As Eddie Izzard notes in the video above, the English, within our cosy, post-imperialist, monolingual culture, often have trouble coping with the idea of two languages or more jostling about for space in the same head. "No one can live at that speed!" he suggests. And yet, bilingual children seem to cope just fine. In fact, they pick up their dual tongues at the same pace as monolingual children attain theirs, despite having to cope with two sets of grammar and vocabulary. At around 12 months, b........ Read more »
Kovacs, A., & Mehler, J. (2009) Flexible Learning of Multiple Speech Structures in Bilingual Infants. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1173947
One interesting aspect of neurons is their richness in behavior. There are a lot of known neural behaviors. To name a few, there are regular spiking neurons, which start firing regularly, but then spike frequency slows down and the neuron quiets down as it adjusts to its input. There are intrinsically bursting neurons, which start out with a rapid burst of 5-6 spikes, but then drop immediately back into regular-spiking mode. There are fast spiking neurons, which are like regular spiking neur........ Read more »
Izhikevich, E. (2003) Bursts as a unit of neural information: selective communication via resonance. Trends in Neurosciences, 26(3), 161-167. DOI: 10.1016/S0166-2236(03)00034-1
Among the flowering plants, groups with flowers adapted to a narrower range of pollinators -- the more specialized ones, like orchids or mints -- tend to contain more species. Why? The classic hypothesis is that coevolution between plants and their pollinators leads to more pollinator-specialized plants, which are then more likely to become reproductively isolated, and eventually form separate species. However, I've just finished reading a review article that suggests an interesting alternative:........ Read more »
Armbruster, W., & Muchhala, N. (2008) Associations between floral specialization and species diversity: Cause, effect, or correlation?. Evolutionary Ecology, 23(1), 159-79. DOI: 10.1007/s10682-008-9259-z
V. Grant. (1949) Pollination systems as isolating mechanisms in angiosperms. Evolution, 82-97. DOI: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2405454
Johnson, S.D., & Steiner, K.E. (2000) Generalization versus specialization in plant pollination systems. Trends in Ecology , 15(4), 140-3. DOI: 10.1016/S0169-5347(99)01811-X
Sargent, R. (2004) Floral symmetry affects speciation rates in angiosperms. Proc. R. Soc. B, 271(1539), 603-608. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2644
It’s not just fighting and conflict that can cause problems in a relationship. Boredom and lack of positivity in a relationship may also cause a gradual decline. A recent study by Irene Tsapelas and her colleagues found that marital boredom, measured by how often the participants felt their marriage was in a rut, [...]... Read more »
Aron, A., Norman, C., Aron, E., McKenna, C., & Heyman, R. (2000) Couples' shared participation in novel and arousing activities and experienced relationship quality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(2), 273-284. DOI: 10.1037//0022-35184.108.40.2063
Tsapelas, I., Aron, A., & Orbuch, T. (2009) Marital Boredom Now Predicts Less Satisfaction 9 Years Later. Psychological Science, 20(5), 543-545. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02332.x
Have you ever thought about your relationship and wondered, “Where has all the passion gone?” Like many of you, relationship scientists have been stumped for quite a while. However, recent evidence from a series of interesting studies suggests that an answer is within reach of all of us, scientists and curious partners alike.... Read more »
Eastwick, P., & Finkel, E. (2008) The attachment system in fledgling relationships: An activating role for attachment anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(3), 628-647. DOI: 10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.118
After a tough day at work, do you come back home feeling generally irritated or needing some quality time alone? Find out how your reactions to workplace stress can affect your family life, too.... Read more »
Repetti, R., Wang, S., & Saxbe, D. (2009) Bringing It All Back Home: How Outside Stressors Shape Families' Everyday Lives. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18(2), 106-111. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2009.01618.x
IN THE 1860s, the French physician Paul Broca treated two patients who had lost the ability to speak after suffering strokes. When they died, he examined their brains, and noticed that both had damage to the same region of the left frontal lobe. About a decade later, neuropsychiatrist Carl Wernicke described a stroke patient who was unable to understand written words or what was said to him, and later found in this patient's brain a lesion towards the back of the left temporal lobe.
Thus ........ Read more »
Ibrahim, R. (2009) Selective deficit of second language: a case study of a brain-damaged Arabic-Hebrew bilingual patient. Behavioral and Brain Functions, 5(1), 17. DOI: 10.1186/1744-9081-5-17
by Jon Voisey in Angry Astronomer
Last year, I blogged about why catching stars forming is a tricky proposition; They're surrounded in gaseous nebulae that makes trying to observe the act a bit like watching a sports game from a plane flying through the clouds. You just can't see through it all.In general, this should hold true for planets. Until the star clears out the dusty disk, the planets will remain hidden, even if we could spatially resolve them. So a paper talking about forming planets with “Observable Signatures” in........ Read more »
Jang-Condell, H. (2009) PLANET SHADOWS IN PROTOPLANETARY DISKS. II. OBSERVABLE SIGNATURES. The Astrophysical Journal, 700(1), 820-831. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/700/1/820
by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog
Tamiflu (Oseltamivir) is one of the few antiviral drugs available for treatment of influenza. Use of the drug has increased substantially because of the emergence of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic strain, against which no vaccine is yet available. A recent study has shown that low levels of oseltamivir can be detected in the aquatic environment. [...]... Read more »
Söderström, H., Järhult, J., Olsen, B., Lindberg, R., Tanaka, H., & Fick, J. (2009) Detection of the Antiviral Drug Oseltamivir in Aquatic Environments. PLoS ONE, 4(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006064
Life restoration of the head of Armadillosuchus. From Marinho and Carvalho (2009).
