When trying to understand someone’s intentions, non-human primates expect others to act rationally by performing the most appropriate action allowed by the environment, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard University. The work was led by Justin Wood, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, with David Glynn, a research assistant, and Marc Hauser, professor of psychology at Harvard, along with Brenda Phillips of Boston University.
Researchers have long attempted to unravel the cryptic code used by the neurons of the brain to represent our visual world. By studying the way the brain rapidly and precisely encodes natural visual events that occur on a slower timescale, a team of Harvard bioengineers and brain scientists from the State University of New York have moved one step closer towards solving this riddle.
Global warming may be to blame for the gradual extinction of cold-loving species, and the European land leech in particular, according to Ulrich Kutschera and colleagues from the University of Kassel in Germany and the Karl-Franzens-University of Graz in Austria.
Cell phones should come no closer than one meter to hospital beds and equipment, according Dutch research published in the online open access journal, Critical Care. Scientists demonstrated that incidents of electromagnetic interference (EMI) from second and third generation mobile phones occurred even at distance of three meters.
A little dirt never hurt. But in today’s super-clean world, vaccinations, anti-bacterial soaps, and airtight doors and windows are keeping dirt and disease-causing germs at bay. While staying germ-free can prevent the spread of disease and infections, leading a cleanlier lifestyle may be responsible for an increase in allergies among children.
It is well established that a child’s brain has a remarkable capacity for change, but controversy continues about the extent to which such plasticity exists in the adult human primary sensory cortex. Now, neuroscientists from MIT and Johns Hopkins University have used converging evidence from brain imaging and behavioral studies to show that the adult visual cortex does indeed reorganize–and that the change affects visual perception.
Ecologists have at last got to the bottom of why bears rub trees – and it’s not because they have itchy backs. Speaking at the British Ecological Society’s Annual Meeting in Glasgow the week of September 10, Dr Owen Nevin of the University of Cumbria will reveal that adult male grizzly bears use so-called “rub trees” as a way to communicate with each other while looking for breeding females, and that this behaviour could help reduce battles between the bears.
Female animals that mate with multiple partners may be doing so to ensure the optimum health of their grandchildren, according to researchers at the universities of Leeds and Exeter. Despite mating being a risky business for females – not least with the threat of injury, sexually transmitted diseases and vulnerability to predators – polyandry (females taking multiple mates) is widespread in the animal kingdom.