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  • January 25, 2011
  • 02:00 PM
  • 2,109 views

State of the Field: Too big, too small, just right – the Goldilocks Conundrum of Conservation

by Bluegrass Blue Crab in Southern Fried Science

scale can really change perspective... take this fruit fly eye, for example, at scanning electron microscope scale - it looks like an army of hairs Scale seems like a simple term with a simple definition, a concept certainly not up for debate. Well, digging just a little deeper we find that the nuances [...]... Read more »

Jennifer Silver. (2008) Weighing in on scale: synthesizing disciplinary approaches to scale in the context of building interdisciplinary resource management. Society and Natural Resources, 21(10). info:/

  • January 25, 2011
  • 12:11 PM
  • 1,314 views

The Religion Gene (II)

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

In his paper purporting to show that a beneficial, baby-making “religion gene” will sweep through a population and eventually make everyone religious, Robert Rowthorn ignores this inconvenient fact: nearly everyone in the world is already religious. Here is how it breaks down:

Because fifty percent of the “Non-Religious” group is theistic but not “religious,” we can [...]... Read more »

Rowthorn, R. (2011) Religion, fertility and genes: a dual inheritance model. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2504  

  • January 25, 2011
  • 02:00 AM
  • 594 views

The scent of a woman: subtle factors influencing human sexual attraction

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

Scent of a woman men’s testosterone responses to olfactory ovulation cues From Psychological Science According to this research, odors can be a subtle factor affecting human mating, similar to the behavior of other animals. Monitoring the responses of men after smelling t-shirts worn by ovulating women, non-ovulating women and some not worn at all, they [...]... Read more »

  • January 24, 2011
  • 07:51 PM
  • 973 views

Are mirror neurons the basis of speech perception?

by Hannah Little in A Replicated Typo 2.0


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The discovery of Mirror Neurons in Macaque monkeys has lead to theories of the neurophysiological substrate of speech perception being grounded in mirror neurons. This is also relevant to the evolution of speech as if ability to perceive a rapid stream of phonemes is present in species such as macaques then this provides a foundation on which . . . → Read More: Are mirror neurons the basis of speech perception?... Read more »

  • January 24, 2011
  • 10:41 AM
  • 926 views

In Jury Selection, Pay All Kinds of Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator

By: Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm - Watching the Wizard of Oz recently with my three (and a half!)-year-old daughter, we came to the familiar scene of the fearless Toto interrupting the Wizard’s speech by pulling back the curtain on a man furiously working levers and wheels. When Dorothy and company ignore the instruction to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” it becomes clear that what we see of the ‘wizard’ is an elaborate façade. There is a similar façade at work during jury se........ Read more »

Chang, L, . (2010) Comparing oral interviewing with self-administered computerized questionnaires. Public Opinion Quarterly, 1-14. info:/

  • January 24, 2011
  • 07:04 AM
  • 1,270 views

Excuse me, potential juror, but just how big is your amygdala?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

New research touts findings that conservatives have bigger amygdalas while liberals have bigger cingulate cortices. The bigger amygdala means conservatives could be driven by fear while the bigger cingulated cortex means liberals have more decision-making power. Hmmm. Is it possible that our politics are fixed at birth? Probably not. Neuroskeptic takes a look at the [...]


Related posts:Church attendance, dirt and politics (what we don’t know about ourselves)
“Reactions vary along tradi........ Read more »

Michael D. Dodd, John R. Hibbing, & Kevin B. Smith. (2010) The politics of attention: gaze-cuing effects are moderated by political temperament. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics. info:/

  • January 24, 2011
  • 02:22 AM
  • 1,178 views

Imitation and Social Cognition in Humans and Chimpanzees (II): Rational Imitation in Human Infants and Human-Raised Chimps

by Michael in A Replicated Typo 2.0


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In my last post I wrote about two experiments on imitation in young children and chimpanzees by Lyons et al. (2005) and Horner & Whiten (2005).  Their results suggested that young children tend to copy both the ‘necessary’ and the ‘unnecessary’ parts of a demonstrator’s action wh0 shows them how to get a reward out . . . → Read More: Imitation and Social Cognition in Humans and Chimpanzees (II): Rational Imitation in Human Infant........ Read more »

Buttelmann D, Carpenter M, Call J, & Tomasello M. (2007) Enculturated chimpanzees imitate rationally. Developmental science, 10(4). PMID: 17552931  

Gergely G, Bekkering H, & Király I. (2002) Rational imitation in preverbal infants. Nature, 415(6873), 755. PMID: 11845198  

  • January 24, 2011
  • 01:27 AM
  • 604 views

Tipping Points and the Precautionary Principle

by Noam Ross in Noam Ross

Image source: FlickrMany ecological systems have tipping points - thresholds where small changes in impacts can have very large effects on on ecosystem functioning, often in a bad way.  Lakes, for example, might show little impact from nutrient pollution until a threshold level is reached, and then massive algal blooms form that choke off many other species growth.
In the absence of knowledge of exactly how far one can push a system before reaching a tipping point, many invoke the precautio........ Read more »

  • January 23, 2011
  • 11:35 PM
  • 706 views

Holy Wars in Holy Lands

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In the year AD 1098 a spruce tree was chopped down in the Chuska Mountains, which run roughly along what is now the border between Arizona and New Mexico.  We don’t know who cut it down, exactly, since the people living in the area at the time had no system of writing and have therefore [...]... Read more »

Rubenstein, J. (2008) Cannibals and Crusaders. French Historical Studies, 31(4), 525-552. DOI: 10.1215/00161071-2008-005  

