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  • January 11, 2013
  • 10:11 AM

Q: Why does skin lose its elasticity as we get old?

by Stuart Farrimond in Guru: Science Blog

Asked by Sam Whiley via Facebook Before we even jump to the answer, let’s define what elasticity actually is.  It’s not really the “stretchiness” of your skin as many people tend to think it is; that’s only half the definition.  If elasticity were to be defined as only how stretchy something can be, then your [...]... Read more »

  • January 8, 2013
  • 10:28 AM

High-impact Journals for Genetics and Genomics

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

One of the burdens of the information age is that there’s far more content produced than could ever be read by the population. This is categorically true of blogging, but also a fact of research publication. With hundreds of academic journals (ISI indexes over 11,000 science and social science journals) and thousands of articles published [...]... Read more »

  • January 7, 2013
  • 09:00 AM

A Story Behind A Paper - Part I

by J Zevin in The Magnet is Always On

We can't go around knocking out genes to see what effects they have in people, or raising children in caves to find out at what age they irreversibly lose the ability to learn language, but cognitive neuroscience uses non-invasive imaging techniques that show us patterns of brain activityrelated to particular behaviors or states. That seemed pretty awesome, and I wanted in...... Read more »

  • January 3, 2013
  • 01:41 PM

How many calories do you burn by coughing?

by Stuart Farrimond in Guru: Science Blog

Q: Do you burn calories by coughing and does it help to build ‘ab’ muscles?! I have to be getting some kind of workout out of this damned cold… Asked by Suzanne Butler via Facebook Your question is surprisingly difficult to answer. Energy expenditure has been measured in a variety of ways, but to do [...]... Read more »

  • January 1, 2013
  • 06:28 AM

What’s wrong with citation analysis?

by Hadas Shema in Information Culture

What’s wrong with citation analysis? Other than your papers not being cited enough, what’s wrong with measuring scientific influence based on citation count? Citation analysis-based decisions concerning grants, promotions, etc. have become popular because, among other things, they’re considered “unbiased.” After all, such analysis gives numbers even non-professionals can understand, helping them make the best [...]

... Read more »

MacRoberts, M., & MacRoberts, B. (1996) Problems of citation analysis. Scientometrics, 36(3), 435-444. DOI: 10.1007/BF02129604  

MacRoberts, M., & MacRoberts, B. (2010) Problems of citation analysis: A study of uncited and seldom-cited influences. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 61(1), 1-12. DOI: 10.1002/asi.21228  

Priem, J., Taraborelli, D., Groth, P., & Neylon, C. (2010) altmetrics: a manifesto. info:/

