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  • August 12, 2011
  • 11:37 AM

Conflicts in Popular Psychology: Go With Your Gut? Or Think It Through?

by Sam McNerney in Why We Reason

Intuition is one of those iffy concepts. Its purpose, use, and ontology have been heavily debated in its long and contentious history. Western proverbial jargon illustrates this: we’ve been told that he who hesitates is lost, but shouldn’t we look … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 12, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

Automatism and the Ambien Defense

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’re betting you know what the ‘Ambien Defense’ would be—but that maybe the definition for automatism has escaped you. Generally it refers to a robot, specifically to an autonomous robot—which is a pretty scary thing when you think about it. And in this case, scary things happened. Here’s the story, courtesy of the Fayetteville Observer. Robert [...]

Related posts:Betrayal trauma defense: “She was too distraught to form legal intent”
A comment on affirmative defense strategie........ Read more »

Praveen Kambam, MD, & Phillip Resnick, MD. (2010) Ineffective Counsel and Mental Health Expert Witness Testimony in an Insanity Defense. . Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 38(4). info:/

  • August 12, 2011
  • 12:30 AM

A Case for BioHydrogen

by Sean Gibbons in Ars Scientifica

The hydrocarbon economy is faltering as oil reserves dwindle worldwide (Hirsch, 2008). Commodity prices have begun to fluctuate drastically due to the uncertain cost of petroleum, which resulted in food riots around the world in 2008. With a steadily decreasing energy supply and the demands on energy systems continually growing, the planet is in dire economic, geopolitical, and environmental straits. In order to halt the advance of climate change, prevent ecological collapse, rescue the globa........ Read more »

Agapakis, C., Ducat, D., Boyle, P., Wintermute, E., Way, J., & Silver, P. (2010) Insulation of a synthetic hydrogen metabolism circuit in bacteria. Journal of Biological Engineering, 4(1), 3. DOI: 10.1186/1754-1611-4-3  

Bendall, D., Howe, C., Nisbet, E., & Nisbet, R. (2008) Introduction. Photosynthetic and atmospheric evolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 363(1504), 2625-2628. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0058  

Blankenship, R., & Hartman, H. (1998) The origin and evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis. Trends in Biochemical Sciences, 23(3), 94-97. DOI: 10.1016/S0968-0004(98)01186-4  

Cleaves, H., Chalmers, J., Lazcano, A., Miller, S., & Bada, J. (2008) A Reassessment of Prebiotic Organic Synthesis in Neutral Planetary Atmospheres. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, 38(2), 105-115. DOI: 10.1007/s11084-007-9120-3  

Fontecilla-Camps, J., Amara, P., Cavazza, C., Nicolet, Y., & Volbeda, A. (2009) Structure–function relationships of anaerobic gas-processing metalloenzymes. Nature, 460(7257), 814-822. DOI: 10.1038/nature08299  

Ghirardi, M., Posewitz, M., Maness, P., Dubini, A., Yu, J., & Seibert, M. (2007) Hydrogenases and Hydrogen Photoproduction in Oxygenic Photosynthetic Organisms . Annual Review of Plant Biology, 58(1), 71-91. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.58.032806.103848  

Isalan, M., Lemerle, C., Michalodimitrakis, K., Horn, C., Beltrao, P., Raineri, E., Garriga-Canut, M., & Serrano, L. (2008) Evolvability and hierarchy in rewired bacterial gene networks. Nature, 452(7189), 840-845. DOI: 10.1038/nature06847  

NISBET, E., GRASSINEAU, N., HOWE, C., ABELL, P., REGELOUS, M., & NISBET, R. (2007) The age of Rubisco: the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis. Geobiology, 5(4), 311-335. DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4669.2007.00127.x  

Schutz, K., Happe, T., Troshina, O., Lindblad, P., Leitao, E., Oliveira, P., & Tamagnini, P. (2004) Cyanobacterial H2 production ? a comparative analysis. Planta, 218(3), 350-359. DOI: 10.1007/s00425-003-1113-5  

