A new opinion poll has some bad news for atheists. Some 40% of the US population would not consider voting for an atheist presidential candidate, regardless of their policies. That’s fewer than would vote for a gay or lesbian – or even (gasp!) a Muslim! It’s pretty much in accordance with a previous poll which showed that atheism is a bigger no-no for presidential candidates than homosexuality, extra-marital affairs, or drug use.... Read more »
Scientific experiments with the herpes virus such as the one that causes Marek’s disease in poultry have confirmed, for the first time, the highly controversial theory that some vaccines could allow more-virulent versions of a virus to survive, putting unvaccinated individuals at greater risk of severe illness. The research has important implications for food-chain security and food-chain economics, as well as for other diseases that affect humans and agricultural animals.... Read more »
Andrew F. Read, Susan J. Baigent, Claire Powers, Lydia B. Kgosana, Luke Blackwell, Lorraine P. Smith, David A. Kennedy, Stephen W. Walkden-Brown, & Venugopal K. Nair. (2015) Imperfect Vaccination Can Enhance the Transmission of Highly Virulent Pathogens. PLOS Biology. info:/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002198
University of Florida researchers have finally put a long-standing hypothesis about rudeness to the test. The history to this is a study published in 1999 [pdf] that showed rudeness can create a vicious circle between individuals – if you’re rude to someone, they’re more likely to be rude back at you. What the authors of that paper also speculated though, and the new research investigates, is that an initial act of rudeness creates a "secondary spiral" where offended parties end up dumping........ Read more »
Foulk, T., Woolum, A., & Erez, A. (2015) Catching Rudeness Is Like Catching a Cold: The Contagion Effects of Low-Intensity Negative Behaviors. Journal of Applied Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/apl0000037
Urinary incontinence - "the unintentional passing of urine" - is a fairly common issue affecting millions of people of all ages worldwide. Achieving full bladder and bowel control is seen as a typical part of growing up but for some children, particularly those diagnosed with a behavioural or developmental condition, issues with incontinence can persist much later into life .The findings reported by Alexander von Gontard and colleagues  bring the issue of incontinence into the autism resea........ Read more »
von Gontard A, Pirrung M, Niemczyk J, & Equit M. (2015) Incontinence in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of pediatric urology. PMID: 26052001
Tablet hardware provided accurate data to quantify postural stability within 2.9° of data generated from a force platform system.... Read more »
Alberts, J., Hirsch, J., Koop, M., Schindler, D., Kana, D., Linder, S., Campbell, S., & Thota, A. (2015) Using Accelerometer and Gyroscopic Measures to Quantify Postural Stability. Journal of Athletic Training, 50(6), 578-588. DOI: 10.4085/1062-6050-50.2.01
Sleeping not only protects memories from being forgotten, it also makes them easier to access, according to new research from the University of Exeter and the Basque Centre for Cognition, Brain and Language. The findings suggest that after sleep we are more likely to recall facts which we could not remember while still awake.... Read more »
Dumay, N. (2015) Sleep not just protects memories against forgetting, it also makes them more accessible. Cortex. info:/http://hdl.handle.net/10871/17864
Whether you are alerted to an incoming phone call or text by a trendy ringtone, an alarm bell or a quiet vibration, just receiving a notification on your cell phone can cause enough of a distraction to impair your ability to focus on a given task. In fact, the distraction caused by a simple notification — whether it is a sound or a vibration — is comparable to the effects seen when users actively use their cell phones to make calls or send text messages, the researchers found.... Read more »
Stothart, C., Mitchum, A., & Yehnert, C. (2015) The Attentional Cost of Receiving a Cell Phone Notification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. DOI: 10.1037/xhp0000100
Yuck! Splashes of chicken blood and insects fly everywhere. The old Chinese woman waves the butcher knife and squirming corpse triumphantly. She flashes a toothless grin. You’re speechless. Flabbergasted. Grossed out big time. You thought you’d take a leisurely stroll in a quaint out-door market. You expected to see some strange veggies. Marvel at oddly […]
Check out Stop Wasting Time Abroad: How to Ensure Contact with New Cultures Boosts Your Creativity, an original post on Global Cog........ Read more »
Maddux, W., Adam, H., & Galinsky, A. (2010) When in Rome .. Learn Why the Romans Do What They Do: How Multicultural Learning Experiences Facilitate Creativity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36(6), 731-741. DOI: 10.1177/0146167210367786
According to British biochemist Donald R. Forsdyke in a new paper in Biological Theory, the existence of people who seem to be missing most of their brain tissue calls into question some of the "cherished assumptions" of neuroscience.
