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 »
Lycett, S., & Norton, C. (2010) A demographic model for Palaeolithic technological evolution: The case of East Asia and the Movius Line. Quaternary International, 211(1-2), 55-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2008.12.001
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 »
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 »
Rook, L. (1999) Oreopithecus was a bipedal ape after all: Evidence from the iliac cancellous architecture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 96(15), 8795-8799. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.96.15.8795
Lovejoy, C., Suwa, G., Spurlock, L., Asfaw, B., & White, T. (2009) The Pelvis and Femur of Ardipithecus ramidus: The Emergence of Upright Walking. Science, 326(5949), 71-71. DOI: 10.1126/science.1175831
Rendall D, & Di Fiore A. (2007) Homoplasy, homology, and the perceived special status of behavior in evolution. Journal of human evolution, 52(5), 504-21. PMID: 17383711
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
Evenly-spaced termite mounds help African savanna flourish
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Pringle, R.M. et al. (2010) Spatial Pattern Enhances Ecosystem Functioning in an African Savanna. PLoS Biology, 8(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000377
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 »
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 »
Berman, N., Abramowitz, J., Pardue, C., & Wheaton, M. (2010) The relationship between religion and thought–action fusion: Use of an in vivo paradigm. Behaviour Research and Therapy. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2010.03.021
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 »
Smith, B., & Litchfield, C. (2010) How well do dingoes, Canis dingo, perform on the detour task?. Animal Behaviour. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.04.017
Lewejohann, L., Pickel, T., Sachser, N., & Kaiser, S. (2010) Wild genius - domestic fool? Spatial learning abilities of wild and domestic guinea pigs. Frontiers in Zoology, 7(1), 9. DOI: 10.1186/1742-9994-7-9
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 »
Clifford, M., & Walster, E. (1973) The Effect of Physical Attractiveness on Teacher Expectations. Sociology of Education, 46(2), 248. DOI: 10.2307/2112099
Smith, J., & Niemi, N. (2007) Exploring Teacher Perceptions of Small Boys in Kindergarten. The Journal of Educational Research, 100(6), 331-335. DOI: 10.3200/JOER.100.6.331-335
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 »
Berger KM, & Conner MM. (2008) Recolonizing wolves and mesopredator suppression of coyotes: impacts on pronghorn population dynamics. Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America, 18(3), 599-612. PMID: 18488620
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
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 »
Dodd, G., Mancini, G., Lutz, B., & Luckman, S. (2010) The Peptide Hemopressin Acts through CB1 Cannabinoid Receptors to Reduce Food Intake in Rats and Mice. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(21), 7369-7376. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5455-09.2010
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 MSNBC.com parroting a story written by the Discovery C........ Read more »
Jörg Fröbisch and Robert R. Reisz. (2009) The Late Permian herbivore Suminia and the early evolution of arboreality in terrestrial vertebrate ecosystems. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0911
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
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 »
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
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 »
Rajaratnam, J., Marcus, J., Flaxman, A., Wang, H., Levin-Rector, A., Dwyer, L., Costa, M., Lopez, A., & Murray, C. (2010) Neonatal, postneonatal, childhood, and under-5 mortality for 187 countries, 1970–2010: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 4. The Lancet. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60703-9
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 »
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
... 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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