Tamagnini, P., Leitao, E., Oliveira, P., Ferreira, D., Pinto, F., Harris, D., Heidorn, T., & Lindblad, P. (2007) Cyanobacterial hydrogenases: diversity, regulation and applications. FEMS Microbiology Reviews, 31(6), 692-720. DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.2007.00085.x  

Tsygankov, A. (2007) Nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria: A review. Applied Biochemistry and Microbiology, 43(3), 250-259. DOI: 10.1134/S0003683807030040  

WILLE, M., KRAMERS, J., NAGLER, T., BEUKES, N., SCHRODER, S., MEISEL, T., LACASSIE, J., & VOEGELIN, A. (2007) Evidence for a gradual rise of oxygen between 2.6 and 2.5Ga from Mo isotopes and Re-PGE signatures in shales. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 71(10), 2417-2435. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2007.02.019  

  • August 11, 2011
  • 03:36 PM

Equality in the Bedroom (and why it matters)

by eHarmony Labs in eHarmony Labs Blog

In the second of the female sexuality series, I ask, what part does equality play when it comes to a satisfying sex life? Read on to find out about the importance of equality with your partner and 7 Do's and Dont's to making the bedroom more harmonious.... Read more »

  • August 11, 2011
  • 12:39 PM

When it’s too crowded to have kids

by Tim De Chant in Per Square Mile

Density can have profound effects on fertility. Population biologists call this phenomenon density dependence, and they’ve witnessed it in everything from single-celled organisms to elephants. It can influence fertility positively—individuals are more likely to meet mates in dense populations—or negatively—increased stress or lower food availability may drive fertility rates down. But despite evidence of the [...]... Read more »

  • August 11, 2011
  • 05:30 AM

Towards or away from?

by David Winter in Careers - in Theory

Think about a recent job change that you made by your own initiative (rather than by force of circumstance, such as redundancy). Why did you change? Had you got so fed up with your previous job that you had to move to preserve your sanity? Or were you tempted away by the opportunities on offer [...]... Read more »

  • August 10, 2011
  • 10:59 PM


by Lachlan Jackson in Language on the Move

Having lived and taught English in Japan for more than fifteen years, until last night I’d thought I’d seen it all. That was until I stumbled across the もし彼氏が外国人だったら英会話 (What if my Boyfriend was a Foreigner English Conversation [my translation]) … Continue reading →... Read more »

Takahashi, Kimie. (2010) Multilingual couple talk: Romance,identity, and the political economy of language. D. Nunan , 199-207. info:/

  • August 10, 2011
  • 03:31 PM

Beware of Jurors Who Feel Downgraded

by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm - With Standard & Poor's recent decision to deny the U.S. a AAA credit rating, many Americans are feeling a little downgraded about now. For most of us, I can hope, that is a temporary feeling. But for others, especially in these economic times, it is a more constant aspect of their lives. These Americans, including increasingly those who show up for jury duty, are what the researchers call "status inconsistent." They may be higher in social prestige than in economic me........ Read more »

Michael W. Kraus, Paul K. Piff, Dacher Keltner. (2011) Social Class as Culture: The Convergence of Resources and Rank in the Social Realm . Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(4). info:/

  • August 10, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

The eyes of [not just] Texas are upon you…

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

As trial consultants based in Austin, Texas (one a graduate of UT Austin and the other a long-time staff member there) we often hear the UT athletic song ‘The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You’.  The melody is easy and friendly (everyone else knows it as “I’ve been working on a railroad”). The lyrics are [...]

