Post List

  • January 25, 2010
  • 01:20 AM

I'm not lying: Brain stimulation boosts people's deception skills

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

There's been so much excitement and hyperbole surrounding the promise of brain imaging as a lie detection technique, but what about the needs of the cads, thieves and vagabonds of this world? Has contemporary cognitive neuroscience nothing to offer them? It has now. In an exciting new development for fibbers everywhere, Ahmed Karim and his team have shown that the application of transcranial direct current stimulation over the anterior prefrontal cortex - the front bit of the brain - improves pe........ Read more »

Karim, A., Schneider, M., Lotze, M., Veit, R., Sauseng, P., Braun, C., & Birbaumer, N. (2009) The Truth about Lying: Inhibition of the Anterior Prefrontal Cortex Improves Deceptive Behavior. Cerebral Cortex, 20(1), 205-213. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhp090  

  • January 24, 2010
  • 08:31 PM

The Unreddening of Asteroids

by CM in The Iapetus Beat

Richard Binzel from MIT is the lead author of a new Nature paper titled Earth encounters as the origin of fresh surfaces on near-Earth asteroids (abstract only). They address a long-standing problem in meteoritics: why does the color of meteorites found on Earth so rarely match that of asteroids in the Main Belt? Binzel and his colleagues demonstrate that it is exactly the proximity to Earth that causes changes in the color of the meteorite parent bodies – a tidy solution to a puzzle, and it b........ Read more »

Binzel RP, Morbidelli A, Merouane S, Demeo FE, Birlan M, Vernazza P, Thomas CA, Rivkin AS, Bus SJ, & Tokunaga AT. (2010) Earth encounters as the origin of fresh surfaces on near-Earth asteroids. Nature, 463(7279), 331-4. PMID: 20090748  

  • January 24, 2010
  • 07:20 PM

Is that screaming protester really happy?

by Andrew Lyons in The Psych Student

This post looks at the study "Some Benefits of Being an Activist: Measuring Activism and Its Role in Psychological Well-Being," particularly the idea of activism causing happiness.... Read more »

  • January 24, 2010
  • 04:48 PM

Cavemen, Clinique, and Chanel No. 5

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Scientists uncovered perforated Pecten shells containing red-to-black pigments suggesting that Neanderthals were equally as materialistic... Read more »

Zilhao, J., Angelucci, D., Badal-Garcia, E., d'Errico, F., Daniel, F., Dayet, L., Douka, K., Higham, T., Martinez-Sanchez, M., Montes-Bernardez, R.... (2010) Symbolic use of marine shells and mineral pigments by Iberian Neandertals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(3), 1023-1028. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914088107  

  • January 24, 2010
  • 04:35 PM

Caution: Curves Ahead

by Wayne Hooke in The Psychology of Beauty

In my last posting, I found myself musing about how WHR would influence ratings of body attractiveness if BMI was held constant. Recent research comparing the relative roles of BMI and WHR have tended to support a more prominent role for BMI over WHR. That is, the total amount of body fat seems to matter [...]... Read more »

  • January 24, 2010
  • 03:28 PM

A "Severe" Warning for Psychiatry

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Imagine there was a nasty disease that affected 1 in 100 people. And imagine that someone invented a drug which treated it reasonably well. Good work, surely.Now imagine that, for some reason, people decided that 10% of the population need to be taking this drug, instead of 1%. So sales of the drug sky-rocket. Eventually some clever person comes along and asks "This is one of the biggest selling drugs in the world - but does it work?" They look into it, and find that it doesn't work very well at........ Read more »

Fournier, J., DeRubeis, R., Hollon, S., Dimidjian, S., Amsterdam, J., Shelton, R., & Fawcett, J. (2010) Antidepressant Drug Effects and Depression Severity: A Patient-Level Meta-analysis. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 303(1), 47-53. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2009.1943  

  • January 24, 2010
  • 01:16 PM

HIIT (on bikes) - why it results in both more fat reduction, and Spot Fat Reduction at That, too than Hearty Steady State

by mc in begin to dig (b2d)

