, Michael S.. Tales from Both Sides of the Brain (Enhanced Edition): A Life in Neuroscience (p. 15-20). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

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Acknowledgments

Michael Gazzaniga, PhD


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75

Split Brain Studies


Twenty years after the original commissurotomy
surgeries, Roger Sperry, PhD and Michael
Gazzaniga, PhD reexamined a number of these
split brain patients.
There are two main findings of these studies.

The first is the discovery that two autonomous


minds reside in each split-brain patient.

The second is that the left brain can speak; the right
brain is mute.

Schiffer, Fredric. Of Two Minds: The Revolutionary Science of Dual-Brain Psychology (Kindle Locations 457-458). Free Press (now out of print), rights with Fredric
Schiffer. Kindle Edition.

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Split Brain Research Video

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All of Us are of Two Minds


Two separate realms of subjective awareness
exists in each of us.

one in each hemisphere and each in itself seems


to be remarkably whole, unified, and capable of
supporting independent behavior and a separate
world view.

Schiffer, Fredric. Of Two Minds: The Revolutionary Science of Dual-Brain Psychology (Kindle Locations 1059-1061).

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Have You Ever Encountered


a Split-Brain Patient?

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Before We Can Speak


Prior to linguistic expression children generally
think in terms of visual images, songs, feelings,
desires, emotions, rhymes and may frequently
engage in day dreaming as they do not yet think
in connected words and sentences.
R. Joseph. The Right Brain and the Limbic Unconscious: Emotion, Forgotten Memories, Self-Deception, Bad Relationships (Kindle Locations 1265-1267).
University Press Science Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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Egocentric Speech
Egocentric speech first appears around age 2-3
as a child monologues about his actions only after
a behavior has been completed.

As the child ages, the egocentric monologue begins


to occur at an earlier point in the action.

By age 6-7 he will announce what he will do before


doing it.

R. Joseph. The Right Brain and the Limbic Unconscious: Emotion, Forgotten Memories, Self-Deception, Bad Relationships (Kindle Locations 1277-1279).
University Press Science Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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What are the Hemispheric Differences and


How do They Play a Role in Consciousness?

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Hemispheric Design Differences


The right hemisphere has more neural connections both
within itself and throughout the brain.

It has strong connections to emotional centers like the


amygdala and to subcortical regions throughout the
lower parts of the brain.

The left side has far fewer connections within itself and
beyond to the rest of the brain.

The left hemisphere is made of neatly stacked vertical


columns, which allows the clear differentiation of
separate mental functions, but less integration of those
functions.
Goleman, Daniel. The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights (Kindle Locations 185-188). More Than Sound LLC. Kindle Edition.

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Language and Consciousness


Language is almost exclusively considered the
tool of consciousness.

We usually think in words and use language to


label, describe, and communicate our experiences.

It is through linguistic thought that we are able to


manipulate the world, describe our selves, make
predictions about the future, and symbolize aspects
of the past in verbal memory and in written form.

R. Joseph. The Right Brain and the Limbic Unconscious: Emotion, Forgotten Memories, Self-Deception, Bad Relationships (Kindle Locations 278-281). University
Press Science Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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Left Brain Consciousness


It is the left brain which controls the ability to talk
and think in words.

The ability to process and express information in a


temporal-sequential, grammatical, and rhythmical
fashion, are associated with the functional integrity
of the left half of the brain in most of the population.

R. Joseph. The Right Brain and the Limbic Unconscious: Emotion, Forgotten Memories, Self-Deception, Bad Relationships (Kindle Locations 285-286). University
Press Science Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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Left Language Axis

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Yakovlevian Torque

Elongated
Elongated Language
Language Axis:
Axis:
Broca's
Broca's Area
Area
Wernike's
Wernike's Area
Area
Angular
Angular Gyrus.
Gyrus.

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Verbal Thinking: A Paradox


Verbal thinking often serves the function of
explaining things. Yet the need to communicate
and explain things to oneself seems paradoxical.

This implies that some forms of verbal thought are


often based on information and knowledge that is
already in existence but in a tacit, non-linguistic,
imaginal, emotional, sensory or in a non-organized
form.

