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  • May 17, 2008
  • 11:19 PM

Free will ain't what it used to be

by Colin Clark in Mens Rea

Perceptions of free will can affect how people act.... Read more »

  • February 8, 2008
  • 12:00 PM

You've got a friend in Jesus

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

It's well known that one of the attractions of religion is that it gives you a lifelong and infinitely understanding invisible friend. So you would expect that people who are inclined to feel lonely might be more attracted to religion. But another important question is this: can you make people more religious simply by making them feel lonely?

This was the subject of a new study from a team lead by Nicholas Epley at the University of Chicago. They took groups of the psychologist's f........ Read more »

  • December 5, 2007
  • 12:00 PM

Marmosets are altruistic too!

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

A study out today has shown that marmosets, like humans, can and do act truly altruistically (see refs). Altruism is a hot topic in evolution. True altruism would, on the face of it, reduce an individual's reproductive fitness, and so you might expect that natural selection would weed out any altruists.

As the Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy puts it:

... by behaving altruistically an animal reduces its own fitness, so should be at a selective disadvantage vis-à-vis one which behave........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2005
  • 02:49 PM

Troxler — and YOU!

by dave in Word Munger

Today’s reading delves deep into the visual system, so hold your breath and get ready to dive in. It’s “Sound-aided Recover from and Persistence Against Visual Filling-in” by Bhavin Sheth and Shinsuke Shimojo of Caltech (Vision Research, 2004). I even found a PDF link for this one.

Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler (1780–1866) was a Swiss physician [...]... Read more »

  • December 4, 2001
  • 07:00 PM

Romantic Songs Make Women More Open To Dates…

by Maria P. in noustuff

Many studies have showed that that media with violent or aggressive content (such as violent videogames) may increase aggressive behaviour and thoughts (Bushman & Huesmann, 2006). Moreover, music and lyrics can influence people’s behaviour; prosocial songs were found to be associated with a significant increase in tipping behaviour (Jacob, Guéguen & Boulbry, 2010), male customers [...]... Read more »

Gueguen, N., Jacob, C., & Lamy, L. (2010) 'Love is in the air': Effects of songs with romantic lyrics on compliance with a courtship request. Psychology of Music, 38(3), 303-307. info:/

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM

Rethinking Circadian Clock Machinery

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Chronobiologists at Cambridge have discovered circadian rhythms in peroxide oxidation in HUMAN blood cells. That sounds cool, right? But what if I told you that this research will forever make us rethink the innerworkings of the circadian clock because this is the first documentation of non-transcriptionally driven circadian rhythms... Read more »

O'Neill JS, & Reddy AB. (2011) Circadian clocks in human red blood cells. Nature, 469(7331), 498-503. PMID: 21270888  

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM

Sticks And Stones (Coda) – How Names Work Against Women

by Michael Ramscar in The Importance of Being Wrong

Mothers tell your daughters

From 2011 to December 2015, five women fought the Japanese Government all the way to the country’s Supreme Court. They were seeking to change a law that compels couples to adopt the same surname in order to legally register their marriage. Although the law does not specify whose name it should be, in practice, 96% of couples take the husband’s name, and the women argued that this made the law unconstitutional, since it violated their basic civil rights........ Read more »

Colman, A., Sluckin, W., & Hargreaves, D. (1981) The effect of familiarity on preferences for surnames. British Journal of Psychology, 72(3), 363-369. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.1981.tb02195.x  

A. Crook. (2012) Personal Names in 18th-Century Scotland: a case study of the parish of Beith (North Ayrshire). Journal of Scottish Name Studies, 1-10. info:/

Shannon, C. (1948) A Mathematical Theory of Communication. Bell System Technical Journal, 27(3), 379-423. DOI: 10.1002/j.1538-7305.1948.tb01338.x  

Shannon, C. (1951) Prediction and Entropy of Printed English. Bell System Technical Journal, 30(1), 50-64. DOI: 10.1002/j.1538-7305.1951.tb01366.x  

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