HIIT means high intensity interval protocol. But what is the best HIIT to do if you're tuning it for fat lost first, and anything else second? And does it make a difference if you're dealing with elite athletes or people who are just well enough conditioned so their hearts won't explode if you ask them to go "really hard" for a bit? Is it 60 secs on? 30 off? 60:60? The infamous tabatta on for 20 off for 10 - and remember that was not primarily a fat burning study but an ........ Read more »

  • January 24, 2010
  • 10:37 AM

How many fish are in the ocean?

by whysharksmatter in Southern Fried Science

Any discussion of fisheries policy inevitably comes back to one question: before we can decide how many fish humans can remove from the ocean, we need to know how many fish are there in the first place. This is, without a doubt, an extremely complex problem to solve. In 1969, a Woods Hole scientist named [...]... Read more »

  • January 24, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

What Love and Attraction Smells Of

by Linda in Oz Blog No. 159

I'd read (somewhere) that bouquets of chemicals you release when you meet 'that someone' become a concoction for hell that loving feeling. (Somewhat reminds me of that wacky Sandra Bullock film Love Potion No. 9). For the first 6 months-year you release endorphins, adrenaline, oxytocin. Subsequently, you might get 'butterflies', the sweats, sleepless nights, loss of appetite etc. etc. What causes that initial attraction anyways? i find it so random. If it was just person........ Read more »

Wedekind C, Seebeck T, Bettens F, & Paepke AJ. (1995) MHC-dependent mate preferences in humans. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 260(1359), 245-9. PMID: 7630893  

  • January 23, 2010
  • 11:21 PM

The Western European Y

by Kris in Ge·knit·ics

A new study in PLoS Biology suggests one of the most common Western European Y halplogroups, R1b1b2, might have originated in Turkey and radiated into Europe with the spread of agriculture during the Neolithic.  This is significant because this haplogroup is the most frequent in Western Europe, and has been posited as a signal from [...]... Read more »

Balaresque P, Bowden GR, Adams SM, Leung HY, King TE, Rosser ZH, Goodwin J, Moisan JP, Richard C, Millward A.... (2010) A predominantly neolithic origin for European paternal lineages. PLoS biology, 8(1). PMID: 20087410  

Cinnioğlu C, King R, Kivisild T, Kalfoğlu E, Atasoy S, Cavalleri GL, Lillie AS, Roseman CC, Lin AA, Prince K.... (2004) Excavating Y-chromosome haplotype strata in Anatolia. Human genetics, 114(2), 127-48. PMID: 14586639  

  • January 23, 2010
  • 09:51 PM

The polypharmacome

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Pharmaceutical companies are always on the lookout for secondary drug targets. After all, if you invest billions developing a single drug, you would be more than happy to sell it as a treatment for two, three, or more different ailments. Sildenafil citrate was developed to treat angina and hypertension. During phase I clinical trials, it [...]... Read more »

Durrant, J., Amaro, R., Xie, L., Urbaniak, M., Ferguson, M., Haapalainen, A., Chen, Z., Di Guilmi, A., Wunder, F., Bourne, P.... (2010) A Multidimensional Strategy to Detect Polypharmacological Targets in the Absence of Structural and Sequence Homology. PLoS Computational Biology, 6(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000648  

  • January 23, 2010
  • 06:54 PM

Were the Maya noble savages?

by Thomas Kluyver in Thomas' Plant-Related Blog

Somewhere between 700 and 900 AD, the Maya civilisation in Central America seemed to collapse. Why? For some time, the conventional explanation has been deforestation. They were so efficient at chopping down trees for timber and for farmland that they got rid of the forest, and without it, the fertile soil was eroded. It’s not [...]... Read more »

  • January 23, 2010
  • 04:10 PM

The Response of Butterflies to Habitat Loss and Climate Change

by Michael Long in Phased

Matthew Forister (University of Nevada, Reno) and coworkers have unambiguously investigated the differential effects of climate change and habitat loss on butterfly populations in northern California. This news feature was written on January 23, 2010.... Read more »