R. Joseph. The Right Brain and the Limbic Unconscious: Emotion, Forgotten Memories, Self-Deception, Bad Relationships (Kindle Locations 1243-1244).
University Press Science Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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Right Brain Consciousness


The right hemisphere is associated with nonlinguistic environmental awareness, visual-spatial
perceptual functioning, the analysis of depth,
figure-ground and stereopsis.

It is dominant for maintaining the body image and


the expression of bodily emotions.

It participates in language processing by evoking or


sensing feeling, context, and emotion.

Joseph, R.. Right Hemisphere, Left Hemisphere, Consciousness & the Unconscious, Brain and Mind (Kindle Locations 87-88). University Press. Kindle Edition.

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A Right Language Axis


Just as there are areas in the left frontal and
temporal-parietal lobes which mediate the
expression and comprehension of the denotative,
temporal-sequential, grammatical and syntactical
aspects of language, there are similar regions
within the right hemisphere that mediate emotional
speech and comprehension.
Joseph, R.. Right Hemisphere, Left Hemisphere, Consciousness & the Unconscious, Brain and Mind (Kindle Locations 225-227). University Press. Kindle
Edition.

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Right Language Axis

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Verbalizing Tacit Knowledge


For the left brain to gain an understanding of
implicit, tacit or unconscious knowledge requires
that it be presented in a linear temporal sequence
of language-related ideas and images.

Linguistic thought often serves to explain and


communicate something that we are already aware
of non-linguistically and unconsciously.

R. Joseph. The Right Brain and the Limbic Unconscious: Emotion, Forgotten Memories, Self-Deception, Bad Relationships (Kindle Location 1248). University
Press Science Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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The Stranger Within


Rhawn Joseph, PhD in his book, The Right Brain and the
Unconscious, equates the right, non-linguistic or nondialogical brain with the Unconscious.

The right brain embodies an emotional, visualspatial, geometric and tactual consciousness that
assumes a nonverbal and nonlinear narrative.

The left brain embodies a temporal- sequential,


analytical and linguistic consciousness that
assumes a verbal narration style.

The two brains do not share a common language


and they do not code memories in the same
manner.
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Subconscious Mind Generalizations


Resides largely in the Right Brain.
This Consciousness is fully Aware and Awake.
It is Devoid of Dialogical Language.
This Consciousness Can and Will Set its Own
Goals.
The Desires, Will and Goals of the
Sub/Unconscious Mind are Frequently
Determined Outside of Your Conscious, Linguistic
Awareness.
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Linguistic, Dialogical,
Conscious Mind

Non-Linguistic,
Non-Dialogical,
Sub/Unconscious Mind

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Who's in Charge?
The Conscious or Unconscious Mind?

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Which Mind is in Charge?

Nonlinguistic
Linguistic
Mind
Mind

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Life is Largely Non-Dialogical


The mind is designed for action, and continuously
and largely unconsciously processes behavioralrelevant information to readily tell its owner what
she wants and should do to deal with the
opportunities and challenges presented by the
environment.

Thus, setting, pursuing, and realizing goals can


occur without conscious interventions.
The unconscious will: how the pursuit of goals operates outside of conscious awareness. Science 329, 47 (2010)

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The Interpreter/Confabulator
When we set out to explain our actions, they are
all post hoc explanations using post hoc
observations with no access to nonconscious
processing.

The left brain takes all the input that it receives and
builds the narrative.
Gazzaniga, Michael S.. Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (p. 77). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

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Conscious After the Fact


Goals and their pursuit can be influenced by
unconscious sources and these goals do not need
to be consciously set and adopted before their
influence begins to operate.
Science 329, 47 (2010)

People may often become conscious of the actions


they prepare and execute, but their conscious
knowledge of what exactly they do to reach a goal
is surprisingly limited.
Neuropsychologia 36, 1133 (1998).

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Right Brain Interpreter


There is a pattern-recognition system that
involves high-level processing in the right
hemisphere.

The right brain is good at apprehending complex


patterns and gets automatic about it.

