The origin of zebra stripes has long been a mystery: in over a century, scientists developed various hypotheses. Social factors, cooling mechanisms and camouflage against predators, were proposed as possible explanations. However, no striking evidence could support one particular theory, so the black and white striping in zebra was believed to remain a grey area.... Read more »
Growth of biomedical research simultaneously hinders and advances its development.
This week brought to the forefront two important pieces of news in the field of biomedical research. Bad news first – the future of biomedical research looks bleak if things are not going to change. Then the good news – depending on your views on science, this second bit could be either head-scratching or eye opening: Scientists in the Scripps Research Institute, following years of research, have been able to create a synthetic organism with an “artificial DNA”.... Read more »
Alberts B, Kirschner MW, Tilghman S, & Varmus H. (2014) Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(16), 5773-7. PMID: 24733905
Malyshev DA, Dhami K, Lavergne T, Chen T, Dai N, Foster JM, Corrêa IR Jr, & Romesberg FE. (2014) A semi-synthetic organism with an expanded genetic alphabet. Nature, 509(7500), 385-8. PMID: 24805238
Research reveals that fungus from the Dead Sea can address environmental challenges.... Read more »
Kis-Papo, T., Weig, A., Riley, R., Peršoh, D., Salamov, A., Sun, H., Lipzen, A., Wasser, S., Rambold, G., Grigoriev, I.... (2014) Genomic adaptations of the halophilic Dead Sea filamentous fungus Eurotium rubrum. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4745
Hi Julie and Mia, Guess what? We have something in common! Do You Believe in Dog? started as a result of you two meeting at a conference, and my latest publication also resulted from a conference-inspired, long-distance collaboration. Dr. Carri Westgarth and I met at the International Society for Anthrozoology meeting in England in 2012. We quickly realized we share both personal and professional interests in dogs. During one of our chats, I showed Carri pictures of dogs I’d worked with in a US shelter. As I flipped through the pictures, I noted out loud that many were pit bulls, and Carri responded, “We wouldn’t call most of those dogs pit bulls here in the UK.” Flickr/denial_landThis conversation motivated us to conduct a study investigating differences between which dogs shelter workers in the US and UK consider pit bulls. Following the conference, Carri and I collected pictures of shelter dogs and designed a survey to learn more about shelters’ intake policies and assess how shelter workers determine breed identity. We wanted survey participants to look at pictures of shelter dogs and then tell us what breed they thought the dog was and which characteristics led them to their conclusion. Then, we had participants go through the pictures a second time and tell us whether or not they felt each dog was a pit bull. One of the hardest parts of this project was narrowing down the pictures to just 20. We would have loved to have included more but didn’t want to make our survey so long that people became frustrated and quit before finishing. Our final set of pictures included 11 bull breeds. Twelve of the dogs were from the US, and the remaining 8 were from the UK.Some of the dogs used in our survey (excerpt from publication)We launched the survey at the end of 2012 and recruited participants via social media and an e-mail campaign directed at shelters. We ended up with responses from 416 US participants and 54 UK participants.Eleven percent of US participants reported working in shelters that are impacted by Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Although all UK shelters are impacted by BSL due to the Dangerous Dog Act, the survey results indicated that not all UK shelter workers were aware of this. That surprised us!Flickr/hand-nor-gloveWe were even more surprised by participants’ thoughts regarding which dogs were pit bulls. Over half of US participants considered 7 of the 20 dogs to be pit bulls, whereas over half of UK participants considered only 1 of the dogs to be a pit bull. Furthermore, US participants were significantly more likely than UK participants to consider 12 of the dogs to be pit bulls.Flickr/actionkat13When we provided participants with a list of 10 bull breed and Mastiff breed names and asked if they considered any of these breeds to be pit bulls, US participants were more likely than UK participants to say that 6 of the breeds were. The biggest discrepancy between US and UK participants’ responses was regarding the Staffordshire bull terrier. Two percent of UK participants considered this breed to be a pit bull, whereas 69% of US participants did!Carri and I were astonished by how much UK and US shelter workers’ perceptions of what a pit bull looks