[studies] Television is Turning Us Into Zombies — Releases addictive opiates while the emotional right-brain dominates

From: Henry Makow

Television is Turning Us Into Zombies

We have been addicted to TV which puts our reptilian right-brain in charge, changing us into consumption-crazed zombies.

by Wes Moore

(abridged by henrymakow.com)

Television is an addictive opiate, and one of the most potent mind control devices ever produced. And I’m not just basing this on intuition. I have the neurological evidence to prove it.

Any behavior that leads to a pleasurable experience will be repeated, especially if that behavior requires little work. Psychologists call this pattern “positive reinforcement.” This is what we mean, technically speaking, by addiction. In this sense, television certainly fits into the category of an addictive agent.

When you watch TV, brain activity switches from the left to the right hemisphere. In fact, experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman showed that while viewers are watching television, the right hemisphere is twice as active as the left, a neurological anomaly.1

The crossover from left to right releases a surge of the body’s natural opiates: endorphins, which include beta-endorphins and enkephalins. Endorphins are structurally identical to opium and its derivatives (morphine, codeine, heroin, etc.).

Activities that release endorphins (also called opioid peptides) are usually habit-forming (we rarely call them addictive). These include cracking knuckles, strenuous exercise, and orgasm. External opiates act on the same receptor sites (opioid receptors) as endorphins, so there is little difference between the two.

Indeed, even casual television viewers experience such opiate-withdrawal symptoms if they stop watching TV for a prolonged period of time. An article from South Africa’s Eastern Province Herald (October 1975) described two experiments in which people from various socio-economic milieus were asked to stop watching television. In one experiment, several families volunteered to turn off their TV’s for just one month.

The poorest family gave in after one week, and the others suffered from depression, saying they felt as though they had “lost a friend.” In the other experiment, 182 West Germans agreed to kick their television viewing habit for a year, with the added bonus of payment. None could resist the urge longer than six months, and over time all of the participants showed the symptoms of opiate withdrawal: increased anxiety, frustration, and depression.

THE TV ADDICT

The signs of addiction are all around us. The average American watches over four hours of television every day, and 49% of those continue to watch despite admitting to doing it excessively. These are the classic indicators of an addict in denial: addicts know they’re doing harm to themselves, but continue to use the drug regardless.

The television set works as a high-tech drug delivery system, and we all feel its effects. The question is, can an addiction to television be destructive? The answer we receive from modern science is a resounding “Yes!”

First of all, when you’re watching television the higher brain regions (like the midbrain and the neo-cortex) are shut down, and most activity shifts to the lower brain regions (like the limbic system). The neurological processes that take place in these regions cannot accurately be called “cognitive.”

The lower or reptile brain simply stands poised to react to the environment using deeply embedded “fight or flight” response programs. Moreover, these lower brain regions cannot distinguish reality from fabricated images (a job performed by the neo-cortex), so they react to television content as though it were real, releasing appropriate hormones and so on. Studies have proven that, in the long run, too much activity in the lower brain leads to atrophy in the higher brain regions. …

EFFECT OF RIGHT BRAIN CONTROL

Herbert Krugman’s research proved that watching television numbs the left brain and leaves the right brain to perform all cognitive duties. This has some harrowing implications for the effects of television on brain development and health. For one, the left hemisphere is the critical region for organizing, analyzing, and judging incoming data. The right brain treats incoming data uncritically, and it does not decode or divide information into its component parts.

The right brain processes information in wholes, leading to emotional rather than intelligent responses. We cannot rationally attend to the content presented on television because that part of our brain is not in operation. It is therefore unsurprising that people rarely comprehend what they see on television, as was shown by a study conducted by researcher Jacob Jacoby. Jacoby found that, out of 2,700 people tested, 90% misunderstood what they watched on television only minutes before. As yet there is no explanation as to why we switch to the right brain while viewing television, but we do know this phenomenon is immune to content.

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