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Each of us sometimes is Mr. Jekyll and sometimes Mr. Hyde. We experience a range of feelings and emotions throughout our lives. Unfortunately, they are not always pleasant; some are so-called ugly feelings such as anger, jealousy, or irritation. Life goes on, and we move on. So do our emotions and feelings. They are connected with the situation, people around, and many others, not necessarily apparent factors such as chemistry in our body. This article will explore the chemistry of the hidden reasons behind our negative emotions and behaviors.

Why do we sometimes manifest Mr Hydes behavior

Image credit: Ewa Klejman

Chemical brain’s shake

Humans are very complex creatures, which consists of various compounds. One of the factors that determine who we are and how others perceive us is emotions. They are the driving mechanism of our existence. How can we define them? Feelings can be described as specific reactions of the human body to events or situations that make people feel and behave in particular ways. They relate to different functions, processes, and meanings [1]. For example, suppose we are having a good time with our friends. In that case, the emotions we are probably feeling are happiness, joy, or satisfaction. Emotions can also be defined as a sort of biochemical brain activity resulting in the change of behavior or/and perception of a particular event [2]. These activities and their regulations depend on many factors and substances, including compounds produced by our endocrine system called hormones [3]. They are released directly into the human bloodstream after receiving specific stimuli, and it causes a particular body reaction [4]. Hormones are produced by different organs. For example, the pineal gland produces melatonin (sleep hormone) [5] or the pancreas, which is responsible for insulin production (enables sugar digestion) [6]. Here, we concentrate on hormones linked with such unpleasant feelings as aggression, anxiety, and jealousy [7].

1608822519 325 Why do we sometimes manifest Mr Hydes behavior

Image credit: Ewa Klejman

Adrenaline and Cortisol

Most of us, during important life events like exams, public speaking, is accompanied by fear and stress. These feelings are often signaled to our body by sweaty hands, nervous eyesight, and rapid heartbeat. In fact, that is what hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are responsible for [8-10]. They provide us with extra energy, which appears in our bloodstream just several minutes after a stressful event resulting in a specific body reaction. They are produced by the adrenal glands, which are located on the top of the kidneys. While adrenaline is mainly produced during stressful events, cortisol accompanies us for almost the whole time. For example, it plays an essential role in the memory formation process.

You have probably seen at least one movie where police officers or doctors are put into a very stressful situation. In a wounded patient or a hostage situation, time speeds up. In the blink of an eye, the doctor performs a flawless operation, or the policeman fires three perfect shots, both of them have just saved the day. As it turns out, such scenes can be seen not only on TV screens. The situation we witnessed was nothing but a fight-or-flight response. It is a biological reaction that allows us to act under the influence of strong emotions and maximize our body’s physical or intellectual potential. It is a result of the increased amount of cortisol and adrenaline in our bloodstream. On the other hand, they may cause more harm than good [11]. Persistently high levels of these two hormones can lead to anxiety, irritation, anger, or even impair our brains’ intellectual capacity. Moreover, it may result in damage to your body. When you are running very fast, you get tired quickly, so you need to rest. When high levels of cortisol and adrenaline are present in your bloodstream, your heart is “running” very fast. Your body stays continuously alert. It does not have a break. It can result in various vascular, endocrinological, and neural diseases [12,13]. Therefore, we should rest regularly and get a good night’s sleep [14].

Testosterone

As you have already noticed, it often happens that two different hormones can perform the same functions. Another example is a combination of cortisol and testosterone. Many of us blame testosterone for aggressive behavior. It is responsible for the regulation of various sexual functions and competition [15]. While it is a male sex hormone, it can also be found in females. Man’s testosterone is produced by testicles in small amounts, and females testosterone is produced by adrenal glands and ovaries. The action of testosterone is multidirectional and serves both sexes, although in a slightly different way. There are many myths that testosterone is the primary aggression source among men. Still, it turns out that the truth is somewhat different. The presence of testosterone is not enough to cause aggressive behavior. This hormone is mainly responsible for domination and competition. In evolution, aggression is positively associated with dominance. However, testosterone level may be affected by other forms of “biological dominance”, for example, by comparing who has a bigger car or who earns more money. It suggests that people with violent behaviors can be accompanied by high testosterone levels. Still, the increased testosterone level does not result in aggression itself [16]. Despite the controversies around this topic, a weak positive correlation between aggressive behaviors and testosterone level can be established [17].

