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  • June 16, 2016
  • 12:01 PM
  • 489 views

Reflections On Voodoo Neuroscience

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Seven years ago, neuroscientists Ed Vul and colleagues made waves with their paper on 'voodoo correlations' in social neuroscience. Now, in a new paper, historian of medicine Cornelius Borck looks back on the voodoo correlations debate and asks whether neuroscience might be likened to voodoo in another sense.



Borck argues that neuroscience has something in common with animism, the religious belief that spirits inhabit various objects. In particular, he says, fMRI studies can be likened to... Read more »

Borck, C. (2016) Animating Brains. Medical History, 60(03), 308-324. DOI: 10.1017/mdh.2016.25  

  • June 16, 2016
  • 09:30 AM
  • 774 views

An omelette of extinction

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

~50 000 years ago  He wakes. The first sunrays slowly crawl over the horizon. As he gets up, the others in his family group stir. He surveys this new land.  His stomach grumbles… # Present day Born in an African cradle, humanity has spread across the globe. And almost everywhere we went, we managed to […]... Read more »

Miller G, Magee J, Smith M, Spooner N, Baynes A, Lehman S, Fogel M, Johnston H, Williams D, Clark P.... (2016) Human predation contributed to the extinction of the Australian megafaunal bird Genyornis newtoni ∼47 ka. Nature communications, 10496. PMID: 26823193  

  • June 14, 2016
  • 04:16 PM
  • 674 views

Even when help is just a click away, stigma is still a roadblock

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Stigma is a major barrier preventing people with mental health issues from getting the help they need. Even in a private and anonymous setting online, someone with greater self-stigma is less likely to take that first step to get information about mental health concerns and counseling.

... Read more »

Lannin, D., Vogel, D., Brenner, R., Abraham, W., & Heath, P. (2016) Does self-stigma reduce the probability of seeking mental health information?. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 63(3), 351-358. DOI: 10.1037/cou0000108  

  • June 12, 2016
  • 03:23 PM
  • 539 views

Researchers show copper is essential for burning fat

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Is copper deficiency contributing to the obesity epidemic? Though small amounts of copper are essential to health - oysters, liver, beans and nuts are good sources - copper's role in metabolism has been unclear: Some studies found that it boosted fat burning, others that it depressed it.

... Read more »

Krishnamoorthy, L., Cotruvo, J., Chan, J., Kaluarachchi, H., Muchenditsi, A., Pendyala, V., Jia, S., Aron, A., Ackerman, C., Wal, M.... (2016) Copper regulates cyclic-AMP-dependent lipolysis. Nature Chemical Biology. DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.2098  

  • June 5, 2016
  • 02:05 AM
  • 863 views

Why does English spread in global academia?

by Jinhyun Cho in Language on the Move

The Linguistic Ethnography Forum’s e-seminar devoted to Ingrid Piller’s recent book Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice: An Introduction to Applied...... Read more »

Piller, I., & Cho, J. (2013) Neoliberalism as language policy. Language in Society, 42(01), 23-44. DOI: 10.1017/S0047404512000887  

  • June 3, 2016
  • 03:55 PM
  • 629 views

Zika virus directly infects brain cells and evades immune system detection

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The mosquito-borne Zika virus linked to microcephaly and other neurological problems in newborns of affected mothers directly infects the brain progenitor cells destined to become neurons. The team of researchers used a strain of Zika currently impacting the Americas, and found that the virus infects about 20 percent of cells on average, evades immune system detection, and continues to replicate for weeks.

... Read more »

  • June 1, 2016
  • 04:30 PM
  • 550 views

New muscular dystrophy drug target identified

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists have discovered that muscle cells affected by muscular dystrophy contain high levels of an enzyme that impairs muscle repair. This finding provides a new target for potential drug treatments for the disease, which currently has no cure. Muscular dystrophy (MD) is an inherited genetic condition that gradually causes a weakening of muscles.

... Read more »

  • May 30, 2016
  • 05:22 PM
  • 580 views

Google searches for 'chickenpox' reveal big impact of vaccinations

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Countries that implement government-mandated vaccinations for chickenpox see a sharp drop in the number of Google searches for the common childhood disease afterward, demonstrating that immunization significantly reduces seasonal outbreaks. That's one of the findings from a new study that analyzed thousands of Google searches for "chickenpox."

... Read more »

Bakker, K. M.,, Martinez-Bakker, M., Helm, B., & Stevenson, T. J. (2016) Digital epidemiology reveals global childhood disease seasonality and the effects of immunization . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. info:/

  • May 30, 2016
  • 04:54 PM
  • 808 views

The Harm of Verbal Promiscuity

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

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 »

Elgar, M., Jones, T., & McNamara, K. (2013) Promiscuous words. Frontiers in Zoology, 10(1), 66. DOI: 10.1186/1742-9994-10-66  

  • May 29, 2016
  • 04:30 PM
  • 567 views

Why everyone wants to help the sick -- but not the unemployed

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

New research explains why healthcare costs are running out of control, while costs to unemployment protection are kept in line. The answer is found deep in our psychology, where powerful intuitions lead us to view illness as the result of bad luck and worthy of help.

