It was about a study by Dean Snow reporting that, contrary to decades of archaeological dogma, many of the first artists were women. […] Another group of researchers is claiming the study’s methods were unsound. […] Snow’s study focused on the famous 12,000- to 40,000-year-old handprints found on cave walls in France and Spain. Because these hands generally appear near pictures of bison and other big game, scholars had long believed that the art was made by male hunters. Snow tested that notion by comparing the relative lengths of fingers in the handprints […] because among modern people, women tend to have ring and index fingers of about the same length, whereas men’s ring fingers tend to be longer than their index fingers. […] Snow developed an algorithm that could predict the sex of a given handprint. […] The new study, published Monday in the Journal of Archaeological Science, found that Snow’s algorithm predicted female hands fairly well, but was useless for males, making it overall a bad predictor of sex. [Phenomena]
This article examines cognitive links between romantic love and creativity and between sexual desire and analytic thought based on construal level theory. It suggests that when in love, people typically focus on a long-term perspective, which should enhance holistic thinking and thereby creative thought, whereas when experiencing sexual encounters, they focus on the present and on concrete details enhancing analytic thinking. Because people automatically activate these processing styles when in love or when they experience sex, subtle or even unconscious reminders of love versus sex should suffice to change processing modes. Two studies explicitly or subtly reminded participants of situations of love or sex and found support for this hypothesis. [Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin | PDF]
Findings suggest that ovulating women have evolved to prefer mates who display sexy traits – such as a masculine body type and facial features, dominant behavior and certain scents – but not traits typically desired in long-term mates.
Exposure to bright light is a second possible approach to increasing serotonin without drugs. Bright light is, of course, a standard treatment for seasonal depression, but a few studies also suggest that it is an effective treatment for nonseasonal depression and also reduces depressed mood in women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder39 and in pregnant women suffering from depression. […] The fourth factor that could play a role in raising brain serotonin is diet. […] The idea, common in popular culture, that a high-protein food such as turkey will raise brain tryptophan and serotonin is, unfortunately, false. Another popular myth that is widespread on the Internet is that bananas improve mood because of their serotonin content. Although it is true that bananas contain serotonin, it does not cross the blood–brain barrier. [Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience]
Recent research on circadian rhythms has suggested a reliable method to reduce or even completely prevent jet lag. […] Circadian rhythms are the roughly 24-hour biological rhythms that drive changes within humans and most other organisms. […] Usually these rhythms align with the environment’s natural light and dark cycle. […] Whether circadian rhythms align with the environment is determined by factors such as exercise, melatonin, and light. Bright light exposure is the most powerful way to cause a phase shift — an advance or delay in circadian rhythms. Light in the early morning makes you wake up earlier (“phase advance”); light around bed time makes you wake up later (“phase delay”). This simple insight can be used to minimise jet lag. For example, Helen Burgess and colleagues from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago studied whether jet lag could be prevented by phase shifting before departing. After three days of light exposure in the morning, the participants’ circadian rhythms shifted by an average of 2.1 hours. This means they would feel less jet lagged, and would be fully adjusted to the new time zone around two days earlier. Several field studies have reached similar conclusions. [Scientific American]
Narcolepsy is a disorder of the immune system where it inappropriately attacks parts of the brain involved in sleep regulation. The result is that affected people are not able to properly regulate sleep cycles meaning they can fall asleep unexpectedly, sometimes multiple times, during the day. One effect of this is that the boundary between dreaming and everyday life can become a little bit blurred and a new study by sleep psychologist Erin Wamsley aimed to see how often this occurs and what happens when it does. [Mind Hacks]
Now there is hope in the form of new genome-engineering tools, particularly one called CRISPR. This technology could allow researchers to perform microsurgery on genes, precisely and easily changing a DNA sequence at exact locations on a chromosome. Along with a technique called TALENs, invented several years ago, and a slightly older predecessor based on molecules called zinc finger nucleases, CRISPR could make gene therapies more broadly applicable, providing remedies for simple genetic disorders like sickle-cell anemia and eventually even leading to cures for more complex diseases involving multiple genes. [Technology Review]
Experiments on mice are widely used to help determine which new cancer therapies stand a good chance of working in human patients. Such studies are not perfect and, all too often, what works in a rodent produces little or no benefit in people. This has led researchers to explore the ways in which mice and men are dissimilar, in order to pick apart why the responses are different. A new study now proposes that the temperature in which lab mice are kept is one thing that does matter. [The Economist]
One of them had a connection with dealers from South Jamaica — and brokered an arrangement where the New Yorkers would purchase narcotics from their California partners and then sell the drugs on consignment in the city, the sources said. Their first transaction went smoothly, with the California trio shipping one kilo to their Queens partners, who sold the coke and promptly mailed a share of the money back to California, according to the sources. But the New York dealers were slow sending the Californians their cut after a second transaction, the sources said. And in their third and final deal, the South Jamaica goons not only kept all the proceeds after selling three kilos — they then tried to lure their business partners to New York City to assassinate them, according to the sources. But only Woodard showed up on Dec. 10, 2012 […] and was murdered execution-style by a gunman in broad daylight on busy West 58th Street off Seventh Avenue. [NY Post]
Cameron Diaz Encourages Women to Keep Their Pubic Hair in Her New Book English syntax provides you with many ways to phrase things, and many options for ensuring that you don’t puzzle your readers.
The human brain has adapted to react to emoticons in the same way we would to expressions on real human faces, new research suggests. Previously: Nabokov, 1969: I often think there should exist a special typographical sign for a smile.
When looking into a mirror, why is left-right reversed, but not up-down? An enigma.