Vaccines don't cause autism, but because the brain is so complex, we still don't know how much of it works so figuring out the real causes (as in more than one) of autism has been slow going. Well, researchers have identified a brain receptor that appears to initiate adolescent synaptic pruning, a process believed necessary for learning, but in this case it is one that appears to go awry in both autism and schizophrenia.... Read more »
Sonia Afroz, Julie Parato, Hui Shen Sheryl, & Sue Smith. (2016) Synaptic pruning in the female hippocampus is triggered at puberty by extrasynaptic GABAA receptors on dendritic spines . eLife. info:/
Generally seen as antithetical to one another, evolution and religion can hardly fit in a scientific discourse simultaneously. However, in a new article, a biology researcher delves into observations on the influences a few major religions have had on evolutionists and their scientific thinking over the centuries.
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Romero Jr., A. (2016) The influence of religion on science: the case of the idea of predestination in biospeleology. Research Ideas and Outcomes. DOI: 10.3897/rio.2.e9015
Working to orient oneself to the symmetries available in mathematical situations seems like one appropriate remedy to what I've called "left-to-rightism," or "cinemathematics"—a syndrome that makes us teach concepts like the equals sign (unwittingly) in a left-to-right way, such that students take away (unwittingly) the misconception that the equals sign indicates that some answer is to follow, rather than that two expressions are equal. Some recent research points........ Read more »
Tsang, J., Blair, K., Bofferding, L., & Schwartz, D. (2015) Learning to “See” Less Than Nothing: Putting Perceptual Skills to Work for Learning Numerical Structure. Cognition and Instruction, 33(2), 154-197. DOI: 10.1080/07370008.2015.1038539
The whole of human intelligence, right at your fingertips. Sure it might not make the layman an engineer or physicist, but if we want to learn about a particular topic the internet can give us that information. But you better hold on tight before you lose it. New research finds retweeting or otherwise sharing information creates a “cognitive overload” that interferes with learning and retaining what you’ve just seen.
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Jiang, T., Hou, Y., & Wang, Q. (2016) Does micro-blogging make us “shallow”? Sharing information online interferes with information comprehension. Computers in Human Behavior, 210-214. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.008
I recently pointed out that the widespread belief that migrants refuse to learn the language of their new country does not stack up against the realities of adult language learning. I summarized the research that shows that adult language learning is complex and difficult and rarely an all-out success; to blame migrants for their failure to learn a new language (well) is adding insult to injury.
The German-language club (“Stammtisch”) in New York founded by G........ Read more »
Azuélos, D. (2008) L'exil dans l'exil Les stratégies linguistiques contradictoires des exilés aux États-Unis (Thomas Mann, Klaus Mann, Hans Sahl, Oskar Maria Graf). Études Germaniques, 252(4), 723. DOI: 10.3917/eger.252.0723
Happiness. It’s something we all strive for, but how do we measure it — as a country? A global community? Not so surprisingly, researchers are turning to social media to answer these questions and more. In a newly published study, computer scientists used two years of Twitter data to measure users’ life satisfaction, a component of happiness.
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Yang, C., & Srinivasan, P. (2016) Life Satisfaction and the Pursuit of Happiness on Twitter. PLOS ONE, 11(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150881
Human sacrifice to preserve inequality Statistically speaking (wait, wait, don’t click away, I know this is not the most enticing opening, but bear with me), you and me, we are not part of the 1%, or the 0.01%, that in most Western societies holds a disproportionate amount of influence and resources. Secretly, though, we want […]... Read more »
Watts J, Sheehan O, Atkinson QD, Bulbulia J, & Gray RD. (2016) Ritual human sacrifice promoted and sustained the evolution of stratified societies. Nature, 532(7598), 228-31. PMID: 27042932
The replicability of psychological research is surprisingly low. Why? In this blog post I present new evidence showing that questionable research practices are at the heart of failures to replicate psychological effects. Quick recap. A recent publication in Science claims that only around 40% of psychological findings are replicable, based on 100 replication attempts in […]... Read more »
Asendorpf, J., Conner, M., De Fruyt, F., De Houwer, J., Denissen, J., Fiedler, K., Fiedler, S., Funder, D., Kliegl, R., Nosek, B.... (2013) Recommendations for Increasing Replicability in Psychology. European Journal of Personality, 27(2), 108-119. DOI: 10.1002/per.1919
Gerber, A., & Malhotra, N. (2008) Publication Bias in Empirical Sociological Research: Do Arbitrary Significance Levels Distort Published Results?. Sociological Methods , 37(1), 3-30. DOI: 10.1177/0049124108318973
Gerber, A., Malhotra, N., Dowling, C., & Doherty, D. (2010) Publication Bias in Two Political Behavior Literatures. American Politics Research, 38(4), 591-613. DOI: 10.1177/1532673X09350979
Gilbert, D., King, G., Pettigrew, S., & Wilson, T. (2016) Comment on "Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science". Science, 351(6277), 1037-1037. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad7243
Head ML, Holman L, Lanfear R, Kahn AT, & Jennions MD. (2015) The extent and consequences of p-hacking in science. PLoS biology, 13(3). PMID: 25768323
Ioannidis JP, Munafò MR, Fusar-Poli P, Nosek BA, & David SP. (2014) Publication and other reporting biases in cognitive sciences: detection, prevalence, and prevention. Trends in cognitive sciences, 18(5), 235-41. PMID: 24656991
Kühberger A, Fritz A, & Scherndl T. (2014) Publication bias in psychology: a diagnosis based on the correlation between effect size and sample size. PloS one, 9(9). PMID: 25192357
Kunert R. (2016) Internal conceptual replications do not increase independent replication success. Psychonomic bulletin . PMID: 27068542
Open Science Collaboration. (2015) Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science, 349(6251). DOI: 10.1126/science.aac4716
By Nick Gremban Male speckled wood butterflies will “perch” on leavesand ends of twigs to look out over their territory for females. However, they have been known to be quite aggressivewith any intruding males! Photo by Alvesgaspar atWikimedia Commons, modified by Nick Gremban.Think about any territorial animal. Now think about its aggressiveness while it is defending its territory. Was your animal a butterfly? No? You mean the colorful wings and the natural association with flowers d........ Read more »
Bergman, M., Olofsson, M., & Wiklund, C. (2010) Contest outcome in a territorial butterfly: the role of motivation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277(1696), 3027-3033. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.0646
The human brain was initially used for basic survival tasks, such as staying safe and hunting and gathering. Yet, 200,000 years later, the same human brain is able to learn abstract concepts, like momentum, energy, and gravity, which have only been formally defined in the last few centuries. New research has now uncovered how the brain is able to acquire brand new types of ideas.