  • December 30, 2012
  • 04:13 PM

What kinds of dogs are troubled by fireworks, and what to do about it

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Mia, I agree with you. As much as I enjoy New Years celebrations, it breaks my heart to see so many dogs distressed over our reverie. (Source) Which dogs are troubled by noises? As you say, some dogs are la-di-da about fireworks and others act as if it’s Judgment Day times ten. What could be behind those differences? Early FireworksYou shared a really interesting finding that dogs who heard fireworks when they were puppies were less likely to show a fear response to noises later in life. This reminds us of the importance of early exposure to (and happy experiences with!) stimuli that might be freaky! Paw Preference and Fear?Is it possible that seemingly unrelated behaviors like paw preference and noise phobia could be related? (Source)As you know, paw preference has to do with whether a dog chooses to use one paw over the other when performing certain tasks, such as repeatedly using the right paw to hold down a Kong stuffed with food while he eats. For anther test of paw preference, researchers look at which paw the dog uses to step forward from a standing position.What in the world could paw preference tell us about a dog’s fear of fireworks? You know about the research done in your neck of the woods -- in Australia -- by Branson and Rogers (2006). They found that ambidextrous dogs, dogs who did not have a clear right or left paw preference, showed greater reactivity to fireworks and thunderstorms than dogs who either preferred the right or the left paw. They suggest that non-ambidextrous dogs -- dogs who prefer drawing from one side of the brain hemisphere during a particular behavior -- might have a more tempered response to disturbing stimuli. The researchers note, “One way of inhibiting an intense response to a disturbing stimulus is to shift attention to another, less disturbing stimulus,” and it seems that an ambidextrous dog might be less capable of doing that.At the same time, the study of brain lateralization in dogs is in its infancy. We are only beginning to understand the relationship between lateralization and how dogs behave and perceive the world. It will be interesting to see how this field progresses  The “Why”s of noise phobias are interesting, but the other part of the situation is how to help a dog once he is freaked out.A dog is afraid of noises, now what? You offered a number of great suggestions to treat fear and noise phobia such as DAP, behavior modification and medication.(Source)On our Facebook page, someone offered their solution: "Nothing worked so I book a Forest Service cabin in the middle of nowhere and stay there with my dog who hates Fireworks. It was a nightmare time now its vacation."A number of people look into products that swaddle dogs, such as Thundershirt and Anxiety Wrap. The product manufacturers claim that wrapping reduces fear by maintaining pressure.You showed me a forthcoming study that investigated whether the Anxiety Wrap (Animals Plus LLC, Huntington, IN) helped dogs with thunderstorm phobia. In this study, owners reported on their dog’s behavior during thunderstorms with and without the Anxiety Wrap. Was the Wrap helpful?79% of owners reported that the Anxiety Wrap was somewhat to totally effective (25%-100% effective).But the product did not decrease all dog anxiety behaviors. Of the anxiety behaviors you mentioned, owners claimed that only shaking and pacing decreased, whereas dogs continued to perform any of the following: panting, performing inappropriate elimination, seeking attention, vocalizing, not eating, salivating or hiding. Although the Anxiety Wrap claims it doesn’t decrease mobility, it is possible dogs are not actually less fearful, just less ambulatory. At the same time, dogs performed less shaking, which does not relate to locomotion, and this behavioral change is definitely notable.If we want a product to have a fighting chance, we’ve got to make associations with the product itself as happy and "positive" a... Read more »

Daniels Dawn Marie, Ritzi Rovane B. S., O’Neil Joseph, & “Tres Scherer L R. (2009) Analysis of Nonfatal Dog Bites in Children. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 66(Supplement). DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181937925  

Horowitz Alexandra C., & Bekoff Marc. (2007) Naturalizing Anthropomorphism: Behavioral Prompts to Our Humanizing of Animals. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 20(1), 35. DOI: 10.2752/089279307780216650  

  • December 29, 2012
  • 04:28 PM

The Fight Over Mankind’s Essence

by Jesse Marczyk in Pop Psychology

All traits of biological organisms require some combination and interaction of genetic and non-genetic factors to develop. As Tooby and Cosmides put it in their primer: Evolutionary psychology is not just another swing of the nature/nurture pendulum. A defining characteristic … Continue reading →... Read more »

Geher, G., & Gambacorta, D. (2010) Evolution is Not Relevant to Sex Differences in Humans Because I Want it That Way! Evidence for the Politicization of Human Evolutionary Psychology. EvoS: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium , 32-47. info:/

  • December 29, 2012
  • 09:22 AM

Crowdfunding Science

by GDW in The Beast, the Bard and the Bot

Scientific research costs money. And in times where the economy isn’t exactly booming, it’s an area where, wrongfully I believe, budget cuts are quite likely to occur. When austerity reigns, governments and funding agencies alike allocate less and less capital to scientific research. Time to consider alternative routes of funding. One of these relies on [...]... Read more »

  • December 18, 2012
  • 08:02 AM

How Long Should a Scientific Publication be?

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

In one word: short. In two words: it depends. A neuroscience expert faces the challenge of 100 new neuroscience articles being published on a daily basis. S/he will never be able to read all that. So, what can be done to get your own publication known to the community? . 1) Know the reader and [...]... Read more »

