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  • May 23, 2017
  • 01:38 PM
  • 190 views

Dismantle the Poverty Trap by Nurturing Community Trust

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Understanding the precise reasons for why people living in poverty often make decisions that seem short-sighted, such as foregoing more education or taking on high-interest short-term loans, is the first step to help them escape poverty. The obvious common-sense fix is to ensure that the basic needs of all citizens – food, shelter, clothing, health and personal safety – are met, so that they no longer have to use all new funds for survival. This is obviously easier in the developed w........ Read more »

Jachimowicz, J., Chafik, S., Munrat, S., Prabhu, J., & Weber, E. (2017) Community trust reduces myopic decisions of low-income individuals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201617395. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1617395114  

  • November 18, 2016
  • 12:00 PM
  • 755 views

Imagine: Listening to Songs Which Make Us More Generous

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

It does not come as a surprise that background music in a café helps create the ambience and affects how much customers enjoy sipping their cappuccinos. But recent research suggests that the choice of lyrics can even impact the social behavior of customers. The researcher Nicolas Ruth and his colleagues from the University of Würzburg (Bavaria, Germany) assembled a playlist of 18 songs with pro-social lyrics which they had curated by surveying 74 participants in an online questionnaire as to w........ Read more »

  • November 18, 2016
  • 09:31 AM
  • 831 views

Is anybody out there? Talking to the Galactic Zookeepers

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

The Zoo Hypothesis Hello? Anybody out there in the starry skies? If there are extra-terrestrial civilizations, why haven’t we heard from them yet? The sheer magnitude of the universe with its billions upon billions of stars has led many to suggest that life must have arisen more than once in the cosmos. Some have gone […]... Read more »

  • August 18, 2016
  • 09:54 AM
  • 841 views

Wait, let me google it. On the fall (and rise?) of human memory.

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Ruins of a memory palace Once upon a time, there were no computers. And yet, even in the ancient days when writing was not widespread, people told gigantic tales or recited poems of epic proportions. Often more than once. Admittedly, they probably changed a bit along the way, but still the plot remained intact. How […]... Read more »

  • July 28, 2016
  • 09:34 AM
  • 782 views

Game of Farmers: Agriculture is coming

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Gron gazed across the plain from inside a tuft of long grass. There. Just in front of the far hillock. Gazelles. Meals on legs. He vaguely remembered mother carrying him through cooler forests when he was not yet old enough to walk. He had never understood why they had left. But he had learned, had […]... Read more »

Zeder MA. (2008) Domestication and early agriculture in the Mediterranean Basin: Origins, diffusion, and impact. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(33), 11597-604. PMID: 18697943  

Lazaridis, I., Nadel, D., Rollefson, G., Merrett, D., Rohland, N., Mallick, S., Fernandes, D., Novak, M., Gamarra, B., Sirak, K.... (2016) Genomic insights into the origin of farming in the ancient Near East. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature19310  

  • July 21, 2016
  • 11:08 AM
  • 828 views

The decline of biodiversity: Past the point of no return?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Mohi looks up at her mother. Confused. Afraid. Mother had always said that she had to keep her filtration veil on when they left their housedome. But now, here stood her mother, unveiled. The woman gifted an encouraging nod to her young daughter. Mohi removed her veil. Air! Light! The freshness of the breeze and […]... Read more »

Steffen W, Richardson K, Rockström J, Cornell SE, Fetzer I, Bennett EM, Biggs R, Carpenter SR, de Vries W, de Wit CA.... (2015) Sustainability. Planetary boundaries: guiding human development on a changing planet. Science, 347(6223). PMID: 25592418  

Newbold T, Hudson LN, Arnell AP, Contu S, De Palma A, Ferrier S, Hill SL, Hoskins AJ, Lysenko I, Phillips HR.... (2016) Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment. Science, 353(6296), 288-91. PMID: 27418509  

Oliver TH. (2016) How much biodiversity loss is too much?. Science, 353(6296), 220-1. PMID: 27418489  

  • 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  

  • May 6, 2016
  • 11:04 AM
  • 529 views

Book Review: Curating Biocultural Collections

by Farid Pazhoohi in Epistemophil

Curating Biocultural Collections: A Handbook is edited by Margaret Jan Salick, Katie  Konchar, and Mark Nesbitt, and the volume’s contributors are practicing researchers and experts in biocultural curating. The editors of this volume argue that many specimen and biocultural collections—which are repositories for plants and animals used by people, products made from them, and the […]... Read more »

Farid Pazhoohi. (2016) Curating Biocultural Collections: A Handbook (Salick, Konchar and Nesbitt, eds.). Museum Anthropology Review, 10(2). info:/

  • April 26, 2016
  • 09:57 AM
  • 829 views

Human sacrifice, inequality, and cycles of political power

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Human sacrifice to preserve inequality Statistically speaking (wait, wait, don’t click away, I know this is not the most enticing opening, but bear with me), you and me, we are not part of the 1%, or the 0.01%, that in most Western societies holds a disproportionate amount of influence and resources. Secretly, though, we want […]... Read more »

  • March 29, 2016
  • 12:30 PM
  • 840 views

Do you wanna be in my clan? Moralising gods encourage long-distance sharing with co-religionists

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Most gods that have been invented don’t give a damn about what us mortals get up to. Researchers think that  belief in the few that do, the ones that can be thought of as moralising gods, might have a significant effect on behaviour. For example, more complex societies are more likely to believe in moralising [Read More...]... Read more »

Purzycki, B., Apicella, C., Atkinson, Q., Cohen, E., McNamara, R., Willard, A., Xygalatas, D., Norenzayan, A., & Henrich, J. (2016) Moralistic gods, supernatural punishment and the expansion of human sociality. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature16980  

