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  • May 23, 2016
  • 04:13 PM
  • 33 views

Extreme beliefs often mistaken for insanity, new study finds

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In the aftermath of violent acts such as mass shootings, many people assume mental illness is the cause. After studying the 2011 case of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, researchers are suggesting a new forensic term to classify non-psychotic behavior that leads to criminal acts of violence.

... Read more »

Rahman T, Resnick PJ, & Harry B. (2016) Anders Breivik: Extreme Beliefs Mistaken for Psychosis. The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 44(1), 28-35. PMID: 26944741  

  • May 18, 2016
  • 05:20 PM
  • 129 views

Your friends have more friends than you do

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

No matter how smart and funny you think you are, those you follow on Twitter really do have a larger following than you. And the same holds true for Facebook. But there is no reason to feel badly about any of this. According to the research, it is all due to the inherently hierarchical nature of social media networks, where, in the social hierarchy of connections, people mostly either follow up or across; they rarely follow down.

... Read more »

  • May 14, 2016
  • 09:28 AM
  • 177 views

The Neural Basis of Seeing God?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A remarkable case report describes the brain activity in a man at the moment that he underwent a revelatory experience.

According to the authors, Israeli researchers Arzy and Schurr, the man was 46 years old. He was Jewish, but he had never been especially religious. His supernatural experience occured in hospital where he was undergoing tests to help treat his right temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), a condition which he had suffered from for forty years. As part of the testing procedure, the pat... Read more »

  • May 12, 2016
  • 05:01 PM
  • 119 views

The Smell of the Cinema: Human Chemical Signals?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The air in a cinema contains a chemical cocktail emitted by the audience - and the emotional tone of the movie influences the molecular composition of the cloud.

That's according to a striking set of results from researchers Johnathan Williams and colleagues who took air samples from two 230-seater screens of a cinema in Germany over a period of two weeks.





Here's an example of the chemical trace associated with shows of the movie "The Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire", featuring three... Read more »

  • May 11, 2016
  • 02:58 PM
  • 135 views

Could flies help us understand brain injuries?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These injuries occur most frequently from falling, but can also result from military combat, car accidents, contact sports or domestic abuse. Recently, physicians and researchers have become increasingly concerned that even mild cases of repetitive brain trauma could have long-term, unanticipated consequences.

... Read more »

Barekat, A., Gonzalez, A., Mauntz, R., Kotzebue, R., Molina, B., El-Mecharrafie, N., Conner, C., Garza, S., Melkani, G., Joiner, W.... (2016) Using Drosophila as an integrated model to study mild repetitive traumatic brain injury. Scientific Reports, 25252. DOI: 10.1038/srep25252  

  • May 11, 2016
  • 01:10 AM
  • 114 views

Do monolingual teachers produce a Golem effect in multilingual students?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Teacher expectations produce self-fulfilling prophecies in student performance: high teacher expectations result in students’ higher academic performance and low teacher...... Read more »

  • May 10, 2016
  • 04:55 PM
  • 136 views

Research shows body image linked to overall life satisfaction

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We're constantly bombarded by advertisements telling us we are too fat, too thin, not curvy enough, not flat enough -- or more often than not -- simply not enough. It shouldn't be a surprise to see that effect our day to day life, like it or not -- and it has. Researchers have just published results from a national study on the factors linked to satisfaction with appearance and weight.

... Read more »

  • May 9, 2016
  • 03:29 PM
  • 144 views

Epigenetic study of lactose intolerance may shed light on the origin of mental illness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study on the epigenetics of lactose intolerance may provide an approach to understanding schizophrenia and other complex, serious illnesses. While that may seem odd, both lactose intolerance and schizophrenia are inherited. In addition, neither condition emerges in the first years of life, but rather both appear years or even decades later.

... Read more »

Labrie, V., Buske, O., Oh, E., Jeremian, R., Ptak, C., Gasiūnas, G., Maleckas, A., Petereit, R., Žvirbliene, A., Adamonis, K.... (2016) Lactase nonpersistence is directed by DNA-variation-dependent epigenetic aging. Nature Structural . DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.3227  

  • May 6, 2016
  • 02:35 PM
  • 164 views

Smartphones uncover how the world sleeps

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A pioneering study of worldwide sleep patterns combines math modeling, mobile apps and big data to parse the roles society and biology each play in setting sleep schedules. The study used a free smartphone app that reduces jetlag to gather robust sleep data from thousands of people in 100 nations. The researchers examined how age, gender, amount of light and home country affect the amount of shut-eye people around the globe get, when they go to bed, and when they wake up.

