August 24, 2019

Archives for March 3, 2016

The Anti-Motivation Strategy (Part 6): John Pepper Explained


Last time, we met John Pepper, the conscious walker with Parkinson’s Disease. How does he do it, when Parkinson’s has literally taken the motivation out of his brain?

The answer is about dope — dopamine, that is.

The Straight Dope on Motivation

Dopamine is the brain chemical behind the pursuit of happiness. When we think about getting moving on something, it runs a cost-benefit analysis, and if the perceived reward outweighs the cost, it gets behind the idea. We feel motivated. We get going. But if the ledger comes up short, dopamine settles back on the couch and asks for more Cheetos.

Norman Doidge explains John Pepper’s relationship with motivation this way:

The conventional view is that dopamine is essential for movement, and because people with [Parkinson’s Disease] have too little…, they can’t move. But it turns out that dopamine is also essential to ‘feel’ that it is worth making a movement— that is, people need dopamine to feel motivated to move in the first place.

Thus dopamine has at least three characteristics relevant to [Parkinson’s Disease]: first, it enhances motivation to move; then it facilitates and quickens that movement; and finally it neuroplastically strengthens the circuits involved in the movement, so that movement will be easier next time. But if there is no motivation, no movement will occur.

A recent study shows that the ‘motivation to move’ goes awry in [Parkinson’s Disease].

The importance [of this study] for understanding Parkinson’s cannot be underestimated: it is not simply that [Parkinson’s Disease patients] have an inherent inability to move normally and at a normal speed; the motivational component of their motor system is also fundamentally compromised.

Parkinson’s Disease appears in its symptoms as a physical movement disorder, but it has roots that are ‘cognitive’ or ‘mental,’ and is thus as much a mental as a physical disorder.

Which is precisely why it is problematic to teach Parkinson’s patients that the loss of dopamine prevents them from moving! This instruction will only reinforce passive resignation, at the very moment when that attitude needs to be undermined.

This motivational lack is not a product of laziness or apathy or weakness of will. Rather, the brain’s dopamine-based motivation circuit often cannot energize particular movements, even when desired, and this appears as weariness or lassitude.

That John Pepper was able to motivate himself to move, despite limited dopamine, attests to the vital force of his mind and will. But to translate that motivation still required a ‘neurological’ discovery on his part. He still couldn’t do normal, everyday walking, which is automatic and habitual… until his conscious walking technique got around this circuit and allowed him to use other circuits.

In other words, John Pepper’s dogged walking practice — not his brain’s motivation mechanism — has recruited other parts of his brain to help him stay with it.

Why is John Pepper important to you and your pursuit of motivation?

Because we all have those moments when we just can’t seem to get ourselves going. Same with the people we’d like to motivate. Dopamine just isn’t behind the idea. When that happens, we need to find some other way to get moving even when we’re not motivated to do so.

We’ll dig deeper into that idea next time.

Rhodes_4This second collection of Kevin’s blog posts focuses on the future and culture of law, including insights on technology, innovation, neuro-culture, and entrepreneurship. Extensively researched, visionary, and written in a crisp, conversational style by a man on a mission to bring wellbeing to the people who learn, teach, and practice the law.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Life Without Parole Sentence for Juvenile Remanded for Montgomery Evaluation

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Wilder on Thursday, February 25, 2016.

Juvenile—First-Degree Murder—Sentence.

In accordance with the law in 1999, defendant was sentenced to mandatory life without parole based on his conviction of first-degree murder after deliberation. Defendant was a juvenile when the crime was committed.

In February 2015, the Court of Appeals reconsidered defendant’s sentence based on Miller v. Alabama, 132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012). The Court concluded that defendant’s sentence was unconstitutional, vacated the sentence, and remanded the case for an individualized determination of whether life without parole was an appropriate sentence. The Court’s decision was based on the conclusion that Miller applied retroactively.

In June 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court decided People v. Tate, 2015 CO 42, holding, among other things, that Miller did not apply retroactively. Acting on a petition for certiorari, in October 2015 the Colorado Supreme Court vacated the decision in this case and remanded for reconsideration in light of Tate. At that time, Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577 U.S. ___ (2016), was pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. The division decided to wait for the result in Montgomery before deciding defendant’s case under Tate.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided Montgomery in January 2016. The effect of Montgomery was to overrule that portion of Tate concluding that Miller should not be applied retroactively. As directed by the Colorado Supreme Court, and in light of Montgomery, the Court of Appeals reached the same result and remanded this case to the trial court, directing it to consider whether life without the possibility of parole is an appropriate sentence given defendant’s “youth and attendant characteristics.” If the trial court concludes that life without possibility of parole is unwarranted, life with the possibility of parole after 40 years is the appropriate sentence.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Inconsistent Answers on Special Interrogatories Do Not Render Verdict Invalid

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Rail on Thursday, February 25, 2016.

