Post List

  • March 8, 2011
  • 01:04 PM

Art in the Eye of the Beholder: Preliminary Evidence?

by Maria P. in noustuff

Does monocular viewing affect judgement of art? According to a 2008 paper by Finney and Heilman it does. The two researchers from the University of Florida inspired by previous studies investigating the effect of monocular viewing on performance on visual-spatial and verbal memory tasks, attempted to see what the results would be in the case [...]... Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 12:28 PM

Fluorescent dogs 2.0 (with switch ON/OFF)

by 96well in Reportergene

Do you remember Ruppy, the red fluorescent puppy? The same team just described a new transgenic dog, this time with inducible fluorescence. The principle is always the TetON/TetOFF. According to the paper publised on Genesis, compared to mice, in dogs you need 10 less the dose of doxycycline (per chilogram) to switch ON the canine GFP, as determined by analyzing GFP expression in several organs. It is less clear how they took the organs: in the previous paper they said that one dog died due to chronic bronchopneumonia, but this time they skip commenting on.This study does not make dogs easier to spot at night, so fewer will get hit by cars, but illustrates the possibility to obtain conditional expression of a given gene in dogs, after administration of the drug doxycicline (the switch ON). This could be helpful for the generation of dog models of dominant genetic diseases (i.e., by inserting the disease gene). Honestly, I have some problems to think at dogs as 'research tools'. However, the proof of technology described in this paper could be useful on other fields. I'm thinking at the interface between man and dog relations, what about dogs with super-noses to better alert avalanche victims, gas spills or truffles (i.e., using olfactory receptor genes from other species that are less social like fruitflies)? This could made biomedical research useful for the society on branches other than the healthcare.

--- / original paper /--- --- ---
Kim, M., Oh, H., Park, J., Kim, G., Hong, S., Jang, G., Kwon, M., Koo, B., Kim, T., Kang, S., Ra, J., Ko, C., & Lee, B. (2011). Generation of transgenic dogs that conditionally express green fluorescent protein genesis DOI: 10.1002/dvg.20737

... Read more »

Kim, M., Oh, H., Park, J., Kim, G., Hong, S., Jang, G., Kwon, M., Koo, B., Kim, T., Kang, S.... (2011) Generation of transgenic dogs that conditionally express green fluorescent protein. genesis. DOI: 10.1002/dvg.20737  

  • March 8, 2011
  • 11:59 AM

Arsenic life, four months later: pay no attention to the internet

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

To recap: In early December, NASA holds a press conference relevant to astrobiology, wherein Felisa Wolfe-Simon announces a paper on a very interesting bacteria. The bacteria is indisputably arsenic tolerant, but Wolf-Simon and her eleven co-authors claim that the bacteria is not just tolerating arsenic, but using it in place of phosphorus. Before the weekend is out, strong criticisms of the paper appear on blogs. Wolfe-Simon initially refuses to respond to anything that isn’t in a peer-reviewed journal, but later relents and put up a FAQ on her website.

Now, criticisms are appearing in the peer-reviewed literature, like this one by Rosen and colleagues. The analysis is quite a helpful one in many ways, providing good background information on things like how cells can use arsenate (arsenolipids instead of phospholipids, for instance).

Their summary is that there is no “fatal flaw” in the paper that rules out the possibility of bacteria using arsenic (“no positive data” is how they put it) and that there needs to be more research.

Unfortunately, if you’re hoping to see how they accommodate criticisms from other researchers some argued disproved the notion of arsenic being used in DNA, you’ll be disappointed. This paper not only tries its best to ignore the widespread commentary about the original paper on the blogosphere, it dismisses it. Here’s all they say:

This study has generated significant commentary, often as anonymous electronic communications.
This conflicts with my impression, which was that almost all of the commentary was signed. There was Rosie Redfield and Alex Bradley. Carl Zimmer got a dozen researchers to comment, all with their names in place. There was so much written in the blogosphere about arsenic life, that some of the commentary was pseudonymous (which, as many emphatically point out, is different than being anonymous). But the most prominent critics of the Wolfe-Simon and company paper were certainly not anonymous.

Writing an entire article evaluating the arsenic life paper without any references to what happened on blogs is both disingenuous and bad scholarship. To compress all that online commentary into a single one-liner borders on the unethical, because it so profoundly distorts the events following the release of the paper.

