Posts

March 07, 2015

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8:59 PM | Thinking about God causes people to take bigger risks… wait, what???
A team from Stanford University Graduate School of Business has just published a nice series of studies showing that priming people with the idea of god can increase their appetite for risk. Over at the Friendly Atheist, Rachel Ford did a good write up, leading with the headline conclusion that thinking about god actually causes [Read More...]

Kupor, D., Laurin, K. & Levav, J. (2015). Anticipating Divine Protection? Reminders of God Can Increase Nonmoral Risk Taking, Psychological Science, DOI: 10.1177/0956797614563108

Hamerman, E. & Morewedge, C. (2015). Reliance on Luck: Identifying Which Achievement Goals Elicit Superstitious Behavior, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41 (3) 323-335. DOI: 10.1177/0146167214565055

Noussair, C., Trautmann, S., van de Kuilen, G. & Vellekoop, N. (2013). Risk aversion and religion, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 47 (2) 165-183. DOI: 10.1007/s11166-013-9174-8

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8:59 PM | Thinking about God causes people to take bigger risks… wait, what???
A team from Stanford University Graduate School of Business has just published a nice series of studies showing that priming people with the idea of god can increase their appetite for risk. Over at the Friendly Atheist, Rachel Ford did a good write up, leading with the headline conclusion that thinking about god actually causes [Read More...]

Noussair, C., Trautmann, S., van de Kuilen, G. & Vellekoop, N. (2013). Risk aversion and religion, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 47 (2) 165-183. DOI: 10.1007/s11166-013-9174-8

Hamerman, E. & Morewedge, C. (2015). Reliance on Luck: Identifying Which Achievement Goals Elicit Superstitious Behavior, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41 (3) 323-335. DOI: 10.1177/0146167214565055

Kupor, D., Laurin, K. & Levav, J. (2015). Anticipating Divine Protection? Reminders of God Can Increase Nonmoral Risk Taking, Psychological Science, DOI: 10.1177/0956797614563108

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8:00 PM | Violación y Relaciones de poder (Parte I)
La violación que deja de ser un acto sexual para convertirse en un acto de poder (Parte I)“Durante mucho tiempo y aún en la actualidad, la violación se tomó como un derecho, el “jus primae noctis” o “derecho de pernada”, se difundió en el Medievo, no como un delito sino como la facultad o ganancia de disponer de las mujeres que son consideradas como propiedad de los señores feudales” (Olvera, 1987: 22 citado por […]

Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública & Secretaría de Salud (2003). Encuesta Nacional sobre Violencia contra las Mujeres 2003 ENVIM, Encuesta Nacional sobre Violencia contra las Mujeres 2003 ENVIM,

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7:25 PM | New approach to herpes vaccine succeeds where others failed
Herpes simplex virus infections are an enormous global health problem and there is currently no viable vaccine. For nearly three decades, immunologists’ efforts to develop a herpes vaccine have centered on exploiting a single protein found on the virus’s outer surface that is known to elicit robust production of antibodies. Breaking from this approach, Howard […]

William Jacobs Jr,, Betsy Herold,, Christopher Petro,, Pablo A. González,, Natalia Cheshenko,, Thomas Jandl,, Nazanin Khajoueinejad,, Angèle Bénard, & Mayami Sengupta, (2015). Herpes simplex type 2 virus deleted in glycoprotein D protects against vaginal, skin and neural disease., eLife,

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3:03 PM | How radiation from space affects the Earth’s climate
Cosmic rays are a form of radiation from space consisting of particles such as protons and atomic nuclei that are very high in energy. These particles have the ability to electrically-charge (ionise) water molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere. These water ions can act as the starting points (nucleation points) of clouds in the lower atmosphere,…

Tsonis, A., Deyle, E., May, R., Sugihara, G., Swanson, K., Verbeten, J. & Wang, G. (2015). Dynamical evidence for causality between galactic cosmic rays and interannual variation in global temperature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201420291. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1420291112

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12:28 PM | Connectivity is not one idea
Sebastian Seung sold the idea that “we are our connectome”. What does that mean? Connectivity is a problem to me. Of course, the brain works only because there are connections between cells and between larger parts of the brain. But how can we measure and map it. Apparently there are measurement problems. When some research […]

Jones, S., Beall, E., Najm, I., Sakaie, K., Phillips, M., Zhang, M. & Gonzalez-Martinez, J. (2014). Low Consistency of Four Brain Connectivity Measures Derived from Intracranial Electrode Measurements, Frontiers in Neurology, 5 DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2014.00272