  • March 1, 2016
  • 12:10 PM
  • 1,286 views

Shame on You, Shame on Me: Shame as an Evolutionary Adaptation

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Can shame be good for you? We often think of shame as a shackling emotion which thwarts our individuality and creativity. A sense of shame could prevent us from choosing a partner we truly love, speaking out against societal traditions which propagate injustice or pursuing a profession that is deemed unworthy by our peers. But if shame is so detrimental, why did we evolve with this emotion? A team of researchers led by Daniel Sznycer from the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at the University ........ Read more »

Sznycer D, Tooby J, Cosmides L, Porat R, Shalvi S, & Halperin E. (2016) Shame closely tracks the threat of devaluation by others, even across cultures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26903649  

  • February 14, 2016
  • 01:25 AM
  • 1,080 views

Week Six In Review: Open-Access Science | 8 to 14 Feb

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

Migrants to ancient Rome, more advanced Mesolithic Swedish communities, delayed transatlantic flights, expanding bird populations, and greener deserts thanks to climate change. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »

  • December 8, 2015
  • 01:46 PM
  • 1,437 views

The Dire State of Science in the Muslim World

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Universities and the scientific infrastructures in Muslim-majority countries need to undergo radical reforms if they want to avoid falling by the wayside in a world characterized by major scientific and technological innovations. This is the conclusion reached by Nidhal Guessoum and Athar Osama in their recent commentary "Institutions: Revive universities of the Muslim world", published in the scientific journal Nature. The physics and astronomy professor Guessoum (American University ........ Read more »

  • October 14, 2015
  • 10:53 AM
  • 1,667 views

Feel Our Pain: Empathy and Moral Behavior

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

"It's empathy that makes us help other people. It's empathy that makes us moral." The economist Paul Zak casually makes this comment in his widely watched TED talk about the hormone oxytocin, which he dubs the "moral molecule". Zak quotes a number of behavioral studies to support his claim that oxytocin increases empathy and trust, which in turn increases moral behavior. If all humans regularly inhaled a few puffs of oxytocin through a nasal spray, we could become m........ Read more »

De Dreu, C., Greer, L., Van Kleef, G., Shalvi, S., & Handgraaf, M. (2011) Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(4), 1262-1266. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1015316108  

Shalvi S, & De Dreu CK. (2014) Oxytocin promotes group-serving dishonesty. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(15), 5503-7. PMID: 24706799  

Xu X, Zuo X, Wang X, & Han S. (2009) Do you feel my pain? Racial group membership modulates empathic neural responses. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 29(26), 8525-9. PMID: 19571143  

  • March 24, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,643 views

A Universal Translator By Any Other Name…

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Star Trek wouldn’t have been possible without the universal translator. Who would want to watch a show where characters don’t understand each other – of course, that doesn’t stop people from watching political debates. The technology of a universal translator is easy, we have camera phones that will show you a foreign sign in your own language. It’s the software to decipher a previously unencountered language that’s proving tough to overcome. Are there any uni........ Read more »

Rao, R., Yadav, N., Vahia, M., Joglekar, H., Adhikari, R., & Mahadevan, I. (2009) Entropic Evidence for Linguistic Structure in the Indus Script. Science, 324(5931), 1165-1165. DOI: 10.1126/science.1170391  

Snyder, Benjamin, Regina Barzilay and Kevin Knight. (2010) A Statistical Model for Lost Language Decipherment. Proceedings of the 48th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, ACL 2010. info:/

  • March 9, 2015
  • 09:58 AM
  • 2,518 views

“She’s strong for a girl”: The Negative Impact of Stereotypes About Women

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

We have all heard the stereotypes: women can’t drive, they don’t understand computers, and how many blondes does it take to screw in a light bulb? But those are all in good fun, right? But what if gender stereotypes actually bring about the observed differences between men and women that supposedly underline these stereotypes? A recent study by the psychologist Marina Pavlova at the University of Tübingen tested this idea.... Read more »

Pavlova, M., Weber, S., Simoes, E., & Sokolov, A. (2014) Gender Stereotype Susceptibility. PLoS ONE, 9(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114802  

  • February 2, 2015
  • 07:00 AM
  • 1,028 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 »

  • October 6, 2014
  • 05:13 AM
  • 1,208 views

Not-So-Green Men

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

The Webb Telescope searches for alien life on exoplanets by analyzing CFC pollution from potentially advanced civilizations. [Infographic]... Read more »

  • October 5, 2014
  • 02:18 AM
  • 735 views

Book Review: Listen, Here is a Story: Ethnographic Life Narratives from Aka and Ngandu Women of the Congo Basin

by Farid Pazhoohi in Epistemophil

When you look in the news for the Central African Republic you encounter stories about rebels, terror, civil war, murder, and bloodshed. But what are the other aspects of life in the region that no news agency covers? A journey to the center of the African rainforest reveals what happens and has been happening for […]... Read more »

Farid Pazhoohi. (2014) Book Review: Listen, Here is a Story: Ethnographic Life Narratives from Aka and Ngandu Women of the Congo Basin. African Studies Quarterly, 14(4), 97-98. info:/

  • August 31, 2014
  • 06:20 PM
  • 1,175 views

Heroin’s Anthrax Problem

by Rebecca Kreston in BODY HORRORS

Anthrax is a deadly disease with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Because it is, thankfully, also quite rare, it is relatively easy to track its whereabouts and going-ons when an outbreak occurs. Typically, outbreaks of anthrax have been traced to groups of people involved in high-risk activities involving grazing animals and their byproducts: anthrax favors shepherds, butchers, wool-sorters, leather workers, and even the odd drum-playing hippies. In 2009, however, an outbreak upended this........ Read more »

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