The right brain is a present moment, embodied,


whole picture experience.
Gazzaniga, Michael S.. Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (p. 94). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

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Two Minds Must Cooperate


The two minds can cooperate with each other in a
deep, synergistic relationship fostering creativity
and maturity or they can sabotage each other
leading to a plethora of psychological and
psychosomatic problems.
Schiffer, Fredric. Of Two Minds: The Revolutionary Science of Dual-Brain Psychology (Kindle Locations 626-628).

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Can We Give Voice to the


Sub/Unconscious Mind?

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Somatization and Conversion


Somatization is a tendency to experience and
communicate psychological distress in the form of
somatic symptoms and to seek medical help for
them.
Conversion disorder is sometimes applied to
patients who present with neurological symptoms,
such as numbness, blindness, paralysis, or fits,
which are not consistent with a well-established
organic cause, and which cause significant
distress.
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Alien Hand Syndrome


A person with alien hand syndrome can feel
normal sensation in the hand and leg, but believes
that the hand, while still being a part of their body,
behaves in a manner that is totally distinct from
the sufferer's normal behavior.

They lose the "sense of agency" associated with


the purposeful movement of the limb while retaining
a sense of "ownership" of the limb.

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Alien Hand Syndrome Video

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Explore Your Sinister Side


It is the left hand that is controlled by the right
hemisphere and which is most in contact with the
subconscious mind (vide supra R. Joseph).

Latin sinister "left, on the left side" (opposite of


dexter) and possibly as a euphemism from the
same Proto-Indo-European root as Sanskrit
(sanyn) meaning more useful or more
advantageous.

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Ideomotor Phenomenon
Ideomotor phenomenon is a psychological
phenomenon wherein a subject makes motions
unconsciously.

A phenomenon whereby a thought or mental image


brings about a seemingly "reflexive" or automatic
muscular reaction, often of minuscule degree, and
potentially outside of the awareness of the subject.

As in reflexive responses to pain, the body


sometimes reacts reflexively with an ideomotor
effect to ideas alone without the person consciously
deciding to take action.
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Ideomotor Applications
Ideomotor applications may be a way to access
the content of the implicit memories and the tacit
knowledge of the subconscious mind.
These applications may include:

Muscle Testing Procedures as found in Applied


Kinesiology, PSYCH-K and the work of both Dr.
John Diamond and Dr. David Hawkins.

Subconscious communication with a pendulum

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Psychophysiology
Psychophysiology is the branch of psychology
that is concerned with the physiological bases of
psychological processes.

While psychophysiology was a general broad field


of research in the 1960s and 1970s, it has now
become quite specialized, and has branched into
subspecializations such as social
psychophysiology, cardiovascular
psychophysiology, cognitive psychophysiology, and
cognitive neuroscience.

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Right Brain is Sympathetic


There is evidence that sympathetic nervous
control is under greater influence by the right
hemisphere
while parasympathetic
control is more under left-hemisphere control.
Ann Neurol. 2001 May;49(5):575-84.

Neuropsychologia. 1998 May;36(5):461-8.

Of the two, the sympathetic is more important for


modulating heart rate and blood pressure in
response to emotion.

McGilchrist, Iain. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (p. 69). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.

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Psychophysiological Testing
Heart Rate Variability

HRV is related to emotional arousal. Decreased PSNS


activity or increased SNS activity will result in reduced HRV.

Electrodermal Activity

Sweating is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system


and skin conductance is an indication of psychological or
physiological arousal.

Voice Stress Analysis

This is based on the non-verbal content of the voice which


carries information about the physiological and psychological
state of the speaker.

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Sample HRV

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Sample EDA

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Sample VSA

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How are Unconscious Goals


Learned or Programmed?

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Implicit Learning
Implicit learning is the learning of complex
information in an incidental manner without
awareness of what has been learned.

e.g. language, bicycle riding, swimming

The result of implicit learning is implicit knowledge


in the form of abstract representations which
convey implicit memory.
Psychological Bulletin, Vol 115(2), Mar 1994, 163-196.

