Carl Jung theorized that everyone has a shadow self, the dark parts of themselves that are unconsciously repressed and hidden. The shadow is made of a person’s weaknesses and shortcomings.
The shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to project: turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. These projections insulate and cripple individuals by forming an ever thicker fog of illusion between the ego and the real world.
Jung also believed that “in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness—or perhaps because of this—the shadow is the seat of creativity.”
Part III of V. This one is for you history buffs. It tells the story of Woodrow Wilson’s anosognosia and how his wife may have taken control of the presidency sending the US careening into World War II. Whoops!
Part II of V. What do Babinski, Freud, Proust and Breton have in common? You’ll never know (get it? bad anosognosia joke!). Surrealism, psychology, and medicine all intersect at the level of consciousness. Read the second installment of Errol Morris’s piece on anosognosia to find out how.
My new apartment has internet, which was an unexpected but pleasant surprise. I moved and cleaned my old apartment all morning and unpacked in the new place all night. Pretty much everything is done now: all my clothes are hung, my bed is made, the dishes have been washed and put away in the cabinets, which I scrubbed. Throughout my unpacking frenzy it never occurred to me to even try to connect to the internet but when I opened my computer, there was linksys- good old unprotected linksys- which made possible this late-night post.
Moving wasn’t easy, which is maybe why I didn’t write about it here. I was so used to my apartment and being so close to school. I was used to living with my best friend and having things the way they were. Things will be different now. I can’t walk to class anymore: goodbye sketchy alley, goodbye barefoot commutes. Hello Boulder Creek path to school every day, hello free internet.
There are many sports that I do not play or really entirely understand. Tennis is way up on the list. I’ve never really gotten it. Most years, I watch part of Wimbledon and check out the sweet iterations of outfits that the Williams sisters come up with. Most years while I’m watching Wimbledon, Will is getting annoyed because I’m asking him questions about the scoring. ”So, wait… they start with 15, then they get 15 more, but then they only get 10 more? But then, they have to get one more to win?” ”I don’t really understand… how many sets in a match? Or a game? Or whatever??” Will tries to be nice, but eventually, I resort to Wikipedia to help me out. The first time I did this, I learned more about tennis than most people know. It’s actually really fascinating. So, for those of you who are tennis-impaired like me, here’s a primer. (via wikipeida)
In each game, the players play for points. They switch off being servers each game. Scoring within a game is the tricky part for me. When the receiver or the server misses the ball or hits it out, that’s when the other person gets a point. The points go in this order 0 (love)-15-30-40-game (win). Once a person gets more than 40 (game) they win that game. Seems simple, right? However if both players have 40, then someone has to win by two points in a row. When they’re tied (at 40) it’s called deuce and if each player scores once, they go back to deuce until someone scores twice in a row.
I, of course, was really interested in why the hell they score this way. So, I looked it up and the internets and it was (surprisingly) illuminating - I found out that there are two possible histories (both French) of this type of scoring:
1. It was originally based on a clock. So, people would score 15-30-45-60. This makes infinitely more sense to me. They changed it to 40, because they decided that the game could be won by luck with this scoring. So, the players still technically have to score 60, but if they both have 40, they only move 10 with each point (so they have to get two to get to 60). If they both move to 50, then they both go back to 40 until one of them gets to 60.
2. There’s a second (similar) explanation having to do with the size of the traditional court of jeu de paume (a French racquet game). Basically, they would move 15 ft. each time they scored and they had to get to 60 ft. but it’s the same general system as with the clock.
So, after all this - if they get to 60 (game) then they win the game. They change servers each game and they have to win 6 games to win the set. But, they have to win two more than their opponent. So, if they’re tied at 6 games each then they have a tie-breaker, which is somehow different from a normal game and whoever wins that wins.
This is where the 9 hour tennis match currently being played at Wimbledon comes in. To win the match (which is like officially, actually winning), they have to win a certain number of sets (which varies depending on if they’re men or women, and what tournament they’re playing in). The epic tennis match going on requires that they win 3 sets. Here’s where the crazy rules continue - in the 5th set, there is no tie-breaker. They just have to win by 2 games. This is why they’ve been playing for two days straight, because neither of them has won two games in a row (and thus beat their opponent by two games to win the set).