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Robert A. Mason, & Marcel Adam Just. (2016) Neural Representations of Physics Concepts . Psychological Science. info:other/Pre-print
by Maiju Strommer in Language on the Move
Let me at once introduce you to the main character of this blog post: Kifibin. He is a Ugandan man...... Read more »
Strömmer, M. (2015) Affordances and constraints: Second language learning in cleaning work. Multilingua. DOI: 10.1515/multi-2014-0113
Anthrax attacks in 2001 were a wake-up call for the importance of preparedness.... Read more »
Goel, A. (2015) Anthrax: A disease of biowarfare and public health importance. World Journal of Clinical Cases, 3(1), 20. DOI: 10.12998/wjcc.v3.i1.20
Riedel S. (2005) Anthrax: a continuing concern in the era of bioterrorism. Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center), 18(3), 234-43. PMID: 16200179
Spaced practice, also called distributed practice, refers to the practice—after initial learning—of leaving gaps in time between sessions devoted to reviewing previously learned material. This stands in contrast to its much less effective counterpart, massed practice, which "crams" all of the review together in time.... Read more »
Kang, S. (2016) Spaced Repetition Promotes Efficient and Effective Learning: Policy Implications for Instruction. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3(1), 12-19. DOI: 10.1177/2372732215624708
Many of the misconceptions we deal with in mathematics education in particular can be seen as the result of dealing with objects of 'low discriminability' (objects that are hard to tell apart). In many cases, these objects really are hard to tell apart, and in others we simply make them hard through our sequencing.... Read more »
Birnbaum, M., Kornell, N., Bjork, E., & Bjork, R. (2012) Why interleaving enhances inductive learning: The roles of discrimination and retrieval. Memory , 41(3), 392-402. DOI: 10.3758/s13421-012-0272-7
Our understanding of the role of language in social life suffers from a particularly intractable problem: the terms we use...... Read more »
Vathi, Z., Duci, V., & Dhembo, E. (2016) Homeland (dis)integrations: Educational Experience, Children and Return Migration to Albania. International Migration. DOI: 10.1111/imig.12230
Something very personal about me, the thought of suicide is never too far behind. It is to the point that I need to qualify it to my counselor when I am asked if I have thoughts of suicide, I always do. A new study shows that I am far from alone Nearly 14 percent of military veterans reported suicidal thinking at one or both phases of a two-year Veterans Affairs (VA) study.... Read more »
Smith, N., Mota, N., Tsai, J., Monteith, L., Harpaz-Rotem, I., Southwick, S., & Pietrzak, R. (2016) Nature and determinants of suicidal ideation among U.S. veterans: Results from the national health and resilience in veterans study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 66-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.02.069
Eco-friendly behaviors, such as recycling coffee pods, are associated with a sense of pride.... Read more »
Bissing-Olson, M., Fielding, K., & Iyer, A. (2016) Experiences of pride, not guilt, predict pro-environmental behavior when pro-environmental descriptive norms are more positive. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 145-153. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2016.01.001
Hungry? Well, let’s face it, that pizza looks much better than the salad. Don’t deny it salad lovers, we all know behind closed doors you look at plenty of food porn to satiate your desires. Understanding the motivations that drive us to eat is important when we talk about weight loss and how we attempt to structure diets. Now a new study shows that for overweight individuals, the brain responses differently to desirable foods., but hold that thought, because there is hope.
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Farr, O., Sofopoulos, M., Tsoukas, M., Dincer, F., Thakkar, B., Sahin-Efe, A., Filippaios, A., Bowers, J., Srnka, A., Gavrieli, A.... (2016) GLP-1 receptors exist in the parietal cortex, hypothalamus and medulla of human brains and the GLP-1 analogue liraglutide alters brain activity related to highly desirable food cues in individuals with diabetes: a crossover, randomised, placebo-controlled. Diabetologia. DOI: 10.1007/s00125-016-3874-y
Innovations don’t require heroic geniuses any more than your thoughts hinge on a particular neuron.... Read more »
If you see me on the street and I am running, there is a good chance you should be running as well, because something dangerous is coming. I don’t run, I hate to run, I loathe running, did I mention I don’t like to run? Maybe it’s all the running I did in the military, or if a new study is correct, it may have to do with my mother. Which is good, because now I can blame someone else for my hatred of running.
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Eclarinal, J., Zhu, S., Baker, M., Piyarathna, D., Coarfa, C., Fiorotto, M., & Waterland, R. (2016) Maternal exercise during pregnancy promotes physical activity in adult offspring. The FASEB Journal. DOI: 10.1096/fj.201500018R
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