A major evolutionary and neurological mechanism


that drives implicit learning is the mirror neuron
system.
Ramachandran, V. S.. The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human (Kindle Locations 2128-2129). W. W.

Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

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Mirror Neuron System


The mirror neuron system is a group of
specialized neurons that mirrors the actions and
behavior of others.

In humans, brain activity consistent with that of


mirror neurons has been found in the premotor
cortex, the supplementary motor area, the primary
somatosensory cortex, the inferior parietal cortex,

the temporal, occipital and parietal visual


areas.
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2009 Jul;33(7):975-80.
Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2007;49(1):66-69

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Learning with Mirror Neurons


Mirror neurons allow us to first mimic and then
imitate the actions that we see.

Mirror neurons are concerned with the intended


goals of an action.
Iacoboni, Marco. Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others (p. 41). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.

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Two Types of Mirror Neurons


Mirror Neurons
These neurons fire at the sight of [grasping]
actions.
Canonical Neurons

These neurons fire at the sight of certain


[graspable] objects.

Iacoboni, Marco. Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others (p. 24). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.

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MNS & Action Understanding


Mirror neurons transform observed behaviors
through visual and auditory perceptual pathways
into knowledge by forming mapped
representations in the corresponding cortical
regions.
Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2007;49(1):66-69.
Iacoboni, Marco. Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others (p. 14). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.

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MNS & Imitation


Imitation requires a perfect matching of the
performed action onto the observed one.

Mirror neurons are able to recognize the


actions of others and the intention associated
with them.
So they can code for likely future actions of
others, thereby observers are able to
anticipate the actions of others.
Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2007;49(1):66-69.
Iacoboni, Marco. Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others (p. 14). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.

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MNS Speech and Language


The presence of mirror neurons in Broca's area of
humans suggests that human language may have
evolved from a gesture performance strategy.

Tasks like spontaneous speech and reading


activate the hand motor area on the left side.

Language mirror neurons seem to be lateralized to


the left side involving the dominant hand motor
cortex and the left language axis.
Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2007;49(1):66-69.
Iacoboni, Marco. Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others (p. 14). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.

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MNS & Theory of Mind


Theory of mind (ToM) is the ability to recognize
that someone else has a mind separate from
one's own.

It involves the ability to infer someone else's mindstates by facial expression, tone of voice and nonverbal communication.

It involves the area concerned with action imitation,


face imitation and intention understanding.
Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2007;49(1):66-69.
Iacoboni, Marco. Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others (p. 14). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.

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MNS & Empathy


Empathy is a process which involves the affective
sharing between self and others, adopting the
perspective of others and the ability for selfagency and self-regulation.

The more people tend to imitate each other, the


more they are able to develop an empathic
relationship.

Social mirroring involves the interaction of the core


mirror neuron system with the limbic system.
Rajmohan V, Mohandas E. Mirror neuron system. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2007;49(1):66-69. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.31522.
Iacoboni, Marco. Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others (p. 14). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.

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How are the Unconscious Will


and its Goals Triggered?

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Priming
Priming refers to the phenomenon that incidental
stimuli influence behavioral outcomes without the
individuals awareness of this influence.
Frontiers in Psychology.

2014;5:96.

Priming is an implicit memory effect in which


exposure to one stimulus influences the response
to another stimulus.

The effects of priming can be more powerful than


simple recognition memory.

J Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.

1982; 8 (4).

It spreads along neural and semantic networks via


spreading activation.
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Implicit Memory
Implicit memory, a type of long-term memory, is
acquired and used unconsciously, and can affect
thoughts and behaviors.

J Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 13: 501518.

One of its most common forms is procedural


memory, which helps people performing certain
tasks without conscious awareness of these
previous experiences.

Explicit memory or declarative memory refers to


the conscious, intentional recollection of factual
information, previous experiences and concepts.
Cognition. 2004 May-Jun;92(1-2):231-70.

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Priming for Goal Achievement


Priming the goal immediately selects the actions
themselves.

People automatically select and execute behaviors


when a goal is primed and unconsciously adjust
their behaviors to reach it.