  • December 14, 2012
  • 12:22 PM

Play with your dog, for science

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Project: Play With Your Dog (our latest study)Hi Mia,Wow. Very heavy stuff. I’m really happy you put this all out there. It's a great resource, especially when people tend to think, "That won't happen to me." An uncomfortable and upsetting situation hopefully becomes more real and understandable. Hopefully, an eye of caution will be extended to those circumstances more often associated with bites. Show us how you playYou’re right, my mind has been 100% on things not related to dog bites. At the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab, we just launched our next project. It’s called, Project: Play with Your Dog. We are cataloguing all the ways—traditional, original, or creative—people play with their dogs. To do this, we are using the Citizen Science platform and asking dog owners to submit short videos of themselves playing with their dog. It's really just a happy study.Our Project on Scientific American Citizen ScienceThis week, we launched with a guest blog post on Scientific American, How do you play with your dog? and the project is now on their Citizen Science page.Now we need hundreds of videos of people playing with their dogs!   How people can participate: Find or make a 30-60 second video of you and your dog playing in whatever way you like to play together, and then upload the video to our website and complete a short survey. REALLY IMPORTANT: Both dog and person should be visible for all or most of the video. As cute as it is to see your dog running back and forth, we need to see you in the video playing with your dog. SUGGESTIONS: Attach the video camera to a tripod to capture the play area, or have another person hold the video camera.Then, everyone is invited to add a picture to our Wall of Contributors (which is growing and the pictures are really awesome!)Project: Play with Your Dog is open to anyone, in any country. If you live with a dog, we want to see you play.Source: Business Insider ScienceAdditional details:Subjects: Participants must be at least 8 years old Time Commitment: 20 to 30 minutesProject Duration: Ongoing through Spring 2013Project Website: Contact: DogCognitionStudy@gmail.comThat's what's going on in my world. Look forward to seeing a video of Elke in the river and you with stick in hand ;)Happy holidays on the horizon!!!... Read more »

Daniels Dawn Marie, Ritzi Rovane B. S., O’Neil Joseph, & “Tres Scherer L R. (2009) Analysis of Nonfatal Dog Bites in Children. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 66(Supplement). DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181937925  

Horowitz Alexandra C., & Bekoff Marc. (2007) Naturalizing Anthropomorphism: Behavioral Prompts to Our Humanizing of Animals. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 20(1), 35. DOI: 10.2752/089279307780216650  

  • December 10, 2012
  • 08:55 AM

Implied audience in high-profile psychology papers: Beyond the “nice lady on the subway.”

by J Zevin in The Magnet is Always On

Perhaps the most serious problem with the “nice lady on the subway” as implied audience for scientific communication is that it contributes to an environment in which over-interpretation of results is essentially standard. By accepting the assumption that the concepts we’re working with should be familiar and accessible to everyone, we invite the misapprehension that our results can speak directly to the kinds of questions ordinary people have about how their minds work. We can do better than resignedly sighing and shrugging when people outside the field ask whether they would be better at freestyling if they could just shut down their prefrontal cortex, or if they’d be better at cuddling if they had more oxytocin. We can, instead, insist on describing our results in a way that makes it clear that their scope is limited. But as long as psychologists are rewarded for framing our work in relatable ways — and there are few tastier carrots than a publication in Science — papers will be written in a way that invites readers to look to them for simple answers that are not forthcoming.... Read more »

  • December 8, 2012
  • 07:43 AM

One in Four physicians goes to Social Media daily or many times in a day

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Researchers have found that one in four physicians use social media every day and many of them use it even multiple times a day to get updates about medical information.

This research has been published online in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Researchers have found that 14% of physicians go to social media to throw in new information. Researchers have also found after the survey of 485 primary oncologists and primary care physicians that 61% of physicians check for new information and 46% of physicians put in the new information on weekly basis or more.

More than 50% of physicians said that they go to the online physician-only communities while 7% of them use Twitter.

Oncologists go to the social media to check for innovation and primary care physicians want to stay in touch with peers to learn something new.

"What did surprise us was the heavy use of online physician-only communities," Robert S. Miller, M.D., an assistant professor of oncology and oncology medical information officer at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, said in a statement. "It's possible that many physicians feel more comfortable with that type of social media instead of a more public space like Twitter or Facebook."

Dr. Miller is of the opinion that the survey is about one and a half years old, so it is more probability that more of the physicians are now taking part in the social media.

We think that such a survey must also be conducted in PhDs and related researchers.


