Here is what I am reading today:
“Tony Goldberg had been back from Uganda for only about a day when he felt a distressingly familiar itch in his nose. A veterinary epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he had just spent a few weeks in Kibale National Park studying chimpanzees and how the diseases they carry might make the jump to humans. Now, he realized, he might have brought one of their parasites home with him.”
“New research from the University of Missouri indicates escapism, social interaction and rewards fuel problematic video-game use among “very casual” to “hardcore” adult gamers. Understanding individual motives that contribute to unhealthy game play could help counselors identify and treat individuals addicted to video games”
“A team of researchers from several research centers in Japan has together found what appears to be a connection between the hormone vasopressin and jet-lag. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes experiments they conducted with test mice that indicate that repressing neural connections that respond to vasopressin reduced the time it took for them to readjust their circadian clock.”
“It’s a question that has long fascinated and flummoxed those who study human behavior: From whence comes the impulse to dream? Are dreams generated from the brain’s “top” – the high-flying cortical structures that allow us to reason, perceive, act and remember? Or do they come from the brain’s “bottom” – the unheralded brainstem, which quietly oversees such basic bodily functions as respiration, heart rate, salivation and temperature control?”
“The left and right hemispheres of Albert Einstein’s brain were unusually well connected to each other and may have contributed to his brilliance, according to a new study conducted in part by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk.”
“A trio of British researchers has conducted a study that has revealed that tests given to jailed psychopaths to predict the likelihood of engaging in future violence, are less accurate than chance. In their paper published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, Jeremy Coid, Simone Ullrich and Constantinos Kallis describe how they interviewed and gave tests to inmates in British prisons and then followed up later to see if they engaged in violent activities after release—they found that tests given to predict such behavior in psychopaths were no better than 50 percent accurate.”
“The study, authored by psychology researchers Elliot Tucker-Drob, Daniel Briley and Paige Harden, shows how genescan be stimulated or suppressed depending on the child’s environment and could help bridge the achievement gap between rich and poor students. The findings are published online in Current Directions in Psychological Science.
To investigate the underlying mechanisms at work, Tucker-Drob and his colleagues analyzed data from several studies tracking the cognitive ability and environmental circumstances of twin and sibling pairs. According to the findings, genetic factors account for 80 percent of cognition forchildren in economically advantaged households. Yet disadvantaged children – who rank lower in cognitive performance across the board – show almost no progress attributable to their genetic makeup.”
“”There is a lot of cultural lore about the power of eye contact as an influence tool,” says University of British Columbia Prof. Frances Chen, who conducted the research at the University of Freiburg in Germany. “But our findings show that direct eye contact makes skeptical listeners less likely to change their minds, not more, as previously believed.”"