Priming immediately increases the tendency to


realize a target behavior, even when this idea is
triggered outside of conscious awareness.
Science 329, 47 (2010)

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Perceptual Priming
Visual Priming

Advances in Cognitive Psychology. 2012;8(1):50-61.

Auditory Priming

PLoS ONE. 2015;10(11):e0141791.

Olfactory Priming

Frontiers in Psychology. 2014;5:96.

Tactile (Haptic) Priming


Movement Priming

Front Hum Neurosci. 2014 Dec 15;8:926.

Exp Psychol. 2013;60(6):403-9.

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Priming Triggers Contingencies


Priming triggers all manner of contingency
programs stored in your implicit or procedural
memory.

Reading words associated with aging will trigger


old age behaviors.

Car, tire, carburetor, trunk f _ _ l

Your brain works on predictive contingencies.

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What is the Biggest Threat to


Wellness, Willingness and Well-Being?

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The Meme
The word meme was coined by Oxford biologist
Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish
Gene.
Brodie, Richard. Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme (p. 4). Hay House. Kindle Edition.

According to Dawkins, the meme is the basic unit of


cultural transmission, or imitation.

Philosopher Daniel Dennett says: A wagon with


spoked wheels carries not only grain or freight from
place to place; it carries the brilliant idea of a wagon
with spoked wheels from mind to mind.

Memes both program and prime the brain.


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Memetics
The most surprising and most profound insight
from the science of memetics: your thoughts are
not always your own original ideas.

Brodie, Richard. Virus of the Mind: The New

Science of the Meme . Hay House. Kindle Edition.

This includes all the words in your vocabulary, the


stories you know, the skills and habits you have,the
games you play, the songs you sing and the rules
you obey.
Blackmore, Susan. The Meme Machine (Popular Science) (p. 4). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition. more, Susan. The

Meme Machine (Popular Science) (p. 4). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition.

You catch thoughts you get infected with them,


both directly from other people and indirectly from
viruses of the mind.

Brodie, Richard. Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme . Hay House. Kindle

Edition.

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Implicit Indoctrination
Memes enter our minds without our permission.
They become part of our mental programming and
influence our lives without our even being aware
of it.
Brodie, Richard. Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme (p. 126). Hay House. Kindle Edition.

Memes include tunes, slogans, catchphrases,


fashions, styles, and rituals that seem to spread
throughout cultures as if they had a mind and
intention all their own.

Van Praet, Douglas. Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower


(and Inspire) Marketing (Kindle Locations 1207-1208). St. Martin's Press. Kindle Edition.

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Virus of the Mind


Memes are the building blocks of your mind, the
programming of your mental computer.

The first way we get infected is through


conditioning, or repetition.

The second way is through a mechanism known as


cognitive dissonance.

The third way new memes enter our minds is by


taking advantage of our genetic buttons in the
manner of the Trojan horse.
Brodie, Richard. Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme . Hay House. Kindle Edition.

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The Six S's of Memetics


The memes in our culture reflect our deepest,
unconscious biological drives, or the Six Ss:
survival, safety, security, sustenance, sex, and
status.

Sometimes these are called the three F's: fear,


food and fornication.

This is the Trojan Horse entrance.

Van Praet, Douglas. Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing (Kindle Locations 1208-1209). St. Martin's Press. Kindle
Edition.

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How to Willingly Achieve


Wellness and Well-Being

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Eliminate. Engender. Exploit.


1.Eliminate priming triggers (memes) for both
conscious negative self-talk and unconscious,
unhealthy contingency programs via mirror
neuron cues.
2.Engender new learning (memes) for
contingency programs that automatically foster
wellness, well-being and health.
3.Exploit new priming triggers (memes) for both
positive self-talk and new health engendering,
contingency programs via mirror neuron cues.
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Eliminate
Eliminate the priming cues from your old life:

Visual (clutter, posters, photos, toys)

Auditory (harmful music: sad, sappy, selfdestructive, abusive, unnatural sounds)

Olfactory (foods, trash, animals, colognes, incense)

Tactile (clothing, blankets, lotions, hair care


products)

Movement (stop being sedentary)

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Engender Change
Active Goal Setting
Positive Autosuggestion
Self-Talk

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Emile Cou
(1857-1926)

Our actions do not spring from our


WILL, but from out imagination.
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Autosuggestion
All that is necessary is to place oneself in a
condition of mental passiveness, silence the voice
of conscious analysis, and then deposit in the
ever-awake subconscious the idea or suggestion
which one desires to be realized.

