Posts

April 27, 2015

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6:03 PM | Google searches for ‘n-word’ associated with black mortality
Google searches could unveil patterns in Black mortality rates across the US, according to a new study. Researchers found that those areas with greater levels of racism, as indexed by the proportion of Google searches containing the “n-word,” had higher mortality rates among Blacks. The study is the first to examine an Internet query-based measure […]

Chae, D., Clouston, S., Hatzenbuehler, M., Kramer, M., Cooper, H., Wilson, S., Stephens-Davidowitz, S., Gold, R. & Link, B. (2015). Association between an Internet-Based Measure of Area Racism and Black Mortality, PLOS ONE, 10 (4) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122963

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5:39 PM | Parasite-Infected Bumblebees Seek out Flowers with Nicotine
 A buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris Buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) that have been infected by parasites seek out flowers with nicotine in their nectar, according to a new study by researchers at the Royal Holloway University of London and Queen Mary University of London, UK. Apparently, the nicotine in the flowers slows the progression of disease in infected bees but has

Baracchi, D., Brown, M. & Chittka, L. (2015). Weak and contradictory effects of self-medication with nectar nicotine by parasitized bumblebees, F1000Research, DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.6262.1

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4:26 PM | Boron and the Permian extinction: a glimpse into the past gives a hint of the future:
The world looked very different 250 million years ago during the Permian era. The supercontinent Pangaea clung to the Equator and stretched its limbs all the way to the Poles. The climate was warming as the glaciers receded. Trilobites, the … Continue reading →

Clarkson MO, Kasemann SA, Wood RA, Lenton TM, Daines SJ, Richoz S, Ohnemueller F, Meixner A, Poulton SW & Tipper ET & (2015). Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction., Science (New York, N.Y.), 348 (6231) 229-32. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25859043

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12:34 PM | Phytozome notice, new and improved v10 coming soon [see update]
This announcement came out while I was at a conference last week–but I wanted to pass it along. This appears to be a big change in the way Phytozome works. And there will be down-time before it rolls out, starting May 1. I like to post major announcements from mailing lists because I know everyone […]

Goodstein D.M., R. Howson, R. Neupane, R. D. Hayes, J. Fazo, T. Mitros, W. Dirks, U. Hellsten, N. Putnam & D. S. Rokhsar & (2011). Phytozome: a comparative platform for green plant genomics, Nucleic Acids Research, 40 (D1) D1178-D1186. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkr944

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8:36 AM | When optimal outcome in autism meets ESSENCE
I recently came across the paper by Martina Barnevik Olsson and colleagues [1] (open-access) and their rather interesting take on the issue of optimal outcome and autism (see here for some background on this concept).Based on the idea that a diagnosis of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might not be as immutable as perhaps once thought (as in 'no longer meeting the diagnostic criteria for the condition'), Barnevik Olsson et al reported that loss of the autism/ASD label does […]

Barnevik Olsson, M., Westerlund, J., Lundström, S., Giacobini, M., Fernell, E. & Gillberg, C. (2015). “Recovery” from the diagnosis of autism – and then?, Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 999. DOI: 10.2147/NDT.S78707

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2:02 AM | FDA says no to marketing FDDNP for CTE
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently admonished TauMark™, a brain diagnostics company, for advertising brain scans that can diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Alzheimer's disease, and other types of dementia. The Los Angeles Times reported that the FDA ordered UCLA researcher Dr. Gary Small and his colleague/business partner Dr. Jorge Barrio to remove misleading information from their company website (example shown below).CTE has been in the news because the […]

Barrio, J., Small, G., Wong, K., Huang, S., Liu, J., Merrill, D., Giza, C., Fitzsimmons, R., Omalu, B., Bailes, J. & Kepe, V. (2015). In vivo characterization of chronic traumatic encephalopathy using [F-18]FDDNP PET brain imaging, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201409952. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1409952112

