The Peer Perception Gap. The Washington Post describes a study in PLOS One which had a goal of identifying peer gender bias in the biology classroom: Men over-ranked their peers by three-quarters of a GPA point [...] In other words, if Johnny and Susie both had A's, they’d receive equal applause from female students — but Susie would register as a B student in the eyes of her male peers, and Johnny would look like a rock star.
A study has examined how long alleged conspiracies could "survive" before being revealed - deliberately or unwittingly - to the public at large.Here is the paper itself.
A paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science details how photo data from Flickr can be used to predict people's movements. [more inside]
Researchers from the University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences recently used a direct brain-to-brain connection to enable pairs of participants to play a question-and-answer game by transmitting signals from one brain to the other over the Internet. The experiment, detailed in PLOS ONE (open access), is thought to be the first to show that two brains can be directly linked to allow one person to guess what’s on another person’s mind. [more inside]
...we appreciate that it could have been made clearer that the article is not describing a new tool for visualization of data but rather a simpler application of an existing one... Make sure to read the comments and correction.
The Delights Of Disgust
I confess I am disgusted by a great many things about people (and about myself, but let's put that aside). I do not believe it is particularly urgent for me to overcome my disgust, even if I recognize that this emotion must remain entirely separate from my thinking about which laws would be most just. I am disgusted by other people's dandruff, facial moles, food stuck in their beards, yet I do not accept that in feeling this way I am judging those people to be subhuman. I take it rather that humanity, while endearing, is also capable of appearing disgusting.[more inside]
In 1996, Yale psychologist John Bargh published a much cited paper (pdf) demonstrating the "priming effect" --- in a nutshell, subjects who had to unscramble sentences mentioning the elderly walked slower when leaving the examination room than control subjects. This year, Stéphane Doyen and his co-authors attempted to replicate Bargh's experiment, but were unable to reproduce the priming effect --- instead assembling evidence that it was the experimenter's knowledge of the study topic which created the apparent "priming". Is Bargh's famous experiment flawed? Or is Doyen's paper a pile of horseshit published in a two-bit for-profit online journal, as Bargh's strident critique suggests? Or is Bargh full of it himself? And who gets to decide what counts as good science these days anyway?
MIT scientist Dr. Todd Rider has developed a viral infection treatment that works by triggering host cell suicide when it finds the cell has been producing double-stranded RNA. Since dsRNA is the mechanism by which all viral infections proceed, but is not part of normal cellular function, the treatment seems both universal and safe. [more inside]
More evidence of brain plasticity: Some blind people are able to use echolocation to perceive space and objects around them in surprising detail, even though the time differences in echoes necessary to do this are two small to be consciously perceived. An fMRI study by Lore Thaler, Stephen Arnott and Melvyn Goodale revealed that people who are especially adept at this use their calcarine cortex (a.k.a. V1 or primary visual cortex) to process spatial information from the echoes. The original paper. A shorter discussion. (Previously)