Everyday, in every way, I'm getting better and


better. (Repeat 20 times at bedtime.)
Emile Cou (1922)
Coue, Emile. SELF MASTERY THROUGH CONSCIOUS AUTOSUGGESTION 1922.

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Unconscious Autosuggestion
Autosuggestion is an instrument that we possess
at birth, and with which we play unconsciously all
our life, as a baby plays with its rattle. It is
however a dangerous instrument; it can wound or
even kill you if you handle it imprudently and
unconsciously. It can on the contrary save your
life when you know how to employ it consciously.
Emile Cou (1922)
Coue, Emile. SELF MASTERY THROUGH CONSCIOUS AUTOSUGGESTION 1922.

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Unconscious Cure
But if our unconscious is the source of many of
our ills, it can also bring about the cure of our
physical and mental ailments. It can not only
repair the ill it has done, but cure real illnesses, so
strong is its action upon our organism.
Emile Cou (1922)
Coue, Emile. SELF MASTERY THROUGH CONSCIOUS AUTOSUGGESTION 1922.

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The brain simply believes what you


tell it most. And what you tell it about
you, it will create. It has no choice.
Shad Helmstetter, What To Say When You Talk To Your Self, 1988.

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Self-Talk
Self-Talk is a way to override our past negative
programming by erasing or replacing it with
conscious, positive new directions.

Self-Talk is a practical way to live our lives by active


intent rather than by passive acceptance.
Helmstetter, Dr. Shad. What To Say When You Talk To Your Self (Kindle Locations 874-875). Park Avenue Press. Kindle Edition.

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Levels of Self-Talk
1.The Level of Negative Acceptance (I cant...)
2.The Level of Recognition and Need To Change
(I need to I should...)

3.The Level of Decision to Change (I never...I no


longer)

4.The Level of The Better You (I am)


5.The Level of Universal Affirmation (It is)
Helmstetter, Dr. Shad. What To Say When You Talk To Your Self (Kindle Locations 958-959). Park Avenue Press. Kindle Edition.

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Level 4 Self-Talk Example


I am a winner! I believe in myself. I respect
myself and I like who I am. I have made the
decision to win in my life and thats what Im
doing!

Level 4 Self-Talk inspires, encourages, urges, and


implores. It tugs at our hearts, touches our hopes,
and paints in the pictures that color our dreams. It
excites, demands, and pushes us forward. It
strengthens the armor of our spirit and hardens the
steel of our determination.
Helmstetter, Dr. Shad. What To Say When You Talk To Your Self (Kindle Locations 954-955). Park Avenue Press. Kindle Edition.

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Level 5 Self-Talk Example


I am one with the true, healthy, qualities of my
life, and they are one with me. Life, to me, is a
place of joyserenitypeaceand healthy wellbeing.
Life is uplifting and fulfilling in body, mind and
spirit.

This level of Self-Talk can be beautiful, almost


poetic, and it is generally life-affirming.
Helmstetter, Dr. Shad. What To Say When You Talk To Your Self (Kindle Locations 954-955). Park Avenue Press. Kindle Edition.

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Use Emotional Language


A listener comprehends not only what is said
(descriptive language), but how it is said --what a
speaker feels (mirror neurons).

R. Joseph. The Right Brain and the Limbic Unconscious:

Emotion, Forgotten Memories, Self-Deception, Bad Relationships (Kindle Locations 466-467). University Press Science Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Feeling, intent, attitude and related emotional states


are perceived, processed, and expressed by the
mental system of the right half of the cerebrum.

Appeal to metaphor and poetry, singing and


music.
McGilchrist, Iain. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (p. 188). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.