Related posts:We pray with closed eyes
“I can look into his eyes and just tell he is lying”
Patent litigation and wonder in East Texas
... Read more »

Bourrat, P., Baumard, N., & McKay, R. (2011) Surveillance cues enhance moral condemnation. . Evolutionary Psychology, 9(2), 193-199. info:/

  • August 10, 2011
  • 06:22 AM

The spread of disorder – a repost in wake of London’s riot cleanup

by Ed Yong in Not Exactly Rocket Science

Yesterday, I watched as hundreds of Londoners took to the streets in a heroic attempt to clean up the mess caused by rioters and looters the night before. Looking at pictures of large crowds getting off trains with cleaning equipment in hand and marching down streets with brooms held aloft, I’ve rarely felt so proud of my city.
The clean-up operation was a great move – a positive note in an otherwise depressing week and a chance for a beleagured capital to come together and reclaim i........ Read more »

Keizer, K., Lindenberg, S., & Steg, L. (2008) The Spreading of Disorder. Science, 322(5908), 1681-1685. DOI: 10.1126/science.1161405  

  • August 10, 2011
  • 03:17 AM

The Wikipedia Gender Gap, Part II

by Hadas Shema in Information Culture

In part I we talked about the small percentage of female editors in Wikipedia and their shorter editing life span. In this part we'll talk about content areas female and male editor focus on, coverage of female and male-related topics and involvement in editing controversial entries.
Content areas The authors divided the data from the January 2008 data dump into 8 main areas: Arts, Geography, Health, History, Science, People, Philosophy and Religion. Then, they checked the focus areas of each ed........ Read more »

Lam, S., Uduwage, A., Dong, Z., Sen, S., Musicant, D. R., Terveen, L., & Terveen, J. (2011) WP:Clubhouse? An Exploration of Wikipedia’s Gender Imbalance. WikiSym’11, October 3–5, Mountain View, California. info:/

  • August 9, 2011
  • 10:26 AM

The Science of Rioting – Is there a reason for the Violence? Is there a Solution?

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

The streets of major British cities descended into chaos last night. Again. Angry stick-weilding, BMX-riding hooded teenagers went on the rampage. Breaking, burning and looting for no apparent reason – the police largely impotent to halt to the anarchy. It’s been a long time since the UK has seen anything like this. Just what triggered … Continue reading »... Read more »

Reicher, S., Stott, C., Drury, J., Adang, O., Cronin, P., & Livingstone, A. (2007) Knowledge-Based Public Order Policing: Principles and Practice. Policing, 1(4), 403-415. DOI: 10.1093/police/pam067  

  • August 8, 2011
  • 11:57 AM

When You Press the Negotiations, Pause the Persuasion

by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm - Litigators like to see themselves as silver-tongued persuaders, but in an age in which fewer than one in fifty suits are resolved in trial, they may find that the negotiation skills of Donald Trump come to matter more than the rhetorical skills of F. Lee Bailey. And research is increasingly pointing to the fact that in a negotiations setting, many common intuitions about persuasion may not apply. For example, a study reported in this month's Journal of Personality and Soc........ Read more »

Maaravi Y, Ganzach Y, & Pazy A. (2011) Negotiation as a form of persuasion: Arguments in first offers. Journal of personality and social psychology, 101(2), 245-55. PMID: 21500924  

  • August 8, 2011
  • 10:22 AM

To Dyslexics, English Sounds like a Foreign Language

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

How well can you identify other people's voices? Most of us are good at recognizing a familiar speaker we can't see. This skill works best, though, in our native tongue. And to the ears of a dyslexic person, everyone else may as well be speaking Chinese.Dyslexia is usually described as a reading disorder. In school, a dyslexic kid will struggle to recognize words and parse sentences. She (or more often, according to some studies, he) might have assignments read aloud or receive prewritten class ........ Read more »

Perrachione, T., Del Tufo, S., & Gabrieli, J. (2011) Human Voice Recognition Depends on Language Ability. Science, 333(6042), 595-595. DOI: 10.1126/science.1207327  

  • August 8, 2011
  • 07:57 AM

So Apparantly I'm Bipolar

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

According to a new paper, yours truly is bipolar.

