It's the hallucinations and delusions associated with schizophrenia that typically attract discussion and research. However, patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia also exhibit deficits in memory and perception and, importantly, the severity of these is predictive of quality of life, social functioning and autonomy. How can these cognitive deficits be helped? Researchers have found some success with computer-based training but patient motivation can be problem. Now a team of researchers led ........ Read more »
Mochizuki-Kawai, H., Yamakawa, Y., Mochizuki, S., Anzai, S., & Arai, M. (2010) Structured floral arrangement programme for improving visuospatial working memory in schizophrenia. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 20(4), 624-636. DOI: 10.1080/09602011003715141
It’s been a while since Sci covered a good post on stimulants, and I’ve begun to feel the lack. I start to get the shakes, as it were. And this post covers something particularly interesting about cocaine, something VERY interesting about refined sugars, and even more interesting, this paper looks at some of the bugs [...]... Read more »
For the most I’m a troglodyte. I hate facebook, I hate misspellings in SMS, and nothing makes me ROFL like a LOLcat. I do have a facebook, however, if only to keep up appearances and waste time during exam block. As of recently I have a Twitter account, too. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have signed up [...]... Read more »
Ebner, M., Lienhardt, C., Rohs, M., & Meyer, I. (2010) Microblogs in Higher Education – A chance to facilitate informal and process-oriented learning?. Computers , 55(1), 92-100. DOI: 10.1016/j.compedu.2009.12.006
Lately, I’ve been a little stressed. Long hours in the lab and moving into a new apartment have created the perfect storm for “treating myself” to restaurant food, served with a side of inactivity and sloth. As I sit here at my desk, chowing down on crackers and reading the latest issue of the PNAS, [...]... Read more »
Pontzer, H., Raichlen, D., Shumaker, R., Ocobock, C., & Wich, S. (2010) Metabolic adaptation for low energy throughput in orangutans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1001031107
Review of a paper showing that the physiology of love addiction is comparable to drug addiction. Perhaps some of the same treatments used to treat drug abuse can be effective in curbing pathological love. ... Read more »
How on Earth do you develop real heart failure due to depression? Well first we have to quickly do a course in cardiac physiology 101.
It has everything to do with how your heart works. Essentially, (and right now I predict that I shall be slaughtered in the comments but if you want to read a cardiac physiology blog, go find one :) ) electrical signals are generated in a patch of cells called the sinoatrial node (SA node) which is located in the right atrium.... Read more »
Wittstein, I., Thiemann, D., Lima, J., Baughman, K., Schulman, S., Gerstenblith, G., Wu, K., Rade, J., Bivalacqua, T., & Champion, H. (2005) Neurohumoral Features of Myocardial Stunning Due to Sudden Emotional Stress. New England Journal of Medicine, 352(6), 539-548. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa043046
Nogueira, E., Ueti, O., & Vieira, W. (1995) The apical ventricular lesion in Chagas' heart disease. Sao Paulo Medical Journal, 113(2). DOI: 10.1590/S1516-31801995000200008
The great count is nearing its end. Marine researchers have unveiled the first tidal wave of data from the Census of Marine Life, a decade-long effort to survey all sea life. The dozen papers, published by PLOS One, begin to detail the thousands of known species – from fish to flatworms — that live in […] Read More »... Read more »
O'Dor, R., Miloslavich, P., & Yarincik, K. (2010) Marine Biodiversity and Biogeography – Regional Comparisons of Global Issues, an Introduction. PLoS ONE, 5(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011871
While working on the last bits of my thesis, "Genetic and Ecological Models of Adaptive Evolution", I came upon Garrett Hardin's 1968 article , The Tragedy of the Commons (Wikipedia). It's really a great piece, which coined the term that is now an established and important notion in biology and elsewhere.... Read more »
It is a well-known Bismarck quote: "Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made." In the case of the British anti-slavery movement of the 19th century, this is true... and yet (just like sausage-making, I guess) so fascinating.In a great 1999 article on the development of a political coalition against slavery in late 18th and early 19th century Britain, Kaufmann and Pape discuss the origins and momentum of the anti-slavery movement. The article shows that even movements that i........ Read more »
