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Unit Six Reading Selection One

2012-04-13  依尔夏提江

Unit Six

Reading Selection One:
Mind/Body Programming

  Every time you miss your exit on the highway because you are daydreaming, then "wake up" to discover yourself miles farther down the road, you are demonstrating the power of the unconscious mind. Once something is learned, we don't have to think about it consciously. The task simply repeats itself as soon as we initiate the program—in this case, by putting the key in the ignition. The rest of driving is second nature because our nervous system has been conditioned—or imprinted—with the driving pattern.* T
   Because of our conditioning, we are all creatures of habit. Most people get anxious before taking an exam partly because they have become habituated to feeling anxious at exam time, whether or not the situation Sorry, your browser doesn't support Java(tm). at hand is actually threatening. Once threatened by an exam, a neural connection is established. The next time an exam comes up, the probability is that we'll reactivate that same conditioned circuit.* T
  Physiological conditioning is a kind of rapid learning that evolved to help us master cause-and-effect situations that might determine survival. We all are familiar with Pavlov's famous experiment. A dog is given meat powder, which naturally makes him salivate. A bell is then rung every time the meat powder is presented. After a time the dog salivates merely at the sound of the bell. We see the same mechanism operating in ourselves when we're working away contentedly, then glance up at the clock, notice it's lunch time, and suddenly become hungry.T
  The mind's power to affect the body through conditioning became crystal clear to me when I was six or seven years old. My Uncle Dick, a confirmed cheese hater, was eating Sunday dinner with us. For dessert there was a cheesecake camouflaged with ripe strawberries. It was so good that he ate two pieces. About an hour later my mother expressed her surprise at Uncle Dick's delight in the dessert, since she knew how much he hated cheese. At the sound of the word cheese, Uncle Dick turned pale, began to gag, and ran for the bathroom. Even as a child it was obvious to me that the problem was not the cheese itself, but some mental conditioning about cheese that produced such a violent reaction.T
  Many people who receive chemotherapy for cancer get sick to their stomachs from the medication. Soon, through conditioning similar to Uncle Dick's, they begin to get sick before they actually receive the drugs. Some people begin to get nauseous the night before treatment. Others may get nauseous coming to the hospital or even upon seeing their doctor or nurse. They have involuntarily learned to get sick as a conditioned response to the thoughts, sights, and smells of the chemotherapy situation.T
  What we've learned from Soviet studies following Pavlov's model is that the immune system itself can be conditioned. In this country Dr. Robert Ader and Dr. Nicholas Cohen at the University of Rochester injected rats with an immunosuppressant drug and at the same time added a new taste—saccharin —to the animals' drinking water. The saccharin acted like Pavlov's bell. After a while the rats were suppressing their immunity at the taste of saccharin alone.T
  Dr. G. Richard Smith and Sandra McDaniel did a fascinating study of the suppression of immune reactions in humans. Once a month for five months, volunteers who had reacted positively in a tuberculin skin test came into the same room with the same arrangement of furniture and the same nurse. Each time they saw a red and green vial on the desk, and each time the contents of the red vial—tuberculin—were injected into the same arm, and the contents of the green vial—a salt solution—were injected into the other.T
  Month after month the same procedure was followed, and month after month the volunteers had the same reaction to the tuberculin—a red swollen patch on the same arm. There was never any reaction to the injection of the salt solution in the other arm.T
  On the sixth trial the contents of the vials were switched without the volunteers' knowledge. And this time the volunteers had almost no reaction to the tuberculin. Their expectation that nothing ever happened after the injection from the green vial apparently was enough to inhibit the immune system's powerful inflammatory response to tuberculin.T
  Conditioning is a powerful bridge between mind and body…. The reason is that the body cannot tell the difference between events that are actually threats to survival and events that are present in thought alone. The mind spins out endless fantasies of possible disasters past and future.* This tendency to escalate a situation into its worst possible conclusion is what I call awfulizing, and it can be a key factor in tipping the balance toward illness or health.* Perhaps you're hung up in traffic, sure to be late for an important 9 A.M. meeting. Or it's midnight and your child is still out, or the doctor tells you she wants to repeat a test, or so on in endless variation. The flood of "what ifs" and "if onlys" engages the various human emotions, which can influence virtually all bodily functions.* T
  The way our minds work—the degree to which we awfulize—also depends on previous conditioning. The responses of our parents and other influential role models shape our own reactions to life. Awareness of our conditioning is the first step toward unlearning attitudes that have outlived their usefulness.* Such awareness opens our ability to respond to what is happening now rather than reaction out of a conditioned history that may be archaic.* T

captivating: 有魅力的
initiate: start
ignition: (汽车的)点火电门
neural: 神经(系统)的
circuit: 电路,线路; 过程
salivate: (使)分泌(过多)唾液,(使)流口水
confirmed: being firmly settled in habit
camouflage: 伪装,掩饰
chemotherapy: 化学疗法
nauseous: 恶心
immunosuppressant: 抑制(生物体的)对外来物质免疫反应的
saccharin: 糖精
tuberculin: 结核菌素,结核菌苗
vial: 药水瓶
inhibit: 抑制,阻止
inflammatory: 刺激性的;易红肿的
escalate: 使逐步上升
archaic: so extremely old as seeming to belong to an earlier period


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