The Power of Suggestion

Although amazing, our hippocampus and amygdala have their limitations.  Both are a part of our brain’s limbic system, and both play roles in our memory systems. The synergy between the two are suspected to play a significant role in the long-term storage of emotional memories.  Yet, according to J.E. LeDoux, “Emotions are conscious products of unconscious processes.” Here is the kicker and reason for this post.

Emotions influence our declarative memories, and leave remnants of consequences from our emotional responses. These neural transmissions sometimes bypass the usual (longer) route for memory storage and recollection. Hence, this explains why a particular sound or smell may evoke a feeling of anxiousness, without you completely understanding or remembering the event responsible for the behavioral response.  Without corroboration of physical evidence, verifying reported memories can be difficult.  However, this does not mean  they are not true.

Unfortunately, research studies have demonstrated guided retrieval of memories can appear genuine to participants, especially when the participant feels pressured to remember a difficult-to-recall event.  A suggestion as simple as, “imagine this event and the sights and sounds around you, but don’t worry about the accuracy of your memories”, has been shown to elicit completely false memories or disassociated memories.

False memories of events never occurred, whereas disassociated memories are truthful and guided components of memories that meld into one memory. Previous truthful components of memories and guided components become indistinguishable.  The power of suggestion is noteworthy.

~ Dr. Michelle Doscher

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Handwriting in a Digital World

Handwriting is more than written information on paper. It is a tangible piece of our mental processes. I’m not referring to your deepest darkest secrets; only you know those. I am talking about how you choose to communicate your thoughts. Some people rehearse their words in their brain prior to putting pen to paper, others just write freely and worry about editing later. Perhaps, this is why we use digital formatting for most everything; it is easy to edit without leaving smudges or lined-out words in the wake of our emerging discourse. Aesthetically, typed information is easier on the eye and void of unnecessary distractions. So why do law enforcement officials insist on taking written statements with pen and paper? Some may jokingly profess it is the lack of funds for 21st century technology, or others may just shrug and say “that’s the way we have always done it.”. Despite the reason, the unique identifying characteristics of handwriting should not be discounted.

Handwriting, like your DNA, identifies you yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Your handwriting changes with your moods and faculties. Handwriting is a time-stamped view of you! So, what does that say about comparative handwriting analysis? The overall appearance of your handwriting remains fairly consistent, but your writing slant, pressure, and spacing will vary. Something as simple as different widths of pen tips or writing surfaces will affect your handwriting; however, the information directed by your brain will not be altered. All of the typical who, what, when, where, how, and why questions cannot remain locked in our subconscious forever. While writing, we consistently pass along clues to our thought processes. For example, does a handwritten note “sound” like the person who wrote it? Hmm, not so much. Listen to a recorded version of the writer reading their handwritten note. All of a sudden you hear voice inflection and purposeful pauses. Have you ever wondered why movie producers use the author’s voice when showing a person reading a note from another? The effect is more powerful and speaks to our emotions.

Some say handwriting analysis is an art, a subjective science. I agree and disagree. Handwriting analysis can also be a measurable insight into mental processes. My research has shown and continues to show us areas where our brain writing consistently speaks to us with real-time data. Let me show you how this works. Intrigued? Fantastic! Click here, and grab a pen and paper.

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Call for Research Participants

How well do you mask lies?

Single or multiple submissions welcome. Make it a contest! Get your office involved. Assign yourself a 5-digit code to be placed on your writing sample. No identifying information please.

 

Instructions: Please write 4 paragraphs per the below instructions. You may print or write cursive on lined or unlined paper, and it does not matter if you write with a pen or pencil. Scan or photograph your completed statements and email or text them (with your 5-digit code) to: Michelle@MindSleuth.us or (800) 910-0270s.  Results with 5-digit codes will be published on Facebook and in the Spring issue of eliteinvestigativejournal.com

PARAGRAPH #1– Copy the following paragraph.
I was asked to write an article about bitcoins. The editor will contact me with needed edits prior to publishing my article. The compensation will be in virtual dollars.
PARAGRAPH #2
In 3 or more sentences, state your sex, age, your favorite pastime, and why you enjoy this pastime.
PARAGRAPH #3
In 3 or more sentences, write about your dream vacation, as if you just returned from a week of rest and relaxation. Be creative! But, remember, you must have never experienced this vacation.
PARAGRAPH #4
In 3 or more sentences, write about an incident which never occurred.

Thank you for your participation!

Dr. Michelle Doscher

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Time for a mind and body detox?

The holidays are my favorite time of the year, when I am not stressed to meet deadlines, fighting a wicked cold, trying to outsmart even the savviest professional shopper, and appearing jovial throughout the gloomiest of frigid days!  Woohoo, that was cathartic.  So, how should we prepare for the holidays?

Prayer or meditation opens your mind and allows you to release and shrug off the weight of daily doldrums.  Walking to and from a neighbor’s house to say “hello”, stimulates endorphin production to help ease bodily aches and elevate your mood.  By reducing cortisol levels, you are making your heart healthier and reducing your risk for osteoporosis.  Your body thanks you!

Did you know the above tips also help reduce adrenaline levels, which tend to be over the top, in us high energy, anxious Type A personalities?  If you know a child or adult who is battling attention deficit disorder (ADD)or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), share these tidbits with them as well.

On to detoxing our bodies… you are what you eat and [drink]!  Some of you may remember the elephant posters in school cafeterias back in the 1970’s with this slogan.  I, of course, took it to mean I had the potential to become an elephant.  Not the intention of the American Dietary Association.  I believe they were thinking more along the lines of not replacing molasses for motor oil in your car’s engine.

Although the intentions of the “healthier” fast-food establishments are to provide daily nutritional meals, fresh vegetables are rarely on their menus.  Hence, too many of us are lacking in our daily magnesium intake.  Why magnesium?   Your heart, bones, and brain will thank you.  A time-released high-absorbency magnesium vitamin is best, which I have found at Jigsaw Health.com.  Of course, consult with a medical professional before taking my advice.

Here’s to a happier and healthier you! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you all!

Michelle Doscher, PhD

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Your Brain, a Microcosm of a City

All major cities have infrastructure which is needed for operation and maintenance of its society.  Your brain is no different.  Information and essential elements are transported efficiently.  Permanent structures are erected and restructured to meet needs and demands.  Lastly, operations are ever-changing, including changes in function.  As brain scientist Lara Boyd noted, everything we do and encounter changes our brains, for better or for worse.  Are these changes permanent? Yes and no.

We shape the way our microcosm presents itself and functions.  We determine whether certain structures expand or are allowed to diminish.  “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.”  Our brains exhibit neuroplasticity; that is why our experiences and gained knowledge affect our perspectives, hence personalities.  Nutritionists often say, “You are what you eat.”  Well, from a psycho-social perspective, “We are what we experience.”  Fill your brain with positive, thought-provoking thoughts and diminish the effects of negative life experiences. These fluctuations will result in behavioral changes, along with awakened brain regions and the opportunity for amplified learning capabilities!

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