If there had not been such a public thrashing of ideas about this paper online, I doubt a journal have even considered publishing this review of the arsenic life paper (which still hasn’t been officially published yet). So the authors and editor take advantage of the controversy to publish a review, all the while tut-tutting and wagging their fingers at those nasty anonymous bloggers and refusing to do anything but give the most oblique acknowledgment of their role.

I imagine that Wolfe-Simon and some press people at NASA might be happy, though, since this article reinforces the rigid conventions that they promoted in the early days following the release of the paper. But it’s long past time those conventions change.


Rosen BP, Ajees AA, McDermott TR. 2011. Life and death with arsenic. BioEssays: in press. 10.1002/bies.201100012. (DOI link may not be working yet; try if it isn’t.)

Wolfe-Simon F, Blum J, Kulp T, Gordon G, Hoeft S, Pett-Ridge J, Stolz J, Webb S, Weber P, Davies P, Anbar A, & Oremland R. 2010. A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1197258... Read more »

Rosen BP, Ajees AA, & McDermott TR. (2011) Life and death with arsenic. BioEssays. info:/10.1002/bies.201100012

Wolfe-Simon F, Blum J, Kulp T, Gordon G, Hoeft S, Pett-Ridge J, Stolz J, Webb S, Weber P, Davies P.... (2010) A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1197258  

  • March 8, 2011
  • 11:45 AM

Defending Your Territory: It Pays To Have a Bigger Brain

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

Welcome to the second installment of Animal Territoriality Week. Today, we'll look at a case where differences in territory size can have implications for neuroanatomy. If you missed part 1 of Animal Territoriality week, check it out here.

Let's say you have two very very closely related species. You might even call them congeneric, because they are from the same taxonomic genus. In most ways, these two species are very similar, but they differ behaviorally in some very big ways. Might those behavioral differences predict neurobiological differences?

The different species of the genus microtus display the full range of mammalian mating systems: some species are entirely monogamous, with two individuals mating for life, while other species are fully polygamous, with males having multiple female mates.

Meet the monogamous pine vole (microtus pinetorum).

Meet the polygamous meadow vole (microtus pennsylvanicus).

The difference in mating style leads to a very important difference in spatial memory requirements: for monogamous species, males and females both tend to live their lives in areas of land roughly the same size. For polygamous species, however, males' home ranges are much larger in spatial extent than the home range of the females (as well as the typical home ranges of the monogamous male voles). This makes sense: the polygamous male's home range needs to include the smaller home ranges of multiple female mates.

On the left, a schematic diagram for the home ranges of monogamous voles. On the right, a schematic for the home ranges of polygamous voles. Solid pink blobs for females, dotted red lines for males. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 11:28 AM

International Women's Day and the science blogging gender gap.

by Hadas Shema in Information Culture

Warning: This post contains *gasp* feminist and non-politically correct opinions. Read at your own risk. As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I've been working on characterizing Science Blogs which have over twenty posts at the aggregator, and posted there after January 1st, 2010. While my original sample had almost 200 blogs, I've decided to focus on private independent blogs and private blogs belonging to a blogging network (meaning of "private" here is "one or two writers and not a commercial blog). I ended up with 126 blogs*. If you think you've seen these results before, it's because you probably have. Jennifer Rohn from "Mind the Gap" showed last year that women were considerably outnumbered in four major science blogging networks. This gap isn't limited to selective blogging networks, but exists in the aggregator as well, as Dave Munger showed. To quote Munger: "The gender ratio there closely mirrors the other networks." Wikipedia has the same problem: only 13% of the contributors are women. I must say that the first time I saw the data, I thought "Wow, it looks like the percentage of women in Science Fiction at the 40s". Back then women were walking wombs (Heinlein), miserable, lonely scientists (Asimov) or silly housewives (Asimov again). The problem is that, well, Science Fiction moved forward since then, while the spreading of scientific memes to the public is still being done mostly by men. So, where are all the women? I don't have a definite answer, but I can offer a few ideas:Fandom - Fandom is a feminine sphere. Both genders watch television and read books, but in all my years in fandom, I've rarely seen men author fanfics, to the point that the default assumption is that a fanfic author is a "She". A "Science" blog - What is a science blog? Or a research blog? RB is supposed to be open to all posts dealing with peer-review science, but I'm currently working on a list of peer-review journals cited in RB posts, and Literary, History or LIS journals are rarely cited. It is possible that once we take into account blogs dealing with peer-review research that aren't "officially" science blogs, the percentage of women will go up. The second shift - Today, not to breast-feed until the kid can talk whole sentences is considered child abuse. And that's before we talked about picking up the kid from day care, helping older kids with homework and driving them to after-school activities. In many homes, somehow the mothers end up doing most of the work. However, the "Publish or Perish" rule is looming over everyone's head, mothers included. The third shift - In "The Beauty Myth" Naomi Wolf pointed out that many women today feel the pressure not only to be excellent workers and excellent mothers, but to look great while doing everything as well. How is a woman to balance between being a scientist, mother and an aspiring model? This post might seem kind of gloomy, but it's important to remember how much we progressed. Whenever I hear a female parliament member, a business woman, or a female professor claiming she's not a feminist, all I can do is wonder how would said woman lived her daily life without a bank account or a right to vote. Never take those for granted. *Disclaimer: These are primary results and the final results might change a bit (if I decide to include other groups in the sample, for example. Please don't quote anywhere official without consulting me first). Glott, R, & Ghosh, R (2010). Wikipedia Survey – Overview of Results UNU-Merit... Read more »