Cortisol and testosterone perform one similar function; those hormones play a part in jealousy. We usually feel jealous while being insecure about something or somebody. Sometimes we want to have things, and if we do not have them, it may lead to stress and create a challenge for us. Domination stimuli support our fights and challenges for things (testosterone) combined with stress (cortisol). As a result, we may feel that we want to have something and make sure it will belong only to us [18]. Remember, the next time you feel jealous about something, you know who to blame for it.

Summary

Emotions are individual, complex psycho-physiological processes. They are brain responses to subjective events and thoughts in the form of released hormones and chemicals. From the chemical point of view, hormones are substances, which play a crucial role in sleep regulation, influence growth, development, and are responsible for our mental state. High levels of testosterone are not directly linked to aggression and anger. These “bad sides” are mainly connected with hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, while testosterone is responsible for more dominant behaviors.

This article is a joint work between Ewa Klejman (Faculty of Chemistry, University of Warsaw), Agnieszka Pregowska (Institute of Fundamental Technological Research), and Magdalena Osial (Faculty of Chemistry, University of Warsaw) as a part of the Science Embassy project. Image Credit: Ewa Klejman

Bibliography

[1] Izard, C. E. (2007). Basic Emotions, Natural Kinds, Emotion Schemas, and a New Paradigm. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2(3), 260–280. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6916.2007.00044.x

[2] Damasio, A. (2011). Neural basis of emotions. Scholarpedia, 6(3), 1804. https://doi.org/10.4249/scholarpedia.1804

[3] Butnariu, M. Sarac, I. (2019) Biochemistry of Hormones that Influences Feelings. Ann Pharmacovigil. Drug Saf. 1(1): 1001

[4] Hiller-Sturmhöfel, S., & Bartke, A. (1998). The endocrine system: an overview. Alcohol Health and Research World, 22(3), 153–164. PMID: 15706790; PMCID: PMC6761896.

[5] Zhdanova, I., Wurtman, J., & J. Lynch, H. (1997). Melatonin: A Sleep-Promoting Hormone. Sleep, 10(20), 899–907. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/20.10.899

[6] Wilcox, G. (2005). Insulin and insulin resistance. The Clinical Biochemist. Reviews, 26(2), 19–39. PMCID: PMC1204764 PMID: 16278749

[7] Ramirez, J. M. (2003). Hormones and aggression in childhood and adolescence. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 8(6), 621–644. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1359-1789(02)00102-7

[8] Harvard Health Publishing. (2018, May 1). Understanding the stress response – Harvard Health. Retrieved December 14, 2020, from Harvard Health website: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response

[9] García-Sáinz, J. A. (1995). Adrenaline and its receptors: one hundred years of research. Archives of Medical Research, 26(3), 205–212. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8580669/

‌[10] Lee, D. Y., Kim, E., & Choi, M. H. (2015). Technical and clinical aspects of cortisol as a biochemical marker of chronic stress. BMB Reports, 48(4), 209–216. https://doi.org/10.5483/bmbrep.2015.48.4.275

[11] McCarty, R. (2016a). The Fight-or-Flight Response. Stress: Concepts, Cognition, Emotion, and Behavior, 1, 33–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-800951-2.00004-2

[12] Colao, A., Boscaro, M., Ferone, D., & Casanueva, F. F. (2014). Managing Cushing’s disease: the state of the art. Endocrine, 47(1), 9–20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12020-013-0129-2

‌[13] Yao, B., Meng, L., Hao, M., Zhang, Y., Gong, T., & Guo, Z. (2019). Chronic stress: a critical risk factor for atherosclerosis. Journal of International Medical Research, 47(4), 1429–1440. https://doi.org/10.1177/0300060519826820

[14] Publishing, H. H. (2020, June). In search of sleep. Retrieved December 14, 2020, from Harvard Health website: https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/in-search-of-sleep

[15] Eberhard Nieschlag. (2006). Testosterone : action, deficiency, substitution. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.

