Imagine that you are a female student and give the exact same answer to a physics exam question as one of your male classmates, but you receive a significantly poorer grade. This is precisely what happens on a regular basis, as concluded in a study by Sarah Hofer, a researcher in the group led by ETH professor Elsbeth Stern.... Read more »
Hofer, S. (2015) Studying Gender Bias in Physics Grading: The role of teaching experience and country. International Journal of Science Education, 37(17), 2879-2905. DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2015.1114190
Mothers, put down your smartphones when caring for your babies! That's the message from University of California, Irvine researchers, who have found that fragmented and chaotic maternal care can disrupt proper brain development, which can lead to emotional disorders later in life.... Read more »
Molet, J., Heins, K., Zhuo, X., Mei, Y., Regev, L., Baram, T., & Stern, H. (2016) Fragmentation and high entropy of neonatal experience predict adolescent emotional outcome. Translational Psychiatry, 6(1). DOI: 10.1038/tp.2015.200
When you have a fever, your nose is stuffed and your headache is spreading to your toes, your body is telling you to stay home in bed. Feeling sick is an evolutionary adaptation according to a hypothesis put forward by Prof. Guy Shakhar of the Weizmann Institute’s Immunology Department and Dr. Keren Shakhar of the Psychology Department of the College of Management Academic Studies.... Read more »
Shakhar, K., & Shakhar, G. (2015) Why Do We Feel Sick When Infected—Can Altruism Play a Role?. PLOS Biology, 13(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002276
A study by researchers at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) has identified a new mechanism through which hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) control both their own proliferation and the characteristics of the niche that houses them. This control is exercised by the protein E-Selectin Ligand-1 (ESL-1).... Read more »
Leiva, M., Quintana, J., Ligos, J., & Hidalgo, A. (2016) Haematopoietic ESL-1 enables stem cell proliferation in the bone marrow by limiting TGFβ availability. Nature Communications, 10222. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10222
All it took was one mutation more than 600 million years ago. With that random act, a new protein function was born that helped our single-celled ancestor transition into an organized multicellular organism. That’s the scenario — done with some molecular time travel — that emerged from basic research in the lab of University of Oregon biochemist Ken Prehoda.... Read more »
Anderson, D., Whitney, D., Hanson-Smith, V., Woznica, A., Campodonico-Burnett, W., Volkman, B., King, N., Prehoda, K., & Thornton, J. (2016) Evolution of an ancient protein function involved in organized multicellularity in animals. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.10147
Scientists at Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), and the Université Paris Descartes have found that deficits in social memory–a crucial yet poorly understood feature of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia–may be due to a decrease in the number of a particular class of brain cells, called inhibitory neurons, in a little-explored region within the brain’s memory center.... Read more »
Piskorowski, R., Nasrallah, K., Diamantopoulou, A., Mukai, J., Hassan, S., Siegelbaum, S., Gogos, J., & Chevaleyre, V. (2016) Age-Dependent Specific Changes in Area CA2 of the Hippocampus and Social Memory Deficit in a Mouse Model of the 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. Neuron, 89(1), 163-176. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.11.036
The constant barrage of post-holiday sales touted by web-based retailers may make it seem like online shopping is killing real-world stores. But shoppers are actually engaging in “web-to-store” shopping — buying offline after comparing prices online.... Read more »
Bodur, H., Klein, N., & Arora, N. (2015) Online Price Search: Impact of Price Comparison Sites on Offline Price Evaluations. Journal of Retailing, 91(1), 125-139. DOI: 10.1016/j.jretai.2014.09.003
The background to this new set of experiments lies in the debate regarding conscious will and determinism in human decision-making, which has attracted researchers, psychologists, philosophers and the general public, and which has been ongoing since at least the 1980s. Back then, the American researcher Benjamin Libet studied the nature of cerebral processes of study participants during conscious decision-making.... Read more »
Schultze-Kraft, M., Birman, D., Rusconi, M., Allefeld, C., Görgen, K., Dähne, S., Blankertz, B., & Haynes, J. (2015) The point of no return in vetoing self-initiated movements. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201513569. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1513569112
(part 1, part 2) I ended part 2 Monday night. It was an exciting day with many excellent talks, but the best talk (mine, of course!) was due the next day. Tuesday started with the seminar on engineering cells and … Continue reading →... Read more »
Moore, A. (2010) What's in a title? A two-step approach to optimisation for man and machine. BioEssays, 32(3), 183-184. DOI: 10.1002/bies.201090009
Novel genes are continuously emerging during evolution, but what drives this process? A new study has found that the fortuitous appearance of certain combinations of elements in the genome can lead to the generation of new genes.... Read more »
Using a new gene-editing technique, a team of scientists from UT Southwestern Medical Center stopped progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) in young mice. If efficiently and safely scaled up in DMD patients, this technique could lead to one of the first successful genome editing-based treatments for this fatal disease, researchers said.... Read more »
Long, C., Amoasii, L., Mireault, A., McAnally, J., Li, H., Sanchez-Ortiz, E., Bhattacharyya, S., Shelton, J., Bassel-Duby, R., & Olson, E. (2015) Postnatal genome editing partially restores dystrophin expression in a mouse model of muscular dystrophy. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5725
