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Showing posts from June, 2013

Inside the Minds of Murderers

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Impulsive Murderers Much More Mentally Impaired Than Those Who Kill Strategically The minds of murderers who kill impulsively, often out of rage, and those who carefully carry out premeditated crimes differ markedly both psychologically and intellectually, according to a new study by Northwestern Medicine® researcher Robert Hanlon. "Impulsive murderers were much more mentally impaired, particularly cognitively impaired, in terms of both their intelligence and other cognitive functions," said Hanlon, senior author of the study and associate professor of clinical psychiatry and clinical neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

"The predatory and premeditated murderers did not typically show any major intellectual or cognitive impairments, but many more of them have psychiatric disorders," he said.

Published online in the journal Criminal Justice and Behavior, the study is the first to examine the neuropsychological and intelligence difference…

X-Ray Vision for the Masses Introduced!

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Remember the ads on the back pages of comic books for X-Ray Vision Glasses?To quote Lilly von Schtupt from the film Blazing Saddles, "It's twue, it's twue."Yes, kiddies, it is twue.  I mean true.  Science has developed a simple, straightforward system for seeing through walls.  Best of all, it's cheap.The good news?  What a cool freaking toy.The bad news?  There goes our little remaining privacy.Here's the press release from our friends, the inventors of really, truly X-ray Vision Glasses at MIT.New System Uses Low-Power Wi-Fi Signal to Track Moving Humans -- Even Behind Walls The comic-book hero Superman uses his X-ray vision to spot bad guys lurking behind walls and other objects. Now we could all have X-ray vision, thanks to researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Researchers have long attempted to build a device capable of seeing people through walls. However, previous efforts to develop such a system have involve…

Expansive postures = state of power may lead to dishonest behavior

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For authors, screenwriters, and even actors: This is interesting, at least to me, as it seems putting character in the right setting in and of itself can lead to dishonest behavior.  This is instinctive to a degree, but this research adds a bit of understanding to the phenomena, helping set the stage for resulting behavior. enlarge
The study states that while individuals may pay very little attention to ordinary and seemingly innocuous shifts in bodily posture, these subtle postural shifts can have tremendous impact on our thoughts, feelings and behavior. (Credit: Image courtesy of Columbia Business School) ". . .automobiles with more expansive driver's seats are more likely to be illegally parked."
A new study from researchers at leading business schools reveals that expansive physical settings (e.g. having a big desk to stretch out while doing work or a large driver's seat in an automobile) can cause individuals to feel more powerful, and in turn these feelings of power…

Computer Mind-reading a step closer to reality

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Mind reading computers and robots are a staple of sci-fi, and now scientists at Carnegie Mellon are a step closer to making this reality.  Scientists Identify Emotions Based On Brain Activityenlarge
Feeling happy or sad? Researchers have measured brain signals to accurately read emotions in individuals. (Credit: Karim S. Kassam et al PLOS ONE 10.1371/journal.pone.0066032) For the first time, scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have identified which emotion a person is experiencing based on brain activity. The study, published in the June 19 issue of PLOS ONE, combines functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and machine learning to measure brain signals to accurately read emotions in individuals. Led by researchers in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the findings illustrate how the brain categorizes feelings, giving researchers the first reliable process to analyze emotions. Until now, research on emotions has been long stymied by the lack of relia…

Are Dogs 'Kids?'

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Owner-Dog Relationships Share Striking Similarities to Parent-hild Relationshipsenlarge
People have an innate need to establish close relationships with other people. But this natural bonding behaviour is not confined to humans: many animals also seem to need relationships with others of their kind. For domesticated animals the situation is even more complex and pets may enter deep relationships not only with conspecifics but also with their owners. (Credit: © azazello / Fotolia) People have an innate need to establish close relationships with other people. But this natural bonding behaviour is not confined to humans: many animals also seem to need relationships with others of their kind. For domesticated animals the situation is even more complex and pets may enter deep relationships not only with conspecifics but also with their owners. Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna) have investigated the bond between dogs and their owners and have found…

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans Are On Prescription Drugs

So you're working on developing characters for your next work.  Here's a fact to help you flesh out your profile released on Science Daily on June 19th:

Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, Mayo Clinic researchers say. Antibiotics, antidepressants and painkilling opioids are most commonly prescribed, their study found. Twenty percent of patients are on five or more prescription medications, according to the findings, published online in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Researchers find the data valuable because it gives insight into prescribing practices. The statistics from the Rochester Epidemiology Project in Olmsted County, Minn. are comparable to those elsewhere in the United States, says study author Jennifer St. Sauver, Ph.D., a member of the Mayo Clinic Population Health Program in the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

"Often when people talk about health conditions they'r…

Darwinian themes of survival in romance novels, pop songs and movie plotlines.

Big Movies and Other Cultural Products Have Evolutionary Roots From Brad Pitt fighting zombies to Superman falling for Lois Lane, summer blockbuster season is upon us. But while Hollywood keeps trotting out new movies for the masses, plotlines barely change. Epic battles, whirlwind romances, family feuds, heroic attempts to save the lives of strangers: these are stories guaranteed to grace the silver screen. According to new research from Concordia University, that's not lazy scriptwriting, that's evolutionary consumerism.

Marketing professor Gad Saad says evolution has hard-wired humans to be naturally drawn toward a specific set of universal narratives within cultural products. His new article in the Journal of Consumer Psychology shows that little in consumer behaviour can be fully understood without the guiding light of evolution.

"The human drive to consume is rooted in a shared biological heritage based around four key Darwinian factors: survival, reproduction, kin…

Excessive Facebook Use Can Damage Relationships

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Facebook and other social media sites are a fact of life.  It's how I keep up with my extended family and friends even though we are spread out all over the country.  It's a useful tool for maintaining contact with the people in your life you care about.

But what about those people who seem to lack a life outside a social media website?  Here's some very useful information on how over-dependence on social media damages a relationship.
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Facebook and other social networking web sites have revolutionized the way people create and maintain relationships. However, new research shows that Facebook use could actually be damaging to users' romantic relationships. Russell Clayton, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri School of Journalism, found that individuals who use Facebook excessively are far more likely to experience Facebook-related conflict with their romantic partners, which then may cause negative relationship outcomes including emotional and phy…