McGowan, B., Wasko, M., Vartabedian, B., Miller, R., Freiherr, D., & Abdolrasulnia, M. (2012). Understanding the Factors That Influence the Adoption and Meaningful Use of Social Media by Physicians to Share Medical Information Journal of Medical Internet Research, 14 (5) DOI: 10.2196/jmir.2138... Read more »

  • December 7, 2012
  • 03:06 PM

The Not So Seductive Allure of Colorful Brain Images

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

We all know that the mere presence of a brain scan image or a neuro-prefix adds instant credibility to any news story, right? And that the public (i.e., undergraduates) is easily swayed into believing in bogus psychological findings if accompanied by pretty colorful brains? Well count me in! But wait...Neuroscience Fiction Fiction?The day after the high-profile Neuroscience Fiction article by Dr. Gary Marcus appeared in The New Yorker, a stealthy blog post in Brain Myths summarized an unpublished paper (Farah & Hook, in press, PDF) that  refutes this notion.1Are Brain Scans Really So Persuasive? New evidence suggests the allure of brain scans is a myth Published on December 3, 2012 by Christian Jarrett, Ph.DA pair of psychologists at The University of Pennsylvania have highlighted a delicious irony. Sceptical neuroscientists and journalists frequently warn about the seductive allure of brain scan images. Yet the idea that these images are so alluring and persuasive may in fact be a myth. Martha Farah and Cayce Hook refer to this as the “seductive allure of ‘seductive allure’” (PDF via author website).Most of their evidence against the "seductive allure" is from unpublished data described in their in press article (which we can't evaluate yet):Two series of as yet unpublished experiments have failed to find evidence for the seductive allure of brain images. Michael, Newman, Vuorre, Cumming, and Garry (2012, under review) reported a series of replication attempts using McCabe & Castel’s Experiment 3 materials. Across nearly 2000 subjects, a meta‐analysis of these studies and McCabe & Castel’s original data produced a miniscule estimated effect size whose plausible range includes a value of zero. Our own work (Hook & Farah, in preparation) has also failed to find evidence that brain images enhance readers’ evaluation of research in three experiments comprising a total of 988 subjects.However, one published paper did fail to find an effect of fMRI images on how participants judged the scientific reasoning and credibility of a fake news story titled, “Scientists Can Reconstruct Our Dreams” (Gruber & Dickerson, 2012).2  The study was designed to replicate the previous study of McCabe and Castell (2008) with some notable exceptions. Rather than using a bar graph or an ugly and cluttered EEG topographic map as the comparison images in separate groups, Gruber and Dickerson used:...a fantastical, artistic image of a human head and a cyberspace-esque background with swirly lines. The final group was given an image from the popular science fiction film Minority Report in which three children’s dreams of the future are projected on a screen and used to prevent crime.Very io9... But both studies did have a no-image condition.The Gruber and Dickerson study also added additional questions to explicitly assess credibility and authoritativeness, in addition to whether the scientific reasoning made sense. Results showed that all cases, ratings did not differ statistically across the conditions, including the fMRI vs. no-image comparison.Hmm... Farah and Hook also debunked the study of Weisberg et al., (2008), which didn't use images at all but added neuroscience-y explanations to 18 actual psychological phenomenon. The problem was that the neuroscience-y paragraphs were longer than the no-neuroscience paragraphs. The author of the excellent but now-defunct Brain In A Vat blog had a similar objection, as explained in I Was a Subject in Deena Weisberg's Study:So how does it feel being held up to the scientific community as an exemplar idiot? Well, it’s a bit embarrassing. One of my coping mechanisms has been to criticize the experimental design. For instance, I think its problematic that the with neuroscience explanations were longer than the without neuroscience explantions. If subjects merely skimmed some of the questions (not that I would ever do such a thing), they might be more likely to endorse lengthier explanations.Neuroskeptic also raised this point in his otherwise [mostly] positive evaluation of the study, Critiquing a Classic: "The Seductive Allure of Neuroscience Explanations":Perhaps the authors should have used three conditions - psychology, "double psychology" (with additional psychological explanations or technical terminology), and neuroscience (with additional neuroscience). As it stands, the authors have strictly shown is that longer, more jargon-filled explanations are rated as better - which is an interesting finding, but is not necessarily specific to neuroscience.He noted that the authors acknowledged this objection, but also that the conclusions we can draw from the study are fairly modest.What does this mean for Neuro Doubt and Neuroscience Fiction and Neurobollocks? The takedowns of overreaching interpretations, misleading press releases, and boutique neuro-fields are still valid, of course, but the critics themselves shouldn't succumb to the seductive allure of seductive allure. But we must also remember that the most thorough critiques of seductive allure still await peer review.3 Footnotes1 And makes me feel a little silly.2 The experiment must have been designed before these actual 2012 headlines: Scientists read dreams (Nature) and Scientists decode contents of dreams (Telegraph).3 I wrote to two of the authors of the original studies (Weisberg and Castel) to get their reactions, but haven't heard back. Very, very tragically, we... Read more »