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8:48 AM | Systemic Integral Disorder: linking autism and schizophrenia?
Martial arts gradings call for my brood today (and well they should) so I'm gonna be fairly brief and introduce the paper by Haoran George Wang and colleagues [1] for your reading pleasure today alongside the concept of 'Systemic Integral Disorder' (SID) as a potential bridge between the diagnoses of autism and schizophrenia.I'm always a bit wary of grand over-arching theories or universal conceptual 'break-throughs' when it comes to autism simply because the inevitable hype which follows […]

Wang HG, Jeffries JJ & Wang TF (2015). Genetic and Developmental Perspective of Language Abnormality in Autism and Schizophrenia: One Disease Occurring at Different Ages in Humans?, The Neuroscientist : a review journal bringing neurobiology, neurology and psychiatry, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25686622

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March 06, 2015

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10:01 PM | People with anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder have similar brain abnormalities
Imagine looking in the mirror and not seeing yourself. Imagine losing weight and seeing a lower number on the scale, but when looking in the mirror you are still just as fat. Suffering from anorexia or other body dysmorphic disorders live like that daily. They literally don’t see what you and I might see when […]

Li, W., Lai, T., Bohon, C., Loo, S., McCurdy, D., Strober, M., Bookheimer, S. & Feusner, J. (2015). Anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder are associated with abnormalities in processing visual information, Psychological Medicine, 1-12. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291715000045

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4:27 PM | MRAM catches an STT
After a month long absence, Pick of the Week returns with a look at a fantastic commentary article on spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive random access memory... The post MRAM catches an STT appeared first on Spin and Tonic.

Kent, A. & Worledge, D. (2015). A new spin on magnetic memories, Nature Nanotechnology, 10 (3) 187-191. DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2015.24

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4:27 PM | MRAM catches an STT
After a month long absence, Pick of the Week returns with a look at a fantastic commentary article on spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive random access memory... The post MRAM catches an STT appeared first on Spin and Tonic.

Kent, A. & Worledge, D. (2015). A new spin on magnetic memories, Nature Nanotechnology, 10 (3) 187-191. DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2015.24

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3:45 PM | Will Eisner: in viaggio verso la stella di Barnard
In occasione della Will Eisner Week italiana del 2015, vi propongo una recensione di "Vita su un altro pianeta", riprendendo in parte la struttura del mio aggiorno il post recuperando al completo l'articolo originale su it.wiki.Mio Dio! Questo significa che è... un segnale! Può essere soltanto di origine biologica... una forma di intelligenza... come la nostra... proveniente dallo spazio!Tra tutte le opere di Will Eisner, Vita su un altro pianeta è doppiamente particolare, […]

Barnard E.E. (1916). A small star with large proper-motion, The Astronomical Journal, 29 181. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/104156

van de Kamp P. (1969). Alternate dynamical analysis of Barnard's star., The Astronomical Journal, 74 757-759. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/110852

Hershey J.L. (1973). Astrometric analysis of the field of AC 65 6955 from plates taken with the Sproul 24-inch refractor., The Astronomical Journal, 78 421-425. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/111436

Heintz W.D. (1976). Systematic Trends in the Motions of Suspected Stellar Companions, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 175 (3) 533-535. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/175.3.533

Kürster M., Endl M., Rouesnel F., Els S., Kaufer A., Brillant S., Hatzes A.P., Saar S.H. & Cochran W.D. (2003). The low-level radial velocity variability in Barnard's star (= GJ 699), Astronomy and Astrophysics, 403 (3) 1077-1087. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030396

Auerbach C., Robson J.M. & Carr J.G. (1947). The Chemical Production of Mutations, Science, 105 (2723) 243-247. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.105.2723.243

Beale G. (1993). The discovery of mustard gas mutagenesis by Auerbach and Robson in 1941., Genetics, 134 (2) 393-399. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8325476

Jackson D.A., Symons R.H. & Berg P. (1972). Biochemical Method for Inserting New Genetic Information into DNA of Simian Virus 40: Circular SV40 DNA Molecules Containing Lambda Phage Genes and the Galactose Operon of Escherichia coli, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 69 (10) 2904-2909. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.69.10.2904

