Post List

  • October 30, 2016
  • 04:00 PM
  • 222 views

The science behind real life zombies

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In the spirit of Halloween we bring you the science fact and fiction behind the undead. Zombies, those brain loving little guys, (and girls) are everywhere. Sure, we are all familiar with the classic zombie, but did you know that we aren't the only zombie lovers out there? It turns out that nature has its own special types of zombies, but this isn't a science fiction movie, this is science fact! Sometimes fact can be scarier than fiction, so let's dive in.

... Read more »

Lafferty KD. (2006) Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 273(1602), 2749-55. PMID: 17015323  

Vyas A, Kim SK, Giacomini N, Boothroyd JC, & Sapolsky RM. (2007) Behavioral changes induced by Toxoplasma infection of rodents are highly specific to aversion of cat odors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(15), 6442-7. PMID: 17404235  

Thomas, F., Schmidt-Rhaesa, A., Martin, G., Manu, C., Durand, P., & Renaud, F. (2002) Do hairworms (Nematomorpha) manipulate the water seeking behaviour of their terrestrial hosts?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15(3), 356-361. DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00410.x  

W. Wesołowska T. Wesołowski. (2014) Do Leucochloridium sporocysts manipulate the behaviour of their snail hosts?. Journal of Zoology , 292(3), 151-155. info:/10.1111/jzo.12094

  • October 30, 2016
  • 12:44 PM
  • 168 views

How to dismantle the web of lies

by Sergio Graziosi in Writing my own user manual - Sergio Graziosi's Blog

In the previous post, I’ve concluded, with Ben Walters, that we need to “make art that wins hearts and arguments that win minds“. The aim is to contrast the rise of populism, or, following the current slang, fight against post-fact…Read more ›... Read more »

Fernbach, P., Rogers, T., Fox, C., & Sloman, S. (2013) Political Extremism Is Supported by an Illusion of Understanding. Psychological Science, 24(6), 939-946. DOI: 10.1177/0956797612464058  

Tuller, HM., Bryan, CJ., Heyman, GD., & Christenfeld, NJS Volume 59, July 2015, Pages 18–23. (2015) Seeing the other side: Perspective taking and the moderation of extremity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 18-23. info:/10.1016/j.jesp.2015.02.003

  • October 29, 2016
  • 04:08 AM
  • 195 views

Living with severe autism: families share their experiences

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Appreciating that the autism spectrum is truly a wide and heterogeneous one (or even several?), I'd like to direct your attention today to the findings reported by Jocelyn Bessette Gorlin and colleagues [1] on the topic of "the experiences of families living with a child with severe autism."In particular, I'd like to highlight the six areas that emerged from the "29 interviews with 22 participants from 11 families" related to family experiences and how, minus any sweeping generalisations, m........ Read more »

Bessette Gorlin J, McAlpine CP, Garwick A, & Wieling E. (2016) Severe Childhood Autism: The Family Lived Experience. Journal of pediatric nursing. PMID: 27720503  

  • October 28, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 183 views

Choosing your jurors: On bias, curiosity and  wisdom

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Earlier this week, we wrote on the question of whether those who have a higher score on the Need for Cognition Scale are just lazy (and the answer was no, not really). If you read this blog regularly, you know that bias is where we work and focus. We also like a curious juror (sometimes) […]

Related posts:
Uncommon Wisdom: Lessons from Patent and IP  Mock Jurors
Choosing to either disgust your jurors or tick them off
Choosing science over beliefs: Frequency of dog bites and feelings of........ Read more »

Kahn, Landrum, Carpenter, Helft, & Jameson. (2016) Science curiosity and political information processing. . Advances in Political Psychology. info:/

  • October 28, 2016
  • 06:14 AM
  • 175 views

Lack of Tsc2 in Mesenchymal Cells Causes Kidney Cysts and Defective Lung Alveolarization

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder that shares clinical similarities with BHD. TSC results from germline mutations in the Tsc1 or Tsc2 gene, affecting multiple organs, including the kidney and lung. In the kidney, lesions such as multiple renal cysts and renal cell carcinoma can occur. In the lung, patients can develop multifocal micronodular pneumocyte hyperplasia and LAM. TSC proteins are negative regulators of the mTORC1 pathway. The mechanisms of organ........ Read more »