  • December 4, 2012
  • 12:07 AM

Dogs and babies: Not always cute

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Mia, Oh, Arf! Based on the way I treated him, it's a good thing he was stuffed. I remember dragging him around by his leg (or maybe it was his ear) so we could "spend time" together. Given he was a stuffed animal, I have to admit it's pretty cute. Nowadays, it seems like one of the functions of social media is sharing cute stuff. You can't go a day without seeing something posted, tweeted or shared that elicits an, "Aww cute" response. Some photos mix and match baby animals: Baby animals get us every timeOthers photos are more in the cute-weird category:I see a piece of strawberry and broccoli on that plate. Do you?Then there are the dog and baby pictures. On our Do You Believe in Dog? Facebook page, I posted the below picture. We got 37 likes, 27 shares and 1, “Awwww!" comment. This picture also appeared elsewhere on Facebook, and I took a screen shot to capture all the attention it received (listed below): 1,658 likes and 464 shares. In one sense, when it comes to dogs and babies, the above picture is something we are very accustomed to seeing, a gaggle of mushy cuteness.But there's more to the story, and this is clearly where you are going in your next installment, The Science Surrounding Kids and Dogs: The Ugly (Part 3) Kids are bitten by dogs and some babies don’t become kids because of an interaction they had with a dog.This is a fact. A really upsetting fact.A retrospective study examined 341 children who had been bitten by a dog, and they found: “Incidence was highest in 1-year-old patients and decreased with increasing age.” Another study found: “Children younger than 6 years constituted 52.8% (n = 204) of the sample. As compared with older children, a higher proportion of younger children were bitten by their family dog whose rabies shots were up to date.”  And another: “Children younger than 5 years represented 34% of all dog bite victims, but 50% of all children requiring hospitalization. Thirty-seven percent of all children admitted to the hospital were bitten by a family dog. The cost of direct medical care during the study was $2.15 million.”These figures are quite painful. Even writing them sucks. But the numbers tell us something. First, some families will have a traumatic experience as the result of an interaction between a dog and a child.Second, many of the dogs doing the biting are family dogs.Finally, young children constitute a high proportion of children being bitten (and often by the family dog). Putting it together: Images of dogs and babies Madeline Gabriel is a San Diego-based Certified Professional Dog Trainer who holds training classes about dogs and babies. On her blog, she recently took a look at ubiquitous dog and baby photos, exploring whether “Cute” Dog and Baby Photos Feed the Fantasy?  Photos of dogs and kids often suggest that dogs and kids are just supposed to be "best friends," that dogs should somehow be comfortable h... Read more »

Daniels Dawn Marie, Ritzi Rovane B. S., O’Neil Joseph, & “Tres Scherer L R. (2009) Analysis of Nonfatal Dog Bites in Children. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 66(Supplement). DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181937925  

Horowitz Alexandra C., & Bekoff Marc. (2007) Naturalizing Anthropomorphism: Behavioral Prompts to Our Humanizing of Animals. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 20(1), 35. DOI: 10.2752/089279307780216650  