When I was trying to come up with a title for this post I almost went with "Armadillosuchus: An armored crocodylian you wouldn't want to mess with." Obviously I changed my mind. Not only was the title too long, but it was redundant to boot. All crocodylians are "armored" in that they have little bony plates called osteoderms (primarily on the dorsal, or top, side of their bodies) beneath their scales, which in t........ Read more »
Marinho, T., & Carvalho, I. (2009) An armadillo-like sphagesaurid crocodyliform from the Late Cretaceous of Brazil. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 27(1), 36-41. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsames.2008.11.005
Breast cancer screening is back in the headlines following the publication of a new paper in the British Medical Journal.
The paper was written by Danish researchers who have previously published work critical of the way women are given information about the balance of risks and benefits. They believe that women aren’t given sufficient information on [...]... Read more »
Jorgensen, K., & Gotzsche, P. (2009) Overdiagnosis in publicly organised mammography screening programmes: systematic review of incidence trends. BMJ, 339(jul09 1). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b2587
The human body is a factory producing trillions of new blood cells daily, and replacing the lining of the small intestine on a weekly basis. The raw materials in production are stem cells, which have the ability both to create cells used by our body, and to create copies of themselves.
To ensure quality of production, [...]... Read more »
A code is a system with which messages are transmitted. Computer coding is transmitting message to your computer to execute tasks, cryptographic coding is sending a message in secret, and neural coding is how your brain processes information. When I say I'm looking for a synchrony binding code, I mean I'm looking for evidence that the brain binds stimuli together using neural synchrony (I'm not looking for this, by the way; I have my doubts about this hypothesis). This article is looking for ........ Read more »
Hong Zhou, Howard S. Friedman, & Rüdiger von der Heydt. (2000) Coding of Border Ownership in Monkey Visual Cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience, 6594-6611. DOI: http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/abstract/20/17/6594
I think we can all agree that the American population has become a little more open with regard to sexual practices than it was in, say, the 1950's. The existence of premarital sex is discussed in multiple media outlets, and there are homosexual relationships discussed with candor. However, there are still several sexual practices which are still considered relatively taboo with regards to public discussion. While male masturbation, for example is discussed (often as comedic relief) pretty op........ Read more »
When admiring a brilliant sportsman or woman, commentators often describe a wielded tennis racquet, cricket bat or other sporting appendage, as having become like an extension of the athlete's own body, so fluid and deft is their control of the lump of metal or wood. It's a metaphor we should be able to relate to, since all of us, champion athlete or not, absorb tools into our inner representation of our own bodies - what cognitive psychologists call our "body schema".That's according to Lucilla........ Read more »
Cardinali, L., Frassinetti, F., Brozzoli, C., Urquizar, C., Roy, A., & Farnè, A. (2009) Tool-use induces morphological updating of the body schema. Current Biology, 19(12). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.05.009
Results from a long-running primate study of calorie restriction (CR) are becoming more definitive as the years pass. Two decades in, the reports continue to be consistent with the many, many other CR studies in animals and humans: eating fewer calories while still obtaining adequate nutrition slows down degenerative aging in primates. Studying aging in monkeys takes patience. Mice and rats only live for a couple of years, while these monkeys can live to 40, and the average life span is 27 years........ Read more »
Colman, R., Anderson, R., Johnson, S., Kastman, E., Kosmatka, K., Beasley, T., Allison, D., Cruzen, C., Simmons, H., Kemnitz, J.... (2009) Caloric Restriction Delays Disease Onset and Mortality in Rhesus Monkeys. Science, 325(5937), 201-204. DOI: 10.1126/science.1173635
...the research holds critical the idea that niches remain constant over extended periods of time. This idea, called niche conservatism, essentially holds that niches are highly specialized, ancestrally –linked, relatively inflexible and are therefore exceedingly susceptible to disturbance and rapid degradation in the face of change - particularly climate change. ... Read more »
DeSantis, L., Feranec, R., & MacFadden, B. (2009) Effects of Global Warming on Ancient Mammalian Communities and Their Environments. PLoS ONE, 4(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005750
[Originally posted in December, 2007]
Do smells have an impact on how we judge people? Certainly if someone smells bad, we may have a negative impression of the person. But what if the smell is so subtle we don't consciously notice it? Research results have been mixed, with some studies actually reporting that we like people more when in the presence of undetectable amounts of bad-smelling stuff. How could that be?
A team led by Wen Li believes that the judges might have actually been abl........ Read more »
With Jonah Levine
It’s taken Winnipeg a generation to get around to building the first leg of a rapid transit system. You might think that settles the matter, and that now we are down to inconsequential details. On closer examination, however, it becomes clear that many important decisions remain, decisions that could make the difference between a successful rapid transit system and a white elephant.... Read more »
John Renne and Peter Newman. (2002) Facilitating the Financing and Development of 'Smart Growth'. Transportation Quarterluy, 56(2), 23-32.
BJGP article provides mandate for making demands to clarify revalidation... Read more »
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