I've written before of my experience of depression, and the fact that I take antidepressants, but I've never been diagnosed with bipolar.

I've taken a few drugs in my time. On certain dopamine-based drugs I got euphoric, filled with energy, talkative, confident, with no need for sleep, and a boundless desire to do stuff, which is textbook hypomania. So I think I know what it feels like, and I can confidently say that it has never happened to m........ Read more »

  • August 8, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

Detecting Deception: Be still my eyebrows!

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Here’s a study we found at Science Daily and thought was a useful addition to our ongoing exploration of how to identify deception. While eyebrows have been found not useful in identifying Mormon faces, apparently they are useful in identifying deception. As it turns out, it is harder for liars to control the upper part of their [...]

Related posts:Detecting Deception Using the Law of Sufficient Motivation
Deception Detection: The latest on what we know
Outsmarting liars (five decades of r........ Read more »

Carolyn M. Hurley, & Mark G. Frank. (2011) Executing Facial Control During Deception Situations. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 35(2). info:/

  • August 7, 2011
  • 11:25 PM

The Wikipedia Gender Gap, Part I

by Hadas Shema in Information Culture

Wikipedia editing is a men's club. We already talked here about the lack of Wikipedia female editors (barely 13% of the editors are women). However, that survey was self-selecting and most of the participants (75%) used Wikipedia in non-English languages. Now, Lam et al. (2011) present their analysis of the gender imbalance in English Wikipedia. They took most of their data out of the January 2011 data dump, as well as from the Wikipedia API and the January 2008 and 2010 data dumps.In Wikipedia,........ Read more »

Lam, S., Uduwage, A., Dong, Z., Sen, S., Musicant, D. R., Terveen, L., & Terveen, J. (2011) WP:Clubhouse? An Exploration of Wikipedia’s Gender Imbalance. WikiSym’11, October 3–5, Mountain View, California. info:/

  • August 7, 2011
  • 05:05 PM

Do the rich use religion to keep the poor in their place?

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

In the previous post, I took a look at the fairly substantial weight of evidence linking religion to inequality, specifically income inequality, with religion. The most unequal countries also tend to be the most religious, even when you take into account a variety of other factors.

Why should this be? There are a number of theories. One is that unequal societies also tend to have a lot of other problems, and the stresses that these cause may turn people to religion.

Frederick Solt and colleagu........ Read more »

Solt, F., Habel, P., & Grant, J. (2011) Economic Inequality, Relative Power, and Religiosity*. Social Science Quarterly, 92(2), 447-465. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2011.00777.x  

  • August 6, 2011
  • 06:42 AM

Cultural Evolution and the Impending Singularity: The Movie

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

A video of a talk I gave at the Santa Fe Institute, asking questions like "Has Biological Evolution come to an end?", "Is belief an emergent property?", "Will advanced computers use humans as batteries?" and "Will robots spend more time playing the violin than solving science?"... Read more »

Sperl, M., Chang, A., Weber, N., & Hübler, A. (1999) Hebbian learning in the agglomeration of conducting particles. Physical Review E, 59(3), 3165-3168. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.59.3165  

Chater N, & Christiansen MH. (2010) Language acquisition meets language evolution. Cognitive science, 34(7), 1131-57. PMID: 21564247  

Ay N, Flack J, & Krakauer DC. (2007) Robustness and complexity co-constructed in multimodal signalling networks. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 362(1479), 441-7. PMID: 17255020  

Guttal V, & Couzin ID. (2010) Social interactions, information use, and the evolution of collective migration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(37), 16172-7. PMID: 20713700  

  • August 5, 2011
  • 01:36 PM

The curious relationship between place names and population density

by Tim De Chant in Per Square Mile

Giving a name to a place is an important act. It says a place has meaning, that it should be remembered. For thousands of years, the way we kept track of place names—or toponyms—was by using our memory. Today, we’re not nearly so limited, and the number of toponyms seems to have exploded. Yet oddly [...]... Read more »

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