Post List

  • May 29, 2010
  • 01:13 PM

The Movius Line represents the crossing of a demographic threshold

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo

When examining the dispersal of Pleistocene hominins, one of the more fascinating debates concern the patterns of biological and technological evolution in East Asia and other regions of the Old World. One suggestion emerging from palaeoanthropological research places a demarcation between these two regions in the form of a geographical division known as the Movius [...]... Read more »

  • May 29, 2010
  • 11:37 AM

The crime wave that wasn’t

by Aaron Jacklin in Understanding Crime

In the late 1970s Mark Fishman analyzed a crime wave against the elderly in New York, finding that the news media had reported on a crime wave that official statistics suggested hadn't happened.... Read more »

Fishman, M. (1978) Crime Waves as Ideology. Social Problems, 25(5), 531-543. DOI: 10.1525/sp.1978.25.5.03a00080  

  • May 29, 2010
  • 11:29 AM

How to define a meaningful trait

by zinjanthropus in A Primate of Modern Aspect

The recent technical comments on Ardipithecus has left some of us scratching our heads and thinking about how to define a meaningful phylogenetic trait. Drew Rendall and Tony DiFiore wrote one of my favorite papers on the subject, which deals specifically with the perceived “special” status of behavior in human and primate evolution. I think [...]... Read more »

  • May 28, 2010
  • 11:30 PM

Violent Men in Group Therapy

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Shamai and Buchbinder (2009) researched the subjective experiences of men who have participated in perpetrator groups, to find some gains but also, many paradoxes. ... Read more »

Shamai, M., & Buchbinder, E. (2009) Control of the Self: Partner-Violent Men's Experience of Therapy. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25(7), 1338-1362. DOI: 10.1177/0886260509340538  

  • May 28, 2010
  • 08:31 PM

Pattern Recognition

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Evenly-spaced termite mounds help African savanna flourish

... Read more »

  • May 28, 2010
  • 06:53 PM

Cerebellar Agenesis: Life without a Cerebellum

by Neuropsych15 in The MacGuffin

Many people are familiar with the famous patient H.M., the man who, in an attempt to control his intractable epilepsy, underwent surgical resection of both his medial temporal lobes.There is another patient who is less famous, known the by initials H.C. He died in 1939 when H.M. was just entering adolescence. Unlike H.M., this patient did not undergo radical resection surgery. In fact, he never underwent brain surgery at all. His contribution to neurology did not begin u........ Read more »

Boyd, C. (2009) Cerebellar agenesis revisited. Brain, 133(3), 941-944. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awp265  

Lemon, R., & Edgley, S. (2010) Life without a cerebellum. Brain, 133(3), 652-654. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awq030  

  • May 28, 2010
  • 05:46 PM

Protestants tempt fate, but atheists don't!

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Apparently, some people think that talking or merely thinking about an event can actually bring it about. To me, that's incomprehensible. When I was young, I assumed that the concept of "tempting fate' was a poetic metaphor. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that some people take it literally!

Jonathan Abramowitz and colleagues, at the University of North Carolina, have done a nice little study into the differences between Protestants and nonbelievers in attitudes towards tempting fate. Tec........ Read more »

  • May 28, 2010
  • 05:26 PM

Dingoes do detours, dogs don’t

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

A picture like this used to adorn the office door of some of my fellow graduate students:

The original picture (minus the labels) was taken from a general biology textbook to illustrate detour problems. We look at that and think, “That’s easy. Run around the post. Silly dog.”

Dogs turn out to be fairly bad at detour problems. Squirrels, I understand, solve such problems in a heartbeat, given that they have evolved to navigate complex three-dimensional environments as they leap from bra........ Read more »

  • May 28, 2010
  • 04:06 PM

Study: People Think Less of Working Moms (And of Their Children)

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Americans may talk a good game about "work-life balance," but according to this study, they're biased against working mothers. More surprisingly, those who liked working moms less also liked the children of those mothers less.
For her Master's degree, Jennifer Livengood, who graduated this month from Kansas State University, asked 96 students to rate mothers and children after hearing them interact with their kids on an audiotape and watching a brief video. The raters knew in advance........ Read more »

  • May 28, 2010
  • 12:57 PM

Prodigious Pronghorn Population Projections

by TwoYaks in Gene Flow

Can the presence of wolves be good for prey species? Intuition seems to suggest the answer is no. After all, wolves eat prey, and being eaten is fairly bad for one's health. Wolves are implicated in a number of natural declines of prey species in a number of systems, especially in closed populations where immigration can't bolster floundering populations. The use of wolf control is a ... Read more »

  • May 28, 2010
  • 11:47 AM

The Cerebral Linguistic Toolbox That Blows The Mind

by Robert Deyes in Promega Connections

“Depending on the type of grammar used in forming a given sentence, the brain will activate a certain set of regions to process it, like a carpenter digging through a toolbox to pick a group of tools to accomplish the various basic components that comprise a complex task” (1). This was the descriptive offered by [...]... Read more »