Zimmer, E., Leuzy, A., Gauthier, S. & Rosa-Neto, P. (2014). Developments in Tau PET Imaging, The Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, 41 (05) 547-553. DOI: 10.1017/cjn.2014.15

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April 26, 2015

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7:14 PM | Fatal attraction: the intuitive appeal of GMO opposition
A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions GM crops have made to sustainable agriculture. They argue that the human mind is highly susceptible to the negative and often emotional representations put out by […]

Blancke, S., Van Breusegem, F., De Jaeger, G., Braeckman, J. & Van Montagu, M. (2015). Fatal attraction: the intuitive appeal of GMO opposition, Trends in Plant Science, DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2015.03.011

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April 25, 2015

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5:59 PM | Mental disorders do not predict violence, so please stop
When Sandy Hook happened, it was so shocking that to this day, some don’t actually believe it happened. Shortly after, something frustrating happened, the shooter was labeled with aspergers. This helped drive the mental health and violence connection to the point that Time came out with an article dispelling that myth. Even now according to […]

Elkington, K., Teplin, L., Abram, K., Jakubowski, J., Dulcan, M. & Welty, L. (2015). Psychiatric Disorders and Violence: A Study of Delinquent Youth After Detention, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 54 (4) 302-31200000. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2015.01.002

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12:32 PM | ¿Qué le hace falta a los programas de prevención de violencia contra las mujeres?
“Si Eva hubiera escrito el Génesis, ¿Cómo sería la primera noche de amor del género humano? Eva hubiera empezado por aclarar que ella no nació de ninguna costilla, ni conoció a ninguna serpiente, ni ofreció manzanas a nadie, y que Dios nunca le dijo que parirás con dolor y tu marido te dominará. Que todas esas historias son puras mentiras que Adán contó a la prensa”.Eduardo Galeano (1998)Q.E.P.D […]

Butchart, A., García-Moreno, C. & Mikton, C. (2011). Prevención de la violencia sexual y violencia infligida por la pareja contra las mujeres., Organización Panamericana de Salud y Organización Mundial de la Salud: Washington.,

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7:27 AM | Kids with autism: a highly [psychotropic] medicated group?
"In keeping with international studies this sample of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] was a highly medicated group."So said the results of the study reported by Kerry-Ann Louw and colleagues [1] back in 2013 who noted that approximately one quarter of their cohort were currently in receipt of "psychotropic medications". I don't want to linger too much on this topic given that such findings tally with other peer-reviewed reports including those with much larger […]

Louw KA, Bentley J, Sorsdahl K & Adnams CM (2013). Prevalence and patterns of medication use in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders in the Western Cape, South Africa., Journal of child and adolescent mental health, 25 (1) 69-79. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25860309

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April 24, 2015

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8:19 PM | Diabetes drug found in freshwater potential cause of intersex fish
A medication commonly taken for Type II diabetes, which is being found in freshwater systems worldwide, has been shown to cause intersex in fish –or male fish that produce eggs. The study determined exposure to the diabetes medicine metformin causes physical changes in male fish exposed to doses similar to the amount in wastewater effluent. “In […]

Niemuth, N. & Klaper, R. (2015). Emerging wastewater contaminant metformin causes intersex and reduced fecundity in fish, Chemosphere, 135 38-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2015.03.060

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3:29 PM | Classic Story, A City Corpse Meets a Country Corpse
I’ve been indulging in a little HGTV this week as a way to recover from post-conference exhaustion. I know that shows like House Hunters aren’t real- they already have bought […]

Redfern, R., DeWitte, S., Pearce, J., Hamlin, C. & Dinwiddy, K. (2015). Urban-rural differences in Roman Dorset, England: A bioarchaeological perspective on Roman settlements, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 157 (1) 107-120. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22693

