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  • April 10, 2014
  • 05:00 AM

Is Sugar Bad For You? Not For Plants And Trees, Study Shows

by Geetanjali Yadav in United Academics

A new study reveals the role of sugars as initial regulator of apical dominance... Read more »

Mason MG, Ross JJ, Babst BA, Wienclaw BN, & Beveridge CA. (2014) Sugar demand, not auxin, is the initial regulator of apical dominance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 24711430  

  • April 9, 2014
  • 07:51 AM

Do As I Do: Copy Cat Social Imitation in Dog Training

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Join us for another guest post, this time from Claudia Fugazza of the Family Dog Project in Budapest. Claudia's here to discuss her recent publication in Applied Animal Behaviour Science on the efficiency of new methods in dog training.Hi Mia and Julie,Formal training methods used until now rely mainly on the well-known rules of individual associative learning. These methods work perfectly well for a very wide range of animals — pigeons, rats, dogs and even crabs — and human and non-human animals can learn by ‘click and treat,’ as noted in the popular training book by Karen Pryor. However, recent research has found substantial evidence that dogs could be predisposed to acquire information socially via the ‘Do as I do’ method. Do as I Do is a relatively new training method for people to use, based on dogs’ social cognitive skills, particularly on their imitative ability.  With this training technique, dogs learn new behaviors by observing and copying their handler. The dog is a copycat. This method relies on social learning, and it was recently introduced in the applied field of dog training.  As this method has started spreading in the dog training world, we felt that its efficiency and efficacy needed scientific testing. We were also wanting to know whether this method would be more or less efficient than other current training methods in training for particular behaviors.We expected that dogs would more easily copy object-related actions from a human demonstrator so we tested dogs’ efficiency in this kind of tasks. To do this, I travelled across Italy and the UK with my video-cameras as well as a heavy Ikea cabinet filled with objects (you can imagine the weird looks I got from security personal at checkpoints!). I used these objects to test dogs learning to open or close drawers and lockers, pick up items from it etc. Since training methods can be affected by the skills of the trainer, only experienced dog-owners pairs who achieved a certificate either for the ‘Do as I do’ method or for shaping / clicker training were included in the study. Each pair was tested using ‘his’ method for teaching three different object-related actions in three testing sessions. We expected that the ‘Do as I do’ method would prove more efficient for teaching complex tasks, compared to the shaping method that relies on individual learning. This expectation comes from what we know in humans: we tend to rely more on social learning when required to learn something difficult.Our research found that the ‘Do as I do’ method proved more efficient for teaching dogs complex tasks, like close a drawer, open a locker and pick up an item that was inside (i.e., the time needed by the owner to obtain the first correct performance of the predetermined action was shorter with the ‘Do as I do’ method compared to shaping). We did not find a significant difference in the efficiency of the methods for teaching dogs simple tasks like knocking over a bottle or ringing a bell.Now that we know a bit more on how to efficiently teach complex object-related actions, we are curious to know what happens when we want to teach different kind of complex actions, like body movements. We also want to know whether introducing social learning in dog training could have an effect on learning cues for trained action. We are aware that learning rates can be influenced by many factors, and we acknowledge that this study is just a very first step towards a more scientific approach to training paradigms. However we believe that this kind of information can be very important for the practitioners working in the applied field of dog training. We hope that the readers will not misinterpret the results and will not extend them to different actions and situations that were not tested.Furthermore we would like to emphasize that, despite being efficient for training some kinds of actions, the ‘Do as I do’ method does not replace the methods based on individual learning (for example think of how many actions are not imitable at all if the demonstrator is a human and the learner is a dog!). Instead ‘Do as I do’ is a useful (and fun!) addition to existing training paradigms. Experienced dog trainers may find effective ways to mix the different training techniques in order to obtain the best results with each dog.  Claudia FugazzaDo as I Do Book and DVD Read more »

  • April 8, 2014
  • 05:19 AM

Narcissistic CEOs: Are They Self-Serving Takers?

by Elisabeth Buhl Thubron in United Academics

Narcissism plays a key role in the excessive executive pay culture. What is the impact of having a narcissist at the head of a company?
... Read more »

  • April 3, 2014
  • 06:36 AM

19th Century Neuroimaging Experiment Manuscripts Found

by Harsha Radhakrishnan in United Academics

Mosso’s 19th century experiments in cerebral blood flow dynamics found and reproduced.... Read more »