Kaufmann, C., & Pape, R. (1999) Explaining Costly International Moral Action: Britain's Sixty-year Campaign Against the Atlantic Slave Trade. International Organization, 53(4), 631-668. DOI: 10.1162/002081899551020
Physicists at University College London have found a new upper limit on the mass of a neutrino – one of the tightest constraints yet from either particle physics or cosmology. Neutrinos are elementary particles that travel close to the speed of light, but are very difficult to detect because they are not electrically charged. In [...]... Read more »
Thomas, S., Abdalla, F., & Lahav, O. (2010) Upper Bound of 0.28 eV on Neutrino Masses from the Largest Photometric Redshift Survey. Physical Review Letters, 105(3). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.031301
Welcome back to this, the second post in my review of placebos. Now, to the fodder that makes us scientists, theories about the placebo. This is important as a good theory can both account for our data and predict new data, while also giving us something to falsify, which is apparently how science progresses. Steve Stewart Williams (all round good guy) reviewed the state of placebo theorising in 2004, and he specified that there are a number of criteria that a successful placebo theory should me........ Read more »
How do you persuade people to eat less and exercise more? We love to think it's a matter of getting them to see facts and make good decisions, because that implies that people are thoughtful and that their choices matter. But this paper, published online yesterday by the Journal of Adolescent Health, points to a more humble solution: Ignore people's thoughts and feelings, and just move the food further away.
Why don't we have more policies like that? I think it's because we........ Read more »
Kapinos, K., & Yakusheva, O. (2010) Environmental Influences on Young Adult Weight Gain: Evidence From a Natural Experiment. Journal of Adolescent Health. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.05.021
An anthropologist's take on the current AJOG article and Lancet editorial on home birth and infant mortality... Read more »
Wax, J., Lucas, F., Lamont, M., Pinette, M., Cartin, A., & Blackstone, J. (2010) Maternal and newborn outcomes in planned home birth vs planned hospital births: a metaanalysis. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2010.05.028
Much of recent research in linguistics has involved the use of experimentation to directly test hypotheses by comparing and contrasting real-world data with that of laboratory results and computer simulations. In a previous post I looked at how humans, non-human primates, and even non-human animals are all capable of high-fidelity cultural transmission. Yet, to apply this . . . → Read More: Experiments in Communication pt 1: Artificial Language Learning and Constructed Communication Syste........ Read more »
Hudson Kam, C., & Newport, E. (2009) Getting it right by getting it wrong: When learners change languages. Cognitive Psychology, 59(1), 30-66. DOI: 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2009.01.001
Kam, C., & Newport, E. (2005) Regularizing Unpredictable Variation: The Roles of Adult and Child Learners in Language Formation and Change. Language Learning and Development, 1(2), 151-195. DOI: 10.1207/s15473341lld0102_3
WONNACOTT, E., NEWPORT, E., & TANENHAUS, M. (2008) Acquiring and processing verb argument structure: Distributional learning in a miniature language☆. Cognitive Psychology, 56(3), 165-209. DOI: 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2007.04.002
VOULOUMANOS, A. (2008) Fine-grained sensitivity to statistical information in adult word learning. Cognition, 107(2), 729-742. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2007.08.007
Galantucci, B. (2005) An Experimental Study of the Emergence of Human Communication Systems. Cognitive Science, 29(5), 737-767. DOI: 10.1207/s15516709cog0000_34
Selten, R., & Warglien, M. (2007) The emergence of simple languages in an experimental coordination game. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(18), 7361-7366. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0702077104
Selten R, & Warglien M. (2007) The emergence of simple languages in an experimental coordination game. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(18), 7361-6. PMID: 17449635
A new paper by Billeter et al shows that overconfidence in predicting skill learning turns into underconfidence when people first struggle to perform a task.... Read more »