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9:56 AM | By age three, girls already show a preference for thin people
These days it's hard to avoid the message that thin is best. From advertising billboards to the Oscar red carpet, we are inundated with images of successful ultra-thin women.Past research has already shown that this ideal is filtering through to our children, even preschoolers. But before now, there has been little study of just how early pro-thin bias (and prejudice against fat people) appears, and how it develops with age.Jennifer Harriger tested 102 girls from the South Western US, aged […]

Harriger, J. (2014). Age Differences in Body Size Stereotyping in a Sample of Preschool Girls, Eating Disorders, 23 (2) 177-190. DOI: 10.1080/10640266.2014.964610

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March 05, 2015

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8:01 PM | Was Neuroscience's Most Famous Amnesiac, "HM", A Victim of Medical Error?
According to a new paper, one of neuroscience's most famous case-studies came about as a result of a serious medical blunder. Henry Molaison (1926 - 2008), better known as HM, was an American man who developed a dramatic form of amnesia after receiving surgery that removed part of the temporal lobes of his brain. The 1953 operation was intended to treat HM's epilepsy, but it had the side effect of leaving him unable to form new memories. The consequences of HM's surgery are well known

Mauguière F & Corkin S (2015). H.M. never again! An analysis of H.M.'s epilepsy and treatment., Revue neurologique, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25726355

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Editor's Pick
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7:18 PM | Not “just” crazy – Some psychoses caused by autoimmunity
Antibodies defend the body against bacterial, viral, and other invaders. But sometimes the body makes antibodies that attack healthy cells. In these cases, autoimmune disorders develop. Immune abnormalities in patients with psychosis have been recognized for over a century, but it has been only relatively recently that scientists have identified specific immune mechanisms that seem to […]

Pathmanandavel, K., Starling, J., Merheb, V., Ramanathan, S., Sinmaz, N., Dale, R. & Brilot, F. (2015). Antibodies to Surface Dopamine-2 Receptor and N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor in the First Episode of Acute Psychosis in Children, Biological Psychiatry, 77 (6) 537-547. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.07.014

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3:12 PM | Does Thinking About God Increase Our Willingness to Make Risky Decisions?
There are at least two ways of how the topic of trust in God is broached in Friday sermons that I have attended in the United States. Some imams lament the decrease of trust in God in the age of modernity. Instead of trusting God that He is looking out for the believers, modern day Muslims believe that they can control their destiny on their own without any Divine assistance. These imams see this lack of trust in God as a sign of weakening faith and an overall demise in piety. But in recent […]

Kupor DM, Laurin K & Levav J (2015). Anticipating Divine Protection? Reminders of God Can Increase Nonmoral Risk Taking., Psychological Science, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25717040

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9:49 AM | Persistent hyperlactacidemia in cases of autism
The paper from José Guevara-Campos and colleagues [1] (open-access can be downloaded here) is fodder for today's short post, and a topic that has not been seen on this blog for quite a while: hyperlactacidemia (elevated plasma lactate levels) and autism.Previous mentions of lactate and autism on this blog (see here and see here) were potentially pretty important; specifically, how elevated plasma lactate levels might (a) not be an unfamiliar finding for quite a few people on […]

Guevara-Campos J, González-Guevara L & Cauli O (2015). Autism and Intellectual Disability Associated with Mitochondrial Disease and Hyperlactacidemia., International journal of molecular sciences, 16 (2) 3870-3884. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25679448

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12:03 AM | Team accidentally finds key to DNA vaccination and genetic engineering
It might have been an accident, but like some lucky researchers accidents are a good thing. In this particular case, scientists have discovered a new way to manipulate how cells function, a finding that might help advance an experimental approach to improving public health: DNA vaccines, which could be more efficient, less expensive and easier […]

Gou, Y., Byun, H., Zook, A., B. Singh, G., Nash, A., Lozano, M. & Dudley, J. (2015). Retroviral vectors elevate coexpressed protein levels in trans through cap dependent translation through cap-dependent translation , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201420477. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1420477112

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March 04, 2015

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9:45 PM | Suicide in Northern Ireland is not linked to religious affiliation
Conventionally, religious affiliation is supposed to reduce the risk of suicide. In fact, the worldwide data show a rather patchy picture, probably because the effects of religion on suicide risk depend on the social context. One of the godfathers of the sociology of religion was a guy named Émile Durkheim. At the tail end of [Read More...]

