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Here is what we are reading today:

“Want to read someone’s mind? Look at their pupils. A person about to answer “yes” to a question, especially if they are more used to answering “no,” will have more enlarged pupils than someone about to answer “no,” according to a new study.”

“”The big question is really ‘How does the brain evolve,'” said Anthony Norcia, an author of the paper and a Stanford professor (research) of psychology.

The study suggests there may be an optimal way to view natural moving objects which share fundamental properties, Clark said. By statistically modeling these properties, theoretical neuroscientist James Fitzgerald, also a lead author of the paper, was able to develop a framework to test these theories, team members said. Fitzgerald was previously a graduate student at Stanford and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.”

“…A new study suggests an additional factor at play: the timing of the tests. Adam Chuderski reviewed 26 studies that administered measures of working memory and the Raven’s Progressive Matrices test, which is the most widely used measure of fluid reasoning.*”

“If the cilia in the cochlea of the inner ear were the size of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a movement of only 1 cm would be enough to send a message about sound to the brain (Hedspeth, 1983).”

“”We need to identify which behaviors in certain populations increase disease risk, and keep in mind that our genetic susceptibility plays a large role in cancer risk,” says Scott Kern, M.D ., the Everett and Marjorie Kovler Professor in Pancreas Cancer Research at Johns Hopkins.”

“The mantis shrimp looks like a peacock crossed with a lobster, and it lives in equally colorful coral reefs. So it may be no surprise that the crustacean appears to use an entirely new way to detect color. Researchers report online today in Science that the animal has 12 different types of receptors in its eyes that each perceives a different wavelength. Humans and honey bees get by with just three, but they use their brains to compute the different shades.”

“”Confessing to only part of one’stransgressions is attractive to a lot of people because they expect the confession to be more believable and guilt-relieving than not confessing,” said lead author Eyal Pe’er, PhD, who ran the studies at Carnegie Mellon University and is now at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. “But our findings show just the opposite is true.””


Alexandra Grundler · January 28, 2014 at 7:59 pm

I find the article about cheating so fascinating. I would think that you would feel the best if you confessed fully and worse the less you confessed. As it turns out, confessing partially makes you feel the worst, even worse than no confessing at all! My personal hypothesis is that your brain endures a cognitive dissonance when you only confess partially. I know from past experience, I feel a great deal of anxiety when I hold two conflicting beliefs. Holding the belief that you should confess and that you should not confess is a very clear contradiction. But those two beliefs could lead someone to confess partially. The problem is that this person never really satisfied either belief and is still in contradiction with oneself. This article really makes me want to reassess my actions in all areas of my life and make a point to rid myself of cognitive dissonance. For some things, one ought to do all or nothing at all.

Alexandra Grundler · January 28, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Time plays a role in rather you are answering a question out of working memory or just fluid reasoning. If the test is under a time constraint, your working memory is extremely correlated with your fluid reasoning. If it is not under a time constraint, then that correlation disappears. I have always disdained timed tests, mostly because I become much too anxious and focus on my anxiety instead of the test itself. But now, I have reason to believe that it is also because I am desperately trying to pull things from my working memory when I may have the fluid reasoning skills to perform the same task if I were not constrained on time.

Kelly Kreulen · February 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I found “the switch that sends us to sleep” article pretty interesting and fairly relevant to what was on our last midterm. One part of the article that stuck out to me was where the set of neurons that researchers think control our sleep are highly active when were tired telling us to go to sleep. This made me think of sleep disorders associated with transneuronal degeneration and the use it or lose it theory. This can really bring light to sleep disorders and how we can create target drugs for these neurons to help with sleep and depression disorders.

Kelly Kreulen · February 27, 2014 at 5:01 pm

The “hereditary cancer” article was interesting and particularly hit home for me as there is a significant line of alcoholism in my families history. It brought another interesting thought, gene therapy. I know there are ethical implications of gene therapy but I can’t help but think all of the ways in which this could help. If researchers can isolate genes like this that cause such severe diseases, imagine how gene therapy could change this. These 2 genes causing cancer to acetylaldehyde exposure could be engineered so they are always expressed properly and alcohol consumption (at least from this standpoint) is not fatal!

Luke Simon · February 28, 2014 at 11:38 am

Lying never feels good. It may feel good for a short while, but eventually guilt gets to you. When you only tell the partial truth, you are not only lying, but you are now lying about your original lie. I think thats why people feel worse about telling the partial truth than not confessing at all. The only real way to relieve yourself of all guilt is to tell the whole truth. The way the coin toss study illustrated that was creative and interesting. It would interesting to see if the percentage of partial liars was about the same if instead of lying about coin tosses, they picked a higher stakes topic to lie about.

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