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  • January 24, 2015
  • 09:39 AM
  • 35 views

Urban Legends In The World of Clinical Trials

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Ethnographer Jill A. Fisher offers a fascinating look at the rumors and urban legends that circulate among the volunteers who get paid to take part in medical research: Stopped hearts, amputated toes and NASA




Fisher visited six clinical trial facilities across the USA. All of these facilities were exclusively devoted to running phase I trials, testing new drugs to see if they are safe in humans. She spent a total of 450 hours in the field, getting to know the 'guinea pigs', and the staf... Read more »

  • January 23, 2015
  • 07:16 PM
  • 66 views

Mothers don’t speak clearly to their babies

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

People have a distinctive way of talking to babies and small children: We speak more slowly, using a sing-song voice, and tend to use cutesy words like "tummy". While we might be inclined to think that we talk this way because it is easier for children to understand, new research suggests that, surprisingly, mothers may actually speak less clearly to their infants than they do to adults.... Read more »

Andrew Martin, Thomas Schatz, Maarten Versteegh, Kouki Miyazawa, Reiko Mazuka, Emmanuel Dupoux, and Alejandrina Cristia. (2015) Kouki Miyazawa, Reiko Mazuka, Emmanuel Dupoux, and Alejandrina Cristia. Mothers Speak Less Clearly to Infants Than to Adults: A Comprehensive Test of the Hyperarticulation Hypothesis. Psychological Science. info:/10.1177/0956797614562453

  • January 22, 2015
  • 05:50 PM
  • 136 views

Belief’s effect on biochemistry in cases of addiction

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever wonder what makes people susceptible to addiction? Think about it, some people can stop addictive painkillers without a problem and others, well others are not so lucky. So the big question is are there more than biophysical factors at play in addiction? A new study shows that cognitive beliefs play a significant role in a person’s neurological response to an addictive substance and that belief can diminish the neurological effects of an addictive drug.... Read more »

Gu, X., Lohrenz, T., Salas, R., Baldwin, P., Soltani, A., Kirk, U., Cinciripini, P., & Montague, P. (2015) Belief about nicotine selectively modulates value and reward prediction error signals in smokers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201416639. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1416639112  

  • January 20, 2015
  • 09:45 AM
  • 61 views

Misconceptions Never Die. They Just Fade Away.

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

In a post on my precision principle, I made a fairly humdrum observation about a typical elementary-level geometry question:

Why can we so easily figure out the logics that lead to the incorrect answers? It seems like a silly question, but I mean it to be a serious one. At some level, this should be a bizarre ability, shouldn't it? . . . . The answer is that we can easily switch back and forth between different "versions" of the truth.... Read more »

  • January 19, 2015
  • 11:45 PM
  • 77 views

What makes a discipline ‘mathematical’?

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

While walking to work on Friday, I was catching up on one of my favorite podcasts: The History of Philosophy without any Gaps. To celebrate the podcast’s 200th episode, Peter Adamson was interviewing Jill Kraye and John Marenbon on medieval philosophy. The podcasts was largely concerned with where we should define the temporal boundaries of […]... Read more »

Sylla, Edith D. (2011) Oxford Calculators. Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy, 903-908. DOI: 10.1007/SpringerReference_187789  

  • January 19, 2015
  • 03:05 PM
  • 85 views

Fear, PTSD, and newly found neural circuits in the brain

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

People with anxiety disorders, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often experience prolonged and exaggerated fearfulness. Now, an animal study suggests that this might involve disruption of a gradual shifting of brain circuitry for retrieving fear memories. Researchers have discovered in rats that an old fear memory is recalled by a separate brain pathway from the one originally used to recall it when it was fresh.... Read more »

Penzo MA, Robert V, Tucciarone J, De Bundel D, Wang M, Van Aeist L, Varvas M, Parada LF, Palmiter R, He M, Huang ZJ, Li B. . (2015) The paraventricular thalamus controls a central amygdala fear circuit. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13978  