I'm not so sure.
Forsdyke discusses the disease called hydrocephalus ('water on the brain'). Some people who suffer from this condition as children are cured thanks to prompt treatment. Remarkably, in some cases, these post-hydrocephalics turn out to have... Read more »
Forsdyke, D. (2015) Wittgenstein’s Certainty is Uncertain: Brain Scans of Cured Hydrocephalics Challenge Cherished Assumptions. Biological Theory. DOI: 10.1007/s13752-015-0219-x
Check it out. My work during postdoc that was just published early online in Brain Injury. Feel free to contact me for a PDF copy.AbstractPRIMARY OBJECTIVE: To characterize sleep architecture and self-reported sleep quality, fatigue and daytime sleepiness in individuals with TBI. Possible relationships between sleep architecture and self-reported sleep quality, fatigue and daytime sleepiness were examined.METHODS: Forty-four community-dwelling adults with TBI completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Qua........ Read more »
Lu W, Cantor JB, Aurora RN, Gordon WA, Krellman JW, Nguyen M, Ashman TA, Spielman L, & Ambrose AF. (2015) The relationship between self-reported sleep disturbance and polysomnography in individuals with traumatic brain injury. Brain injury, 1-9. PMID: 26204319
Looking at measurements of the vertebrae – the series of small bones that make up the spinal column – in newborn children, investigators at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles found that differences between the sexes are present at birth. Results of the study suggest that this difference is evolutionary, allowing the female spine to adapt to the fetal load during pregnancy.... Read more »
Ponrartana, S., Aggabao, P., Dharmavaram, N., Fisher, C., Friedlich, P., Devaskar, S., & Gilsanz, V. (2015) Sexual Dimorphism in Newborn Vertebrae and Its Potential Implications. The Journal of Pediatrics, 167(2), 416-421. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.04.078
Regular readers are probably tired of reading blog titles like the one for today on this site. It's not as if the idea that a diagnosis of autism might predispose someone to quite a few more comorbid conditions (see here and see here) hasn't been discussed on quite a few occasions.But just in case the message hasn't got through, I draw your attention to the paper by Kyle Jones and colleagues  concluding that: "Adults in this cohort of autism spectrum disorder first ascertained in the 198........ Read more »
Jones, K., Cottle, K., Bakian, A., Farley, M., Bilder, D., Coon, H., & McMahon, W. (2015) A description of medical conditions in adults with autism spectrum disorder: A follow-up of the 1980s Utah/UCLA Autism Epidemiologic Study. Autism. DOI: 10.1177/1362361315594798
We all vary in how often we become happy, sad or angry, and also in how strongly these emotions are expressed. This variability is a part of our personality and can be seen as a positive aspect that increases diversity in society. However, there are people that find it so difficult to regulate their emotions that it has a serious impact on their work, family and social life. These individuals may be given an emotional instability diagnosis such as borderline personality disorder or antisocial pe........ Read more »
Petrovic, P., Ekman, C., Klahr, J., Tigerstrom, L., Ryden, G., Johansson, A., Sellgren, C., Golkar, A., Olsson, A., Ohman, A.... (2015) Significant gray matter changes in a region of the orbitofrontal cortex in healthy participants predicts emotional dysregulation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsv072
Whether you're a person biting her nails during a phone interview or a polar bear pacing its cage, anxious animals often do the same thing over and over. Extreme cases of repetitive behavior show up in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder or autism. Now researchers have shown that even a simple, anxiety-inducing experiment can make an average person act in a repetitive and ritualized way.
