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  • March 3, 2015
  • 05:48 PM
  • 35 views

Is language learning on the job the best way to learn a new language?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

One of the most famous research subjects to ever have participated in second language learning research is a man known in the literature as Alberto. In 1973 Alberto participated in a ten-month longitudinal study of his learning of various English … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 25, 2015
  • 11:36 AM
  • 92 views

Using the Dead to Interpret Daily Life in Bronze Age Spain

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

I am fascinated by the diversity of ways that humans have approached death and dying throughout our history as a species. Since you’re reading this, I’ll assume you are interested […]... Read more »

  • February 17, 2015
  • 02:26 PM
  • 118 views

Shopping while hungry leads to more non-food purchases

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever go shopping when you’re hungry and notice you walked out with a lot more than you were expecting to buy? While most people know that when you are hungry, you typically will buy more food (as illustrated by The Oatmeal above), new research shows that there is a clear link between hunger and buying non-food items. A team of international researchers has released a paper that describes five laboratory and field studies they conducted which showed how people respond to non-food objects when ........ Read more »

Alison Jing Xu, Norbert Schwarz, & Robert S. Wyer, Jr. (2015) Hunger promotes acquisition of nonfood objects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. info:/10.1073/pnas.1417712112

  • February 14, 2015
  • 06:36 PM
  • 135 views

A very Sciencey Valentine’s day

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Happy valentines day! Okay maybe it’s turned into more of a reason to spend money on chocolate and flowers than it is about showing affection — which is probably why some people hate it — but it can still be a somewhat special day. Unfortunately I’ve been struggling on what I could do for my wife on valentines day. So I thought I would work it out here and maybe even help a few of you who are stuck as well.... Read more »

  • February 9, 2015
  • 11:21 AM
  • 140 views

The Beginnings of Jurassic Park: Dinosaur Blood Discovered? (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Samantha VoldThe classic tale of Jurassic Park, where dinosaurs once again walked the earth has tickled the fancy of many a reader. Dinosaur DNA preserved in a fossilized mosquito was used to bring these giants back to life. But in real life, it was previously thought that there was no possible way for organic materials to be preserved, that they often degraded within 1 million years if not rapidly attacked by bacteria and other organisms specialized in decomposition. Skin and other soft tiss........ Read more »

Schweitzer, M. (2010) Blood from Stone. Scientific American, 303(6), 62-69. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican1210-62  

  • February 7, 2015
  • 02:00 AM
  • 142 views

Rogers’ paradox: Why cheap social learning doesn’t raise mean fitness

by Marcel Montrey in Evolutionary Games Group

It’s Friday night, you’re lonely, you’re desperate and you’ve decided to do the obvious—browse Amazon for a good book to read—when, suddenly, you’re told that you’ve won one for free. Companionship at last! But, as you look at the terms and conditions, you realize that you’re only given a few options to choose from. You […]... Read more »

Rogers, A. (1988) Does biology constrain culture?. American Anthropologist, 819-831. DOI: 10.1525/aa.1988.90.4.02a00030  

  • February 6, 2015
  • 09:02 AM
  • 155 views

Typical Dreams: A Comparison of Dreams Across Cultures

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Have you ever wondered how the content of your dreams differs from that of your friends? How about the dreams of people raised in different countries and cultures? It is not always easy to compare dreams of distinct individuals because the content of dreams depends on our personal experiences. This is why dream researchers have developed standardized dream questionnaires in which common thematic elements are grouped together. These questionnaires can be translated into various languages and used........ Read more »

  • February 6, 2015
  • 08:34 AM
  • 173 views

Why do we have music? Can one trace the origins of musicality?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Why do we have music? And what enables us to perceive, appreciate and make music? The search for a possible answer to these and other questions forms the backdrop to a soon-to-be released theme issue of Philosophical Transactions, which deals with the subject of musicality. An initiative of Henkjan Honing, professor of Music Cognition at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), this theme issue will see Honing and fellow researchers present their most important empirical results and offer a joint rese........ 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  

Gingras, B., Honing, H., Peretz, I., Trainor, L., & Fisher, S. (2015) Defining the biological bases of individual differences in musicality. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140092-20140092. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0092  

Fitch, W. (2015) Four principles of bio-musicology. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140091-20140091. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0091  

Hoeschele, M., Merchant, H., Kikuchi, Y., Hattori, Y., & ten Cate, C. (2015) Searching for the origins of musicality across species. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140094-20140094. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0094  

  • February 6, 2015
  • 06:21 AM
  • 113 views

Who Are History's Heroes And Villains? A World Opinion Survey

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

How do people in different cultures view history? Around the globe, who are regarded as the best and worst historical figures? A new survey out now in PLoS ONE reveals the patterns of world opinion:  "Heroes" and "Villains" of World History across Cultures.