Billeter, D., Kalra, A., & Loewenstein, G. (2011) Underpredicting Learning after Initial Experience with a Product. Journal of Consumer Research. info:/10.1086/655862
In 2001, an article was published in the journal Nature that a mutation in the forkhead-domain gene FOXP2 is involved in a hereditary speech and language disorder in a family in Great Britain. Today, many refer to FOXP2 colloquially as a 'language' gene and accumulating evidence suggests that FOXP2 is involved in language-like behavior in other animals, most prominently in song-learning in birds. Language as well as song learning in birds is an operant learning process, i.e., the birds........ Read more »
Santos, M., Athanasiadis, A., Leitao, A., DuPasquier, L., & Sucena, E. (2010) Alternative splicing and gene duplication in the evolution of the FoxP gene sub-family. Molecular Biology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msq182
Fisher, S., & Scharff, C. (2009) FOXP2 as a molecular window into speech and language. Trends in Genetics, 25(4), 166-177. DOI: 10.1016/j.tig.2009.03.002
Take a middle-American US city – a fairly typical city with the usual mix of rich and poor, downtown and suburban, black and white. Indianapolis, let’s say. Which areas do you think would have the highest levels of crime?
Well, the poor areas of course. No surprises there. Downtown areas and those area with low population density are also at risk – probably a result of increased opportunities. Racially mixed areas have higher level of theft and burglary, although not violent crime. And t........ Read more »
Desmond, S., Kikuchi, G., & Morgan, K. (2010) Congregations and Crime: Is the Spatial Distribution of Congregations Associated with Neighborhood Crime Rates?. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 49(1), 37-55. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5906.2009.01491.x
I finally found the time yesterday evening to read through a few of the papers from the latest Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, which is focused on science/environmental communication this time around. The majority of the articles are driven by Nisbet’s ideas about framing in general, but I don’t really want to dive back [...]... Read more »
Groffman, P., Stylinski, C., Nisbet, M., Duarte, C., Jordan, R., Burgin, A., Previtali, M., & Coloso, J. (2010) Restarting the conversation: challenges at the interface between ecology and society. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 8(6), 284-291. DOI: 10.1890/090160
Nisbet, M., Hixon, M., Moore, K., & Nelson, M. (2010) Four cultures: new synergies for engaging society on climate change. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 8(6), 329-331. DOI: 10.1890/1540-9295-8.6.329
McKnight, D. (2010) Overcoming “ecophobia”: fostering environmental empathy through narrative in children's science literature. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 8(6). DOI: 10.1890/100041
How should we go about managing the conservation of biodiversity in the face of a changing climate? Species by species? Seems tedious. And expensive to carry to completion. Wouldn’t it be easier if we could determine what factors contribute to … Continue reading →... Read more »
Anderson, M., & Ferree, C. (2010) Conserving the Stage: Climate Change and the Geophysical Underpinnings of Species Diversity. PLoS ONE, 5(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011554
For all living things, information is critical to survival. Where's the best food source? Is there a predator nearby? Will this be a good place to build a nest? It probably shouldn't be surprising, then, that lots of animals do what humans do when faced with a host of hard-to-answer questions—they take their cues from their neighbors.
Red-backed shrikes place their nesting sites near where other shrike species have set up territories. Many bird species recognize each other's predator alarm ca........ Read more »
Hromada, M., Antczak, M., Valone, T., & Tryjanowski, P. (2008) Settling decisions and heterospecific social information use in shrikes. PLoS ONE, 3(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003930
Kaminski, L., Freitas, A., & Oliveira, P. (2010) Interaction between mutualisms: Ant‐tended butterflies exploit enemy‐free space provided by ant‐treehopper associations. The American Naturalist, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1086/655427
Magrath, R., Pitcher, B., & Gardner, J. (2007) A mutual understanding? Interspecific responses by birds to each other's aerial alarm calls. Behavioral Ecology, 18(5), 944-51. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arm063
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