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Metaphor and Poetry


Metaphoric (meta-across, pherein carry) thinking is
fundamental to our understanding of the world,
because it is the only way in which understanding
can reach outside the system of symbols to life
itself.

Metaphor embodies thought and places it in a living


context.

The gap across which the metaphor carries us is


one that language itself creates.

McGilchrist, Iain. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (pp. 115-116). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.

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Singing and Music


There is a stronger affinity between the right
hemisphere and the minor key.

McGilchrist, Iain. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided

Brain and the Making of the Western World (p. 73). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.

Neurological research strongly supports that our


love of music reflects the ancestral ability of our
mammalian brain to transmit and receive basic
emotional sounds, the prosody and rhythmic
motion that emerge intuitively from entrainment of
the body in emotional expression: music was built
upon the prosodic mechanisms of the right
hemisphere that allow us affective emotional
communications through vocal intonations.
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Exploit
Exploit priming cues for your new life:

Visual (posters, photos, sculptures, art, eye contact)

Auditory (positive, up-beat, WWB, nature sounds)

Olfactory (flowers, fruits, perfumes, incense)

Tactile (clothing, blankets, lotions, hair care


products)

Movement (exercise, dance, )

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NAU Nursing Student Video (2010)

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Chiropractic Movie

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Targeted Self-Talk Audio

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Trapped Between Two Brains


We truly live between free choice and conditioned
action.

I can exercise genuine free-won't in the moment.

I can consciously learn new contingency responses


today.

I can act on these new contingencies tomorrow.

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How Do These Tools Change You?

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Somatic Marker Hypothesis


The brain can simulate, within somatosensing
regions, certain body states, as if they were
occurring; and because our perception of any
body state is rooted in the body maps of the
somatosensing regions, we perceive the body
state as actually occurring even if it is not.
Damasio, Antonio. Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain (Kindle Locations 1651-1653). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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Somatic Markers
Somatic markers are associations between
reinforcing stimuli that induce an associated
physiological affective state.

Within the brain, somatic markers are thought to be


processed in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex
(VMPFC; a subsection of the orbitomedial PFC,
OMPFC).
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1996 Oct 29;351(1346):1413-20.

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Somatic Markers Direct Action


These somatic marker associations can recur
during decision-making and bias one's cognitive
processing.

When one has to make complex and uncertain


decisions, the somatic markers created by the
relevant stimuli are summed to produce a net
somatic state.

This overall state directs (or biases) one's decision


of how to act.
Damasio, Antonio R. (2000). The Feeling of what Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness. Vintage. ISBN 978-0-09-928876-3

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As-If Body Loops


The as-if body loop hypothesis entails that the
brain structures in charge of triggering a particular
emotion be able to connect to the structures in
which the body state corresponding to the
emotion would be mapped.

The amygdala (fear) and the ventromedial


prefrontal cortex (compassion) would have to
connect to somatosensing regions, areas such as
the insular cortex, SII, SI, and the somatosensory
association cortices, where ongoing body states are
continuously processed.

Damasio, Antonio. Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain (Kindle Locations 1661-1665). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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As-If Loop Pathway


Anterior
Cingulate
Cortex

Default
Mode
Network

Ventromedial
Prefrontal
Cortex
Autonomic
Outflow
Endocrine
Immune
Physiological
Changes

Hypothamic
Nuclei
Pituitary
Hormones
Psycho-neuro-endocrin-immune Axis
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Mirror Neuron Simulators


Mirror neurons are the ultimate as-if body device.
Damasio, Antonio. Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain (Kindle Locations 1671-1676). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

If a complex brain can simulate someone elses


body state, than it would be able to simulate its own
body states.

A state that has already occurred in the organism


should be easier to simulate since it has already
been mapped by precisely the same
somatosensing structures that are now responsible
for simulating it.

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Special Thanks
MSCA-DII for the opportunity to provide
a forum for my ideas.
Dr. Ragan Fairchild-Bonci for the
editorial exchange and the wonderful
illustrations.
AJ Bonci for the musical and audio
guidance in the making of the self-talk
programs.
www.drbonci.com