Forms of Fright – A Very Modern Ghost Story

Modern ghosts are much more likely to be synonymous with a new form of social torture we visit upon each other. As if navigating the world of meaningful connections in our contemporary culture wasn’t hard enough, we must now contend with ghosts of our own making. Those people who are all too real, but like the girl in the backseat, disappear from our lives with no explanation. And these ghosts, unlike those from folklore, cause much greater distress to the lives of those they leave in their wake.

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If I Die Before I Wake – The Japanese 10 Dream Sequence

It is difficult to pin down the exact roots of 10 Dreams. There is a Japanese short story, published in 1908, titled Ten Nights of Dreams, which is a series of shorter stories each recounting a dream and the actions of the dreamer. But if its roots lie here, then it has certainly been changed considerably and now falls into a larger category of dreams or dream like dimensions which require a set of intricate steps to be followed in order to escape them. Think The Elevator Game.

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Like a Deer in Headlights – Adrenaline Crash

But our stress system relies on two processes. The first is adrenaline, and this is the one we hear about most. It triggers our fight or flight mechanism, heightens our senses and generally gives us superpowers. While it is a response to a high stress situation, in itself, adrenaline can actually make us feel good. We have all experienced the euphoric effects of an “adrenaline rush” at one point or another.

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Behind Every Great Man – The Temptress and The Virgin

We often cast women in one of two roles, the seductive femme fatale and the easily duped ingenue. When women are portrayed as sexual, vivacious, and intelligent beings, often outwitting even their male counterparts, they are by virtue of these very things an untrustworthy seductress. A woman who can beguile their hapless male companions into doing their sinister bidding, even killing for them.

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The Look of Love – Two-factor Theory of Emotion

This was, in fact, inspired by an earlier study by Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer which hypothesised the ‘two-factor theory of emotion’. That is the theory, that every emotional state is informed by two things: physiological arousal and a cognitive label. Put simply, our emotions are not explained solely by our internal physiological mechanisms but we give them meaning by using the available surrounding data to us.

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Afraid of the Dark – Things that go bump in the night

The ‘strange face illusion’ is a particularly unsettling optical illusion that occurs once the lights are off. Giovanni Caputo, an Italian psychologist, discovered that when we look into mirrors under certain conditions, humans will begin to see their reflection distort and take on a new identity. The distortions range from seeing a family members face, to someone beautiful, to deformations, and to something much more monstrous.

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When in the world – our strange perception of time

Let me just state for the record, time is weird.

Physical time, as in the effect that time has on the world around us and the passage of that time in a way that is quantifiable, is generally accepted as objective. But our perception of time, that is the way we experience time, is much more subjective. And if you don’t believe me, just take a look at some of the temporal illusions we experience on a daily basis.

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What Doesn't Kill You – Seeing patterns that aren't there

So remember the last time you read your star sign and took heed, or you saw a crow and took it as an omen? Well these are examples of apophenia — the human tendency to read meaning or form patterns in random data. Conspiracy theories are a particularly well-known example of apophenia and this same tendency can be seen in many of the urban legends we have today.

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