It does not come as a surprise that background music in a café helps create the ambience and affects how much customers enjoy sipping their cappuccinos. But recent research suggests that the choice of lyrics can even impact the social behavior of customers. The researcher Nicolas Ruth and his colleagues from the University of Würzburg (Bavaria, Germany) assembled a playlist of 18 songs with pro-social lyrics which they had curated by surveying 74 participants in an online questionnaire as to w........ Read more »
Ruth, N. (2016) "Heal the World": A field experiment on the effects of music with prosocial lyrics on prosocial behavior. Psychology of Music. DOI: 10.1177/0305735616652226
The Zoo Hypothesis Hello? Anybody out there in the starry skies? If there are extra-terrestrial civilizations, why haven’t we heard from them yet? The sheer magnitude of the universe with its billions upon billions of stars has led many to suggest that life must have arisen more than once in the cosmos. Some have gone […]... Read more »
de Magalhães, J. (2016) A direct communication proposal to test the Zoo Hypothesis. Space Policy. DOI: 10.1016/j.spacepol.2016.06.001
A trio of researchers has found off-the-shelf AI software can be used to identify people in blurred or pixilated images. The researchers have uploaded a paper describing the experiments they carried out with AI software identification of people or other items in blurred out images, what they found and reveal just how accurate they found it could be.
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Para and super? The Olympics are over. They’ve brought us some good stories, some nice records, and (self-citation alert!) a humble blog post about the ethics of doping. But the Paralympics, their less mediatized cousin, are in full swing. Paralympians from all over the world gather to wow us with their athletic prowess in the Paralympic […]... Read more »
Swartz, L., & Watermeyer, B. (2008) Cyborg anxiety: Oscar Pistorius and the boundaries of what it means to be human. Disability , 23(2), 187-190. DOI: 10.1080/09687590701841232
Howe, P. (2011) Cyborg and Supercrip: The Paralympics Technology and the (Dis)empowerment of Disabled Athletes. Sociology, 45(5), 868-882. DOI: 10.1177/0038038511413421
Smith, L. (2014) The Blade Runner: The Discourses Surrounding Oscar Pistorius in the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Communication , 3(4), 390-410. DOI: 10.1177/2167479513519979
Mathematics is an important part of modern society. Science and engineering are hard to imagine without mathematics, and even simple things such as calculating the cost of groceries involve mathematics. So, it's not strange to stop and wonder what mathematics is. That turns out to be a very difficult question.... Read more »
Stefan Buijsman. (2016) Philosophy of Mathematics for the Masses: Extending the scope of the philosophy of mathematics. Stockholm: Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University . info:other/978-91-7649-351-9
There was always that nagging feeling of not being accepted, of whispers behind his back. They pretended to be open-minded, but in reality not belonging to the group of professionals was reason enough to dismiss his work and findings. In their eyes, he was just a solicitor. A hobbyist. He was tolerated, but their derision […]... Read more »
De Groote, I., Flink, L., Abbas, R., Bello, S., Burgia, L., Buck, L., Dean, C., Freyne, A., Higham, T., Jones, C.... (2016) New genetic and morphological evidence suggests a single hoaxer created ‘Piltdown man’. Royal Society Open Science, 3(8), 160328. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160328
There is only her and the track. The people standing on her left and right do not matter now. She has only one adversary: time. In her head she plays how the future might…will unfold. Forty seven strides. That’s all she needs. All things on the periphery disappear. Her world, her universe becomes a single […]... Read more »
Savulescu J, Foddy B, & Clayton M. (2004) Why we should allow performance enhancing drugs in sport. British journal of sports medicine, 38(6), 666-70. PMID: 15562155
Gaviglio CM, Osborne M, Kelly VG, Kilduff LP, & Cook CJ. (2015) Salivary testosterone and cortisol responses to four different rugby training exercise protocols. European journal of sport science, 15(6), 497-504. PMID: 25743223
Park HY, Hwang H, Park J, Lee S, & Lim K. (2016) The effects of altitude/hypoxic training on oxygen delivery capacity of the blood and aerobic exercise capacity in elite athletes - a meta-analysis. Journal of exercise nutrition , 20(1), 15-22. PMID: 27298808
Fear memory encoding, the process responsible for persistent reactions to trauma-associated cues, is influenced by a sparse but potent population of inhibitory cells called parvalbumin-interneurons (PV-INs) in the amygdala, according to a new study.
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Lucas, E., Jegarl, A., Morishita, H., & Clem, R. (2016) Multimodal and Site-Specific Plasticity of Amygdala Parvalbumin Interneurons after Fear Learning. Neuron. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.06.032
The music theory literature has been suggesting it for a long time: the idea that simultaneous sounding tones with frequency relationships that are low integer multiples, like 1:2 (octave) or 3:2 (a perfect fifth), are determinant of how listeners perceive consonance. It is an idea that is often related to the overtone structure of natural sounds (such as the voice or string instruments) suggesting that musical harmony is reflective or even a result of the acoustic structure that is found in nat........ Read more »
Honing, H., ten Cate, C., Peretz, I., & Trehub, S. (2015) Without it no music: cognition, biology and evolution of musicality. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140088-20140088. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0088
Charles gets up and balances on his short legs. During the brief ungainly walk to the dais, he fights the urge to scratch his arms. The vest that has been tailor-made for him itches. But it will help focus the committee on his purpose, focus on him as a person. He squats on the low […]... Read more »
Windrem MS, Schanz SJ, Morrow C, Munir J, Chandler-Militello D, Wang S, & Goldman SA. (2014) A competitive advantage by neonatally engrafted human glial progenitors yields mice whose brains are chimeric for human glia. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 34(48), 16153-61. PMID: 25429155
A team of researchers from Stanford University, Cornell University and Yahoo recently decided to evaluate the "connectedness" of the hypothesized Huntington civilizations in cyberspace and published their results in the article "The Mesh of Civilizations in the Global Network of Digital Communication".