Forister, M. L., McCall, A. C., Sanders, N. J., Fordyce, J. A., Thorne, J. H., O'Brien, J., Waetjen, D. P., & Shapiro, A. M. (2010) Compounded effects of climate change and habitat alteration shift patterns of butterfly diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909686107  

  • January 23, 2010
  • 03:34 PM

Study finds nutrients homogenize the biodiversity of lakes

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new study from researchers at Trinity College has found that the addition of nutrients like nitrogen can homogenize the benthic diversity of lakes...... Read more »

  • January 23, 2010
  • 12:44 PM

Can science be artistic?

by nuclear.kelly in Miss Atomic Bomb

In light of the lack of effective communication between scientists (and science generally) and the public, I posed a challenge to the graduate students in my department: write a story about your research. It seemed a simple task, but there was one catch - the story had to be a fictional tale about their actual work.Can science be artistic? Is it only a chosen few who can turn science into the kind of thing that people on the street (or in the pub) find interesting; people like Carl Sagan, Brian ........ Read more »

Chipps, K., Blackmon, J., Chae, K., Moazen, B., Pittman, S., Greife, U., Hatarik, R., Peters, W., Kozub, R., Shriner, J.... (2009) The ^{17}F(p,γ)^{18}Ne resonant cross section. Physical Review C, 80(6). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.80.065810  

  • January 23, 2010
  • 11:52 AM

ADHD in Flies?

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Researchers have discovered a mutation encoding for memory formation in Drosophila (radish) that elicits attention-like deficit symptoms which can subsequently be treated with Ritalin... Read more »

Owens JA. (2005) The ADHD and sleep conundrum: a review. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP, 26(4), 312-22. PMID: 16100507  

van Swinderen B, & Brembs B. (2010) Attention-like deficit and hyperactivity in a Drosophila memory mutant. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30(3), 1003-14. PMID: 20089909  

  • January 23, 2010
  • 10:40 AM

Is time dilated during a threatening situation?

by Mo in Neurophilosophy

"WHEN a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour," said Albert Einstein, "it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute, and it's longer than any hour." Einstein was describing one of the most profound insights of his Theory of General Relativity - that the perception of time is subjective. This is something we all know from experience: time flies when we are enjoying ourselves, but seems to drag on when we are doing something tedious.

The subjective experience of time can ........ Read more »

Wittmann, M., et al. (2010) The neural substrates of subjective time dilation . Front. Hum. Neurosci. info:/

  • January 22, 2010
  • 09:20 PM

A Small Selection of Calorie Restriction Mimetic Drug Research

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Could a drug introduced in the 2010s be able to induce rejuvenation, the repair of age-related damage? To a very limited degree, yes. We would expect some types of drug, early and poor examples of which are presently undergoing investigation in the laboratory, to be able to stimulate the aged body to repair certain types of cellular damage and aggregate buildup that it would otherwise be unable to deal with - in other words to rejuvenate some aspects of cellular biology to their youthful states ........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 08:57 PM

Better Linguistic Evidence for the Spread of Agriculture

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Since it seems to be Linguistics Week here at Gambler’s House, here’s another post on Jane Hill’s theory that the spread of agriculture into the Southwest was associated with a migration of speakers of Proto-Northern-Uto-Aztecan (PNUA) from somewhere in Mexico.  Previously I discussed an article of hers from 2001 in which she tried to show [...]... Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 06:32 PM

Brain Scanning Software Showdown

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

You've just finished doing some research using fMRI to measure brain activity. You designed the study, recruited the volunteers, and did all the scans. Phew. Is that it? Can you publish the findings yet?Unfortunately, no. You still need to do the analysis, and this is often the most trickiest stage. The raw data produced during an fMRI experiment are meaningless - in most cases, each scan will give you a few hundred almost-identical grey pictures of the person's brain. Making sense of them requi........ Read more »

Fusar-Poli, P., Bhattacharyya, S., Allen, P., Crippa, J., Borgwardt, S., Martin-Santos, R., Seal, M., O’Carroll, C., Atakan, Z., & Zuardi, A. (2010) Effect of image analysis software on neurofunctional activation during processing of emotional human faces. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1016/j.jocn.2009.06.027  

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit