Just as people throughout history have been subject to prejudice and persecution because of their religious beliefs, recent evidence suggests that atheists today are discriminated against because of their lack of faith. For instance, in a 2012 study, nearly one in two atheists and agnostics reported having experienced discrimination at work, in the family and elsewhere. Another US study that asked respondents to imagine their children marrying people from different social groups found that parti........ Read more »
Giddings, L., & Dunn, T. (2015) The Robustness of Anti-Atheist Prejudice as Measured by Way of Cognitive Errors. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 26(2), 124-135. DOI: 10.1080/10508619.2015.1006487
I believe we all have already experienced this: The same concept can sometimes be defined in very different ways by different authors. Conceptual clarity would certainly be great, but how can we achieve it? Think, for example, about concepts such as trust, integration or dependence. So, what do we really mean when we are talking […]... Read more »
Podsakoff, P., MacKenzie, S., & Podsakoff, N. (2016) Recommendations for Creating Better Concept Definitions in the Organizational, Behavioral, and Social Sciences. Organizational Research Methods, 19(2), 159-203. DOI: 10.1177/1094428115624965
"Mental disorders have become the most common cause of receiving benefits, with the number of claimants rising by 103% from 1995 to 1.1 million in 2014. Claimants with other conditions fell by 35%."The findings reported by Sebastião Viola & Joanna Moncrieff  (open-access) provide stark evidence of both how prevalent mental illness is these days, and the financial implications of such illness to both the individual and more generally society.Set within the context of some pretty infl........ Read more »
Viola, S., & Moncrieff, J. (2016) Claims for sickness and disability benefits owing to mental disorders in the UK: trends from 1995 to 2014. British Journal of Psychiatry Open, 2(1), 18-24. DOI: 10.1192/bjpo.bp.115.002246
We know homologs are genes related by common ancestry. But throw complex evolutionary events into the mix and things can get little dicey. Under the umbrella of homologs exist many different categories: orthologs, paralogs, ohnologs, xenologs, co-ortholog, in-paralogs, out-paralogs, paleologs, among others. All of these —log terms have a specific meaning (see my previous blog post on orthology and paralogy), but now we will focus on one in particular: homoeologs.
But before we get into ........ Read more »
Glover, N., Redestig, H., & Dessimoz, C. (2016) Homoeologs: What Are They and How Do We Infer Them?. Trends in Plant Science. DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2016.02.005
Most mammals are solitary. How did monogamy evolve? I discuss some possible hypotheses.... Read more »
It’s well established that religious people tend to volunteer more and give more to charity than the non-religious. There are many factors that could contribute to this. Many charities that explicitly to support co-religionists or to promote religion, and what’s more religious people also tend to be older and married, both of which predict But [Read More...]... Read more »
Glanville, J., Paxton, P., & Wang, Y. (2015) Social Capital and Generosity: A Multilevel Analysis. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. DOI: 10.1177/0899764015591366
It was a clear case of a false alarm, toxoplasmosis, a parasite that infects mice and cats was thought to have an effect on humans. However, after a thorough review of the data it was off the hook, or so we thought. Individuals with a psychiatric disorder involving recurrent bouts of extreme, impulsive anger--road rage, for example--are more than twice as likely to have been exposed to a common parasite than healthy individuals with no psychiatric diagnosis.
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Coccaro, E., Lee, R., Groer, M., Can, A., Coussons-Read, M., & Postolache, T. (2016) Toxoplasma gondii Infection: Relationship With Aggression in Psychiatric Subjects. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 334-341. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.14m09621
Had Teresa Dzieweczynski chosen to publish her recent findings as an updated children's classic, rather than as a research paper, she could have titled it If You Give a Fish an Antidepressant. The book would probably be less charming than If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. But it would also be, unfortunately, more realistic. Our pharmaceuticals are steadily trickling into the homes of fish and other animals. And—as the hero of the original book could have told us, his house in disarray aft........ Read more »
Dzieweczynski, T., Campbell, B., & Kane, J. (2016) Dose-dependent fluoxetine effects on boldness in male Siamese fighting fish. Journal of Experimental Biology, 219(6), 797-804. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.132761
Almost 30% of dogs are highly stressed in the waiting room, but owners don’t necessarily know if their dog is stressed or not.Some dogs show signs of stress in the waiting room at the vet, according to a study by Chiara Mariti (University of Pisa) et al, but there are some surprises in the results. 45 healthy dogs and their owners each came for a scheduled appointment at the vet, where they spent 3 minutes in the waiting room. The dogs were videoed while owners completed a questionnaire. Later........ Read more »
Mariti, C., Raspanti, E., Zilocchi, M., Carlone, B., & Gazzano, A. (2015) The assessment of dog welfare in the waiting room of a veterinary clinic. Animal Welfare, 24(3), 299-305. DOI: 10.7120/096272188.8.131.529
This week’s video tip demonstrates a new feature at the UCSC Genome Browser. I think it’s kind of unusual, and conceptually took me a little while to get used to when I started testing it. So I wanted to go over the basics for you, and give you a couple of tips on things that […]... Read more »
In today's heated political stage, where everyone has a soapbox thanks to outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the personal blogs, I've tried my best not to share my political views publicly. And I've miserably failed. I use my own Facebook page and profile to talk about science, books and photography, but then I can't resist browsing other people's posts. Most of my friends are not as shy as me about making their political views heard and that's when I fall into the trap: I comment........ Read more »
Nyhan, B., & Reifler, J. (2010) When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions. Political Behavior, 32(2), 303-330. DOI: 10.1007/s11109-010-9112-2
Perlovsky, L. (2013) A challenge to human evolution—cognitive dissonance. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00179
People need the power of an elevator or our legs to rise high in a building, so how does water get from the roots of a tree to the very top leaves? Hint, it isn’t capillary action – even capillary tubes can move water only a few centimeters. The key is evaporation. But if water evaporates off plants, how do they survive during droughts? They have tricks to retain water, including developing big leaves and little leaves. Look carefully at some trees, you’ll find that they have t........ Read more »
von Caemmerer, S., & Baker, N. (2006) The Biology of Transpiration. From Guard Cells to Globe. PLANT PHYSIOLOGY, 143(1), 3-3. DOI: 10.1104/pp.104.900213
Terashima, I. (2005) Irradiance and phenotype: comparative eco-development of sun and shade leaves in relation to photosynthetic CO2 diffusion. Journal of Experimental Botany, 57(2), 343-354. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erj014
At least according to this analysis of more than 14 million college student reviews on RateMyProfessors.com where students post anonymous reviews of their professors. In an open access article available at PLOS ONE, the authors found that students writing reviews on the popular website most often used the words “brilliant” and “genius” to describe male […]
Who is multiracial? Apparently, it depends on how you ask…
The “euphemism treadmill”: Is it African-Am........ Read more »
Storage, D., Horne, Z., Cimpian, A., & Leslie, S. (2016) The Frequency of “Brilliant” and “Genius” in Teaching Evaluations Predicts the Representation of Women and African Americans across Fields. PLOS ONE, 11(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150194
When calling an ambulance, every second counts. So when an ambulance service in South Africa wanted to speed up their response time, who did they call? Psychologists, of course.Looking to reduce any obstacles that delayed operators from obtaining key facts from callers, Claire Penn at the University of the Witwatersrand and her colleagues initially expected language issues to be a big tripwire – the officially English-language service was based in South Africa’s Western Cape, where four in f........ Read more »
Penn, C., Koole, T., & Nattrass, R. (2016) When seconds count: A study of communication variables in the opening segment of emergency calls. Journal of Health Psychology. DOI: 10.1177/1359105315625357
Following a first-time lateral ankle sprain, a patient who was unable to complete the single-leg drop landing and drop vertical jump at 2 weeks post injury was more likely to be classified as having chronic ankle instability. Patient-reported outcomes at 6 months was also associated with onset of chronic ankle instability.... Read more »
Doherty C, Bleakley C, Hertel J, Caulfield B, Ryan J, & Delahunt E. (2016) Recovery From a First-Time Lateral Ankle Sprain and the Predictors of Chronic Ankle Instability: A Prospective Cohort Analysis. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. PMID: 26912285
"The present study shows that intragastric treatment of mice with an antibiotic mix impairs novel object recognition, but not spatial memory. This behavioral change is associated with a disruption of the microbial community in the colon, distinct alterations of the colonic and circulating metabolite profile and particular changes of neurochemical brain activity."Those were the headlines attached to the paper published by Esther Fröhlich and colleagues  (open-access available here) who p........ Read more »
Fröhlich EE, Farzi A, Mayerhofer R, Reichmann F, Jačan A, Wagner B, Zinser E, Bordag N, Magnes C, Fröhlich E.... (2016) Cognitive Impairment by Antibiotic-Induced Gut Dysbiosis: Analysis of Gut Microbiota-Brain Communication. Brain, behavior, and immunity. PMID: 26923630
Think your DNA is all human? Think again. And a new discovery suggests it’s even less human than scientists previously thought. Nineteen new pieces of non-human DNA — left by viruses that first infected our ancestors hundreds of thousands of years ago — have just been found, lurking between our own genes.
... Read more »
Wildschutte, J., Williams, Z., Montesion, M., Subramanian, R., Kidd, J., & Coffin, J. (2016) Discovery of unfixed endogenous retrovirus insertions in diverse human populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201602336. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1602336113
Some poisons are better known than others.Arsenic, for example, is famous for its participation in many a murder and suicide from the Middle Ages through to the mid-19th century (after which it became easier to detect and more difficult to acquire). Even to this day, the malicious metalloid remains in the public eye as a contaminant of groundwater in parts of South Asia and of soil in old orchards.A decidedly more obscure poison is a gooey industrial derivative of coal tar (leftovers from conver........ Read more »
Craig PH, & Barth ML. (1999) Evaluation of the hazards of industrial exposure to tricresyl phosphate: A review and interpretation of the literature. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part B, 2(4), 281-300. PMID: 10596299
Changes and developments in the way things are done are sometimes seen as threatening, as dangers. That is a natural, instinctive reaction, perhaps, but sometimes, the danger lies not so much in the development itself as in the things that the development in question prevents. There are two developments in science publishing and science communication that are seen as dangerous by many. Both developments are seen as threatening from opposite sides of the fence, so to speak. … Read More U........ Read more »
Pinfield, S., Salter, J., & Bath, P. (2015) The “total cost of publication” in a hybrid open-access environment: Institutional approaches to funding journal article-processing charges in combination with subscriptions. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. DOI: 10.1002/asi.23446
The Eatles have been busy munching away for the first time on a non-mammal vertebrate! Specifically, they are devouring the soft tissue remains of a White's Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea) from Grant's Farm in St. Louis, MO, named Nona.White's Tree Frog. Photo from Animal Diversity Web.Also known as the Smiling Frog, and the Dumpy Frog, this animal is fascinating. It belongs to the Hylidae family of frogs, which is an interesting group because it is united by a single morhpological character shared........ Read more »
Boland MP, & Separovic F. (2006) Membrane interactions of antimicrobial peptides from Australian tree frogs. Biochimica et biophysica acta, 1758(9), 1178-83. PMID: 16580625
Campbell CR, Voyles J, Cook DI, & Dinudom A. (2012) Frog skin epithelium: electrolyte transport and chytridiomycosis. The international journal of biochemistry , 44(3), 431-4. PMID: 22182598
Manzano AS, Abdala V, & Herrel A. (2008) Morphology and function of the forelimb in arboreal frogs: specializations for grasping ability?. Journal of anatomy, 213(3), 296-307. PMID: 18565111
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