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  • May 2, 2016
  • 02:45 PM
  • 63 views

Origin of synaptic pruning process linked to learning, autism and schizophrenia identified

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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:/

  • May 1, 2016
  • 02:17 PM
  • 82 views

Influence of religion and predestination on evolution and scientific thinking

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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.

... Read more »

  • May 1, 2016
  • 11:00 AM
  • 69 views

Being Explicit About Symmetry

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

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 »

  • April 29, 2016
  • 04:10 PM
  • 106 views

Don’t retweet if you want to remember

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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.

... Read more »

  • April 28, 2016
  • 06:19 AM
  • 105 views

Portrait of a linguistic shirker

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move








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 »

  • April 27, 2016
  • 04:42 PM
  • 127 views

Measuring happiness on social media

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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.

... Read more »

  • April 26, 2016
  • 08:57 AM
  • 103 views

Human sacrifice, inequality, and cycles of political power

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

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 »

  • April 25, 2016
  • 06:39 AM
  • 122 views

Yet more evidence for questionable research practices in original studies of Reproducibility Project: Psychology

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

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., Dowling, C., & Doherty, D. (2010) Publication Bias in Two Political Behavior Literatures. American Politics Research, 38(4), 591-613. DOI: 10.1177/1532673X09350979  

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  

  • April 18, 2016
  • 03:32 PM
  • 147 views

Are Territory Disputes Between Male Butterflies Influenced by Motivation?

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

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  

  • April 12, 2016
  • 07:18 PM
  • 201 views

The scientific brain: How the brain repurposes itself to learn scientific concepts

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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.
... Read more »

Robert A. Mason, & Marcel Adam Just. (2016) Neural Representations of Physics Concepts . Psychological Science. info:other/Pre-print

  • April 12, 2016
  • 06:11 PM
  • 161 views

Cleaning work: a stepping-stone or a dead-end job for migrants?

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 »

  • April 12, 2016
  • 11:53 AM
  • 137 views

Bioterrorism: Lessons Learned From Anthrax

by Rita dos Santos Silva in United Academics

Anthrax attacks in 2001 were a wake-up call for the importance of preparedness.... Read more »

Riedel S. (2005) Anthrax: a continuing concern in the era of bioterrorism. Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center), 18(3), 234-43. PMID: 16200179  

Anderson, P. (2012) Bioterrorism: Toxins as Weapons. Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 25(2), 121-129. DOI: 10.1177/0897190012442351  

  • April 10, 2016
  • 06:30 PM
  • 164 views

Spaced Practice

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

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 »

  • April 9, 2016
  • 10:00 PM
  • 162 views

Interleaving

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

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 »

  • April 6, 2016
  • 06:23 AM
  • 199 views

The language that cannot speak its name

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Our understanding of the role of language in social life suffers from a particularly intractable problem: the terms we use...... Read more »

  • April 5, 2016
  • 05:17 PM
  • 202 views

Suicidal thinking and US veterans

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

  • April 5, 2016
  • 06:43 AM
  • 207 views

Coffee’s Guilty Pleasure

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

Eco-friendly behaviors, such as recycling coffee pods, are associated with a sense of pride.... Read more »

  • April 4, 2016
  • 03:57 PM
  • 169 views

Your brain has an altered response to desirable foods

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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.

... Read more »

  • April 3, 2016
  • 03:25 PM
  • 169 views

Debunking the Myth of the Sole Genious

by Paco Jariego in Mind the Post

Innovations don’t require heroic geniuses any more than your thoughts hinge on a particular neuron.... Read more »

Muthukrishna, M., & Henrich, J. (2016) Innovation in the collective brain. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371(1690), 20150192. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0192  

  • April 2, 2016
  • 04:43 PM
  • 199 views

Born to run? Love of exercise may start in the womb

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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.

... Read more »

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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