  • January 17, 2015
  • 02:18 PM
  • 78 views

Pythagoras theorem could improve patient care

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Triangles, few of us have ever thought of a relationship between health care and triangles. Most of us will remember Pythagoras theorem from our school days, but rarely have a reason to use it in day-to-day life. Well for Doctors that might change, a team of medical researchers has found the 2,500-year-old Pythagoras theorem could be the most effective way to identify the point at which a patient’s health begins to improve.... Read more »

  • January 13, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 89 views

Delicate Arteries Of Energy

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

As dependent on electricity as America is, it is surprising how easily it could be taken away. Do you know how electricity comes to your house? Here is the national electrical grid easily explained and the points at which it can be vulnerable to sun, weather, and terrorism.... Read more »

Paul W. Parfomak. (2014) Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations . Congressional Research Service Reports. info:/

  • January 12, 2015
  • 05:08 PM
  • 93 views

Study shows rise in mass die-offs

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

You really don’t hear much about mass die-offs from mainstream news outlets; this might make you think they don’t happen that often. However, an analysis of 727 mass die-offs of nearly 2,500 animal species from the past 70 years has found that such events are increasing among birds, fish, and marine invertebrates. At the same time, the number of individuals killed appears to be decreasing for reptiles and amphibians, and is unchanged for mammals.... Read more »

Samuel B. Fey, Adam M. Siepielski, Sébastien Nusslé, Kristina Cervantes-Yoshida, Jason L. Hwan, Eric R. Huber, Maxfield J. Fey, Alessandro Catenazzi, & Stephanie M. Carlson. (2015) Recent shifts in the occurrence, cause, and magnitude of animal mass mortality events. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. info:/10.1073/pnas.1414894112

  • January 12, 2015
  • 10:24 AM
  • 96 views

Collective Personality and Our Environment

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

We are all familiar with the concept of the personality of an individual. We are less familiar with group- or collective personalities (although most teachers can tell you at length about the personalities of each of their classes). The concept is the same: whereas an individual personality relates to an individual’s consistent behaviors across time and contexts, a collective personality relates to a group’s consistent behaviors across time and contexts. Collective personalities can be stron........ Read more »

  • January 12, 2015
  • 03:21 AM
  • 90 views

Citations of Excellence Awards 2014

by Andreas Wieland in Supply Chain Management Research

Like every year (see my previous post), Emerald rewards authors of exceptional papers covered in its extensive Emerald Management Reviews database with a Citation of Excellence Award (full list). I went through the latest list of the Citations of Excellence Top 50 papers. This time, the list contains at least two papers from related disciplines […]... Read more »

Locke, R., Qin, F., & Brause, A. (2007) Does Monitoring Improve Labor Standards? Lessons from Nike. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 61(1), 3-31. info:/

  • January 11, 2015
  • 08:02 PM
  • 96 views

Police Brutality And The Efficacy Of Body-Worn Cameras

by Alexis Delanoir in How to Paint Your Panda

In a study entitled "The Effect of Police Body-Worn Cameras on Use of Force and Citizen's Complaints Against the Police: A Randomized Controlled Trial," published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Ariel et al. review what is the first scientific report on the topic of whether or not police body-worn cameras work in terms of decreasing the rate of excessive force by police. As the title suggests, it also reviewed the effects of body-worn cameras on the rate of complaints ........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2015
  • 03:10 PM
  • 113 views

Being angry might be good for your health

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

In the US and many Western countries, people are urged to manage feelings of anger or suffer its ill effects. We are raised to, for a large part, stifle our emotions and to “not be so angry.” However, new research with participants from the US and Japan suggests that anger may actually be linked with better, not worse, health at least in certain cultures.... Read more »

Kitayama S., J. M. Boylan, Y. Miyamoto, C. S. Levine, H. R. Markus, M. Karasawa, C. L. Coe, N. Kawakami, G. D. Love, & C. D. Ryff. (2015) Expression of Anger and Ill Health in Two Cultures: An Examination of Inflammation and Cardiovascular Risk. Psychological Science. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797614561268  

  • January 11, 2015
  • 01:06 PM
  • 106 views

The Tragic History of Surgery for Schizophrenia

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A compelling article in the Journal of Medical Biography recounts the story of Bayard Holmes and Henry Cotton, two American "surgeon-psychiatrists" who believed that they could cure schizophrenia by removing parts of their patients' intestines (and other organs). Both men tested their theories on their own children - with tragic results. The article is by Jonathan Davidson of Duke University.