  • October 28, 2016
  • 05:15 AM
  • 198 views

Lower autism rate under DSM-5 (yet again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

So: "Results indicate that individuals diagnosed with PDD [pervasive developmental disorder] by DSM-IV-TR criteria may not be diagnosed using DSM-5 criteria."That was the conclusion reached by Ferhat Yaylaci & Suha Miral [1] following their study of 150 children (3-15 years old) diagnosed with PDD "by DSM-IV-TR" whose symptoms/presentation were "reviewed through psychiatric assessment based on DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5 criteria." The percentage figure they arrived at (19.3%) indicat........ Read more »

  • October 28, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 70 views

Friday Fellow: Sun Beetle

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Who says beetles cannot be cute? Take a look at those guys: These little fellows are beetles of the species Pachnoda marginata, commonly known as sun beetle or taxi cab beetle. Native from Africa, they reach up … Continue reading →... Read more »

Stensmyr, Marcus C., Larsson, Mattias C., Bice, Shannon, & Hansson, Bill S. (2001) Detection of fruit- and flower-emitted volatiles by olfactory receptor neurons in the polyphagous fruit chafer Pachnoda marginata (Coleoptera: Cetoniinae). Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 187(7), 509-519. info:/

  • October 27, 2016
  • 10:08 PM
  • 187 views

Dogs Do as You Do, Not as You Say

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Italy's school for water rescue dogs, the Scuola Italiana Cani Salvataggio, has trained hundreds of animals in canine heroics. The dogs work on Italian police and coast guard boats, and with fire departments and the navy. They can even jump into the ocean from a hovering helicopter to save a person.

They're pros at taking commands from humans. So researchers wondered if the dogs could help them understand what kind of command works best: Words? Or gestures?

Biagio D'Aniello, a biologis... Read more »

  • October 27, 2016
  • 11:14 AM
  • 93 views

Advances in the Psychology of Passing the Salt

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover



I just came across a remarkable new paper on the science of salt-passing behavior: Expected Results Show that a Longer Nose Means Slower Times for Passing the Salt and Pepper: A Second Report



The article, which I have no doubt is entirely serious in nature, lists as its authors Canadian researchers Minér Patrick, Léon Le Néz and Pat Minér.

Here's how Patrick et al. describe their work:
Eighty female student subjects were tested by being asked to pass salt or pepper by another stud... Read more »

Patrick M, Le Néz L, Minér P. (2016) Expected Results Show that a Longer Nose Means Slower Times for Passing the Salt and Pepper: A Second Report. Dual Diagnosis: Open Access. info:/

  • October 27, 2016
  • 06:19 AM
  • 238 views

Climate change, the long view

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Now and forever, or at least for a very long time By 2050, sea levels will have risen this much. If we don’t act, average global temperature will rise x degrees by 2100. These are the things we all hear in the discussion concerning climate change and its consequences. But beyond the turn of the […]... Read more »

Clark, P., Shakun, J., Marcott, S., Mix, A., Eby, M., Kulp, S., Levermann, A., Milne, G., Pfister, P., Santer, B.... (2016) Consequences of twenty-first-century policy for multi-millennial climate and sea-level change. Nature Climate Change, 6(4), 360-369. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2923  

  • October 27, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 180 views

Autism and inborn errors of metabolism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'd like to think that the review article by Annik Simons and colleagues [1] (open-access) highlights some pretty strong evidence to suggest there being at least some connection between some autism and some of the collected inborn errors of metabolism. Indeed, when people generally talk about 'not knowing what causes autism' if we perhaps consider a more plural view of 'the autisms', there is a case to be made to say we might know what causes 'some' autism and some of it might lie in this area.......... Read more »

  • October 27, 2016
  • 02:30 AM
  • 206 views

What makes foreigners weird? A quick guide to orientalism

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

One of the central arguments of my book Intercultural Communication is that, even today, much intercultural communication is approached from...... Read more »