Glott, R, & Ghosh, R. (2010) Wikipedia Survey – Overview of Results. UNU-Merit. info:/

  • March 8, 2011
  • 11:01 AM

Bittersweet Adaptation: How Genes For Survival May Be Giving Us Diabetes

by A. Goldstein in WiSci

The famous phrase has it that evolution is a process of the “survival of the fittest.” However, it should be noted that this doesn’t imply some great evolutionary gymnasium, with species pumping and sculpting themselves into the most sexually appealing shapes of the day. Rather, the phrase means something more like “the survival of the [...]... Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 10:11 AM

The Science of Dating: Pick-Up Lines

by Ben Good in B Good Science

As a bit of a break from my usual blogging routine, this weeks blogs will all be on a theme. The science of dating, moving from pick-up lines through to the biochemistry of long term relationships. I will go through the staggering amount of research in this area and attempt to find out if you can use … Read more... Read more »

BALE, C., MORRISON, R., & CARYL, P. (2006) Chat-up lines as male sexual displays. Personality and Individual Differences, 40(4), 655-664. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2005.07.016  

  • March 8, 2011
  • 09:05 AM

One snout to rule them all: Does migrating help weevils win the arms race of coevolution?

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Natural selection and gene flow have a sort of love-hate relationship. Natural selection acts, on average, to make a population better fit to its environment. Gene flow, the movement of individuals and their genes, can counter the optimizing effect of selection if it introduces less-fit individuals from somewhere a different environment. On the other hand, not all new immigrants are necessarily less fit—sometimes they're better suited to their new environment than the locals.

This gets more complicated, and more interesting, when the environment in question is another living species. Then, the question is not just how movement of one species changes its response to natural selection, but how movement of the other species changes the nature of that natural selection. That's the focus of the latest study of a Japanese weevil species and its favorite food plant. The two species are locked in a coevolutionary arms race—but who wins the arms race in any given location depends on the gene flow each species is receiving from elsewhere [$a].

.flickr-photo { }.flickr-framewide { float: right; text-align: left; margin-left: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; width:100%;}.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; } Male and female camelia weevils, caught at an indelicate moment. Evidently he doesn't find her much longer rostrum intimidating. Photo from Toju et al. (2011), figure 1.These are camelia weevils, Curculio camelliae. As their name suggests, they like to eat camelias, at least when they're young. Specifically, weevil larvae eat camelia seeds, which are protected by a thick layer called a pericarp. To deal with camelia pericarps, the weevils have evolved prodigious proboscises, or rostrums, which female weevils use to drill through the pericarp so they can lay their eggs inside. Note that the female in the picture above is the one with the rostrum longer than the rest of her body.

Camelias can reduce their risk of losing seeds to weevil larvae by evolving thicker pericarps; weevils can make sure they're able to feed their young by evolving longer rostrums. Both species are constrained by costs, though—the cost of producing more pericarp tissue, or carrying around a Pinocchio-grade snout. These costs vary somewhat with climate—camelias grow thinner pericarps in cooler conditions [$a]. This means the arms race won't proceed equally far in all camelia populations, and introduces the possibility that the way in which weevils and camelias (well, camelia seeds and pollen) move across the landscape may very well determine which species has the upper hand.

