I’ve suggested that many people are not open to exploring various cataclysmic economic and environmental scenarios because they prefer to be in denial. But there is another possibility that may work in concert with denial or alone. This characteristic is ignorance. I’ve recently read an article by Viatcheslav Wlassoff, PhD entitled “How does the Brain Respond to Gossip?” http://brainblogger.com/2015/04/25/how-does-the-brain-respond-to-gossip/

According to the article two-thirds of information passed between humans is gossip about other humans. You can see this on the major television networks, rarely is there anything substantive said, but rather it is a festival of gossip – he said this, she said that, he did this and so on. It fits perfectly with the human characteristics of hierarchy and tribalism Facebook and Twitter owe their success to these human priorities.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Ministry’s Lavrov.

What are the first things they say when reporting back to President’s Obama and Putin? “That guys a jerk, he lying, you can’t trust him, and the weather, it’s awful. By the way, who won the playoffs.”  Typical low-grade monkey chatter.

From the article:

“According to the findings from these scan reports (MRI), listening to gossip about themselves heightened activity in the superior medial prefrontal cortex of the subjects’ brains. This region also responded to negative gossip about others. The subjects recorded increased activity in the orbital prefrontal cortex region of their brains in response to positive gossip about themselves.

The prefrontal cortex is one of the brain regions involved in social cognition and executive control. Social cognition is the ability to regulate our thoughts, behavior, and actions based on the real, imaginary, or assumed presence of other people. In other words, social cognition is a trait that makes us want to conform to the accepted norms and rules of society. Executive control is the ability to channelize our thought patterns, behavior, and actions based on internal goals. The neurotransmitter dopamine regulates the functionality of this region and activates the reward system.

The activation of prefrontal cortex region of the brain in response to positive gossip about oneself indicates that most human beings want to be seen as conforming to social standards of morality and success. They see more rewards in being “seen” in a positive light by the world at large than staying true to their internal moral compass.

On the other hand, we think that we are repulsed by negative gossip about others. But the fMRI images obtained during the above study bust this myth. The activation of the superior medial prefrontal cortex region in response to negative gossip about others indicates that although we are not elated by the falling-from-grace stories of other people, we are amused. This finding would seem morally unacceptable to many. After all, we don’t like to think of ourselves as fiends who gloat at others’ miseries and misfortunes.”

Apparently people are predisposed to gossip, a behavior that may have served them well in the past but which now simply interferes with understanding of greater reality and associated problems.

“We talk about other topics like music, sports, politics, and the weather in the remaining time.”

What this means generally is that people do not discuss much but the banal and trivial, moderated by the superior medial and prefrontal cortex and our old friend dopamine. Just consider the next time someone cuts you off from discussing real issues, it may be that they’re just ignorant, except for the latest gossip.

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Tune in today and find out who said what about whom. But that’s about it, unless you want to know about sports or the weather.

The activation of prefrontal cortex region of the brain in response to positive gossip about oneself indicates that most human beings want to be seen as conforming to social standards of morality and success.

What this basically means is that everyone wants to be praised and accepted by their peers and to be accepted requires conforming to the standards of behavior existing in the society, even if that means being devoid of knowledge and ideas. I’m beginning to believe that one must be a loner in order to escape the wasteful monkey chatter in order to devote ones mind to thought.