Here is what I am reading today:
“In a playground filled with gleeful shouts, you approach a group of children. Suddenly, your vision turns blurry and pixelated. The echoing screams become raucous.
It’s the experience of sensory overload, according to a new game called Auti-Sim. The simulation, created by a three-member team at the Vancouver Hacking Health hackathon, aims to raise awareness of the challenges of hypersensitivity disorder and help people understand how it can lead to isolation.”
“Three-dimensional mapping of the brains of 7 adults with a rare brain birth defect has shed new light on the cause of autism.
Known as agenesis of the corpus callosum (AgCC), the defect is characterized by complete or partial absence of the corpus callosum, which connects the left and right sides of the brain. One of the primary genetic causes of autism, it was part of the brain physiology of Laurence Kim Peek, the savant portrayed by actor Dustin Hoffman in the 1987 film Rain Man.”
“The study, to be published in the May issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, found that participants given more powerful roles in two experiments attributed fewer uniquely human traits—characteristics that distinguish people from other animals—to their peers who were given less powerful roles. “I think a lot of us have the intuition that some powerful people can be pretty dehumanizing,” said Jason Gwinn, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and lead author of the study. “But our goal was to test if power, when randomly assigned to ordinary students, would have that effect. That would say something about power itself rather than about the sort of people who have the drive to take power.””
“Overall, participants who chewed gum had quicker reaction times and more accurate results than those who didn’t chew gum. This was especially true toward the end of the task, according to the study, which was published March 8 in the British Journal of Psychology. “Interestingly, participants who didn’t chew gum performed slightly better at the beginning of the task but were overtaken by the end,” Kate Morgan, of Cardiff University, said in a journal news release. “This suggests that chewing gum helps us focus on tasks that require continuous monitoring over a longer amount of time.””
“…”These regions are important for social behaviors, particularly mating behavior,” said lead author Maggie Mohr, a doctoral student in neuroscience. “So, we thought maybe cells that are added to those parts of the brain during puberty could be important for adult reproductive function.” To test that idea, Mohr and Cheryl Sisk, MSU professor of psychology, injected male hamsters with a chemical marker to show cell birth during puberty. When the hamsters matured into adults, the researchers allowed them to interact and mate with females.”
“We humans love us some caffeine. The mild stimulant have saved many a student, parent, and hard working adult from nodding over their desks. And it’s a natural product of plants like the coffee plant and the tea bush. But the question is, why do these plants have it in the first place?
It turns out that there are two answers to that question. First, caffeine is a natural pesticide, which can paralyze and kill insects that want to chomp on the leaves, berries, or other parts of the plant. It’s good for keeping a bug off your back.”