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OCD doesn't mean being fastidious. It doesn't mean being a perfectionist.

How Human Brains Could Be Hacked

It doesn't mean keeping a clean house. It means living a life feeling apart, abnormal even. I cringe a little when I hear someone say: There's an almost positive connotation to OCD because it is associated with being driven and hygienic. Either that, or there's an assumption that we're all just like Howard Hughes. For most people, it's somewhere in the middle. Here's an example of the obsessive-compulsive mind. You may see a person crossing the street from your vehicle, and think that you could physically run them over. You would usually dismiss this as an odd thought because, of course, you would never actually do that.

Someone with OCD might think the same thing, and the thought will replay over and over again causing debilitating stress. The OCD individual may even check their front fenders a few times after driving, or return to the crosswalk to make sure that they did not actually run someone over. They will know by memory that nothing happened, but the fear and anxiety of even considering causing harm to another human being is so intense that checking to make sure it didn't happen seems to be the only option. There are many foci for worry to the OCD brain. Some people fear causing harm to themselves or others, some fear disturbing God, and some fear for their own health, among infinite obsessions.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? The rise of mind control

Some people are more obsessive, and others more compulsive. The compulsions are usually rituals that are preformed as a way to temporarily ease anxiety on a particular obsession. Some people may touch something to make sure it's still there, or clean and wash repeatedly to dispel germs, or check the locks a dozen times before finally believing that they may be locked. The relief from doing these things never lasts long.

This interactive map shows how wrong we picture the world

The thought always comes back that maybe one more washing is in order, one more touch, or one more check of the lock. My OCD normally materializes in intrusive thoughts, hypochondria, intermittent bouts of checking things repeatedly, localized skin picking, and a difficulty in making variations to routines. I make daily to-do lists and get upset or despondent when I don't complete them.

I'm afraid that if I don't make the lists I'll forget to do something and my life will somehow eventually spiral out of control, inevitably ending in the destruction of mankind.

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So I keep to my lists to preserve humanity you're welcome. For years I've been convinced that any blemish near my lips was actually a touch of mouth herpes cleverly disguised as a zit, although to this day I've never had a cold sore. Every headache or slight dip in energy has been personally scrutinized for fear of cancer or AIDS. While I do not lead the type of lifestyle frequently associated with HIV or AIDS, I have concocted more than one elaborate scenario that could undoubtedly do the trick.

This is actually one of the reasons that I rarely get my nails done. Millennials, for example, look for fast results. When we talk to them, we move slower and talk about things like safety and risk. Another way to tell what someone is thinking is to look for their pain points, which involves asking the right questions.

A Glimpse Inside an OCD Mind

Where are their comfort zones? Miner suggests skipping pre-canned conversations and entering the relationship as a discussion. Nine times out of 10, people will agree that they have the same issue, which helps you better understand what they need. Someone who prefers to be dominant, for example, might have an overly firm handshake, says Miner. People who welcome humor will often insert sarcasm into a conversation.

From the brain activity, Gallant's team can reconstruct the approximate images people saw. The scientists are also developing a dictionary of concepts that allows them to guess what people are thinking about the images they're seeing. But these technologies are already raising ethical issues.

Mind Games Quotes (42 quotes)

Freeman goes on to explore an even more startling possibility: If thoughts can be decoded, could they also be altered? For example, imagine if you could turn an amateur into an expert in a single day. This is the mission of neuroscientist and entrepreneur Chris Berka. Athletes, performers or other experts can tap into a state of extreme mental focus, called being "in the zone. The neurotech company Berka runs is developing technology to monitor people's brain activity during a task, such as archery, and notify them when they have reached their "peak performance state," aka, the zone.

Essentially, the technology gives people the ability to hack into their own brains in order to improve their performance. But what if other people could hack into a person's brain and plant thoughts there? Computer programmers break into secure systems using "cracks," Freeman says. In humans, sense of smell could be a crack for the brain.