Piller, I. (2011) Intercultural Communication: A Critical Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. info:/

  • October 26, 2016
  • 10:30 AM
  • 208 views

Study Shows Just How Stressed Dogs Are at the Vet's

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Most dogs show signs of impaired welfare at the vet, according to their owners.A survey of 906 dog guardians in Italy found most people report their dog as being stressed at all stages of the visit to a vet clinic, from being in the waiting room to being examined by the vet. 6.4% of dogs had actually bitten their guardian at the vet and 11.2% had growled or snapped at the vet.The report by Chiara Mariti (University of Pisa) et al draws important conclusions about what owners and vets need to do ........ Read more »

  • October 26, 2016
  • 07:42 AM
  • 209 views

'Super-parenting' improves children's autism: headline fail as PACT re-emerges...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this post is partially taken from the BBC take on the findings reported by Andrew Pickles and colleagues [1] detailing a long-term follow up (and slight adjustment to the calculation of behavioural scores) of the Preschool Autism Communication Trial (PACT). PACT by the way, is a strategy based on the important tenet of shared attention where: "The approach aims to help parents adapt their communication style to their child’s impairments and respond to their child with enhance........ Read more »

  • October 26, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 206 views

Are spouse killers “wicked” or  “stressed”?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

While it may be 2016, there are still some judges who view women and men differently even when they commit the same offense. When it comes to killing your spouse—apparently, the difference lies in the gender of the defendant. Australian researchers looked at the sentencing remarks from nine different judges from trials involving men killing […]

Related posts:
Does race make a difference in how jurors perceive  battered spouse syndrome cases?
Female serial killers: Who they are and how........ Read more »

  • October 26, 2016
  • 05:25 AM
  • 186 views

"Increased risk for substance use-related problems in autism"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"We aimed to investigate the risk of substance use-related problems in ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."Findings: "The risk of substance use-related problems was the highest among individuals with ASD and ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]."So said the findings reported by Agnieszka Butwicka and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking again at an important but slightly uncomfortable topic: substance use-related problems or substance use disorder (SUD) with autism in ........ Read more »

Butwicka, A., Långström, N., Larsson, H., Lundström, S., Serlachius, E., Almqvist, C., Frisén, L., & Lichtenstein, P. (2016) Increased Risk for Substance Use-Related Problems in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Population-Based Cohort Study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-2914-2  

  • October 25, 2016
  • 07:35 PM
  • 197 views

Why do polar bears mock battle? and other facts about polar bear reproduction

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Inspired by an Instagram photo of polar bears playfighting, I decided to find out more about this strange behavior and learned many interesting things about polar bear reproduction.... Read more »

Fitzgerald KT. (2013) Polar bears: the fate of an icon. Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, 28(4), 135-42. PMID: 24331553  

  • October 25, 2016
  • 05:27 AM
  • 227 views

Vitamin D toxicity and autism: a case report

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Alternative medicine treatment put four-year-old boy in A&E [accident & emergency / emergency room]" went the recent BBC headline talking about the case report published by Drs Catriona Boyd and Abdul Moodambail [2].Describing the experiences of a 4-year old boy who attended A&E (the emergency room) following an extended period of "vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, polyuria, polydipsia and loss of 3kg in weight" in previous weeks, the authors report how after an unremar........ Read more »

  • October 24, 2016
  • 01:42 PM
  • 224 views

Study uncovers brain changes in offending pedophiles

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

New research reveals that certain alterations in the brain may be present in pedophiles, with differences between hands-on offenders and those who have not sexually offended against children.

... Read more »

  • October 24, 2016
  • 11:19 AM
  • 246 views

Exercise After Study Boosts Memory

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is significant interest in activities that may boost academic achievement in the classroom.I previously posted on evidence that exercise prior to a learning task improved reading comprehension scores.You can access that post by clicking HERE.Now a study has compared two types of activities after a memorization task in male students.In this study, 60 male students completed a learning task and then were randomized into one of three activities for one hour. The three activities were playing ........ Read more »

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