The researchers examined Twitter users and the exchange of emails between Yahoo-Mail users in 90 countries with a minimum population of five million. In total, they analyzed........ Read more »
State, B., Park, P., Weber, I., & Macy, M. (2015) The Mesh of Civilizations in the Global Network of Digital Communication. PLOS ONE, 10(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122543
Mothers of children with autism and were diagnosed with metabolic conditions during pregnancy, particularly gestational and type 2 diabetes, were more likely to have anti-fetal brain autoantibodies in their blood compared to healthy women of children with autism. The presence of these anti-fetal brain autoantibodies has been previously found to be specific to some mothers of children with autism and rare among mothers of children without autism.
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Krakowiak, P., Walker, C., Tancredi, D., Hertz-Picciotto, I., & Van de Water, J. (2016) Autism-specific maternal anti-fetal brain autoantibodies are associated with metabolic conditions. Autism Research. DOI: 10.1002/aur.1657
‘Street Smart’ finches are generally more intelligent than their rural kin.... Read more »
Audet, J., Ducatez, S., & Lefebvre, L. (2016) The town bird and the country bird: problem solving and immunocompetence vary with urbanization. Behavioral Ecology, 27(2), 637-644. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arv201
Tebbich, S., & Teschke, I. (2014) Coping with Uncertainty: Woodpecker Finches (Cactospiza pallida) from an Unpredictable Habitat Are More Flexible than Birds from a Stable Habitat. PLoS ONE, 9(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091718
Kozlovsky, D., Branch, C., & Pravosudov, V. (2015) Elevation-Related Differences in Parental Risk-Taking Behavior are Associated with Cognitive Variation in Mountain Chickadees. Ethology, 121(4), 383-394. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12350
Abstraction is my favorite part of mathematics. I find a certain beauty in seeing structures without their implementations, or structures that are preserved across various implementations. And although it seems possible to reason through analogy without (explicit) abstraction, I would not enjoy being restricted in such a way. In biology and medicine, however, I often […]... Read more »
The size and shape of your junk may depend on how much sex your ancestors had… that is, at least, if you are a burying beetle. Buring beetles caught in the act. Photo by Jena Johnson. Burying beetles are unusual among insects in that they provide parental care and are often monogamous. When burying beetle pairs find a small dead bird or rodent, they pluck it bald, coat it in antibacterial and antifungal body secretions, and dig a hole around it. The female lays her eggs around the carcass-ba........ Read more »
Hopwood, P., Head, M., Jordan, E., Carter, M., Davey, E., Moore, A., & Royle, N. (2016) Selection on an antagonistic behavioral trait can drive rapid genital coevolution in the burying beetle, . Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/evo.12938
The topics of effective altruism and social (in)justice have weighed heavy on my mind for several years. I’ve even touched on the latter occasionally on TheEGG, but usually in specific domains closer to my expertise, such as in my post on the ethics of big data. Recently, I started reading more thoroughly about effective altruism. […]... Read more »
Eastern chimpanzees don't want to be judged. Image by Ikiwaner at Wikimedia.com.Whether they have one true love for life, multiple partners, or are free-loving, animals have many different mating systems. We have different scientific terms for these different mating systems, and most of these terms have very specific meanings. An animal is socially monogamous when it has one exclusive mating relationship, but maybe has sex with others outside of that relationship. It is sexually monogamous when ........ Read more »
The fight against aging Ever since the ancient Sumerians, men has sought eternal life. We still do. Anti-aging science has become quite an industry. As we dive deeper and deeper into our biological foundations, we’re learning more and more about how and why we age. A lot of mysteries remain, but there’s still talk about […]... Read more »
One key characteristic of a beautiful scientific theory is the simplicity of the underlying concepts. According to Weinberg, Einstein's theory of gravitation is described in fourteen equations whereas Newton's theory can be expressed in three. Despite the appearance of greater complexity in Einstein's theory, Weinberg finds it more beautiful than Newton's theory because the Einsteinian approach rests on one elegant central principle – the equivalence of gravitation and ........ Read more »
Brain scans show the human brain under LSD and explain how hallucinations occur.... Read more »
Carhart-Harris, R., Muthukumaraswamy, S., Roseman, L., Kaelen, M., Droog, W., Murphy, K., Tagliazucchi, E., Schenberg, E., Nest, T., Orban, C.... (2016) Neural correlates of the LSD experience revealed by multimodal neuroimaging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(17), 4853-4858. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1518377113
Carhart-Harris, R., Leech, R., Hellyer, P., Shanahan, M., Feilding, A., Tagliazucchi, E., Chialvo, D., & Nutt, D. (2014) The entropic brain: a theory of conscious states informed by neuroimaging research with psychedelic drugs. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00020
Hagmann, P., Cammoun, L., Gigandet, X., Meuli, R., Honey, C., Wedeen, V., & Sporns, O. (2008) Mapping the Structural Core of Human Cerebral Cortex. PLoS Biology, 6(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060159
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