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8:44 AM | DSM-5 impacting on autism numbers
"Consistent with previous reviews, the majority of included studies indicated between 50 and 75 % of individuals will maintain diagnoses."That was one of the conclusions reached by Isaac Smith and colleagues [1] following their systematic review of studies comparing DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and what the changes mean for eligibility for the label.Authors further reported that: "the greatest decreases [were] among high-functioning populations with IQs over […]

Smith IC, Reichow B & Volkmar FR (2015). The Effects of DSM-5 Criteria on Number of Individuals Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review., Journal of autism and developmental disorders, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25796195

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8:00 AM | References to alcohol in UK pop music are on the increase
"My wine is good to me, it helps me pass the time. And my good old buddy whiskey keeps me warmer than the sunshine," Aloe Blacc – I need a dollar, 2011.Psychologists have documented a striking increase in references to alcohol and heavy drinking in the lyrics of UK chart music. They warn this could mean that attempts to control the direct advertising of alcohol to young people will be in vein, as pop music is effectively spreading a positive message on the drinks companies […]

Hardcastle, K., Hughes, K., Sharples, O. & Bellis, M. (2013). Trends in alcohol portrayal in popular music: A longitudinal analysis of the UK charts, Psychology of Music, 43 (3) 321-332. DOI: 10.1177/0305735613500701

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April 23, 2015

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10:25 PM | Scientists create worlds first genetically modified human embryos
A funny thing happened on the way to the publisher. In a world first, China has successfully created genetically modified human embryos. It was certainly an amazing piece of scientific testing, but the paper was rejected by both Nature and Science, not because the study was flawed, or because the data was falsified, but for ethical […]

Liang, P., Xu, Y., Zhang, X., Ding, C., Huang, R., Zhang, Z., Lv, J., Xie, X., Chen, Y., Li, Y. & Sun, Y. (2015). CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human tripronuclear zygotes, Protein & Cell, DOI: 10.1007/s13238-015-0153-5

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6:53 PM | Whooping cough: A small drop in vaccine protection can lead to a case upsurge
In 2012 the USA saw the highest number of pertussis (whooping cough) cases since 1955. New research finds that a likely explanation for this rise in disease is a drop in the degree of vaccine protection for each vaccinated individual. The team worked with 60 years of pertussis disease data to determine what best explained the recent […]

Gambhir M, Clark TA, Cauchemez S, Tartof SY, Swerdlow DL & Ferguson NM (2015). A Change in Vaccine Efficacy and Duration of Protection Explains Recent Rises in Pertussis Incidence in the United States, PLOS Computational Biology, Other:

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12:00 PM | Two Species of Cottonmouths? This Scientist Says Yes!
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Burbrink, F. T. & Guiher, T. J. (2015). Considering gene flow when using coalescent methods to delimit lineages of North American pitvipers of the genus Agkistrodon, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 173 (2) 505-526.

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9:01 AM | Men and boys with older sisters are less competitive
One of the longest-debated and most studied issues in psychology is whether and how our personalities are affected by our birth order and the sex of our siblings. A problem with much previous research is that it's depended on people self-reporting their own personality, or on siblings or parents providing the personality ratings. These ratings are prone to subjectivity and skewed by people's expectations about how, say, a younger sibling ought to behave.A new study focused on one particular […]

Okudaira, H., Kinari, Y., Mizutani, N., Ohtake, F. & Kawaguchi, A. (2015). Older sisters and younger brothers: The impact of siblings on preference for competition, Personality and Individual Differences, 82 81-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2015.02.037

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April 22, 2015

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8:27 PM | Researchers find genetic link between overactive and underactive immune systems
In the largest genetic study to date of a challenging immunodeficiency disorder, scientists have identified a gene that may be a “missing link” between overactive and underactive immune activity. The gene candidate also plays a key role in autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and even allergies. The researchers analyzed common variable […]

Li J, Jørgensen SF, Maggadottir SM, Bakay M, Warnatz K, Glessner J, Pandey R, Salzer U, Schmidt RE, Perez E & Resnick E (2015). Association of CLEC16A with human common variable immunodeficiency disorder and role in murine B cells., Nature communications, 6 6804. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25891430

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7:18 PM | What Drove the Great Dying?
As long ago as forever and as far away as home, life was withering away wherever you looked. At the …Continue reading →

Clarkson MO, Kasemann SA, Wood RA, Lenton TM, Daines SJ, Richoz S, Ohnemueller F, Meixner A, Poulton SW & Tipper ET & (2015). Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction., Science (New York, N.Y.), 348 (6231) 229-32. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25859043

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6:39 PM | Earth Day Turns 45
Ever since Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970, the event has adapted to the ...