  • March 27, 2014
  • 08:19 AM

5 facts explain why we love music

by Flora Brils in United Academics

Music seems of great significance for many. It makes us dance, cheers us up, makes us cry; accompanying us through happy and sad life events. 5 facts give insight in the human love for music.... Read more »

Logeswaran, N., & Bhattacharya, J. (2009) Crossmodal transfer of emotion by music. Neuroscience Letters, 455(2), 129-133. DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2009.03.044  

Locke, D., & Hill, R. (1979) Drums of West Africa: Ritual Music of Ghana. Ethnomusicology, 23(2), 366. DOI: 10.2307/851482  

  • March 25, 2014
  • 12:02 AM

“I am Working-Class”: Self-Identification as a Measure of Social Class in Educational Research

by Mark Rubin in Mark Rubin's Social Psychology Research Blog

Governments around the world are trying to open up higher education to working-class people. For example, in January this year, the White House released a report titled: "Increasing college opportunity for low-income students: Promising models and a call to action." In the context of this general push towards widening participation in higher education, my colleagues and I have been developing a research project that aims to investigate social class differences in social integration among students atuniversity. After all, we need to bring working-class people into our universities socially and psychologically as well as physically. As we developed our research project, we quickly realised that the measurement of social class is an extremely contentious issue, with different researchers often preferring different measures. In particular, we noticed that there was a clear divergence between social psychologists and educational researchers in the types of social class measures that they used. Following the recommendations of a 2006 American Psychological Association report on measuring social class, modern-day social psychologists use subjective, self-identification measures of social class alongside more objective measures of income, occupation, and education (for a good example, see Michael Kraus’work). In contrast, educational researchers have tended to restrict themselves to objective measures and to ignore the more subjective aspects of social class (for a recent review, see Rubin, 2012; for a notable exception, see Ostrove & Long, 2007). We have discussed this interdisciplinary discrepancy in a recent review article published online this month in Educational Researcher. In our article, we call for educational researchers to follow the lead of social psychologists and complement (not replace) their objective measures of social class with measures of subjective social class. We believe that subjective measures are not only valid and reliable but also more direct and sensitive in their assessment of social class compared with objective measures. Most importantly, subjective measures tap the social identity aspect of social class, and they give a voice to students’ own opinions about their social class.

For further information, please see the following article: Rubin, M., Denson, N., Kilpatrick, S., Matthews, K., Stehlik, T., & Zyngier, D. (2014). "I am working-class": Subjective self-definition as a missing measure of social class and socioeconomic status in higher education research. Educational Researcher DOI: 10.3102/0013189X14528373... Read more »

  • March 24, 2014
  • 09:43 AM

Oral Health Status among 12 Year Old Children in a Rural Kenyan Community

by JDOH in JScholar Publishers

Dental caries remains a common disease among school-aged children and is thought to be increasing worldwide, especially in developing countries. The Oral Health Country/Area Profile Project reported that the Decayed, Missing and Filled Teeth (DMFT) index, a standard indicator of oral health, increased steadily from 1.15 in 2004 to 1.19 in 2011 in 12-year-old children living in African countries [1]. In contrast, a systematic review of information published from 1967 to 1997 concluded that the DMFT index among 11–13-year-old in Sub-Saharan Africa had not increased significantly during this earlier time period [2,3]. However, assessing long-term trends in the incidence of dental caries is difficult due to the lack of nationwide survey data in most African countries. Several studies have examined oral health status among schoolchildren in Kenya, but they have mainly been conducted in urban areas and cross sectional in nature. Accordingly, neither the current oral health status nor changes over time is adequately documented in rural Kenyan schoolchildren.