The researchers, led by Katja Hanke of Germany and James H. Liu of New Zealand, polled 6,902 university students from 37 different countries. In an anonymous survey, the participants rated 40 historical figures on a seven point scale f... Read more »

Hanke K, Liu JH, Sibley CG, Paez D, Gaines SO Jr, Moloney G, Leong CH, Wagner W, Licata L, Klein O.... (2015) "Heroes" and "Villains" of World History across Cultures. PloS one, 10(2). PMID: 25651504  

  • February 3, 2015
  • 10:03 PM
  • 123 views

What’s in a name?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Would Kirk Douglas be a Hollywood legend if he had kept his birth name Issur Danielovitch? Would Bob Dylan have achieved global fame if he had kept his birth name Robert Zimmerman? Would the current Australian treasurer Joe Hockey have … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 2, 2015
  • 04:48 PM
  • 144 views

How social norms come into being

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Fifteen years ago, the name “Aiden” was hardly on the radar of Americans with new babies. It ranked a lowly 324th on the Social Security Administration’s list of popular baby names. But less than a decade later, the name became a favorite, soaring into the top 20 for five years and counting. Now, a new study provides a scientific explanation for how social conventions — everything from acceptable baby names to standards of professional conduct — can emerge suddenly, seemingly out of no........ Read more »

Damon Centola, & Andrea Baronchelli. (2015) The spontaneous emergence of conventions: An experimental study of cultural evolution . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. info:/10.1073/pnas.1418838112

  • February 2, 2015
  • 06:00 AM
  • 50 views

Prehistoric Temples on Maui Reveal Origins of Island’s First Kingdom

by Blake de Pastino in Western Digs

A new study of indigenous temples, or heiau, on the island of Maui has set out to identify when the island’s native population — initially spread out over several small chiefdoms — first came together under a single ruler.
... Read more »

  • January 31, 2015
  • 11:37 PM
  • 160 views

Drones!

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), popularly known as “drones,” have become increasingly common in recent years as the technology behind them has developed. Some uses are controversial, such as military applications and uses that might violate privacy expectations or be dangerous to other aircraft, but other uses are more benign and can potentially open up new […]... Read more »

  • January 30, 2015
  • 05:32 PM
  • 208 views

Same sex relationships and stress: A new perspective

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Studies of stress and its effects on health have typically focused on the worries of an individual: money, love, health, work. When we turn our attention on relationship stress, the focus is generally on your typical couple. However, new research studies how minority stress -- which results from being stigmatized and disadvantaged in society -- affects same-sex couples' stress levels and overall health.... Read more »

  • January 29, 2015
  • 12:56 PM
  • 158 views

Political gridlock: Blame the men

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It feels like the government moves at a snails pace sometimes, it takes forever for any change to come about and even then it is typically not even “change.” This couldn’t be more evident than during the political gridlock that led to the 2013 US federal government shutdown, the leading voices for compromise were the handful of female U.S. senators — only 20 percent of the overall legislative body.... Read more »

  • January 27, 2015
  • 10:48 AM
  • 155 views

Reuse of Cemeteries in Prehistoric Ireland

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

With the cold weather and ice descending upon the Midwest, I’ve found myself spending more time watching HGTV than I normally do. My favorite shows are the fixer upper ones, […]... Read more »

  • January 24, 2015
  • 09:39 AM
  • 171 views

Urban Legends In The World of Clinical Trials

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Ethnographer Jill A. Fisher offers a fascinating look at the rumors and urban legends that circulate among the volunteers who get paid to take part in medical research: Stopped hearts, amputated toes and NASA




Fisher visited six clinical trial facilities across the USA. All of these facilities were exclusively devoted to running phase I trials, testing new drugs to see if they are safe in humans. She spent a total of 450 hours in the field, getting to know the 'guinea pigs', and the staf... Read more »

  • January 24, 2015
  • 02:00 AM
  • 128 views

An approach towards ethics: primate sociality

by Alexander Yartsev in Evolutionary Games Group

Moral decision making is one of the major torrents in human behavior. It often overrides other ways of making judgments, it generates conflicting sets of cultural values and is reinforced by them. Such conflicts might even occur in the head of some unfortunate individual, which makes the process really creative. On the other hand ethical […]... Read more »

  • January 20, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 151 views

Mostly Dead, but Slightly Alive: The Life After Death of Dismembered Remains in Ancient Peru

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

In the Princess Bride, the deceased body of Westley is brought to Miracle Max in order to bring him back to life. Famously, May says ‘There’s a big difference between mostly dead […]... Read more »

  • January 18, 2015
  • 12:30 PM
  • 158 views

The genetics of Mexico recapitulates Native American substructure and affects biomedical traits.

by Marianna Spatola in genome ecology evolution etc

All figures are reproduced from the original paper (Moreno Estrada et al. Science 2014) Summary and personal comments This paper is about genetic diversity among Native Mexico populations Mexico is an interesting region/subject to study human genetic diversity since it … Continue reading →... Read more »

Moreno-Estrada, A., Gignoux, C., Fernandez-Lopez, J., Zakharia, F., Sikora, M., Contreras, A., Acuna-Alonzo, V., Sandoval, K., Eng, C., Romero-Hidalgo, S.... (2014) The genetics of Mexico recapitulates Native American substructure and affects biomedical traits. Science, 344(6189), 1280-1285. DOI: 10.1126/science.1251688  

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