Apparently, they will play infinitely until one of them does this. Now that you know all there is to know, I recommend you watch and marvel at the complete insanity of this game, and whenever you get confused, just picture a giant clock on the wall keeping score.
I never understood this before, but it really is interesting. Thanks Beth for making it so clear! Also, I miss you.
Anosognosia is a relatively common impairment following brain injury or stroke. A person with anosognosia has some kind of disability, either physical or cognitive, but ignores or acts indifferent to their impairment.
People who have had a stroke sometimes have concomitant hemiparesis (paralysis on one side of the body). If the client has anosognosia, they will not be aware of their paralysis. For example, my cognitive disorders professor would tell us about a client with hemiparesis and anosognosia. She asked him what he was going to do that weekend and he said he was thinking of going hiking, maybe climbing a mountain. She asked him if being in a wheelchair was going to be a problem and he answered that he didn’t think it would be an issue.
People can also have anosognosia regarding their language abilities. Someone with aphasia may perseverate (that is, repeat the same phrase or idea over and over), but if they have anosognosia, they won’t realize it. Patients with Wernicke’s aphasia can also have anosognosia- they are speaking fluent nonsense and get frustrated when the conversation partner doesn’t understand. It’s hard for us to understand what’s going in their mind but presumably, they don’t realize that they themselves aren’t making sense.
Another very interesting case of anosognosia is called hemispatial neglect. Patients with hemispatial neglect usually have had damage to the right side of their brain. They fail to pay attention to the left side of space: the left side of their body, the left side of their plate of food. They even ignore the left side of space in their visual imaginings of places they’ve been. They are not blind or demented. They just don’t attend to the left side and they don’t realize that they are not attending.
Generally, clients with dense anosognosia are very difficult to treat because they don’t know that anything is wrong with them, which makes it hard to teach any compensatory strategies.
The New York Times is publishing a series of articles on the topic of anosognosia, stay tuned.
I’m currently taking a very terrible night class Mondays and Tuesdays. The topic (alternative and augmentative communication), the teacher (a veritable tyrant), and the timing (4:30-8:30 pm!) combine to make it the worst few hours of my week.
Its terribleness is what inspired me to void my drafts folder of all the “bad news” type posts I had been saving up. Scrolling those depressing posts was at least something to keep my mind focused and simultaneously served as a reminder that things could be much, much worse than a 4-hour night class. I could have ALS, or traumatic brain injury. I could be a brown pelican.
I realized two things:
I don’t have that much more bad news to post.
Most of the bad news I was posting was about neuroscience.
Therefore, tonight and the next few weeks in class I’ll put up some yummy neuroscience tidbits. Coming up: an article series on anosognosia, a neurological disorder in which you don’t know how disabled. Is it wrong that I wish I could have anosognosia during my night class? At least then I wouldn’t be aware of how much of the topic I simply don’t understand, and I wouldn’t feel guilty for not paying more attention…
This morning I spent quite a bit of time making randomized sets for my experimental stimuli. I used this site because it was the best randomizer I could find: it’s simple to use and it lets you decide if you want numbers to repeat within sets (for my purposes, I do not).
Once I finish these silly data collection sheets I’ll be ready to run participants in my experiment! Well, I have to learn how to use the Optotrak first, and record and digitize my stimuli, and probably also recruit some participants. But after all that, then I’ll be ready to run the experiment.
“pease” was originally a singular noun, like “corn”. It just happened to end in a -z sound. So naturally, the way people nowdays muck around by talking about “a kudo”, enough people got around to forgetting it was a singular and we ended up with the pea.
A very similar thing happened with the word “cherries”, which comes from the French cerises. In French, the singular cerise and the plural cerises sound exactly the same- they both end in a -z sound. Some schmucky Anglo figured that “cerise” was the plural, and that if you had just one, it would be a “ceri”, which after a few sound changes became “cherry”.
This kind of linguistic process happens every once in a while, usually when languages borrow from one another, or when a word’s morphemes lose their original meaning and become free to join up with other morphemes. The technical term for this is “back formation”. The idea is that people think they know the underlying morphology, but really, they’re unraveling the morphology and creating something entirely new.
