Over the past decade or so I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand the brain which has included reading dozens of books, hundreds of periodicals and so on. It’s also worth noting my quest to understand the brain is not for medical reasons, in fact it’s to become familiar with its physical nature and the constructs which drive it to apply in other areas.
For example I’ve come to grasp the concept of mirror cells along with the role they play in empathetically transferring non-verbal cues between people as well as how an absents or deficiency may play a role in autistic spectrum disorders. Then there is the release of oxytocin in a mother’s brain as her child cries which yields a similar biochemical action as created during sex thus acting as a built in protection measure for the child (there are several like this). As an interesting side note, you will notice that most shaken baby syndrome occurs by males as unfortunately we lack this mechanism.
However the most interesting from a functional point of view so far is that “sleep” is not forgiven. Yes you read that correctly as your body doesn’t forgive the loss of sleep. What does this mean, while for the sake of conversation we will say you’re an over achiever working in the IT arena and your committing to the job 18 hours a day Monday through Friday and then decide to party all night Saturday as you will sleep in Sunday calling it even. Well not quite as sleep is accumulative until its needs are met so you wake up tired, and even though you slept till noon, at 8pm you’re ready for bed again.
As during sleep a lot of things happen as this is when your body tries to run all of its housekeeping routines and especially an important one worth noting here. As it’s believed that its during sleep when your brain transfer’s short term memories to long term storage as there have been a number of studies which point out sleeping before a test and after cramming yields better results than just cramming and testing. However this non-forgiving of sleep isn’t what is overly interesting for me as I’m far past prime to cram.
However it’s the concept that our minds attempt to seek a homeostatic level of stimulation rather than accepting chaotic swings. As one key point is the consumption of information also appears to work in a similar fashion, in fact it’s been waxed about in prior posts as the world becomes more “ad” happy if you will as everything today is “impression” based.
This blog itself is another good example as I first noticed it post Japanese earthquake and tsunami as my typical readership is about 100 views per day. However after this disaster set it dropped to around 7 to 14 views per day looking like an inverted Pareto Curve with a steep fall and long rising tail for about two weeks when it returned to 100 or so per day.
Now with the Bin Laden event, the same is happening which tells me as waxed about prior there is only so many hours of media a person can consume per day and “Black Swan” events such as what occurred in Japan and now with Bin Laden in Pakistan are what I refer to as “media push” events where people don’t have to look for news it finds them. Then there are the “other days”, where there isn’t a “push” event so people seek to fill that void to maintain their level of “media fulfillment”.
By the way, it’s closing on midnight as I pen this and while in my younger days I would say sleep was over rated and I would catch up at the end of my life, well guess what…