"A lot of social theorists have talked about the link between anxiety and ritualization," says M........ Read more »
Lang M, Krátký J, Shaver JH, Jerotijević D, & Xygalatas D. (2015) Effects of Anxiety on Spontaneous Ritualized Behavior. Current biology : CB, 25(14), 1892-7. PMID: 26096971
While at times, media can be seen as forces out to create negative feelings towards minority groups, recent research by Garretson of Vanderbilt University shows an example of the positive powers that media can have on group-mechanisms. ... Read more »
Garretson, J. (2014) Exposure to the Lives of Lesbians and Gays and the Origin of Young People's Greater Support for Gay Rights. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 27(2), 277-288. DOI: 10.1093/ijpor/edu026
A recent blog post discussed the need to assess the pathogenicity of genetic variants to determine which mutations are truly causative and which are only background. This is highly important in the search for new cancer drugs as rapidly dividing tissues are more prone to accruing mutations. Large cancer genomic studies are identifying increasing numbers of apparently “significantly-mutated genes” across all major cancer types. However, these genes often include highly unlikely candid........ Read more »
Lawrence MS, Stojanov P, Polak P, Kryukov GV, Cibulskis K, Sivachenko A, Carter SL, Stewart C, Mermel CH, Roberts SA.... (2013) Mutational heterogeneity in cancer and the search for new cancer-associated genes. Nature, 499(7457), 214-8. PMID: 23770567
Participants used a sliding scale under an image like this to indicate "how evolved" they believed an average member of various racial and ethnic groups to beGhanaian footballer Emmanuel Frimpong’s match in Russia last Friday ended nastily: "When the match was stopped,” he said, “the fans started shouting 'monkey' at me.” Redefining human beings as animals in this way, or as vermin, or insects, is no small thing; time and again it’s augured the worst that our species has........ Read more »
Kteily, N., Bruneau, E., Waytz, A., & Cotterill, S. (2015) The Ascent of Man: Theoretical and Empirical Evidence for Blatant Dehumanization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000048
Some time ago, the winners of the annual Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2015 have been presented. Here comes a selection of this year’s outstanding papers related to supply chain management: First of all, it is noteworthy that several award-winning papers deal with sustainability; this includes papers written by Eng-Larsson & Norrman, Fabbe-Costes et […]... Read more »
Eltantawy, R., Giunipero, L., & Handfield, R. (2014) Strategic sourcing management’s mindset: strategic sourcing orientation and its implications. International Journal of Physical Distribution , 44(10), 768-795. DOI: 10.1108/IJPDLM-02-2014-0045
"IL-17 was increased in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] children with co-morbid asthma compared to controls with the same condition."That was the conclusion reached by Marjannie Eloi Akintunde and colleagues  including some notable names on the authorship list from the University of California, Davis. IL-17 (Interleukin 17) by the way, refers to a group of cytokines - chemical messengers of the immune system - linked to various processes centred on inflammation. Jin & Dong [........ Read more »
Akintunde, M., Rose, M., Krakowiak, P., Heuer, L., Ashwood, P., Hansen, R., Hertz-Picciotto, I., & Van de Water, J. (2015) Increased production of IL-17 in children with autism spectrum disorders and co-morbid asthma. Journal of Neuroimmunology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2015.07.003
The brain’s effect on other parts of the body has been well established. Now, a group of researchers has found that it’s a two-way street: Body fat can send a signal that affects the way the brain deals with stress and metabolism. While the exact nature of those signals remains a mystery, researchers say simply knowing such a pathway exists and learning more about it could help break a vicious cycle: Stress causes a desire to eat more, which can lead to obesity. And too much extra fat can im........ Read more »
de Kloet, A., Krause, E., Solomon, M., Flak, J., Scott, K., Kim, D., Myers, B., Ulrich-Lai, Y., Woods, S., Seeley, R.... (2015) Adipocyte glucocorticoid receptors mediate fat-to-brain signaling. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 110-119. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.03.008
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