Sexual Assault on a Child—Jury—Polling—Verdict Forms—Interrogatories—Waiver—Simple Variance—Expert Witness—Colorado Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act of 1998.

B.H. testified that beginning when she was about 5 years old and continuing for several years, Rail showed her sexually explicit photos and then subjected her to sexual contact.

On appeal, Rail contended that his convictions for sexual assault on a child (SAOC) and the pattern enhancer cannot stand because the jury’s answers to the unanimity and pattern interrogatories conflicted with each other and with the guilty verdict on the SAOC charge, thus constituting structural error. The jury received separate verdict forms for both the SAOC and the sexual assault on a childposition of trust (SAOC-POT) charges. The trial court polled the jury, but the partial polling left two inconsistencies unresolved: First, on the SAOC general verdict form, the jury found Rail guilty, while it indicated on the unanimity interrogatory that none of the four incidents had been proved. Second, the jury’s answers to the unanimity interrogatory marked the four incidents as not proved, but on the pattern interrogatory, it marked those same four incidents as proved. The Court of Appeals held that inconsistent interrogatory answers do not constitute structural error. Because defense counsel did not object to the inconsistencies when the trial court announced the verdicts and did not request further polling, Rail waived appellate review of this issue.

Rail next contended that the trial court’s response to a jury question during deliberations constructively amended the information as to the SAOC charge, requiring reversal. The Court found that by allowing the jury to find Rail guilty of a sexual assault that occurred outside the time frame alleged in the information, the trial court allowed a simple variance from the information, not a constructive amendment to it. Because Rail failed to show how he was prejudiced by the simple variance, reversal was not required.

Rail further asserted that the trial court violated his constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial by admitting expert testimony on the general behavior of child sexual abuse victims. Because the expert’s testimony was reliable, did not impermissibly bolster B.H.’s credibility, and was not unfairly prejudicial, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in qualifying the witness as an expert and permitting her to testify regarding the behavior of child sex abuse victims.

Rail also challenged the constitutionality of the Colorado Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act of 1998. The Court found this argument meritless.

The judgment of conviction was affirmed.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Revocation of Dealer License Appropriate Where Dealer Failed to Disclose Vehicle Damage

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Colorado Department of Revenue v. Astro Imports, Inc. on Thursday, February 25, 2016.

Used Car Dealership—Revocation of License—Failure to Disclose Damage—Evidence—Willful Misrepresentation—Arbitrary and Capricious.

Astro Imports (Astro) was a used car dealership licensed to do business by the Colorado Motor Vehicle Dealer Board (Board). The Board revoked Astro’s used motor vehicle dealer license for failing to disclose to buyers the damage to vehicles that had been disclosed to Astro in deal jackets. This disclosure documentation had been provided by the auction house to Astro.

On appeal, Astro contended that because none of the buyers testified that the vehicles actually sustained any of the damage reflected in the disclosure documents, no buyer suffered damage under CRS § 12-6-118(3)(e). While vehicle damage may provide one basis for finding that a person suffered damage under the statute, it is not the only way to establish such damage, and proving vehicle damage is not required. Accordingly, Astro’s contention that proof of actual vehicle damage was required for the Board’s finding of damage was rejected.

Astro also contended that the Board’s action was arbitrary and capricious because the record lacked substantial evidence to support its findings. Astro did not contest the evidence contained in the deal jackets showing that it had properly received notice of damage to the vehicles that it had purchased, and there was sufficient evidence that Astro defrauded its customers by failing to provide this information to the buyers.

Astro further contended that the Board’s action was arbitrary and capricious because the record lacked substantial evidence that Astro failed to disclose material damage in writing to its customers in violation of CRS § 6-1-708(1)(b). However, substantial record evidence showed that Astro failed to provide written disclosures of previous damage before selling used cars to its customers. Furthermore, the absence of actual damage at the time of Astro’s sale to the buyer is irrelevant because the disclosure documents show that damage previously existed. The evidence showed that Astro knew of its legal duty to disclose the previous damage on resale and established that its conduct was willful. Accordingly, substantial evidence supported the finding that Astro engaged in deceptive trade practices.

The Board’s order was affirmed.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 3/2/2016

On Wednesday, March 2, 2016, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two published opinions and three unpublished opinions.

Lopez v. Roark

United States v. Mulay

Beard v. Colvin

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.