‌[16] Christopher Mims. (2007, July 5). Strange but True: Testosterone Alone Does Not Cause Violence. Scientific American. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-testosterone-alone-doesnt-cause-violence/

[17] Book, A. S., Starzyk, K. B., & Quinsey, V. L. (2001). The relationship between testosterone and aggression: a meta-analysis. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 6(6), 579–599. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1359-1789(00)00032-x

[18] Maninger, N., Mendoza, S. P., Williams, D. R., Mason, W. A., Cherry, S. R., Rowland, D. J., Schaefer, T., Bales, K. L. (2017). Imaging, Behavior and Endocrine Analysis of “Jealousy” in a Monogamous Primate. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2017.00119




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Redmi Note 10 Launch Teased Officially After Rumours Tipping February Debut in India

Redmi Note 10 launch has been officially teased on Weibo. The new development comes just weeks after the rumour mill suggested the existence of the Redmi Note 10 series that could include the Redmi Note 10, the Redmi Note 10 Pro, and the Redmi Note 10 Pro 5G. The new series is expected to succeed the Redmi Note 9 family that debuted with the launch of the Redmi Note 9 Pro and the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max in India in March last year.

Redmi General Manager Lu Weibing has teased the launch of the Redmi Note 10 on Weibo. Instead of giving away details of the phone directly, Weibing has posted an image of the Redmi Note 9 4G asking users about their expectations with the Redmi Note 10.

The Redmi Note 10 is speculated to launch in India alongside the Redmi Note 10 Pro in February. Both phones will be priced aggressively, according to tipster Ishan Agarwal. The Redmi Note 10 in the series is tipped to come in Gray, Green, and White colour options.

Although Xiaomi hasn’t provided any specifics about the phone yet, the Redmi Note 10 Pro 5G purportedly received a certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) earlier this month. The phone is also said to have surfaced on the US

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website with the model number M2101K6G. It has also reportedly appeared on the websites of other regulatory bodies including the European Economic Commission (EEC), Singapore’s IMDA, and Malaysia’s MCMC.

Redmi Note 10 series specifications (expected)

The Redmi Note 10 Pro is rumoured to come with a 120Hz display and include the Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G SoC. However, the 5G variant of the Redmi Note 10 Pro is said to come with the Snapdragon 750G SoC. It is speculated to have 6GB and 8GB RAM options as well as 64GB and 128GB storage versions. The Redmi Note 10 Pro models will come with a 64-megapixel primary camera sensor and include a 5,050mAh battery, according to a recent report.

Similar to the Redmi Note 10 Pro models, the Redmi Note 10 is also rumoured to have both 4G and 5G versions. The smartphone is tipped to have a 48-megapixel primary camera sensor and include a 6,000mAh battery.

The Redmi Note 10 Pro and the Redmi Note 10 are both expected to run on Android 11 with MIUI 12 out-of-the-box.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Cybersecurity: Blaming users is not the answer

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A punitive approach toward employees reporting data breaches intensifies problems.

Image: iStock/iBrave

Experts are warning, when it comes to cybersecurity, blaming users is a terrible idea. Doing so likely results in creating an even worse situation. Many organizations have defaulted to a blame culture when it comes to data security,” comments Tony Pepper, CEO of Egress Software Technologies, in an email exchange. “They believe actions have consequences and someone has to be responsible.”

“In cases where employees report incidents of data loss they accidentally caused, it’s quite common for them to face serious negative consequences,” continues Pepper. “This, obviously, creates a culture of fear, leading to a lack of self-reporting, which in turn, exacerbates the problem. Many organizations are therefore unaware of the scale of their security issues.”

Pepper’s comments are based on findings gleaned by the independent market research firm Arlington Research. Analysts interviewed more than 500 upper-level managers from organizations within the financial services, healthcare, banking, and legal sectors.

What the analysts found was published in the paper, Outbound Email Security Report. Regarding employees responsible for a loss of data, 45% of those surveyed would reprimand the employee(s), 25% would likely fire the employee(s).

SEE: Identity theft protection policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Pepper suggests while organizations may believe this decreases the chance of the offense reoccurring, it can have a different and more damaging effect. There’s a chance employees may not report security incidents, to avoid repercussions from company management. 

“Especially in these uncertain times, employees are going to be even less willing to self-report, or report others, if they believe they might lose their jobs as the result,” adds Pepper. 

It gets worse 

According to survey findings, a high percentage of organizations rely on their employees to be the primary data breach detection mechanism–particularly when it comes to email. “Our research found that 62% of organizations rely on people-based reporting to alert management about data breaches,” mentions Pepper. “By reprimanding employees who were only trying to do their job, organizations are undermining the reporting mechanism and ensuring incidents will go unreported.”