.flickr-photo { }.flickr-frameright { float: right; text-align: left; margin-left: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; width:40%;}.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; } A female weevil drills into a camelia fruit. Photo from Toju et al. (2011), figure 1.The new study sets out to see whether gene flow among populations of the two species determines how far the arms race proceeds in each population. Rather than directly track weevils and camelia seeds, the authors use genetic markers for each species—the more migrants move between two weevil (or camelia) populations, the more similar those two populations' genetics will be. The populations in question were seven sites on a small island at the south end of the Japanese archipelago, and presumably relatively free from the influence of immigration from the larger islands.

It looks like the movement of weevils, but not camelias, affects how the arms race proceeds. As the genetic difference between weevils at two different sites increased, the difference in how far the arms race had proceeded—that is, how long the local rostrums were, and how thick the local pericarps—increased too. That suggests weevils may be prevented from evolving rostrums of the optimum length for their local camelias by the arrival of less-than-optimal migrants. On the other hand, there was no statistically significant relationship between the genetic similarity of camelia populations and their place in the arms race.

This is where the relationship between selection and gene flow gets complicated, though. Even given the relationship between weevil gene flow and how far the arms race seems to have proceeded, the genetic differences between weevil populations were consistent with very low actual rates of migration. A female weevil arriving in a population of camelias with pericarps too long for her rostrum isn't going to contribute many offspring to the next generation of weevils at that site. So it's not impossible that what we're seeing is selection constricting gene flow rather than gene flow slowing down selection.

Alternatively, weevils from a population with super-long rostrums should be able to lay eggs in any population of camelias they meet. In fact, an analysis that uses the genetic data to estimate rates of immigration and emigration suggests that one of the weevil populations with the longest snouts contributes more migrants to the other sites than it receives from each of them. In arms-race coevolution, size is all that matters—and so the weevils with the longest snouts may be winners no matter where they go.


Toju, H. (2008). Fine-scale local adaptation of weevil mouthpart length and camellia pericarp thickness: Altitudinal gradient of a putative arms race. Evolution, 62 (5), 1086-102 DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2008.00341.x

Toju, H., Ueno, S., Taniguchi, F., & Sota, T. (2011). Metapopulation structure of a seed-predator weevil and its host plant in arms race coevolution. Evolution DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01243.x
... Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Improving Detection of Genome Structural Variation

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

Large-scale structural variation (SV) is pervasive in the human genome, both in healthy individuals and in tumor cells. Numerous methods have been developed to detect such variants, most of which rely on the information provided by molecularly paired reads. Even the most sophisticated methods, however, still generate numerous false positives. A new study in Nature [...]... Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 07:40 AM

ToxBank: a data warehouse for (computational) toxicology

by egonw in Chem-bla-ics

Last week I was in sunny Cascais, and in three days experienced -23oC and +18oC. The reason I was there was the kick-off meeting of the EU FP7 cluster SEURAT, which includes 'our' ToxBank project.

Data types we will host include many different types, including my favorite metabolomics. Don't ask me what this will practically mean, but some keywords we already know include RDF, OpenTox, and ToxML. With metabolomics, I hope to squeeze in metabolomics.

And that data warehousing for metabolomics is important was only recently shown be the retraction (via RetractionWatch) of  this Nature paper (doi:10.1038/nature03356). The reason was that it critically depended on conclusions from another retracted paper (doi:10.1021/jf021166h), from J. Agric. Food Chem. in 2009.

In this paper, they identified ten chemicals from arabidopsis: butanoic acid; trans-cinnamic acid; o-coumaric acid; p-coumaric acid; ferulic acid; p-hydroxybenzamide; methyl p-hydroxybenzoate; 3-indolepropanoic acid; syringic acid; and, vanillic acid. I hope I have the links to Wikipedia correct, as this was based on names only, as the paper does not seem to list InChIs or even SMILESes. The ten chemical were identified with HPLC and NMR. No experimental data seems to be given. What NMR data did they base the identification on? I have seen pretty interesting assignments of chemical identity in GC/MS and LC/MS, so was quite disappointed to not see the gory details here.

But fortunately, I could look at the raw data. Yeah, sure! Dream on.