... Read more »

  • May 25, 2016
  • 05:00 PM
  • 857 views

Humiliation from stares are worse than tiny seats for obese air travelers

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Feelings of shame and humiliation bother obese air passengers more than tight seat belts and tiny seats, according to a study published by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers. Participants interviewed for the study recounted the typical challenges they encounter while boarding, in-flight and deplaning.

... Read more »

Yaniv Poria, & Jeremy Beal. (2016) An Exploratory Study about Obese People’s Flight Experience . Journal of travel research. info:/10.1177/0047287516643416

  • May 24, 2016
  • 07:22 PM
  • 652 views

Does ecology affect human behavior? Book Review

by Farid Pazhoohi in Epistemophil

In their book The Parasite-Stress Theory of Values and Sociality, Randy Thornhill, Distinguished Professor at The University of New Mexico, and Corey L. Fincher, Assistant Professor at University of Warwick, present a new interpretation of human values and cultural behaviors, on the basis of ecological variations in parasite-stress prevalence across and within nations. Before delineating […]... Read more »

Pazhoohi, F. (2016) The Parasite-Stress Theory of Values and Sociality, Infectious Disease, History and Human Values Worldwide (Book Review). Canadian Studies in Population, 43(1-2), 155-157. info:/

  • May 23, 2016
  • 05:13 PM
  • 572 views

Extreme beliefs often mistaken for insanity, new study finds

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In the aftermath of violent acts such as mass shootings, many people assume mental illness is the cause. After studying the 2011 case of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, researchers are suggesting a new forensic term to classify non-psychotic behavior that leads to criminal acts of violence.

... Read more »

Rahman T, Resnick PJ, & Harry B. (2016) Anders Breivik: Extreme Beliefs Mistaken for Psychosis. The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 44(1), 28-35. PMID: 26944741  

  • May 18, 2016
  • 06:20 PM
  • 702 views

Your friends have more friends than you do

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

No matter how smart and funny you think you are, those you follow on Twitter really do have a larger following than you. And the same holds true for Facebook. But there is no reason to feel badly about any of this. According to the research, it is all due to the inherently hierarchical nature of social media networks, where, in the social hierarchy of connections, people mostly either follow up or across; they rarely follow down.

... Read more »

  • May 14, 2016
  • 10:28 AM
  • 706 views

The Neural Basis of Seeing God?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A remarkable case report describes the brain activity in a man at the moment that he underwent a revelatory experience.

According to the authors, Israeli researchers Arzy and Schurr, the man was 46 years old. He was Jewish, but he had never been especially religious. His supernatural experience occured in hospital where he was undergoing tests to help treat his right temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), a condition which he had suffered from for forty years. As part of the testing procedure, the pat... Read more »

  • May 12, 2016
  • 06:01 PM
  • 895 views

The Smell of the Cinema: Human Chemical Signals?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The air in a cinema contains a chemical cocktail emitted by the audience - and the emotional tone of the movie influences the molecular composition of the cloud.

That's according to a striking set of results from researchers Johnathan Williams and colleagues who took air samples from two 230-seater screens of a cinema in Germany over a period of two weeks.





Here's an example of the chemical trace associated with shows of the movie "The Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire", featuring three... Read more »

  • May 11, 2016
  • 03:58 PM
  • 608 views

Could flies help us understand brain injuries?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These injuries occur most frequently from falling, but can also result from military combat, car accidents, contact sports or domestic abuse. Recently, physicians and researchers have become increasingly concerned that even mild cases of repetitive brain trauma could have long-term, unanticipated consequences.

... Read more »

Barekat, A., Gonzalez, A., Mauntz, R., Kotzebue, R., Molina, B., El-Mecharrafie, N., Conner, C., Garza, S., Melkani, G., Joiner, W.... (2016) Using Drosophila as an integrated model to study mild repetitive traumatic brain injury. Scientific Reports, 25252. DOI: 10.1038/srep25252  

  • May 11, 2016
  • 02:10 AM
  • 915 views

Do monolingual teachers produce a Golem effect in multilingual students?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Teacher expectations produce self-fulfilling prophecies in student performance: high teacher expectations result in students’ higher academic performance and low teacher...... Read more »

  • May 10, 2016
  • 05:55 PM
  • 630 views

Research shows body image linked to overall life satisfaction

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We're constantly bombarded by advertisements telling us we are too fat, too thin, not curvy enough, not flat enough -- or more often than not -- simply not enough. It shouldn't be a surprise to see that effect our day to day life, like it or not -- and it has. Researchers have just published results from a national study on the factors linked to satisfaction with appearance and weight.

... Read more »

  • May 9, 2016
  • 04:29 PM
  • 595 views

Epigenetic study of lactose intolerance may shed light on the origin of mental illness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study on the epigenetics of lactose intolerance may provide an approach to understanding schizophrenia and other complex, serious illnesses. While that may seem odd, both lactose intolerance and schizophrenia are inherited. In addition, neither condition emerges in the first years of life, but rather both appear years or even decades later.

... Read more »

Labrie, V., Buske, O., Oh, E., Jeremian, R., Ptak, C., Gasiūnas, G., Maleckas, A., Petereit, R., Žvirbliene, A., Adamonis, K.... (2016) Lactase nonpersistence is directed by DNA-variation-dependent epigenetic aging. Nature Structural . DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.3227  

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