A central challenge in the field of metabolic engineering is the efficient identification of a metabolic pathway genotype that maximizes specific productivity over a robust range of process conditions. A review from researchers at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI covers the challenges of optimizing specific productivity of metabolic pathways in cells and new advances in pathway creation and screening.... Read more »
Klesmith, J., & Whitehead, T. (2015) High-throughput evaluation of synthetic metabolic pathways. TECHNOLOGY, 1640001. DOI: 10.1142/S233954781640001X
I ended Part 1 after the morning session on pushing the boundaries of imaging. After the amazing talks on imaging, I browsed the halls, visited some exhibitors, sampled a couple of exhibitor tech-talks. I later went to a mycrosymposium (#2: signaling … Continue reading →... Read more »
Smith C, Lari A, Derrer CP, Ouwehand A, Rossouw A, Huisman M, Dange T, Hopman M, Joseph A, Zenklusen D.... (2015) In vivo single-particle imaging of nuclear mRNA export in budding yeast demonstrates an essential role for Mex67p. The Journal of cell biology, 211(6), 1121-30. PMID: 26694837
Nelles DA, Fang MY, Aigner S, & Yeo GW. (2015) Applications of Cas9 as an RNA-programmed RNA-binding protein. BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, 37(7), 732-9. PMID: 25880497
Just about one year ago, I summarized the best research available on the topic of violent video games causing aggressive behaviour. Reviewing several meta-analyses and discussing the APA's statement on the subject, I concluded that violent video games almost certainly have a minimal effect and likely have a higher effect on aggressive cognition. In August of this year, the APA released a new resolution as well as a full report on video games and violence/aggressive behaviour. As promised in my first article on the subject, I'm here to report.... Read more »
Adachi, P., & Willoughby, T. (2013) Demolishing the Competition: The Longitudinal Link Between Competitive Video Games, Competitive Gambling, and Aggression. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(7), 1090-1104. DOI: 10.1007/s10964-013-9952-2
Adachi, P., & Willoughby, T. (2011) The effect of video game competition and violence on aggressive behavior: Which characteristic has the greatest influence?. Psychology of Violence, 1(4), 259-274. DOI: 10.1037/a0024908
Princeton University researchers have captured among the first recordings of neural activity in nearly the entire brain of a free-moving animal. The three-dimensional recordings could provide scientists with a better understanding of how neurons coordinate action and perception in animals. The researchers reported a technique that allowed them to record 3-D footage of neural activity in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, a worm species 1 millimeter long with a nervous system containing a mere 302 neurons.... Read more »
Nguyen JP, Shipley FB, Linder AN, Plummer GS, Liu M, Setru SU, Shaevitz JW, & Leifer AM. (2015) Whole-brain calcium imaging with cellular resolution in freely behaving Caenorhabditis elegans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26712014
A pair of new studies has found that the stereotype of the aloof professor—you know, the one that is accomplished in her field but I'd like to see her come teach the kids in my school—might be, surprise surprise, a little unfair.
Researchers found that the superior content knowledge of mathematics professors (8 assistant professors and 7 full professors) relative to secondary teachers was associated with a significantly greater amount of conceptual explanations, as opposed to "product oriented" (answer-getting) explanations—and these conceptual explanations resulted in the superior performance of students receiving them.... Read more »
Lachner, A., & Nückles, M. (2015) Tell me why! Content knowledge predicts process-orientation of math researchers’ and math teachers’ explanations. Instructional Science. DOI: 10.1007/s11251-015-9365-6
New findings by French researchers show that the brain devotes more processing resources to social situations that signal threat than those that are benign. The results may help explain the apparent “sixth sense” we have for danger. This is the first time that specific regions of the brain have been identified to be involved in the phenomenon. The human brain is able to detect social threats in these regions in a fast, automatic fashion, within just 200 milliseconds.... Read more »
El Zein, M., Wyart, V., & Grèzes, J. (2015) Anxiety dissociates the adaptive functions of sensory and motor response enhancements to social threats. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.10274
“Will you exercise this year?” That simple question can be a game-changing technique for people who want to influence their own or others’ behavior, according to a recent study spanning 40 years of research. The research is the first comprehensive look at more than 100 studies examining the ‘question-behavior effect,’ a phenomenon in which asking people about performing a certain behavior influences whether they do it in the future. The effect has been shown to last more than six months after questioning.... Read more »
Spangenberg, E., Kareklas, I., Devezer, B., & Sprott, D. (2015) A meta-analytic synthesis of the question-behavior effect. Journal of Consumer Psychology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcps.2015.12.004
In some sense, a preference for explicit instruction, rather than being a pillar of cognitive load theory, is simply the logical consequence of accepting the two distinctions above—that biologically secondary and domain-specific knowledges differ significantly and qualitatively from their biologically primary, domain-general counterparts such that the former require explicit teaching whereas the latter do not.
... Read more »
Sweller, J. (2015) Working memory, long-term memory, and instructional design. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. DOI: 10.1016/j.jarmac.2015.12.002
Black smokers are deep-sea hydrothermal vents found in the ocean. Now scientists believe that they may host electroecosystems in which the primary producers use electric currents as their energy source.... Read more »
Nakamura, R., Takashima, T., Kato, S., Takai, K., Yamamoto, M., & Hashimoto, K. (2010) Electrical Current Generation across a Black Smoker Chimney. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 49(42), 7692-7694. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201003311
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