Holmes and Cotton had a theory to justify these extreme treatments: autointoxication - the id... Read more »

  • January 8, 2015
  • 05:33 PM
  • 160 views

Music takes the pain away post surgery

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

In today’s society, when it is so easy to over medicate children and adults alike it is nice to finally read something that looks for an alternative option. This particular case deals with pain management in children post surgery and the study shows that pediatric patients who listened to 30 minutes of songs by Rihanna, Taylor Swift and other singers of their choosing — or audio books — had a significant reduction in pain after major surgery.... Read more »

  • January 7, 2015
  • 09:06 PM
  • 135 views

New antibiotic may help slow drug resistance

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Antibiotic resistance, a hot topic lately here at the labs, as evidence by this recent post. So it is fortuitous that I stumbled upon this little bit of research that suggests scientists (using a “revolutionary” approach) have devised an antibiotic that may offset the mounting problem of drug resistance for decades… hopefully.... Read more »

Ling LL, Schneider T, Peoples AJ, Spoering AL, Engels I, Conlon BP, Mueller A, Schäberle TF, Hughes DE, Epstein S.... (2015) A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance. Nature. PMID: 25561178  

  • January 6, 2015
  • 01:16 PM
  • 137 views

Lots of selfies may suggest you’re a narcissist

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Well I’ve got some bad news to all you selfie fanatics out there, a new study showed that men who posted more online photos of themselves than others scored higher on measures of narcissism and psychopathy. The study looked exclusively at men, however the men out there should have no fear, there is a follow up study being done with women as well.... Read more »

  • January 6, 2015
  • 10:05 AM
  • 122 views

Stiff Masks Block Emotional Memories

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



A good poker face may help you win a Hold 'Em tournament, but it won't do your memory any favors. Our faces naturally flinch into emotional expressions that match what we're seeing or hearing. These quick expressions, in addition to giving away our pocket aces, seem to help us recall things later. Using stiff cosmetic masks, scientists showed that it also works the other way: if we can't move our faces, emotional memories are harder to hang onto.

We may not realize when our facial muscle........ Read more »

  • January 6, 2015
  • 07:00 AM
  • 126 views

Can religion reduce crime?

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Studying links between religious belief and crime is notoriously difficult. On a crude level, people in prisons in the USA are more likely to be religious than the general population. Of course, there are any number of confounding factors that could be at play here. So you need to look over time to have any [Read More...]... Read more »

  • January 5, 2015
  • 03:02 PM
  • 141 views

Typical Dreams: A Comparison of Dreams Across Cultures

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Have you ever wondered how the content of your dreams differs from that of your friends? How about the dreams of people raised in different countries and cultures? It is not always easy to compare dreams of distinct individuals because the content of dreams depends on our personal experiences. This is why dream researchers have developed standardized dream questionnaires in which common thematic elements are grouped together. These questionnaires can be translated into various languages and used........ Read more »

Nielsen, T., Zadra, A., Simard, V., Saucier, S., Stenstrom, P., Smith, C., & Kuiken, D. (2003) The Typical Dreams of Canadian University Students. Dreaming, 13(4), 211-235. DOI: 10.1023/B:DREM.0000003144.40929.0b  

Schredl M, Ciric P, Götz S, & Wittmann L. (2004) Typical dreams: stability and gender differences. The Journal of psychology, 138(6), 485-94. PMID: 15612605  

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