  • November 20, 2012
  • 08:54 PM

Mixing kids & dogs: a 'how to' resource list

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Mia, Friends for life is a wonderful way to describe growing from childhood to adulthood with a dog. For me, Arf was always around till a living, breathing dog came into my life, and you clearly thought dogs were the bomb from an early age! And speaking of childhood dogs, how awesome is the Childhood Dog Photo Challenge that you started over on Facebook? Were you expecting people to post photos of so many dogs and kids from all over the world!?Mia and Star; Julie and Arf Nowadays, I imagine you and I are in the same position: People contact us with questions when a new baby is on the way and Fido’s already in the house or someone’s adding a dog to a family that already includes a child. When this happens, I get uber excited. You and I clearly have a similar passion -- sharing information and resources -- so when an inquiry like this comes in, I can imagine we both go into OVERDRIVE!While dogs and kids seem to have "effortless" relationships with "unconditional love," I find myself reminding parents-to-be that there are a lot of nuances that can make or break the relationship (clearly, my relationship with Arf was highly successful and bidirectional). There's so much to talk about when it comes to dogs and kids, and I tend to emphasize providing a dog with (1) a comfortable resting area and (2) space where a dog can choose to retreat from interactions. This is one of the main ideas I took away from my Masters program: there is a higher probability of good welfare and good interactions when animals have options and control.  And I also pass out oodles of resources! Here are some resources pertaining to dogs and kids, including resources you shared with me from down under. Australia has great resources!A Guide to Nurturing the Child and Pet Relationship from Pregnancy to Pre-schoolThe Department of Primary Industries, Victoria, Australia, put out this information, and it covers a lot, such as Preparation, The First Six Months and Baby on the Move. The strength of this guide is it reminds parents that new challenges arise at different stages of a child’s development. A dog’s perception of a newborn can change radically once that bugger starts moving around and grabbing onto anything and everything.This website even has a Pet Planner Checklist that helps new parents prepare their dog, their house and themselves for a new baby. The checklist asks questions like: Do you need to change their current feeding routine? Which areas are going to be pet free zones?Can your pet be comfortable and relaxed spending short periods of time in a crate or confined space? When the baby comes, have you organized someone to exercise the dog?(Source)APSCA Guide To Kids and PetsI particularly like the age-appropriate Activities for Kids and Pets as well as the section, How Kids Respond to Pets. As you point out, a toddler might think they are hugging another child when in fact, they've smashed the child to the ground, and toddlers can make the same mistake with dogs. Sometimes I think adults also have difficulty seeing their behavior for what it is and how it affects companion animals.Family PawsFamily Paws is the parent organization of two international programs: Dogs & Storks and the Dog and Baby Connection. They offer programs for new and expecting families to support happy interactions among babies, toddlers and family dogs. Their goal: “increase the safety of children and the success of dogs in homes with children. Decrease the number of dogs surrendered to shelters due to easily preventable behavioral problems and common conflicts.” They offer trainer-run programs, DVDs and of course, a newsletter!... Read more »

Horowitz Alexandra C., & Bekoff Marc. (2007) Naturalizing Anthropomorphism: Behavioral Prompts to Our Humanizing of Animals. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 20(1), 35. DOI: 10.2752/089279307780216650  

  • November 12, 2012
  • 11:01 AM

Post-Sandy and The Power of Cute (Kawaii!!)

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

(Post-Sandy reunited)Hi there Mia, This is all incredibly moving. When natural disasters strike, the damage looks so different depending on geography. Our natural disasters don’t tend to include koalas, although Sandy did cause major trouble for the NYC Aquarium (water was the big problem).Post-Sandy SupportThe local aid and support has been tremendous. Animal Aid and GrantsAs of today, a Facebook group called Hurricane Sandy Lost and Found Pets has 25,158 likes, up from 7,200 likes on 11/2/2012.The ASPCA has been involved in various relief efforts, and their Grant Department is fielding requests from shelters and other animal welfare groups affected by Sandy. The ASPCA is expediting the process for Emergency and Disaster Response Grants.UWSiders Help out (Source @kittykatmc)Apart from national relief programs, there are many local efforts (big and small) to get all kinds of supplies and goods to Staten Island and other areas hit hard.This has been a trying time for many, and it reminds me that good stuff is often found in unexpected places.Cute Helps?A recent study explored the phenomenon of Kawaii. Kawaii is a Japanese word meaning “cute,” and it is often considered associated with positive feelings. But can this phenomenon be measured concretely? And what does it reveal?A recent study (Nittono et al., 2012) explored whether humans perform better at certain tasks after looking at "cute" images. Can cute help with tasks requiring focused attention and carefulness?Study details Participants performed a fine motor dexterity task, similar to the children’s game Operation (the actual game used was the Bilibili Dr. game -- sidenote: based on my success rate when fishing toast out of the toaster, I owe Operation the continued use of my fingers).Participants then viewed images of cute puppies and kittens or "not-as-cute" adult dogs and cats.Kawaii!!!! Cute!!!! Cute effect?Participants’ performance was enhanced after viewing cute images, particularly when the task required focused attention and carefulness.You can use Kawaii!!!!!!The authors note, “Kawaii things not only make us happier, but also affect our behavior.” Viewing cute images could improve performance on tasks requiring carefulness and focused attention.   Possible applications?About to go for a drive? Look at a cute puppy videoPrepping for some office work? Flip open a cute kitten calendarI don’t know if the study authors would deem this “c... Read more »