In fact, it seems the characterizations of the 10 chemicals was challenged, causing the authors to look again at their data. Unfortunately, they could not find experimental data anymore. The authors write in the retraction:
We have been unable to find experimental data that document the actual isolation of butanoic acid, trans-cinnamic acid, ...Now, readers of my blog I care about raw data (see McPrinciple #1). For example, it was a key feature of our MetWare project. It is not entirely clear to me that they could no longer find the raw data, or whether they were no longer able to correlate their extracted characteristics with the know NMR for those ten compounds. This only strengthens the importance of NMR databases in metabolite identification, something Christoph would only agree with.

I am not sure we will see the bottom of this, and see if the authors could have prevented this retraction. However, I do believe the paper was flawed in the first place: it did not give experimental detail allowing the referees to judge the metabolite identification. The referees failed, as the apparently did not find this aspect important enough to have this data in the paper. And, the journal failed clearly, by not having a good editorial requirement in place around availability of data. This is not specific to this retracted paper, nor of this journal. It's pretty much the community standard, despite many calling for years for better standards, e.g. via minimal reporting standards.

Well, maybe journal editors will soon wake up, and make availability of experimental data in papers of this kind (and any type, IMHO) a community standard, and strong standard, such strong that referees can reject papers of papers do not provide this minimal information.

Why? It would have saved a lot of people from doing the wrong thing. The original paper was cited 54 times (according to WoS) and the Nature paper 52 times (up one since the RetractionWatch post). We're bound to see a few more retractions as a result of this, I guess.

So, where I failed to get MetWare going within the Netherlands Metabolomics Center, let's hope ToxBank does better. But given the list of ToxBank partners, I have no doubt about that.

Bais, H., Prithiviraj, B., Jha, A., Ausubel, F., & Vivanco, J. (2005). Mediation of pathogen resistance by exudation of antimicrobials from roots Nature, 434 (7030), 217-221 DOI: 10.1038/nature03356

Walker, T., Bais, H., Halligan, K., Stermitz, F., & Vivanco, J. (2003). Metabolic Profiling of Root Exudates of Arabidopsis thaliana, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51 (9), 2548-2554 DOI: 10.1021/jf021166h... Read more »

Bais, H., Prithiviraj, B., Jha, A., Ausubel, F., & Vivanco, J. (2005) Mediation of pathogen resistance by exudation of antimicrobials from roots. Nature, 434(7030), 217-221. DOI: 10.1038/nature03356  

Walker, T., Bais, H., Halligan, K., Stermitz, F., & Vivanco, J. (2003) Metabolic Profiling of Root Exudates of . Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51(9), 2548-2554. DOI: 10.1021/jf021166h  

  • March 8, 2011
  • 07:30 AM

To weigh or not to weigh?

by pennydeck in Feedback Solutions for Obesity

Trying to lose weight? Keep it off? Confusing advice is abundant and one aspect of this confusion centers on recommendations to weigh-in: should you weigh yourself daily? weekly? monthly? or not at all? While I’m certainly not the first to … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 06:30 AM

Misplaced endotracheal tubes by paramedics in an urban emergency medical service system

by Rogue Medic in Rogue Medic

Here is a study that sets out to determine if one part of my statement is correct. Were we correctly placing endotracheal tubes before we even had the fancy technology of waveform capnography?... Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 05:51 AM

Chiral condensates in a magnetic field: A collaboration

by Marco Frasca in The Gauge Connection

So far, it is more than twenty years that I publish in refereed journals and, notwithstanding a lot of exchange with my colleagues, I have never had the chance to work in a collaboration.  The opportunity come thanks to Marco Ruggieri (see here). Me and Marco met in Gent at the Conference “The Many faces [...]... Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 05:30 AM

Testing bacterial vulnerabilities

by Becky in It Takes 30

As regular readers of this blog know, I am not looking forward to living in a world without effective antibiotics at all.  (Well, I’m not insane.)  I was therefore interested in a recent paper (Wei et al. 2011.  Depletion of antibiotic targets has widely varying effects on growth.  PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.1018301108) that takes a small step [...]... Read more »

Wei JR, Krishnamoorthy V, Murphy K, Kim JH, Schnappinger D, Alber T, Sassetti CM, Rhee KY, & Rubin EJ. (2011) Depletion of antibiotic targets has widely varying effects on growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21368134  