O'Reilly, D. & Rosato, M. (2015). Religion and the risk of suicide: longitudinal study of over 1 million people, The British Journal of Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.113.128694

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9:45 PM | Suicide in Northern Ireland is not linked to religious affiliation
Conventionally, religious affiliation is supposed to reduce the risk of suicide. In fact, the worldwide data show a rather patchy picture, probably because the effects of religion on suicide risk depend on the social context. One of the godfathers of the sociology of religion was a guy named Émile Durkheim. At the tail end of [Read More...]

O'Reilly, D. & Rosato, M. (2015). Religion and the risk of suicide: longitudinal study of over 1 million people, The British Journal of Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.113.128694

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9:02 PM | A study of twins shows that autism is largely genetic
In the fight against misinformation about autism it seems science is starting to come out on top, finally. A new study hopes to add to the recent advancements made in the understanding of autism, which finds that a substantial genetic and moderate environmental influences were associated with risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and broader autism […]

Colvert, E., Tick, B., McEwen, F., Stewart, C., Curran, S., Woodhouse, E., Gillan, N., Hallett, V., Lietz, S., Garnett, T. & Ronald, A. (2015). Heritability of Autism Spectrum Disorder in a UK Population-Based Twin Sample, JAMA Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.3028

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5:00 PM | Ghost in the Machine: The Neuroscience of Consciousness
Some questions cannot be addressed by science.  Like parallel universes, the consciousness of others is not something that can be directly observed, measured, or experienced.  Rene Descartes famously said, “I think, therefore I am.“ a declaration that only knowledge of one’s own consciousness is absolute.  You assume that friends and neighbors have subjective, internal experiences … Continue reading →

Tononi G. & G. M. Edelman (1994). A measure for brain complexity: relating functional segregation and integration in the nervous system., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 91 (11) 5033-5037. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.91.11.5033

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2:41 PM | Video Tip of the Week: Beacon, to locate genome variants of potential clinical significance
This week’s Video Tip of the Week follows on last week’s chatter about the Internet of DNA. As I mentioned then, the Beacon tool we touched on was going to get more coverage. So this week’s video is provided by the Beacon team, part of the larger Global Alliance for Genomics and Health project (GA4GH). […]

Nguyen N., Daniel R. Zerbino, Brian Raney, Dent Earl, Joel Armstrong, W. James Kent, David Haussler & Benedict Paten (2015). Building a Pan-Genome Reference for a Population, Journal of Computational Biology, 150107093755006. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/cmb.2014.0146

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2:40 PM | Lies, damned lies, and gluten sensitivity – a story of statistics
The recent study by Di Sabatino and colleagues DOES NOT demonstrate the existence of gluten sensitivity. Although the authors report that "the severity of overall symptoms increased significantly during 1 week of intake of small amounts of gluten, compared with placebo," it simply turns out that 3 of 59 participants reacted strongly enough during their gluten challenges to skew the group results in favor of gluten sensitivity. Taken on their own, however, we cannot diagnose these individuals […]

Di Sabatino A., Chiara Salvatore, Paolo Biancheri, Giacomo Caio, Roberto De Giorgio, Michele Di Stefano & Gino R. Corazza (2015). Small Amounts of Gluten in Subjects with Suspected Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Trial, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2015.01.029

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Editor's Pick
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1:30 PM | Taking Care of your Pet Rabbit
Rabbits are the third most popular pet, but how should you look after them?A study by Nicola Rooney (University of Bristol) et al asked 1254 rabbit owners about how they housed, fed, played with and otherwise cared for their rabbit. The good news is that “many pet rabbits were found to be in good health, had compatible companions and were provided with enriched living areas.” But there were also many areas where things could be improved. The most common type of rabbit was a […]

Rooney NJ, Blackwell EJ, Mullan SM, Saunders R, Baker PE, Hill JM, Sealey CE, Turner MJ & Held SD (2014). The current state of welfare, housing and husbandry of the English pet rabbit population., BMC research notes, 7 942. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25532711

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1:00 PM | Looking Sideways In The Mirror
Biology Concepts – platyhelminthes, asymmetry, bilateral symmetry, evolution, cephalization, natural selection, fish, lepidophagyWhat is the largest living structure on Earth? No, it’s not the 2200 acre Armillaria ostoyae fungus in Oregon that we talked about previously. That is the largest single organism, but there is something bigger. The Great Barrier Reef houses more species of coral than any other place on earth, more than 600 species call the reef home. You see how […]

Takeuchi, Y., Hori, M. & Oda, Y. (2012). Lateralized Kinematics of Predation Behavior in a Lake Tanganyika Scale-Eating Cichlid Fish, PLoS ONE, 7 (1) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029272