like differed. We also were surprised by how much disagreement there was amongst shelter workers within our respective countries. We thought about how many times we have seen news reports that identify aggressive dogs as "pit bulls" and how infrequently pictures of the impounded dogs accompany these articles. It made us wonder how much of the pit bull’s reputation is affected by dogs being identified as pit bulls in one location, even though they may not be considered pit bulls elsewhere.We tried to figure out why there is so much disagreement regarding what a pit bull dog is and concluded it may in part be because the American Kennel Club and the UK’s Kennel Club do not have breed standards for the pit bull or American pit bull terrier (although the United Kennel Club does!). According to the UK’s Dangerous Dog Act, a pit bull dog is one that meets the physical features described for pit bulls in a 1977 issue of the American periodical Pit Bull Gazette. American pit bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers fall under the UK’s definition of a pit bull. Notably, Staffordshire bull terriers are not classified as pit bull dogs in the UK, although as our results showed, they tend to be considered pit bulls in the US.... Read more »
Hoffman Christy L., Harrison Natalie, Wolff London, & Westgarth Carri. (2014) Is That Dog a Pit Bull? A Cross-Country Comparison of Perceptions of Shelter Workers Regarding Breed Identification. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1-18. DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2014.895904
Hauser, et al. have a co-authored article on The Mystery of Language Evolution. It’s a review of current directions in the field with the basic message that we don’t yet understand enough for empirical evidence from animal studies, archaeology, palaeontology, genetics or modelling to inform theories of language evolution. Here I summarise the paper and offer some criticisms.... Read more »
Marc D. Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert C. Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky, & Richard Lewontin. (2014) The mystery of language evolution. Frontiers in Psychology. info:/
Urban laboratories can serve as new places for knowledge production and direct application with the goal of making cities more economically viable, socially robust and environmentally friendly.... Read more »
Evans, J., & Karvonen, A. (2014) ‘Give Me a Laboratory and I Will Lower Your Carbon Footprint!’ - Urban Laboratories and the Governance of Low-Carbon Futures. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38(2), 413-430. DOI: 10.1111/1468-2427.12077
A new study reveals that nanoparticles can break the rules of thermodynamic: what do these findings imply? An interview with one of the researchers. ... Read more »
Gieseler J, Quidant R, Dellago C, & Novotny L. (2014) Dynamic relaxation of a levitated nanoparticle from a non-equilibrium steady state. Nature nanotechnology. PMID: 24681775
Wang, G., Sevick, E., Mittag, E., Searles, D., & Evans, D. (2002) Experimental Demonstration of Violations of the Second Law of Thermodynamics for Small Systems and Short Time Scales. Physical Review Letters, 89(5). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.89.050601
Just Wow. Photo: Chris Sembrot PhotographyHi Julie,Yes, but WHY? I loved Claudia Fugazza's guest post about drawing on dogs' social imitation capacities to learn as copy-cats in the Do as I do training technique. Good stuff! A few things collided this week that resulted in me deciding to look into why dogs lick people. The first was the Huffington Post 'This Is What Happens When You Ask People To Kiss Their Dogs In Front Of A Camera' (example above from Chris Sembrot's 'For the love of dog' photography collection) that a friend so kindly brought to my attention. The second was this tweet that came to us on Twitter from passionate science education guru (and keen admirer of dogs), Charlotte Pezaro:@DoUBelieveInDog why do dogs lick you lots when they like you?— Chloe Zara Potter (@cpezaro) March 28, 2014Now Julie, like me, I'm sure you know there's no quick and easy answer to this - I knew I needed more than 140 characters to respond to Charlotte, and I also threw it out to the 7,500+ people (What! So exciting!) in our Facebook community:Valid point! Photo: Flickr/jmonin87 Turns out (not surprisingly!) our Facebook community is a really clued in bunch (I've hazed names to be polite). They pretty much know it all anyway. However, for Charlotte's sake, let quickly revisit why indeed, dogs lick us bipedal folk. Food: the evolutionary basis of licking?Many people have heard at some point or another that dogs lick at us -- and particularly our faces -- because young wolves lick and poke at adult wolf muzzles to trigger them to regurgitate food that they can then feed on. It's likely that