  • March 8, 2011
  • 05:16 AM

How the Sun lost its spots

by Kelly Oakes in Basic Space

It may look like a static yellow ball from here, but in reality the Sun is alive with activity. Right now it is becoming more active each day as we get closer to the next solar maximum, which is expected … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 05:00 AM

One Long Bear Nap*

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

The peculiar metabolic traits of bear hibernation... Read more »

Tøien Ø, Blake J, Edgar DM, Grahn DA, Heller HC, & Barnes BM. (2011) Hibernation in black bears: independence of metabolic suppression from body temperature. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331(6019), 906-9. PMID: 21330544  

  • March 8, 2011
  • 04:43 AM

How anger can make us more rational

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Anger can de-bias our thinking
Imagine you're in a room with four people, one is lip-snarling angry, the others are calm. Who among them would you consider the most likely to think rationally? A surprising new study suggests that in at least one important respect it's actually the angry individual who will be the more rational decision maker. How come? Because they'll be less prone to the confirmation bias - our tendency to seek out information that supports our existing views.

Maia Young and her colleagues had 97 undergrads take part in what they thought were two separate experiments. The first involved them either recalling and writing about a time they'd been exceptionally angry (this was designed to make them angry), or a time they'd been sad, or about mundane events.

Next, all the participants read an introduction to the debate about whether hands-free kits make speaking on a mobile phone while driving any safer. All participants had been chosen because pre-study they believed that they do. The most important part came next, as the participants were presented with one-sentence summaries of eight articles, either in favour, or against, the idea that hands-free kits make driving safer. The participants had to choose five of these articles to read in full.

Which participants tended to choose to read more articles critical of hands-free kits and therefore contrary to their own position? It was the participants who'd earlier been made to feel angry. What's more, when the participants' attitudes were re-tested at the study end, it was the angry participants who'd shifted more from their original position on the debate.

These findings were supported in a follow-up involving 89 adults, with the controversial issue pertaining to who should be the next US president, in what was then the upcoming 2008 election. Once again, participants provoked into feeling angry tended to choose to read articles that ran counter to their original position (be that favouring Obama or McCain). Another detail was that this effect of anger was entirely explained by what the researchers called a 'moving against' tendency, measured by participants' agreement, after the anger induction, with statements like 'I wanted to assault something or someone'.

Young and her team said their results provided an example of anger leading to a cognitive pattern characterised by less bias. 'Although the hypothesis disconfirming behaviour that anger produces may well be an aggressive act, meant to move or fight against the opposition's opinion,' they said, 'its result is to provide those who feel angry with better information.'

What are the real-life implications of this result? The researchers conceded that it's unrealistic to make people angry as a way to improve their decision making. However, they said that in a work meeting, if someone is angry, they might be the one best placed to play the role of devil's advocate on behalf of the group. 'By encouraging angry group members to select information necessary for group discussion,' the researchers explained, 'the group as a whole may get the benefit of being exposed to diverse views and, as a result, achieve a more balanced perspective.'

Young, M., Tiedens, L., Jung, H., and Tsai, M. (2011). Mad enough to see the other side: Anger and the search for disconfirming information. Cognition and Emotion, 25 (1), 10-21 DOI: 10.1080/02699930903534105

... Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 04:00 AM

The Leaking Pipeline of Women’s Academic Careers

by Rense Nieuwenhuis in Curving Normality

Female academics are a minority, compared to male academics. This overrepresentation of men is even stronger in higher ranking positions. The Leaking Pipeline hypothesis explains this discrepancy by focusing on the strongly selective nature of an academic career.... Read more »

  • March 8, 2011
  • 02:00 AM

Do prisoners have the right to die at home?

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

Care or custody? An evaluation of palliative care in prisons in North West England   From Palliative Medicine There has been much reaction to the issue of granting prisoners compassionate leave to die at home. The high profile debate has been particularly fuelled by the decision to release the convicted Lockerie bomber to die at [...]... Read more »

  • March 7, 2011
  • 11:03 PM

Clinical research and the popular press: ibuprofen, heart attacks and re-written press releases

by Medical Media Watch in Medical Media Watch

Welcome to the business end of MMW’s research project. Over the course of the last two weeks my co-bloggers and I have been wringing every last drop of commentary from our finding that clinical studies published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2005 and 2006 were not prime news fodder. Until now, the study [...]... Read more »

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