Liu C, Gallagher JJ, Sakimoto KK, Nichols EM, Chang CJ, Chang MC & Yang P (2015). Nanowire-Bacteria Hybrids for Unassisted Solar Carbon Dioxide Fixation to Value-Added Chemicals., Nano Letters, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25848808

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4:29 PM | Microwave goodbye to inefficient spintronic microwave detectors
Magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) which comprise of a free magnetic layer (whose magnetization orientation can be manipulated) and a fixed magnetic layer (whose magnetization is... The post Microwave goodbye to inefficient spintronic microwave detectors appeared first on Spin and Tonic.

Gui, Y., Xiao, Y., Bai, L., Hemour, S., Zhao, Y., Houssameddine, D., Wu, K., Guo, H. & Hu, C. (2015). High sensitivity microwave detection using a magnetic tunnel junction in the absence of an external applied magnetic field, Applied Physics Letters, 106 (15) 152403. DOI: 10.1063/1.4918677

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4:29 PM | Microwave goodbye to inefficient spintronic microwave detectors
Magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) which comprise of a free magnetic layer (whose magnetization orientation can be manipulated) and a fixed magnetic layer (whose magnetization is... The post Microwave goodbye to inefficient spintronic microwave detectors appeared first on Spin and Tonic.

Gui, Y., Xiao, Y., Bai, L., Hemour, S., Zhao, Y., Houssameddine, D., Wu, K., Guo, H. & Hu, C. (2015). High sensitivity microwave detection using a magnetic tunnel junction in the absence of an external applied magnetic field, Applied Physics Letters, 106 (15) 152403. DOI: 10.1063/1.4918677

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4:00 PM | Memory Hack: Manipulating the Brain’s Memory Cache
Imagine having a memory that haunts you, sneaks into your daily thoughts and turns over on itself in your dreams.  Escape seems impossible.  Now imagine you are injected with a virus that blocks the expression of a certain protein known to reactivate memories.  With minimal side effects and the small chance of erasing or altering … Continue reading →

Hui K. (2014). The ethics of molecular memory modification, Journal of Medical Ethics, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2013-101891

Anderson M.C. (2014). Neural mechanisms of motivated forgetting, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18 (6) 279-292. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2014.03.002

Marzi T. & Stefania Righi (2014). Emotions shape memory suppression in trait anxiety, Frontiers in Psychology, 4 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.01001

Wu-Zhang A.X., S. Nabavi, R. Malinow & A. C. Newton (2012). Cellular Pharmacology of Protein Kinase M  (PKM ) Contrasts with Its in Vitro Profile: IMPLICATIONS FOR PKM  AS A MEDIATOR OF MEMORY, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 287 (16) 12879-12885. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.m112.357244

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3:43 PM | Earth Day spotlight: A survey of the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
“Today (April 22nd) is Earth Day, and marks the 45th anniversary of what many credit with launching the modern environmental movement in the U.S. in 1970. The idea for Earth Day apparently came to the founder, Gaylord Nelson, then a … Continue reading →

Cornwall W (2015). Deepwater Horizon: after the oil., Science (New York, N.Y.), 348 (6230) 22. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25838362