the common ancestor shared by dogs, wolves and other canid species also demonstrated this behaviour, as it's also seen in foxes, African wild dogs, etc. However, licking is also seen in young canids (and many mammal species) as a newborn behaviour when a puppy seeks the mother's nipples to feed.This suckling behaviour is thought to be re-oriented to become a useful pacifying gesture. A human analogy is to consider young children thumb-sucking to self-soothe -- imagine if they licked our faces instead when they felt a bit unsure or stressed! Dogs have been seen to use licking as a type of appeasement behaviour - often interpreted by people as intended to reduce tension or 'apologise'. This kind of 'pacifying' lick can be self directed in the absence of other dogs or people, and in extreme cases, can even be a self-mutilation health issue. Greeting: I lick you = I like you?Dogs may lick another (dog, or person) during greeting. This can be for a number of reasons as our clever Facebook team outlined. Greetings can even become ritualised, and in addition to licking, can include play bows, rubbing, jumping, running and vocalising. These can be considered affiliative behaviours - designed to elicit attachment, often interpreted as bonding and playful. ... Read more »
Bradshaw John W.S., Blackwell Emily J., & Casey Rachel A. (2009) Dominance in domestic dogs—useful construct or bad habit?. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 4(3), 135-144. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2008.08.004
Bonanni Roberto, Cafazzo Simona, Valsecchi Paola, & Natoli Eugenia. (2010) Effect of affiliative and agonistic relationships on leadership behaviour in free-ranging dogs. Animal Behaviour, 79(5), 981-991. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.02.021
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
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 DVDhttp://www.apprendimentosociale.it/en/claudia-fugazza/Family... Read more »
Fugazza Claudia, & Miklósi Ádám. (2014) Should old dog trainers learn new tricks? The efficiency of the Do as I do method and shaping/clicker training method to train dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 53-61. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.01.009
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 »
Chatterjee, A. and Hambrick, D. C. (2007) It's All about Me: Narcissistic Chief Executive Officers and Their Effects on Company Strategy and Performance. Administrative Science Quarterly. DOI: 52(3):351-386
Mosso’s 19th century experiments in cerebral blood flow dynamics found and reproduced.... Read more »
Field, D., & Inman, L. (2014) Weighing brain activity with the balance: a contemporary replication of Angelo Mosso's historical experiment. Brain, 137(2), 634-639. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awt352
Sandrone, S., Bacigaluppi, M., Galloni, M., Cappa, S., Moro, A., Catani, M., Filippi, M., Monti, M., Perani, D., & Martino, G. (2013) Weighing brain activity with the balance: Angelo Mosso's original manuscripts come to light. Brain, 137(2), 621-633. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awt091
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 »
Salimpoor VN, Benovoy M, Larcher K, Dagher A, & Zatorre RJ. (2011) Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music. Nature neuroscience, 14(2), 257-62. PMID: 21217764
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 »
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
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 . 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: http://www.jscholaronline.org/full-text/JDOH/201/Oral-Health-Status-among-12-Year-Old-Children-in-a-Rural-Kenyan-Community.php... 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
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 »
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
“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
Dreschel N.A., & Entendencia K. (2013) Stress during certification testing in prison drug detection dogs and their handlers. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.04.005
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:/
Kibiwott Peter Kurgat. (2011) Needs Analysis in Writing: a study into academic writing needs of undergraduate students. Lambert Acdemic Publishing. DOI: ISBN: 978-3-8443-8735-3
Butcher, G. (2005) Using audience analysis in the development of web sites. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting. info:other/#ED53B-01
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
Bohannon, R., Maljanian, R., & Ferullo, J. (2013) Mortality and readmission of the elderly one year after hospitalization for pneumonia. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 16(1), 22-25. DOI: 10.1007/BF03324527
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