sábado, 8 de agosto de 2009

Fluid Intelligence Trainer

In recent studies, conducted by Neuroscientists Jaeggi and other german neuroscientist with an impronunciable lastname, it was found that fluid intelligence, which previously believed to be genetically hard-wired from birth, could be improved by working memory (WM) training.

The study was conducted with the participants being young-healthy students.
the subjects and a control group both took a problem solving task and an IQ test, the subjects were trained in WM using the Dual-n-Back training approach. the controls masturbated. (i.e. did something completely irelevant) . after 19 days, both groups were tested again, the group who did the WM training, performed much better than before the training, and also much better than the controls, who spanked the monkey.

A remarkable feat worth mentioning, is that in the IQ tests took by the subjects, the group who trained WM, had gains of 20-25 IQ points.

Here is an Dual-n-Back applet i´ve found online

For a 20 or 25 point boost its worth to try! ;)

martes, 24 de marzo de 2009

My First Ayahuasca experience

This summer I went to Peru, in order to try for myself the so-called rope of the spirit or ayahuasca.

I was introduced to a 47 year old shaman named Lucio, I have to say that this man looked a lot younger for his age, also, he was a gifted creative artist.
We went into the , as they call it, "chackra" of the shaman, within the countryside.

the group was composed of six takers, Lucio, the shaman, and his assistant/driver, who was later kicked out because he did not want to participate actively during the session, as he refused to drink.

we were asked to wear white or clear color clothes, dark colors of cloth were banned from the sitting. and no shoes.


Also the group was asked to do a 3 day purge with laxatives, everyone, except me, because of my strict vegan diet. All of us were told to drink plenty of water before the session, and to carry a bottle of water for hydration purposes.

as we sat down, Lucio handed over, a cigarette called "mapacho", it was a very cool, twilight atmosphere, since there was no electricity within the hut and lighting was our only light, aside from the mapacho cigs which shined brightly on the dark as you inhaled it. it was very cool indeed.
we were sitting in silence between the alternating shaman's songs and the roaring thunder.

After a while, Lucio called us to the main bench, he handed over a small amount of the mixture (ayahuasca) to each of us.

The experience lasts about 2(two) hours; of intense psychoactive journey, the substance begins to cause psycho-physical effects 15 minutes after oral ingestion.
it is a small, yet potently sour mixture.

your body may start to shake, this can be controlled by exerting control of the breath. its strange, the more you are in control of your own breath, the less the substance controls you. in these sittings concentration is the main key to a successful experience.

at first it looked much like a normal LSD experience, but.. as the experience unfolded:

I saw geometrical patterns of light, a caduceous staff, visions of ancient Indian or Arabic palaces, and a blue human being or entity, the symbols were glowing in beautiful fluorescent light, i saw casino slot machines (mmm.. a good sign, perhaps? maybe I should give it a try)

after a while I begun to see jungle, animals. when the vision started to become creepy, I used my will to fly away, and went back to palace.

I have to admit that even when I thought I had my body 100% controlled, my mind was very hard to control, under the effect of the sacred plants, I found my stream of consciousness becoming WILD, almost impossible to control, thoughts were flooding out. as opposed to my normal state in which I have little or no mental chatter.

the shaman said that what I saw is what I received as a gift, from the sacred mother plant. he told me that with repeated use one could attain gifts of clairvoyance, second sight, magnetism among other "dones"(gifts of power).
As for the group:
the reactions were very diverse, others freaked, cried, and vomited a lot during the session. the shaman said they were releasing trauma. they were healing.
As for me:
I felt peace, however I was unable to speak, and ask intelligent questions, i was more like a mute witness of infinite pleasure. i felt powerful, my perception was SHARP, yet i could not express nor verbalize any of this.

The effects wore off completely after 2 hours. and I was back in town by 4 am.

The after effects of the mixture are something, wonderful, liberating, I felt love and connection with everything else, I felt no anger nor anxiousness, it was a brotherly feeling that I had not experienced since a long, long time ago. however, I felt a strong need for silence and spoke little if at all for the next couple of weeks.

There seems to be a restructuring and purging of the psyche going on even when the "flashy" effects wear off.
I can't wait to repeat the experience, it was absolutely wonderful.