Also: bring it monkeytypist; I can do this all day.
My dad used to grow scallions- another type of allium- in the garden. Each year the ones we hadn’t picked would flower and go to seed, ensuring a crop for the next summer. After several years the scallion stalks grew to quite an impressive size. My dad (a chemist, mind you), postulated that if we left the scallions long enough they might one year grow into leeks. I submitted that if we continued to feed our westie terrier, Angel, he might one day grow into a wolf.
Unrelated, again: the etymology of scallion is in itself interesting. I had thought it might be related to onion, but no. In fact, scallions are named for Ascalon, a sea port in Palestine. Onions are just boring old Norman French.
Both garlic and leek are members of the wild onion family (allium). Allium is a fairly common yard plant- they grow tall stems with a puff of purple flowers on it. When the flowers fall off the skeleton of the puff remains and it looks like a magic wand. But I digress.
Leek is an old word, going as far back as Old Teutonic (read- Proto Germanic). Several Germanic languages have “leek” cognates.
Garlic is another old word, attested since the 11th century (OE. gárléac ). The word has two parts: gár (meaning “spear”) + léac (“leek”). It’s unclear to me why garlic is more spear-like than leek.
Digging through the OED, I found a gem of a citation in the leek entry. Though my Old English is rusty, I believe this is a recipe, in which you (ge)beat the leek and something called rudan together (togaedere).
c1000Sax. Leechd. II. 234 Gebeat
æt leac &
For a delicious leek quiche recipe (gebeat leeks with goat cheese!) of my own creation, click here
For the interesting etymology of garlic and other cloves, click here.
For other etymologically/botanically relations, click here.
Maybe it’s their frivolity that makes grapefruits so likable. They’re labor-intensive, but in a way that makes you smile instead of getting exasperated. And they’re extravagant: what other fruit has its own kind of cutlery? As a kid, I remember we used at least two different kinds of knives to open a grapefruit: one to slice it in half, and then the curvy, toothy kind to cut around the perimeter of each open face. My dad, being left-handed, usually mangled this part. Sometimes we needed a third knife to separate the triangular segments from the center. And then there was the special spoon! Bill Woolf, my dad’s best friend, gave my sister and I each one of these, which in retrospect was a very strange gift, but we loved them, and have them still. Recently I learned that grapefruit spoons even have their own name: they’re called “runcibles”, which makes me think Queen Elizabeth II and civilized society and doilies, and also tiny runtling pigglets, but then I think that probably isn’t related.
Grapefruits! Most kids probably don’t like them, seeing how sour they are, but I always thought they were just great. It probably helped that they were pink. Not only did I live in a pink house and sleep in a pink room, but I could have pink for breakfast! I had died and gone to gender-role heaven. Adding to the allure, I got to eat them with sugar on top, because god forbid my dad eat an unadulterated fruit. We also reaped the sweetened benefits in terms of sugared cantaloupe and honey-covered orange slices.
There were other important reasons why I grew up loving grapefruit. Their silliness invigorated breakfast and their playfulness spilled out into our waiting runcible spoons. We’d hold them out, and my dad would squeeze the extra juice from the grapefruit, “Time to take your medicament!”
It’s important for you to know that as a young child, I did not use the word “grapefruit”. I had no idea what a “grapefruit” was. The word for grapefruit in French is pamplemousse, which is clearly superior to “grapefruit”. And so even though we didn’t speak much French at home, “pamplemousse” was a good enough reason for an exception. My dad pronounced the word “pample-moose”. If for some reason we weren’t amenable to taking our medicament, then we would probably be persuaded to try some sugar-laced “pample-moose juice”.
And because everyone in my family had always called them “pamplemousse”, and because breakfast fruit was not a hot conversation topic in elementary school, it was not until I was 7 or 8 that I learned that there was no such thing as “pamplemousse” in English. You can imagine my surprise.
I tell you this because I want you to pass it on. I hope when you have kids, you tell them that these magical geodes are called “pamplemousse”. Initiate them in the ways of the mysterious pamplemousse tools: toothy knives and runcibles. Tell them that pamplemousse juice has healing properties and will make invisible birds flock around then and carry them swiftly though the school day. And tell them to tell their friends.