For full-text of the article please visit: Read more »

Yoshihiko Hayashi, Cyril N. Ogada, Eunice Kihara, Evelyn G. Wagaiyu, Hideki Fukuda*. (2014) Oral Health Status among 12 Year Old Children in a Rural Kenyan Community. JOURNAL OF DENTISTRY AND ORAL HEALTH, 2(1), 1-5. info:/JDOH 2: 101

  • March 23, 2014
  • 04:56 AM

Invisible Cure For TBI: Good News For NFL And US Army?

by Harsha Radhakrishnan in United Academics

In a recent review in Nature Reviews Neurology, Sharp et al. have discussed the possibility of using network level analysis to further understand effects of TBI and hopefully develop treatment methods.... Read more »

Sharp, D., Scott, G., & Leech, R. (2014) Network dysfunction after traumatic brain injury. Nature Reviews Neurology, 10(3), 156-166. DOI: 10.1038/nrneurol.2014.15  

  • March 18, 2014
  • 02:35 AM

Mixed Models in Sports and Health

by Altea Lorenzo in FreshBiostats, Young researchers in Biostatistics

Short literature review of papers using mixed models in the area of sports and health... Read more »

Casals, M., & Martinez, J.A. (2013) Modelling player performance in basketball through mixed models . Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 13(1), 64-82. info:/

McHale, I., & Szczepański, L. (2014) A mixed effects model for identifying goal scoring ability of footballers. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), 177(2), 397-417. DOI: 10.1111/rssa.12015  

  • March 12, 2014
  • 07:41 PM

Canines and Castles: 4th Canine Science Forum Abstract & Early Bird Registration Deadline Friday

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

“Two canine scientists, Julie Hecht and Mia Cobb, met briefly at a conference in Barcelona in late July 2012. They share a passion for canine science, good communication, social media and fun.” So reads the 'About' page at Do You Believe in Dog?. After a brief hello at the 3rd Canine Science Forum in Barcelona, we decided to embark on an adventure as digital pen pals, taking turns blogging on topics related to our own research, that of other research groups and general dog science themes. In the last two years, Do You Believe in Dog? has grown to include a blog with over 100 posts, contributions from guest blogging canine scientists around the world, as well as vibrant Facebook and Twitter communities.Pretty soon, it’ll be time for the 4th Canine Science Forum (Facebook) July 15-17, 2014 in Lincoln, UK! The conference will be proceeded by the 1st Feline Science Forum, July 14, same location, as well as a day dedicated to Companion Animals - Human Health & Disease, July 18, same location (scroll down for the program).This is a reminder that this Friday, March 14, 2014, is the deadline for abstract submission and early bird conference registration.The scientific programme includes a number of already scheduled talks. Read about the invited speakers here: Prof. Benjamin Hart (USA) From the Woods to Home: What Wolves Tell Us About Dog BehaviorDr. Mariana Bentosela (Argentina) ‘Reinforcement effects upon interspecific communication in domestic dogs. What do we know so far?’Dr Erik Axelsson (Sweden) ‘What makes the dog special – The canine genome in comparison with other mammalian genomes’Prof. Clive D. L. Wynne (USA) ‘Comparative Cognition of Dogs and Wolves: What Makes a Dog a Dog?’Prof. Claudio Sillero (UK) ‘What shapes dog society? Cooperation in the wonderfully adaptable Canidae’Dr. John Finarelli (Ireland) ‘Patterns and processes from the fossil record of canids’Prof. James Serpell (USA) Public Lecture ~~Did we mention the Gala Dinner is in a Castle?See you at the 4th Canine Science Forum in Lincoln, UK!Mia and Julie Check out some of the science presented at CSF2012:Cobb M., Branson N. & McGreevy P. (2013). Advancing the welfare of Australia’s iconic working dogs, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8 (4) e42-e43. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.04.054Hecht J. & Horowitz A. (2013). Physical prompts to anthropomorphism of the domestic dog (Canis familiaris), Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8 (4) e30. DOI: 10.1016/j.jve... Read more »

Cobb Mia, Branson Nick, & McGreevy Paul. (2013) Advancing the welfare of Australia’s iconic working dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.04.054  

Hecht J., & Horowitz A. (2013) Physical prompts to anthropomorphism of the domestic dog (Canis familiaris). Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.04.013  

Racca A., Range F., Virányi Z., & Huber L. (2013) Discrimination of familiar human faces in domestic dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.04.071  

Howell Tiffani J., Toukhsati Samia, Conduit Russell, & Bennett Pauleen. (2013) Do dogs use a mirror to find hidden food?. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(6), 425-430. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.07.002  

  • March 12, 2014
  • 04:12 PM

Audience analysis chart

by Olga Vovk in Milchstraße

A helpful way of gathering information about your readers is to conduct an audience analysis using a chart where on the x axis you list all possible and potential audiences you consider and on the y axis list audience analysis questions. ... Read more »

