[ExI] Nature of Humor: Grinning and Laughing

Emlyn emlynoregan at gmail.com
Wed Sep 17 04:43:58 UTC 2008

2008/9/17 ben <benboc at lineone.net>:
> PS And this from Spike definitely made me guffaw, with nobody else
> around at all:
> "So then, if we ever get to where we can download our mental selves and
> if we can mess around with the code, one thing I want to do is find the
> mechanism for humor and the mechanism for eroticism.  Then I want to
> switch those two, so that funny is erotic and vice versa.  Just think of
> the fun we could have with that!"
> Spike is twisted.
> Brilliantly, hilariously twisted.
> Spike, I salute you.

Here's some of the mechanism you need showing itself:


"Erotic self-stimulation and brain implants:

A 48-year-old woman with a stimulating electrode implanted in her
right ventral thalamus started to compulsively self-stimulate when she
discovered that it could produce erotic sensations.

This is a report from the early days of deep brain stimulation, way
back in 1986, from an article for the medical journal Pain which
discussed some unintended side-effects from one patient's DBS
treatment for chronic pain.

Soon after insertion of the nVPL electrode, the patient noted that
stimulation also produced erotic sensations. This pleasurable response
was heightened by continuous stimulation at 75% maximal amplitude,
frequently augmented by short bursts at maximal amplitude. Though
sexual arousal was prominent, no orgasm occurred with these brief
increases in stimulation intensity. Despite several episodes of
paroxysmal atrial tachycardia [heart disturbance] and development of
adverse behavioural and neurological symptoms during maximal
stimulation, compulsive use of the stimulator developed.

At its most frequent, the patient self-stimulated throughout the day,
neglecting personal hygiene and family commitments. A chronic
ulceration developed at the tip of the finger used to adjust the
amplitude dial and she frequently tampered with the device in an
effort to increase the stimulation amplitude. At times, she implored
her to limit her access to the stimulator, each time demanding its
return after a short hiatus. During the past two years, compulsive use
has become associated with frequent attacks of anxiety,
depersonalization, periods of psychogenic polydipsia and virtually
complete inactivity.
Similar cases are still being reported today. A 2005 case report
described a gentleman who had a DBS electrode inserted into the right
subthalamic nucleus to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. He
found that switching the device on and off produced a 'morphine like'
sensation that he became quite fond of.

This effect was first discovered in humans in the early 1960s, when
controversial psychiatrist Robert Heath reported on two cases of
people with a number of electrodes implanted in the brain, including
some in similar areas to the patients mentioned above.

In 1972, he undertook a notorious study where he implanted electrodes
into the brain of a consenting 24-year-old gay male who had been
repeatedly hospitalized for chronic suicidal depression and found to
have temporal lobe epilepsy.

The brain implant was specifically introduced for non-sexual reasons
but Heath decided to test whether pleasurable brain stimulation would
encourage the man, known only as B-19, to engage in heterosexual
sexual activity with a prostitute.

The study was a 'success' but has become infamous as one of the more
distasteful episodes in the history of 'gay conversion therapy', which
is quite hard going in a field that is well-known for its distasteful

Heath was apparently funded by the CIA as part of their abortive
research programme into 'mind control' techniques, but I can't find
any reliable reference for that, so it might need to be taken with a
pinch of salt."


http://emlynoregan.com - my home
http://point7.wordpress.com - downshifting and ranting
http://speakingoffreedom.blogspot.com - video link feed of great talks
on eCulture

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