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  • July 30, 2010
  • 02:28 PM

What Makes Humans Unique ?(III): Self-Domestication, Social Cognition, and Physical Cognition

by Michael in A Replicated Typo 2.0

In my last post I summed up some proposals for what (among other things) makes human cognition unique. But one thing that we should bear in mind, I think, is that our cognitive style may more be something of an idiosyncrasy due to a highly specific cognitive specialization instead of a definitive quantitative and qualitative advance over other styles of animal cognition. In this post I will look at studies which further point in that direction.... Read more »

Hare, B., & Tomasello, M. (2005) Human-like social skills in dogs?. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(9), 439-444. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2005.07.003  

  • July 30, 2010
  • 09:55 AM

Driven By Coffee: Creating a Culture of Productivity

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

Today's post is the last in a three-part series on coffee. Monday's post investigated how coffee came to be such an integral part of everyday life. Wednesday's post provided a history of the coffee bean's travels around the globe. And today's discussion considers the social place of coffee in our lives. Be sure to go back and read the others if you've missed them!_________________________________

... Read more »

Ryan L, Hatfield C, & Hofstetter M. (2002) Caffeine reduces time-of-day effects on memory performance in older adults. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 13(1), 68-71. PMID: 11892781  

  • July 29, 2010
  • 12:08 PM

The Left Hand of Obama

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Voters in the 2008 Presidential election didn't have a meaningful choice. Whichever box they ticked, they were voting for a lefty.Yes, Obama and McCain are both sinistral, a rather unlikely occurrence since just 7-10% of adults are left handed. Netherlands-based neuroscientists Casasanto and Jasmin decided to make use of this coincidence to test the hypothesis that people tend to make "good" gestures with their dominant hand and "bad" ones with their off-hand, in a new PLoS paper: Good and Bad i........ Read more »

Daniel Casasanto and Kyle Jasmin1. (2010) Good and Bad in the Hands of Politicians: Spontaneous Gestures during Positive and Negative Speech. PLoS ONE. info:/

  • July 28, 2010
  • 09:42 PM

The First New Zealanders and their rats

by David in The Atavism

Crispin Jago has made a very cool thing, a periodic table of irrational nonsense. Rolling my eyes over the groups, wondering how people can believe some of these things, made me think about New Zealand's unique ecosystem of kooky ideas. We don't have to suffer creationists in any organised sense and I don't think anyone is too into ear candelling, but those TV psychics have found themselves a niche to exploit and most people seem think chiropratric and homeopathy are normal parts ........ Read more »

Holdaway, R. (1996) Arrival of rats in New Zealand. Nature, 384(6606), 225-226. DOI: 10.1038/384225b0  

  • July 28, 2010
  • 12:32 PM

Paleo Diet and Diabetes: Improved Cardiovascular Risk Factors

by Steve Parker, M.D. in Diabetic Mediterranean Diet Blog

Compared to a standard diabetic diet, a Paleolithic diet improves cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetics, according to investigators at Lund University in Sweden. Researchers compared the effects of a Paleo and a modern diabetic diet in 13 type 2 diabetic adults (10 men) with average hemoglobin A1c’s of 6.6% (under good control, then).  Most [...]... Read more »

  • July 28, 2010
  • 09:36 AM

Past lives caught in the dust of trees

by Alun in AlunSalt

I’m currently working at the Annals of Botany to help out with their social media side. There’s a bit more to it than subtly dropping links to their site, like this one. At the moment I’m struggling with the Facebook integration, but there’s a fun side too. I wouldn’t have browsed AoB if I’d not... Read more »

Mercader, J., Bennett, T., Esselmont, C., Simpson, S., & Walde, D. (2009) Phytoliths in woody plants from the Miombo woodlands of Mozambique. Annals of Botany, 104(1), 91-113. DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcp097  

  • July 26, 2010
  • 10:49 AM

Manufacturing The Coffee Culture

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

This week on AiP, I'm featuring a three-part series on coffee. Today's post investigates how coffee came to be such an integral part of everyday life. Look for additional posts on Wednesday and Friday for followup discussions.______________________________________________________________________
The idea of the morning person aside, morning commuters seem to fall into one of two categories: the

... Read more »

  • July 26, 2010
  • 08:37 AM

For Great Apes, Addressing Inequality is Child’s Play

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries in Exile

The #PDEx tour continues hosted by David Dobbs at Neuron Culture.Writing in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, researchers Edwin Van Leeuwen, Elke Zimmermann, and Marina Davila Ross have shown that gorillas demonstrate an understanding of inequality that they use to modify their behavior under changing social conditions. In more than 85% of the play bouts it was the tagger who made the first move to run as well as the one who ran away. This suggests that there was an implicit understand........ Read more »

  • July 26, 2010
  • 05:40 AM

For Great Apes, Addressing Inequality is Child’s Play

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

Writing in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, researchers Edwin Van Leeuwen, Elke Zimmermann, and Marina Davila Ross have shown that gorillas demonstrate an understanding of inequality that they use to modify their behavior under changing social conditions. In more than 85% of the play bouts it was the tagger who made the first move to run as well as the one who ran away. This suggests that there was an implicit understanding that the act of tagging resulted in an unequal relationship an........ Read more »

  • July 25, 2010
  • 10:10 AM

What Makes Humans Unique? (I): The Evolution of the Human Brain

by Michael in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Hello! This is my first post here at Replicated Typo and I thought I’d start with reposting a slightly modified version of a three-part series on the evolution of the human mind that I did last year over at my blog Shared Symbolic Storage.
So in this and my next posts I will have a look at how human cognition evolved from the perspective of cognitive science, especially ‘evolutionary linguistics,’ comparative psychology and developmental psychology.
In this post I’ll focus on the evolu........ Read more »