  • January 23, 2011
  • 01:52 AM
  • 1,478 views

An evolutionary explanation of consumption

by Jason Collins in Evolving Economics

Since Thorstein Veblen’s 1899 book Theory of the Leisure Class, the economics profession has taken a somewhat mixed approach to consumption. In areas such signalling theory, Veblen’s argument that conspicuous consumption must be wasteful and expensive to be a reliable signal of wealth is well recognised. Conspicuous consumption has a purpose as a signal. However, [...]... Read more »

  • January 22, 2011
  • 09:09 AM
  • 1,119 views

The causes you “like” on Facebook may actually matter

by Janelle Ward in Janelle's research blog

The book manuscript I’m currently working on for Hampton Press involves an updated section on social media. When I started my dissertation research in 2003, websites were all the rage – and the only rage. Now, organizations of all types … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 21, 2011
  • 03:44 PM
  • 1,186 views

Out With The Scientists, In With The Quacks (and religious zealots)

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

The Government announced this week the list... Read more »

Rolles S. (2010) An alternative to the war on drugs. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 20627976  

  • January 21, 2011
  • 03:16 PM
  • 1,037 views

Prairie Dog Communication

by Richard in A Replicated Typo 2.0


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A recent NPR radio show covered the research of the biosemiotician Con Slobodchikoff of the Univeristy of Arizone on prairie dog calls. The piece is very public-orientated, but still might be worth listening to.
We’ve all (I hope) heard of the vervet monkeys, which have different alarm calls for different predators, such as for leopard (Panthera pardus), martial . . . → Read More: Prairie Dog Communication... Read more »

  • January 21, 2011
  • 07:07 AM
  • 671 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: Building Trust (but not) in Ten Easy Words

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

This is a pretty amazing yet simple and straightforward tool. We saw this idea at Neuromarketing blog in a post titled “Building Trust in Ten Easy Words” and went to find the original research to see the details so we could discuss it in the context of litigation advocacy. The Neuromarketing blog post counts out [...]


Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Be credible
Simple Jury Persuasion: Thank you for your service
Simple Jury Persuasion: Channeling Cialdini & becoming a master of s........ Read more »

  • January 20, 2011
  • 07:06 PM
  • 949 views

Study: Your Genes Help Pick Your Friends

by David Berreby in Mind Matters


How much of you resides between your ears? And how much of what you call "me" is made outside your body, in your relationships with others? Biologists have largely confined themselves to aspects of the mind that can be measured in a single human body (galvanic skin response, activity in the amygdala ...Read More
... Read more »

Fowler, J., Settle, J., & Christakis, N. (2011) Correlated genotypes in friendship networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1011687108  

  • January 20, 2011
  • 06:08 PM
  • 1,081 views

Why we are all different (and not all religious)

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

So, on to the paper by Robert Rowthorn, which I see now has even been picked up by the Denver Post!

Just to explain a bit of the background. Rowthorn is an economist, and his paper is basically a model of what would would happen if you have a gene (strictly speaking [and for Bjørn's benefit], an allele) that predisposes for membership of a group, and if that group has high reproduction.

What he shows is that the gene spreads incredibly quickly - just 10 generations after it appears, 80% of t........ Read more »

Rowthorn R. (2011) Religion, fertility and genes: a dual inheritance model. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society. PMID: 21227968  

Penke, L, Denisson, J, & Miller, GF. (2007) The Evolutionary Genetics of Personality. European Journal of Personality, 549-587. info:/

  • January 20, 2011
  • 03:47 PM
  • 814 views

The rise and fall of great powers is stochastic

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

Long time readers know well my fascination with quantitative history. In particular, cliometrics and cliodynamics. These are fields which attempt to measure and model human historical phenomena and processes. Cliometrics is a well established field, insofar as it is a subset of economic history. But cliodynamics is new on the scene. At the heart of cliodynamics [...]... Read more »

Gavrilets, Sergey, David G. Anderson, & Peter Turchin. (2011) Cycling in the Complexity of Early Societies. Cliodynamics: The Journal of Theoretical and Mathematical History. info:/

  • January 20, 2011
  • 06:30 AM
  • 869 views

Medieval soldiers illuminate modern stunting

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

A couple of sentences in one of The Economist’s celebrated Christmas articles brought me up short. The article detailed a forensic investigation of soldiers who fell in 1491 at Towton, “perhaps the bloodiest battle ever fought in England”. The good thing about Towton is that a mass grave yielded 40 skeletons, 28 of them complete, [...]... Read more »

  • January 20, 2011
  • 02:00 AM
  • 551 views

Psychopaths chronic cheating and impulsive risky behaviors are linked to reasoning impairments

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

Psychopaths are impaired in social exchange and precautionary reasoning   From Pychological Science Psychopaths persistently violate social, moral, and legal norms, cheating family, friends, and strangers alike. Two hallmarks of psychopathy are the persistent violation of social contracts and chronic, impulsive risky behavior. By testing incarcerated psychopaths this study considers if they understand what qualifies [...]... Read more »

  • January 19, 2011
  • 09:34 PM
  • 1,295 views

Keep Your International Arbitration out of the Tower of Babel

by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator

By: Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm - So, a retired Brazilian judge, two American litigators, and three German engineers walk into a bar... Okay, so it wasn't a bar, it was an international arbitration, but the potential for miscommunication is just as great as the joke intro would imply. This one took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil and it was preceded by a two-day mock arbitration that I facilitated in order to help our litigation team prepare the best arbitration case possible. Any case that makes it to arbitr........ Read more »

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