When I lived in Portland I met my two dear friends, Beth and Mikey. I love my friends unconditionally, but it’s possible that of all the people I know these two they have the worst directional sense ever. For example, I remember walking into a store with Mike, and when we left he didn’t know which way to turn to continue on our trip. I think living in New York City did a lot to help Mike’s sense of direction because the city is set up in a grid. Beth, who’s now in Denver, is still working on it.
Anyway, I reblogged this because when we lived in Portland, I had no trouble navigating around the city. It’s also a grid, with the Willamette river going north/south through the middle. Anytime I needed to navigate I used the river as a reference. Beth would get frustrated- how could I tell where the river was? ”I can feel the river”, I said, and for which she gave me endless shit. But now, Norwegian neuroscientists studying rats and the city room blogger studying subway straphangers have vindicated me. Some people can actually “feel” a direction.
For my 22nd birthday, my friend Dan Muffin bought me tickets to a Mets game. Neither of us had a car so we borrowed my dad’s. I don’t remember now who the pitcher was- was Pedro even on the team back then? I don’t remember whether the Mets won. I do remember having a pre-game tailgate party in the parking lot; tossing a baseball recklessly in a field of windshields. I do remember that leaving Shea- it was still called Shea then- was a shitshow, as usual. There’s too many cars and too many people on Long Island, and not enough Port Washington-bound trains.
I let Dan drive home so that I wouldn’t have to deal with driving a stick shift car in stop-and-go traffic on my birthday, because, for Christ’s sake, it was my birthday, and I just didn’t want to.
So Dan drove us- promptly into the back of an SUV. I didn’t get out of the car because I didn’t want to see the damage. The driver of the other car was probably drunk- or at least looking to avoid going through insurance- so after a cursory glance at the back of his truck, which was largely unscathed, he said everything was ok, and drove off hurriedly.
The damage to my dad’s car was mostly cosmetic: the passenger-side headlight was broken, and above that, the place where the fender meets the hood was crumpled. I was arguably more devastated than the car. How had I let this happen? How was I going to fix this? And how was I going to hide it from my dad until I did?
Luckily, from the driver’s side, everything looked fine. When I got home, I made sure I parked nice and close to the hedge, so my dad couldn’t see the results of my poor choices. I put on a pretty dress, straightened my hair and did my make-up and got ready to have nice birthday dinner with my family. I let my dad drive to the restaurant where we were meeting my mom and stepdad. I ate the richest pasta of my life and drank overfull glasses of red wine. My family toasted my existence and I felt like the biggest, most fraudulent piece of shit on the planet.
After dinner I got back in on the damaged side of the car. I felt like I was going to burst under the weight of keeping this dumb secret. I knew I had to tell my dad that his car was fucked, and that it was my fault, and that I would take responsibility, and that I felt just awful. I didn’t know how else to start, so I started this way, ”The good news is, I’m not pregnant. The bad news is, Dan crashed your car.”
In retrospect, starting with the worst-possible-case scenario was probably the smartest decision I’ve ever made on my feet. It threw my dad so completely that by the time he processed “Dan crashed your car”, he was already experiencing a deep sense of relief about me not being pregnant. The technique was so effective that I made the decision that from then on, this would be the way I would always deliver bad news.
Anyway, this is all to say, that the good news is, I’m not pregnant. Unless of course you consider my thesis to be my baby; in that case, the bad news is that it is developmentally delayed and suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome.
People who have served in the military- any branch, in peace or war- are twice as likely to be diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The reasons for the increase are not fully clear, especially since ALS is typically diagnosed when a person is in their 60’s, long after military service would normally be over. In the case of vets however, people as young as their 20’s are being diagnosed.
Factors that might feed into the increased risk of ALS in veterans include exposure to lead, pesticides or other environmental contacts, use of tobacco or alcohol or extreme physical exertion. The ALS Association has recognized the need for larger population-based studies and is working with Congress to pass the ALS Registry Act (HR 4033/S. 1353).
I’ve noticed that my drafts folder is bulging with posts- mostly dealing with terrible, depressing topics: traumatic brain injury, diseases and my own personal woes. Instead of keeping these downers in my drafts where I have to see them on a daily basis, I’ve decided to post them today and make room for more good news.