Newman AJ, Supalla T, Hauser P, Newport EL, & Bavelier D. (2010) Dissociating neural subsystems for grammar by contrasting word order and inflection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(16), 7539-44. PMID: 20368422  

  • May 28, 2010
  • 11:13 AM

This Is Your Brain's Anti-Drug

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

What's your anti-drug? Well, it might well be hemopressin. At least, that's probably your anti-marijuana.Hemopressin is a small protein that was discovered in the brains of rodents in 2003: its name comes from the fact that it's a breakdown product of hemoglobin and that it can lower blood pressure.No-one seems to have looked to see whether hemopressin is found in humans, yet, but it seems very likely. Almost everything that's in your brain is in a mouse's brain, and vice versa.Pharmacologically........ Read more »

  • May 28, 2010
  • 11:12 AM

Repost: Suminia: Life in the Trees 260 Million Years Ago

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Color-coded diagram of a small bone bed containing at least twelve individuals of the Permian synapsid Suminia. From Frobisch and Reisz (2009)

When I hear the phrase "early human relative" I cannot help but think of an ape-like creature. Something like Sahelanthropus fits the bill nicely - it may not be a hominin but it is still a close relative from around the time that the first hominins evolved. That is why I was a bit puzzled to see parroting a story written by the Discovery C........ Read more »

  • May 28, 2010
  • 10:37 AM

One bourbon, one scotch…

by Richard Grant in Naturally Selected

Culture doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
When we go to art galleries or see plays or listen to music, we invariably do it in the company of other people. We will often have dinner or a drink before, after, or even during the performance (whether in the interval or not).

Art abhors a vacuum
And not much improves [...]... Read more »

Naiping Hu, Dan Wu, Kelly Cross, Sergey Burikov, Tatiana Dolenko, Svetlana Patsaeva, & Dale W. Schaefer. (2010) Structurability: A Collective Measure of the Structural Differences in Vodkas. J. Agric. Food Chem. info:/10.1021/jf100609c

  • May 28, 2010
  • 09:49 AM

I remember because my DNA was methylated

by Grant Jacobs in Code for life

Our memories keep our yesterdays, our friends’ faces, the distinctive smell of previous partners, if we’ve read that book before, what clothes you wore to the party.
Movies and books have been written about memories. Or the trials not being able to keep them.2
Poets and lyricists evoke them, talk about them and reminiscence over them: “Preserve your memories, [...]... Read more »

Miller CA, Gavin CF, White JA, Parrish RR, Honasoge A, Yancey CR, Rivera IM, Rubio MD, Rumbaugh G, & Sweatt JD. (2010) Cortical DNA methylation maintains remote memory. Nature neuroscience, 13(6), 664-6. PMID: 20495557  

  • May 28, 2010
  • 09:34 AM

Eye Color Predicts and Doesn't Predict Perceived Dominance

by Daniel Hawes in Ingenious Monkey | 20-two-5

An upcoming study Personality and Individual Differences links eye color to perceived dominance ratings. But there's more to the study than immediately reaches the eye...... Read more »

Kleisner, K., Kočnar, T., Rubešová, A., & Flegr, J. (2010) Eye color predicts but does not directly influence perceived dominance in men. Personality and Individual Differences, 49(1), 59-64. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.03.011  

  • May 28, 2010
  • 09:22 AM

Falling Child Mortality - Where we are on Millennium Development Goal 4

by Ryan in Upon*the.People

The release several days ago of revised estimates for global child mortality showing that mortality has fallen faster than we previously expected was a cause for celebration. As one of the eight targets of the Millennium Development Goals, child mortality is among the better indicators we have for the health status of a given population, and is, in the words of Michael Marmot, "the health outcome most sensitive to the effects of absolute material deprivation."[Children in Burma; The Ir........ Read more »

  • May 28, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Just the job?

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

You may have groaned when the alarm clock went off for work this morning, but it’s long been recognised that employment is important for wellbeing. Being part of a team and having a sense of purpose can improve your quality of life. Such benefits can be especially important for people who may find themselves on [...]... Read more »

Howard, L., Heslin, M., Leese, M., McCrone, P., Rice, C., Jarrett, M., Spokes, T., Huxley, P., & Thornicroft, G. (2010) Supported employment: randomised controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 196(5), 404-411. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.108.061465  

  • May 28, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Praise the Effort Not the Result!

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

Earlier this week, I read an immensely readable book called “:59 Seconds” by Richard Wiseman, Professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, UK.
The book elegantly exposes the often-heard modern-day myths promoted by the self-help industry by looking at the actual scientific evidence behind buzzwords like positive thinking, visualization, or brainstorming.
As [...]... Read more »

Mueller CM, & Dweck CS. (1998) Praise for intelligence can undermine children's motivation and performance. Journal of personality and social psychology, 75(1), 33-52. PMID: 9686450  

  • May 28, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Coastal birds, innocent vectors of heavy metal pollution

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

Michelutti, N., Blais, J., Mallory, M., Brash, J., Thienpont, J., Kimpe, L., Douglas, M., & Smol, J. (2010) Trophic position influences the efficacy of seabirds as metal biovectors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1001333107  

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