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Bob Dylan: what can we learn from his handwriting? The lyrics to Bob Dylan's Mr Tambourine Man, ripped from a notebook, are being auctioned off in LA. A forensic handwriting analyst sees what they reveal about the songwriterBob Dylan has said that the lyrics to Mr Tambourine Man were inspired by Bruce Langhorne, the musician who accompanied him on guitar. But is there anything going on under the surface? Here is Ruth Myers' analysis.As a writer, his lower-case disconnected script portrays an individual who likes to feel in control of his emotions. He prefers directness, accuracy, exactness and simplicity. The slant of his writing indicates a somewhat poised, cool temperament - he is an observer of life who can be considerate, objective and yet sympathetic. A crusader to the underdog and the oppressed. He can work well under pressure, organise others and can handle crisis situations without losing control. The writing on this particular lyric indicates dispiritedness and feelings of depression. The pressure of the writing is heavy, sensuous; he absorbs life's experiences, is strongly opinionated and has staying power to support his goals. The size of the characters represent good concentration with the ability to focus. It's a valuable trait for achieving, and a form of mental retreat which can be used as an escape for reflection on the happenings in the world. His rhythm is illustrated by the exact spacing enables him to express himself fluently and he inspires others with his poetic and colourful lyrics; his zest and force attracts and dominates the scene, shown by excessively heavy t-bars.Reading on mobile? Watch Bob Dylan sing Mr Tambourine Man hereBob DylanPop and rockCreative writingPsychologytheguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
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Electrical brain stimulation may evoke a person's 'will to persevere' What gives some people the ability to persevere through difficult situations that others may find insurmountable? The answer is no doubt a complicated one that may be beyond our full understanding, but new research provides some intriguing insights. The study pinpoints a region of the brain that, when stimulated, causes an individual to anticipate a challenge and possess a strong motivation to overcome it.
Electric brain stimulation induces feeling of determination – video A patient describes a sensation of perseverance when a particular part of his brain is stimulated
'Determination' can be induced by electrical brain stimulation | Ian Sample Applying an electric current to a particular part of the brain makes people feel a sense of determination, say researchersDoctors in the US have induced feelings of intense determination in two men by stimulating a part of their brains with gentle electric currents.The men were having a routine procedure to locate regions in their brains that caused epileptic seizures when they felt their heart rates rise, a sense of foreboding, and an overwhelming desire to persevere against a looming hardship.The remarkable findings could help researchers develop treatments for depression and other disorders where people are debilitated by a lack of motivation.One patient said the feeling was like driving a car into a raging storm. When his brain was stimulated, he sensed a shaking in his chest and a surge in his pulse. In six trials, he felt the same sensations time and again.Comparing the feelings to a frantic drive towards a storm, the patient said: "You're only halfway there and you have no other way to turn around and go back, you have to keep going forward."When asked by doctors to elaborate on whether the feeling was good or bad, he said: "It was more of a positive thing, like push harder, push harder, push harder to try and get through this."A second patient had similar feelings when his brain was stimulated in the same region, called the anterior midcingulate cortex (aMCC). He felt worried that something terrible was about to happen, but knew he had to fight and not give up, according to a case study in the journal Neuron.Both men were having an exploratory procedure to find the focal point in their brains that caused them to suffer epileptic fits. In the procedure, doctors sink fine electrodes deep into different parts of the brain and stimulate them with tiny electrical currents until the patient senses the "aura" that precedes a seizure. Often, seizures can be treated by removing tissue from this part of the brain."In the very first patient this was something very unexpected, and we didn't report it," said Josef Parvizi at Stanford University in California. But then I was doing functional mapping on the second patient and he suddenly experienced a very similar thing.""Its extraordinary that two individuals with very different past experiences respond in a similar way to one or two seconds of very low intensity electricity delivered to the same area of their brain. These patients are normal individuals, they have their IQ, they have their jobs. We are not reporting these findings in sick brains," Parvizi said.The men were stimulated with between two and eight milliamps of electrical current, but in tests the doctors administered sham stimulation too. In the sham tests, they told the patients they were about to stimulate the brain, but had switched off the electical supply. In these cases, the men reported no changes to their feelings. The sensation was only induced in a small area of the brain, and vanished when doctors implanted electrodes just five millimetres away.Parvizi said a crucial follow-up experiment will be to test whether stimulation of the brain region really makes people more determined, or simply creates the sensation of perseverance. If future studies replicate the findings, stimulation of the brain region – perhaps without the need for brain-penetrating electrodes – could be used to help people with severe depression.The anterior midcingulate cortex seems to be important in helping us select responses and make decisions in light of the feedback we get. Brent Vogt, a neurobiologist at Boston University, said patients with chronic pain and obsessive-compulsive disorder have already been treated by destroying part of the aMCC. "Why not stimulate it? If this would enhance relieving depression, for example, let's go," he said.NeurosciencePsychologyEpilepsyDepressionMental healthHealthIan Sampletheguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
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