  • July 24, 2010
  • 12:09 PM

Are most experimental subjects in behavioral science WEIRD?

by Michael Meadon in Ionian Enchantment

My supervisor David Spurrett and I have a commentary on an important paper - "The weirdest people in the world?" (pdf) - in the most recent edition of Behavioral & Brain Sciences. The authors, Canadian psychologists Joseph Henrich, Steven Heine and Ara Norenzayan, argues that most experimental subjects in the behavioral sciences are WEIRD - Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic - and thus weird - not representative of most human beings. And thi........ Read more »

Henrich, J., Heine, S., & Norenzayan, A. (2010) The weirdest people in the world?. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2-3), 61-83. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X0999152X  

  • July 23, 2010
  • 10:53 AM

The will and its freedom: biological evidence from invertebrates

by Björn Brembs in

A few weeks ago, Lars Chittka invited me to write an article "about free will in insects" for a Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences) Special Feature on 'Information processing in miniature brains' that he is editing. Given our work on spontaneity in flies and my mentor being Martin Heisenberg, how could I decline?I think I will first give a very brief overview of what people used to call "free will" and why it was such a controversy. I hope to get the gist across in about tw........ Read more »

  • July 23, 2010
  • 04:15 AM

Looking for leimotifs in the early history of wheat and rice

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

There are two papers out just now which review in detail archaeobotanical and genetic data to elucidate the early history of crops. Dorian Fuller and numerous co-authors do it for Asian rice (Oryza sativa), Hakan Özkan and others do it for emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccoides). And Fuller actually also comments on the emmer paper on [...]... Read more »

Fuller, D., Sato, Y., Castillo, C., Qin, L., Weisskopf, A., Kingwell-Banham, E., Song, J., Ahn, S., & Etten, J. (2010) Consilience of genetics and archaeobotany in the entangled history of rice. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 2(2), 115-131. DOI: 10.1007/s12520-010-0035-y  

  • July 22, 2010
  • 04:18 PM

The Media Noose: Copycat Suicides and Social Learning

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

I always remember 2008 as the year when the entire UK media descended upon the former mining town of Bridgend. The reason: over the course of two years, 24 young people, most of whom were between the ages of 13 and 17, decided to commit suicide. At the time I . . . → Read More: The Media Noose: Copycat Suicides and Social Learning... Read more »

  • July 22, 2010
  • 12:30 PM

Why Do Some Like It Hot?

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

Why do some like what hot? Well, peanuts, of course. What did you think I was talking about? Peanuts, and really, all sorts of spicy foods. Why do some people like and prefer spicy foods to the point where they consume mouth scorching dishes—and ask for more? This was the question posed to me by a coworker recently, as he reached helplessly for the can of spicy peanuts sitting in the communal

... Read more »

Rozin, P. (1997) Why We Eat What We Eat, and Why We Worry about It. Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 50(5), 26. DOI: 10.2307/3824612  

  • July 21, 2010
  • 02:00 PM

Can you train an adult brain?

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

It is often said that the human brain develops and improves up to a certain age, then becomes stagnant for a while, then slowly (or not so slowly) deteriorates over time. This is an old conception that developed before we knew that neural connections are being modified constantly, and that it is even the [...]... Read more »

Berry, A., Zanto, T., Clapp, W., Hardy, J., Delahunt, P., Mahncke, H., & Gazzaley, A. (2010) The Influence of Perceptual Training on Working Memory in Older Adults. PLoS ONE, 5(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011537  

  • July 21, 2010
  • 12:58 AM

Refugee children left behind as eagle lands on the moon

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Yesterday, the New York Times carried a heart-breaking story about an exceptional school principal forced from her position under No-Child-Left-Behind legislation in order for the school district to obtain federal funding. It’s an instructive tale about the standardized-assessment tail wagging … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 20, 2010
  • 06:23 PM

Hail Marys on the Subway

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

There is probably little that can happen on the NYC subway that would surprise commuters. My friend Wendy once saw Spiderman (his spidey-web thing must have not been working properly). What did she do? She took a picture, of course. As further proof of the unflappable nature of subway riders, let's take a look at this video:
(I'm a big fan of Improv Everywhere—their Ghostbusters mission is a

... Read more »

Kiernan, J.P. (1977) Public Transport and Private Risk: Zionism and the Black Commuter in South Africa. Journal of Anthropological Research, 33(2), 214-226. info:/

  • July 19, 2010
  • 02:43 AM

English-Only at Bon Secours

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

From what I read, there is a nursing shortage in the Global North. From North America to Japan and from Europe to the Gulf countries, rich societies suffer from a “care deficit,” which they fill by importing – mostly female … Continue reading →... Read more »

Piller, Ingrid, & Takahashi, Kimie. (2011) At the intersection of gender, language and transnationalism. Nik Coupland. Ed. Handbook of Language and Globalisation. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 540-554. info:/

  • July 16, 2010
  • 02:32 AM


by teofilo in Gambler's House

In comments to the previous post ben asked about the use of dogs as draft animals.  I replied that they were so used in conjunction with the travois, especially on the Plains, but that the dogs in the Southwest and in Mesoamerica were smaller than Plains dogs and not able to pull any substantial loads.  [...]... Read more »

Colton, H. (1970) The Aboriginal Southwestern Indian Dog. American Antiquity, 35(2), 153. DOI: 10.2307/278144  

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