... Read more »

Olivia J. Walch, Amy Cochran, & Daniel B. Forger. (2016) A global quantification of “normal” sleep schedules using smartphone data . Science Advances. info:/10.1126/sciadv.1501705

  • May 6, 2016
  • 10:04 AM
  • 108 views

Book Review: Curating Biocultural Collections

by Farid Pazhoohi in Epistemophil

Curating Biocultural Collections: A Handbook is edited by Margaret Jan Salick, Katie  Konchar, and Mark Nesbitt, and the volume’s contributors are practicing researchers and experts in biocultural curating. The editors of this volume argue that many specimen and biocultural collections—which are repositories for plants and animals used by people, products made from them, and the […]... Read more »

Farid Pazhoohi. (2016) Curating Biocultural Collections: A Handbook (Salick, Konchar and Nesbitt, eds.). Museum Anthropology Review, 10(2). info:/

  • May 4, 2016
  • 08:17 AM
  • 149 views

Reassessing Markers of Stress in Medieval London

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

An article popped up in my news feed yesterday. The title read: “Skeletal marker of physiological stress might indicate good, rather than poor, health“. The summary of the article stated […]... Read more »

  • May 2, 2016
  • 02:45 PM
  • 217 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
  • 189 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 »

  • April 29, 2016
  • 11:32 AM
  • 187 views

Cuckoldary is rare in humans!

by Farid Pazhoohi in Epistemophil

Human behavioral scientists argue that extra-pair copulation is adaptive in human females, as through extra-pair copulation, women can acquire good genes from other potential mates. This is suggested because it is found that women experience greater sexual attraction to particular extra-pair men, but not their own partners, during their highest peak of fertility (Gangestad & […]... Read more »

Gangestad, S., & Thornhill, R. (2008) Human oestrus. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 275(1638), 991-1000. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2007.1425  

Larmuseau MH, Matthijs K, & Wenseleers T. (2016) Cuckolded Fathers Rare in Human Populations. Trends in ecology , 31(5), 327-9. PMID: 27107336  

  • April 28, 2016
  • 06:19 AM
  • 208 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
  • 04:55 PM
  • 317 views

Addiction, it’s in your genes… maybe

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Why does one person who tries cocaine get addicted, while another might use it and then leave it alone? Why do some people who kick a drug habit manage to stay clean, while others relapse? And why do some families seem more prone to addiction than others? According to a new study, the road to answering these questions may have a lot to do with specific genetic factors that vary from individual to individual.

... Read more »

Flagel, S., Chaudhury, S., Waselus, M., Kelly, R., Sewani, S., Clinton, S., Thompson, R., Watson, S., & Akil, H. (2016) Genetic background and epigenetic modifications in the core of the nucleus accumbens predict addiction-like behavior in a rat model. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201520491. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1520491113  

  • April 27, 2016
  • 04:42 PM
  • 236 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
  • 206 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 24, 2016
  • 11:47 AM
  • 222 views

Mate Retention Tactics Decline with Age of Men

by Farid Pazhoohi in Epistemophil

Physical attractiveness influences mate selection across cultures, and youthfulness of women is associated with their future reproductive value and fertility. Men attribute importance to youthful features in females such as large eyes, small nose, higher pitched voice, and full lips and perceive these neotenous features as attractive. More feminine women report more frequently being guarded […]... Read more »

Pazhoohi, F., Jahromi, A., & Doyle, J. (2016) Mate Retention Tactics Decline with Age of Iranian Men. Evolutionary Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1007/s40806-016-0046-8  

  • April 21, 2016
  • 08:12 AM
  • 248 views

Death Comes to Stonehenge: The Burned Remains

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

There is something mysterious about Stonehenge. I have a very distinct memory of visiting Stonehenge as a child, seeing the standing rocks in the distance Perhaps it was the fog and grey […]... Read more »

Willis, C., Marshall, P., McKinley, J., Pitts, M., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Richards, J., Thomas, J., Waldron, T., Welham, K.... (2016) The dead of Stonehenge. Antiquity, 90(350), 337-356. DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2016.26  

Pearson, M., Chamberlain, A., Jay, M., Marshall, P., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Thomas, J., Tilley, C., & Welham, K. (2015) Who was buried at Stonehenge?. Antiquity, 83(319), 23-39. DOI: 10.1017/S0003598X00098069  

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