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12:30 PM | Does Animal-Assisted Therapy Help Adolescents with Psychiatric Problems?
A new study finds that a dog might be just what the doctor ordered.Can animal-assisted therapy can help adolescents who are in hospital because of an acute psychiatric crisis? A new randomized controlled trial investigates. The study, conducted by M.C. Stefanini et al (University of Florence) randomly allocated patients to either an animal-assisted therapy intervention or no intervention. Both groups continued to receive psychiatric treatment as usual, and those treating them did not know […]

Kamioka, H., Okada, S., Tsutani, K., Park, H., Okuizumi, H., Handa, S., Oshio, T., Park, S., Kitayuguchi, J., Abe, T. & Honda, T. (2014). Effectiveness of animal-assisted therapy: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 22 (2) 371-390. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.12.016

Stefanini, M., Martino, A., Allori, P., Galeotti, F. & Tani, F. (2015). The use of Animal-Assisted Therapy in adolescents with acute mental disorders: A randomized controlled study, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 21 (1) 42-46. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.01.001

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12:00 PM | Boys Will Be Boys… And Then Girls
Biology concepts – botany, monoecious, dichogamy, imperfect and perfect flowers, self-pollination, cross-pollination, self-incompatibility, heterostylyThis clip shows the mating of hermaphroditic leopard slugs. Each may provide male gametes for the other, or it may just go one way. They hang from a branch to do this, and the male reproductive organs spiral around one another. The trait has gone mad – in some species, the male organ has reached 92 cm long!There are a few ways for […]

Casimiro-Soriguer I, Buide ML & Narbona E (2013). The roles of female and hermaphroditic flowers in the gynodioecious-gynomonoecious Silene littorea: insights into the phenology of sex expression., Plant biology (Stuttgart, Germany), 15 (6) 941-7. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23174011

Pérez-Barrales, R., Vargas, P. & Arroyo, J. (2006). New evidence for the Darwinian hypothesis of heterostyly: breeding systems and pollinators in Narcissus sect. Apodanthi, New Phytologist, 171 (3) 553-567. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2006.01819.x

Miller, J. & Diggle, P. (2003). Diversification of andromonoecy in Solanum section Lasiocarpa (Solanaceae): the roles of phenotypic plasticity and architecture, American Journal of Botany, 90 (5) 707-715. DOI: 10.3732/ajb.90.5.707

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April 21, 2015

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10:08 PM | Is Synesthesia A Brain Disorder?
In a provocative review paper just published, French neuroscientists Jean-Michel Hupé and Michel Dojat question the assumption that synesthesia is a neurological disorder. In synesthesia, certain sensory stimuli involuntarily trigger other sensations. For example, in one common form of synesthesia, known as 'grapheme-color', certain letters are perceived as allied with, certain colors. In other cases, musical notes are associated with colors, or smells. The cause of synesthesia is […]

Hupé JM & Dojat M (2015). A critical review of the neuroimaging literature on synesthesia., Frontiers in human neuroscience, 9 103. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25873873

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Editor's Pick
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9:47 PM | In the face of discrimination, non-believers commit more strongly to their atheism
It’s widely recognised that atheists are one of the most marginalised groups in the USA. As you might imagine, this can cause all sorts of problems for non-believers. But might it also help explain why the public face of atheism in the USA is so stridently vocal? Many American atheists are passionate about their identity as [Read More...]

Doane, M. & Elliott, M. (2014). Perceptions of Discrimination Among Atheists: Consequences for Atheist Identification, Psychological and Physical Well-Being., Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, DOI: 10.1037/rel0000015

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9:47 PM | In the face of discrimination, non-believers commit more strongly to their atheism
It’s widely recognised that atheists are one of the most marginalised groups in the USA. As you might imagine, this can cause all sorts of problems for non-believers. But might it also help explain why the public face of atheism in the USA is so stridently vocal? Many American atheists are passionate about their identity as [Read More...]

Doane, M. & Elliott, M. (2014). Perceptions of Discrimination Among Atheists: Consequences for Atheist Identification, Psychological and Physical Well-Being., Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, DOI: 10.1037/rel0000015

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