Feeling a Little Overstimulated?

Can we put normal back into our lives?
Harvard Gazette:                                                                                                                       Deirdre Barrett, assistant clinical professor of psychology in Harvard Medical School’s Psychiatry Department  says ‘supernormal stimuli’ drive many unnatural urges.
"Humans living in modern society are something like those lab animals, a Harvard psychology professor says. Like them, our innate instincts are overstimulated by unnatural products, as well as by advertising and images. And, like them, we respond almost unconsciously: reaching for more food, Web-surfing for porn, dumping time and money on “cute” toys, sitting for hours in front of televisions, and sending troops to fight a dehumanized “them.”
The difference between lab animals and us, however, is that overstimulation for animals isn’t present in nature. It can really only be found in the laboratory. If an animal escapes to its natural environment, it will return to natural stimuli and responses. For people, however, because we live in an artificial world of our own making, escaping those stimuli is not so easy.
But Deirdre Barrett, assistant clinical professor of psychology in Harvard Medical School’s Psychiatry Department, says that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for us.
Barrett, author of the new book “Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose,” says the first step is to understand what’s happening to us. Instincts and urges honed for hundreds of thousands of years to keep us alive in a world of scarcity are being subverted in the modern era of plenty. People are bombarded by food that they crave, tempted by seductive images, and urged to buy products designed to appeal to specific wants, regardless of need........
Pornography, she said, subverts instincts intended for mating with people. Stuffed animals, dolls, and cartoon characters manipulate people’s preprogrammed affinity for childlike “cuteness.” She also looks at obesity, war, business, television, and even intellectual pursuits.....more from Harvard Gazette

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