This is kinda funny. You see, neuroplasticity is a term for how the brain rewires itself, strengthening or changing certain neural connections. In one of my communicative disorders classes, neuroplasticity was boiled down to principles like Practice makes perfect or Use it or lose it, said of skills or habits. But here the author blows the concept up by saying that the brain is always rewiring itself, so uhh what else is new? (via azspot)
Tristan: ruining my morning by trying to blow neuroplasticity out of the water. My thesis is about learning and practice in the context of speech production and relies heavily on the principles of neuroplasticity.
I agree that the definition of neuroplasticity is problematic, especially because we can’t directly observe the changes occurring in the brain (or even narrow it down into a category like neurogenesis or synaptogensis).
One theory about motor learning involves neuronal synchronization. Briefly, this means that when you first learn to do something the neurons involved fire sporadically, resulting in neuronal noise. However, after practice the neurons begin to fire together so there is less neuronal noise and more coordinated movement. I’m not an expert on brain imaging, but I believe that even very sophisticated imaging techniques would be unable to pick this up (though maybe EEGs could, if you knew exactly which neurons to monitor?).
I’d like to point out that the ancient Greeks conceptualized atoms, but they couldn’t observe them. Does that mean that atoms didn’t exist? I think conceptualizing and theorizing is a vital first step when it comes to field of science. The author of the post suggests that we would be no worse off if we banned the word “neuroplasticity”; I think we would be setting brain science back pretty far.
Surprise! Sitting on your ass all day makes you fatter, even if you exercise.
… it looks as though there’s a more sinister aspect to sitting, too. Several strands of evidence suggest that there’s a “physiology of inactivity”: that when you spend long periods sitting, your body actually does things that are bad for you.
Oh great, this is just what I need to read while sitting on my ass (obviously, paying deep, deep attention) in my four hour, twice weekly evening class.
My summer clinics start this morning. Early. For those of you with an interest in what speech-language pathologists do, here are descriptions of the clinics I’m doing this month.
Conversation Group: This is a group for people who have aphasia, or some other impairment that keeps them from communicating and participating fully in society. These people aren’t in the acute stage of recovery, so we’re not doing direct language therapy. Instead, we’re helping them build a community by doing activities that encourage the participants to communicate with one another.
Articulation Client: I’ll be working individually with an 8-year old boy who has trouble saying /r/ sounds. ( My friend Jess asked what he said instead of /r/, and I said that it’s most likely /w/. She decided that that’s cute and I shouldn’t try to fix it. Gotta do what I gotta do, though). Since my client loves sports, I made up a card game using the logos of professional sports teams (thanks to Tristan, Matt, and wikipedia for their help). For r-initial sounds we’ll be working on the Rams, and Red Sox, and Rockies; for /r/ clusters there’s the Bruins, and Thrashers, and Predators; and for r-colored vowels there’s the Steelers, and Orioles and Cardinals. I’m pretty excited for the game, since it’s going to allow me to collect initial data and it should be fun for him, too.
Loud Crowd: Loud Crowd is for people who have Parkinson’s Disease. Most people with PD develop speech symptoms: speech becomes very rapid and extremely quiet. Interestingly, because the disease affects sensory processing, the patients themselves have no idea that their speech is different. If you tell them they need to talk louder, they tell you that you need a hearing aid. They think the entire world needs hearing aids, because they feel that they are screaming at the top of their lungs.
There is one therapy, LSVT, which has been proven to help people with PD speak louder, which in turn makes them communicate more slowly and intelligibly. This allows them to participate more fully in society. LSVT also has secondary benefits like improving swallowing function, etc. The woman who developed LSVT is a professor in my department so I was motivated to get trained in the therapy.
In Loud Crowd, I’ll be working with one client who has already been through LSVT. We’ll be doing 30-minute review sessions, just to keep him “calibrated” to his loud voice. Then we’ll be working in a group setting with other clients and clinicians to do carry-over activities and practice using their loud voice.
I’m really excited for my clinics. This is the first time I’ll have adult clients and my first articulation client, as well. I’m a little nervous, but it should be fine; I think I’m pretty good at what I do.