  • November 7, 2012
  • 10:24 AM

Video Tip of the Week: Force11 and the future of research communications

by Mary in OpenHelix

Recently the National Center for Biomedical Ontology (NCBO) hosted a webinar about the changing face of research communications. Beyond traditional publication, there are a lot of new methods to do outreach and communication about science–blogs, twitter, videos, social media like Facebook and Google+, MOOCs, software tools, and more. This is for our peers and for [...]... Read more »

Bourne Philip E , Clark Tim, Dale Robert, De Waard Anita, Herman Ivan, Hovy Eduard, & Shotton David. (2012) Improving future research communication and e-scholarship : a summary of findings. Informatik-Spektrum, 35(1), 62. DOI: 10.1007/s00287-011-0592-1  

Bourne, Philip E., Clark, Timothy W., Dale, Robert, de Waard, Anita, Herman, Ivan, Hovy, Eduard H., & David Shotton. (2011) Improving The Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship. Dagstuhl Manifestos, 1(1), 41-59. info:/10.4230/DagMan.1.1.41

  • November 3, 2012
  • 10:56 AM

Rediscovering the basics

by SS in Scientific scrutiny

anti-HSA antibody CIM disk... Read more »

  • November 2, 2012
  • 09:27 PM

What does rescue mean for companion animals?

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

(Source)Hi Mia,Given everything that's been happening since Sandy touched down, I've been wondering, "What does rescue mean for companion animals?"When a natural disaster strikes, humans understand what rescue means and looks like. Emergency personnel might bring you and your companion animal to safety. If that's not an option, maybe you will have to forge the way for yourself and Fido.But how do companion animals understand natural disasters and rescue? The below video reminds us that we are not always on the same page:Warning: Graphic Content In the video, a dog thrashes about in icy water. As a rescuer kneels on the ice and leans toward the dog, the dog bites him in the face. Bites during rescues and natural disasters are not unusual. At least, that’s what the numbers suggest.A recent study* examined domestic animal bites following Hurricane Ike in September 2008. Bites from domestic animals were one of the top three trauma complaints at disaster medical facilities. They found:Bites were inflicted by non-rabid pets55% were from dogs, 40% from cats and 5% from snakes80% were bitten by their own dog or cat 100% knew the dog or cat who bit themMost of the bites were severe and occurred within the first 72 hours after the hurricaneMost bites involved the handsAfter Hurricane Irene last year I wrote the post, Hurricanes Hurt! Animals + Natural Disaster = Biting, discussing how companion animals are not always their "typical" selves during (or after) natural disasters. If we don't try and prepare companion animals, or be cognizant of our in-the-moment behavior, our hands might become targets for biting -- simply because we are reaching for or are manipulating an animal in an atypical way in a time of stress. The post I wrote laid out ways to prepare companion animals for emergency situations and suggests ways to monitor our behavior. Has anyone out there had experiences with this? Do those figures surprise you?Have you done anything to prepare your companion animal should she need rescuing or moving during a natural disaster? During times of turmoil, are you cognizant of your physical movements and behavior?My thoughts are with those impacted by Sandy. I hope human kindness prevails. Julie References*Warner, G.S., 2010. Increased Incidence of Domestic Animal Bites following a Disaster Due to Natural Hazards. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine.Hecht, J. 2011. ... Read more »

Horowitz Alexandra C., & Bekoff Marc. (2007) Naturalizing Anthropomorphism: Behavioral Prompts to Our Humanizing of Animals. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 20(1), 35. DOI: 10.2752/089279307780216650  

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