The lack of truly understanding why data is escaping the digital confines of an organization makes it hugely difficult for those in charge of cybersecurity to develop a defensive strategy that will effectively protect an organization’s data.

Overcome the blame game

Once it is understood that reprimanding employees is ineffective, organizations should look to create a more positive security culture. One immediate benefit is the increased visibility of heretofore unknown security risks.  

Another benefit is the ability to show regulatory bodies the organization has taken all reasonable steps to protect sensitive data. Pepper adds, “If you don’t know where your risks are, it’s hard to put reasonable measures in place. Regulators could surmise that during a data breach investigation and levy higher fines and penalties.” 

Technology has a role

Once the blame game is curtailed, it’s time to get technology involved. “The first step is to get reporting right, using technology, not people, which will remove the pressure of self-reporting from employees and place the responsibility firmly in the hands of those in charge of cybersecurity,” suggests Pepper. “Advances in contextual machine learning mean it’s possible for security tools to understand users and learn from their actions, so they can detect and mitigate abnormal behavior–for example, adding an incorrect recipient to an email.”

This is where technology makes all the difference. It prevents accidental data loss before it can happen. It empowers employees to be part of the solution, and technology gives the security team unbiased visibility of risks and emerging threats. 

What cybersecurity teams need to understand

Education about potential consequences is vital. Anyone working with the organization’s digital assets needs to understand the possible outcomes from a data breach–for example, regulatory fines or damage to the organization’s reputation. 

It’s a safe bet when users understand the consequences of emailing client data to the wrong recipient or responding to a phishing email, they’ll be much more likely to report the incident if and when it occurs. Remember: If an incident isn’t reported, there’s no way to remediate it or prevent it from happening again.

Pepper, in conclusion, offers advice to those managing cybersecurity. “The best way to engage employees with security, and ensure they understand its importance, is to create a ‘security-positive’ company culture,” explains Pepper. “Security teams need to reassure the wider organization that, while data breaches are to be taken seriously, employees who report accidental incidents will receive appropriate support from the business and not face severe repercussions.”

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ArtEmis: Affective Language for Visual Art

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Most of the annotation datasets in computer vision focus on objective and content-based applications. A recent paper on arXiv.org investigates an underexplored problem of the relationship between visual content and its emotional effect expressed through language.

ArtEmis Affective Language for Visual Art

Image credit: Merry Steward via pixy.org, CC0 Public Domain

A dataset of emotional reactions to visual artwork in natural language is collected. The annotators expressed moods, feelings, personal attitudes, and abstract concepts like freedom. Psychological interpretations were explained and linked with visual attributes.

Some of the examples even include metaphorical descriptions relative to subjective experience (like ‘it reminds me of my grandmother’). Further potential is demonstrated by creating neural speakers trained with the dataset. Some of the speakers were able to produce grounded visual explanations and fared reasonably well in the Turing test.

We present a novel large-scale dataset and accompanying machine learning models aimed at providing a detailed understanding of the interplay between visual content, its emotional effect, and explanations for the latter in language. In contrast to most existing annotation datasets in computer vision, we focus on the affective experience triggered by visual artworks and ask the annotators to indicate the dominant emotion they feel for a given image and, crucially, to also provide a grounded verbal explanation for their emotion choice. As we demonstrate below, this leads to a rich set of signals for both the objective content and the affective impact of an image, creating associations with abstract concepts (e.g., “freedom” or “love”), or references that go beyond what is directly visible, including visual similes and metaphors, or subjective references to personal experiences. We focus on visual art (e.g., paintings, artistic photographs) as it is a prime example of imagery created to elicit emotional responses from its viewers. Our dataset, termed ArtEmis, contains 439K emotion attributions and explanations from humans, on 81K artworks from WikiArt. Building on this data, we train and demonstrate a series of captioning systems capable of expressing and explaining emotions from visual stimuli. Remarkably, the captions produced by these systems often succeed in reflecting the semantic and abstract content of the image, going well beyond systems trained on existing datasets. The collected dataset and developed methods are available at this https URL.

Research article: Achlioptas, P., Ovsjanikov, M., Haydarov, K., Elhoseiny, M., and Guibas, L., “ArtEmis: Affective Language for Visual Art”, arXiv:2101.07396. Link: https://arxiv.org/abs/2101.07396




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