‘Envious’ Emotions — An App For That

September 21, 2016

picassoOvercast-gray with a bit of patchy ground fog this early Wednesday on California’s north coast — another day in the life along the shoreline.
Weather the weather…

Beyond the horror of T-Rump this morning, science attempts to understand humanity — in a world of non-stop action, studies beckon on our feelings.
Nowadays, an App for hacking those emotional impulses:

Researchers are working on a new device that can detect a person’s emotions using wireless signals reflecting off a person’s body.

Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab say their EQ-Radio device is 87 percent accurate in telling if someone is excited, happy, angry or sad.

(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘Self Portrait Facing Death‘ (June 30, 1972), was originally found here).

Humankind does have all kinds of emotional ‘baggage,’ of a way to express how we really, really feel — even why music can be sad to our sad brain. Supposedly, music strikes a strong sense of loss and sadness, but t’s paradoxical.
From The Conversation last week:

Researchers have long been puzzled about this phenomenon and it’s not until fairly recently that we have started to gain some insight into how we enjoy music.
Now, a new study by colleagues and me, published in Frontiers in Psychology, has discovered why some of us enjoy sad music more than others — and it’s got a lot to do with empathy.
Research has already shown that open individuals typically score highly on musical sophistication, while “systemisers”, those with a strong interest in patterns, systems and rules, tend to prefer intense music such as rock and punk.
But what about sad music?
Surely nobody would like it unless the emotion experienced is not actual sadness but some kind of transformed version of it?
Based on large surveys of what people experience while listening to sad music, we know that these experiences typically fall into different categories.

The most curious type of experience, however, is the feeling of being moved, which we think is the basis of our fascination with sad music.
This experience can be difficult to describe verbally, but it is often intense and pleasurable.
However, not everyone seems to be able to experience it.
So who would? Intuitively, it would make sense that those who easily feel empathy are also easily moved.

The group hug of the emotions — in music and especially in a darkened theater.
From Science yesterday:

If you were old enough to see a PG-13 movie in 1997, chances are you went to see Titanic.
And chances are you cried.
You might have even seen the film multiple times, doing your part to make it the highest-grossing sob fest in movie history.
Now, a new study suggests why people want to see tragedies like Titanic over and over again: Watching dramas together builds social bonds and even raises our tolerance for physical pain.
“Why on Earth would we waste so much of our time and money going back to novels and films that make us cry?” evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and his team asked at the beginning of the new study.
In their previous investigations of group activities like dancing, laughing, and singing, they found that feel-good chemicals called endorphins were released in the brain, leading to increased pain tolerance and stronger bonds between participants.
Endorphins are also released when monkeys and other nonhuman primates groom, suggesting that this mechanism has evolved to boost social ties, Dunbar says.
Watching a tragic drama unfold in a theater might harness the same system, the researchers hypothesized.

Bringing all this emotion together is human behavior, and now a study shows 90 percent of the population can be classified into four basic personality types: Optimistic, Pessimistic, Trusting and Envious. However, the latter of the four types, Envious, is the most common, with 30 percent compared to 20 percent for each of the other groups.
Per ScienceDaily last Thursday:

A computer algorith organized 90 percent of people into four groups: the largest group, accounting for 30 percent, being the Envious — those who don’t actually mind what they achieve, as long as they’re better than everyone else; next are the Optimists — who believe that they and their partner will make the best choice for both of them — on 20 percent.
Also on 20 percent are the Pessimists — who select the option which they see as the lesser of two evils — and the Trusting group — who are born collaborators and who will always cooperate and who don’t really mind if they win or lose.

Some of those guys could be Trump voters — they just don’t give a shit…

Yet in this all, don’t really drown yourself in drink. Or if you do, drink alone.
Via Cardiff University, also from last week:

Published in the open access journal BMC Public Health, the study found that whilst intoxicated and in drinking environments, people’s perception of their own drunkenness, the excess of their drinking and the long-term health implications of their drinking behaviour were related to how their own drunkenness ranked in comparison to others around them.
People were more likely to underestimate their own level of drinking, drunkenness and the associated risks when surrounded by others who were intoxicated, but felt more at risk when surrounded by people who were more sober.
Professor Simon Moore from Cardiff University said: “This has very important implications for how we might work to reduce excessive alcohol consumption. We could either work to reduce the number of very drunk people in a drinking environment, or we could increase the number of people who are sober. Our theory predicts the latter approach would have greatest impact.”

Sad and sober…bad combo.

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