Lee, H., Kusche, H. & Meyer, A. (2012). Handed Foraging Behavior in Scale-Eating Cichlid Fish: Its Potential Role in Shaping Morphological Asymmetry, PLoS ONE, 7 (9) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044670

Kusche, H., Lee, H. & Meyer, A. (2012). Mouth asymmetry in the textbook example of scale-eating cichlid fish is not a discrete dimorphism after all, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279 (1748) 4715-4723. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2082

Takahashi, T. & Hori, M. (2008). Evidence of disassortative mating in a Tanganyikan cichlid fish and its role in the maintenance of intrapopulation dimorphism, Biology Letters, 4 (5) 497-499. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2008.0244

Hori, M., Ochi, H. & Kohda, M. (2007). Inheritance Pattern of Lateral Dimorphism in Two Cichlids (a Scale Eater, Perissodus microlepis, and an Herbivore, Neolamprologus moorii) in Lake Tanganyika, Zoological Science, 24 (5) 486-492. DOI: 10.2108/zsj.24.486

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9:41 AM | Asthma and autism: a spanner in the works?
As happens so many times in autism research, spanners are thrown in works. Take the paper from Ousseny Zerbo and colleagues [1] who concluded that: "children with autism have elevated prevalence of specific immune-related comorbidities". Nothing surprising about that finding based on the volumes of other research which seemed to have reached similar conclusions (see here).Then the spanner: "asthma was diagnosed significantly less often" in autism cases compared with asymptomatic controls. […]

Zerbo O, Leong A, Barcellos L, Bernal P, Fireman B & Croen LA (2015). Immune Mediated Conditions in Autism Spectrum Disorders., Brain, behavior, and immunity, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25681541

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March 03, 2015

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7:41 PM | Early life stress may result in a serotonin deficit later
If you have experienced — or are experiencing — mood disorders like anxiety or depression, you know about SSRI’s and chances are they didn’t do much for you. In fact studies indicate that the majority of people with mood and anxiety disorders who receive Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) are not helped by these medications. Sadly, they […]

Coplan, J., Fulton, S., Reiner, W., Jackowski, A., Panthangi, V., Perera, T., Gorman, J., Huang, Y., Tang, C., Hof, P. & Kaffman, A. (2014). Elevated cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in macaques following early life stress and inverse association with hippocampal volume: preliminary implications for serotonin-related function in mood and anxiety disorders, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8 DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00440

Coplan, J., Gopinath, S., Abdallah, C. & Berry, B. (2014). A Neurobiological Hypothesis of Treatment-Resistant Depression -- Mechanisms for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Non-Efficacy, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8 DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00189

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9:50 AM | Visual illusions foster open-mindedness
From sworn witness accounts of alien visitations, to deep-rooted trust in quack medical treatments, the human trait that psychologists call "naive realism" has a lot to answer for. This is people's instinctive feeling that they perceive the world how it is, encapsulated by the saying "seeing is believing." The truth, of course, is that our every perception is our brain's best guess, built not merely with the raw material of what's out in the world, but just as much with the bricks of […]

Hart, W., Tullett, A., Shreves, W. & Fetterman, Z. (2015). Fueling doubt and openness: Experiencing the unconscious, constructed nature of perception induces uncertainty and openness to change, Cognition, 137 1-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2014.12.003

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8:36 AM | Genetically-modified mice resistant to frostbite
The chilling spectre of winter has fallen upon those of us in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, and we humans are fortunate enough to have a number of ways of coping with the cold. But for creatures that don’t have electric heaters, hot chocolate and fleece onesies, there are many ways to survive…

Heisig, M., Mattessich, S., Rembisz, A., Acar, A., Shapiro, M., Booth, C., Neelakanta, G. & Fikrig, E. (2015). Frostbite Protection in Mice Expressing an Antifreeze Glycoprotein, PLOS ONE, 10 (2) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116562

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4:55 AM | Short history of iterated prisoner’s dilemma tournaments
Nineteen Eighty — if I had to pick the year that computational modeling invaded evolutionary game theory then that would be it. In March, 1980 — exactly thirty-five years ago — was when Robert Axelrod, a professor of political science at University of Michigan, published the results of his first tournament for iterated prisoner’s dilemma […]

Axelrod, R. (1980). More effective choice in the prisoner's dilemma., Journal of Conflict Resolution, 24 (3) 379-403. DOI: 10.1177/002200278002400301

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