Carrie Ann Koplinka-Loehr. (1984) The Use of Educational Theory in Science Writing: Audience Analysis and Accommodation. Cornell University. info:/

Butcher, G. (2005) Using audience analysis in the development of web sites. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting. info:other/#ED53B-01

  • March 7, 2014
  • 02:15 AM

How intensive care is linked to cognitive defecits

by Rebekah Morrow in United Academics

Patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) often develop cognitive deficits. The symptoms are very similar to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. New research focuses on this link. ... Read more »

Pandharipande PP1, Girard TD, Jackson JC, Morandi A, Thompson JL, Pun BT, Brummel NE, Hughes CG, Vasilevskis EE, Shintani AK, Moons KG, Geevarghese SK, Canonico A, Hopkins RO, Bernard GR, Dittus RS, Ely EW; BRAIN-ICU Study Investigators. (2014) Long-Term Cognitive Impairment after Critical Illness. New England Journal of Medicine, 370(2), 184-186. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1313886  

  • March 6, 2014
  • 09:07 AM

What’s My Sex Again? Self-image And Gender Affected By Media

by Eva de Lozanne in United Academics

Study shows that sex-priming substantially influences gender-based self-perception... Read more »

  • March 3, 2014
  • 10:10 AM

Why People Pay Fortunes For Celebrity Memorabilia

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

Objects that belonged to famous personalities are very wanted. People pay incredibly high prices to obtain them. Researchers found that the price of an object was influenced by the estimated amount of physical contact that the celebrity had with it. Two theories may explain this finding. ... Read more »

  • March 2, 2014
  • 12:13 AM

Tree types of audience

by Olga Vovk in Milchstraße

Interestingly enough, as soon as one starts answering audience analysis questions, one realizes that there is more than one potential audience. Sometimes one can count 3 to 6 (and even more) different groups of people who made up for different audiences. Yes they all will read your communication.... Read more »

Carrie Ann Koplinka-Loehr. (1984) The Use of Educational Theory in Science Writing: Audience Analysis and Accommodation. Cornell University. info:/

Butcher, G. (2005) Using audience analysis in the development of web sites. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting. info:other/#ED53B-01

  • March 1, 2014
  • 07:42 AM

Suicide in organisms can benefit kin

by Flora Brils in United Academics

Researchers found that in single-celled algae, suicide is altruistic and helps the organism’s relatives. An interview with the researcher about his findings and the implications for human suicide.... Read more »

  • February 28, 2014
  • 05:10 AM

Sing me a song: the link between bird song and classical music

by Nura Rutten in United Academics

Researchers define the attractiveness of bird song to humans... Read more »

Hsu, K., & Hsu, A. (1990) Fractal geometry of music. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 87(3), 938-941. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.87.3.938  

  • February 24, 2014
  • 03:06 PM

Audience analysis – 1

by olga Vovk in Milchstraße

The audience analysis is an important task, which should be done at the very beginning of the writing process, but which is often overlooked in both scientific, technical, and technology writing.... Read more »

Carrie Ann Koplinka-Loehr. (1984) The Use of Educational Theory in Science Writing: Audience Analysis and Accommodation. Cornell University. info:/

  • February 21, 2014
  • 08:21 AM

Virtual Customer Service Agents: Any Help?

by Nura Rutten in United Academics

Perhaps you are able to recall this, but there was a time that if you had a question or a complaint, you could go to a building, with a desk, and there was an actual person to talk to and get annoyed with. Nowadays, you type hours of your life away writing emails or filling in contact forms, while being on hold at the customer service for days in a row. However, not long ago, the virtual customer service agent (VCSA) appeared. ... Read more »

  • February 21, 2014
  • 02:51 AM

No Sex Please: Understanding Asexuality

by Elisabeth Buhl Thubron in United Academics

Lack of sexual interest in a highly sexualised Western society: how does that work? Interest in this topic has sky-rocketed in the past decade, yet we still know very little about it. Once thought to be a psychological or biological disorder, asexuality is slowly being accepted as a normal orientation separate from sexual orientations such as heterosexuality and homosexuality.... Read more »

Van Houdenhove E, Gijs L, T'sjoen G, & Enzlin P. (2013) Asexuality: Few Facts, Many Questions. Journal of sex . PMID: 24134401  

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