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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 2: Issue 84 - 25th January, 2003 - http://human-nature.com/nibbs/

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NEWS & VIEWS

Autism (24 Jan) - According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism is now 10 times more common today than it was 10 years ago. Guest host Paul Raeburn and guests look at the science of autism. What's behind the rise in the autism rate? Are we just diagnosing the disease better? Plus, a look at the genetics of the disease, and at the claim that vaccines may be causing the disease. [more] [audio]


Development (23 Jan) - Children growing up in single-parent families are twice as likely as their counterparts to develop serious psychiatric illnesses and addictions later in life, according to an important new study. [more]


Human evolution (21 Jan) - By analyzing DNA from people in all regions of the world, geneticist Spencer Wells has concluded that all humans alive today are descended from a single man who lived in Africa around 60,000 years ago. [more]


Universal truths (23 Jan) - Paul Davies says that scientific discovery does not make the cosmos seem increasingly pointless. [more]


Human Nature Radio

The following Human Nature Review articles are now available as machine generated mp3 audio files using AT&T Natural Voices. You can listen to these online or download them to your computer or portable device for mobile listening.

Lipton, J. E. (2003). Review of The Tending Instinct: How Nurturing is Essential to Who We Are and How We Live by Shelley E. Taylor. Human Nature Review. 3: 44-46. [more] [audio]

Dowker, A. (2003). Review of How Babies Think: The Science of Childhood by Alison Gopnik, Andrew Meltzoff and Patricia Kuhl Human Nature Review. 3: 41-43. [more] [audio]

Hall, M. E. (2003). Review of The Rhythms of History: A Universal Theory of Civilizations by Stephen Blaha. Human Nature Review. 3: 38-40. [more] [audio]

Ata, A. W. (2003). Exodus of the Palestinian Christians [Letter to the Editor]. Human Nature Review. 3: 36-37. [more] [audio]

Nettle, D. (2003). Review of Economics as an evolutionary science: From utility to fitness by Arthur E. Gandolfi, Anna S. Gandolfi and David P. Barash. Human Nature Review. 3: 21-23. [more] [audio]

Harris, K. S. (2003). Review of When culture and biology collide: Why we are stressed, depressed, and self-obsessed by Euclid O. Smith. Human Nature Review. 3: 17-20. [more] [audio]

Barash, D. P. (2003). We're All Animals. Human Nature Review. 3: 15-16. [more] [audio]

Casebeer, W. D. (2003). Review of Evolution and the Capacity for Commitment edited by Randolph M. Nesse. Human Nature Review. 3: 12-14. [more] [audio]

Walsh, A. (2003). The Holy Trinity and the Legacy of the Italian School of Criminal Anthropology. Human Nature Review. 3: 1-11. [more] [audio]

Kohn, M. (2002). Unity is Health: An Evolutionary Left. Human Nature Review. 2:
424-430. [more] [audio]


Suicide (1 Feb) - Scientists have begun uncovering behavioral tip-offs and are also exploring clues to anatomical and chemical differences between the brains of suicides and of those who die of other causes. [more]


Mate choice - Women's taste in men could vary depending on whether they are taking the contraceptive pill, researchers claim. [more]


Innovation (1 Feb) - Nicholas Negroponte says expertise is overrated. To build a nation of innovators, we should focus on youth, diversity, and collaboration. [more]


Race (1 Feb) - There's hardly any difference in the DNA of human races. That doesn't mean, argues sociologist Troy Duster, that genomics research can ignore the concept. [more]


SETI (22 Jan) - "The search for extraterrestrial life grips the human imagination because it tells us about ourselves," says Paul Davies. [more]


Memory (22 Jan) - Scientists believe they may have found a way to improve our memory by as much as 10%. Researchers at Imperial College London have used a technique called neurofeedback to train people to remember more clearly. [more]


Neuroscience - Science is developing ways to boost intelligence, expand memory, and more. But will you be allowed to change your own mind? By Ronald Bailey. [more]


Human Nature Review - Listen to, annotate, highlight, and search Human Nature Review articles and other PDF files. [more] Download an electronic copy of The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker. [more]


Evolution (20 Jan) - The ancient ancestor of all mammals that give birth to live young - including humans - probably had genetic similarities with the aardvark. [more]


Archaeology (21 Jan) - The oldest image of a star pattern, that of the famous constellation of Orion, has been recognised on an ivory tablet some 32,500 years old. The tiny sliver of mammoth tusk contains a carving of a man-like figure with arms and legs outstretched in the same pose as the stars of Orion. [more]


Biology (20 Jan) - In the metaphysics of the ancient Greeks, there were four elements: earth, water, fire and air. The year is divided into four seasons, the map is divided into four cardinal compass points and the moon's monthly movement is given four phases.       More than that, says Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Geoffrey West, the number four plays a key role in how all life on earth takes shape. [more]


Neanderthals (20 Jan) - The first complete skeleton of a Neanderthal, the prehistoric people who became extinct about 30,000 years ago, graces an American Museum of Natural History exhibition in New York on the mysteries of human origins. It features fossils and artifacts up to a million years old dug up in caves at two sites in northern Spain. [more] and [more]


Human evolution (14 Jan) - Anthropologists are reconsidering traditional theories about the importance of male hunting, of meat and of the so-called nuclear family in human evolution. [more]

PAPERS & COMMENTARY

Risky behaviour (27 Jan) - For a teenager, sneaking a beer is one thing; shooting up heroin is quite another. Missing a parentally imposed curfew is almost expected; disappearing for days is heart-wrenching. There is risk, and then there is risk. Figuring out what differentiates experimenting teenagers from delinquents and lifelong reckless hearts is not easy; behaviors typically stem from complex social, environmental, and biological interactions. Even defining risky conduct can be difficult. [more]


  EuroNews BBC News The Feed Room BBC News 24 BBC Newsnight BBC Question Time Today, Newshour, The World Today, BBC World Service, NPR Hourly News, Talk of the Nation, Science in Action, Discovery, One Planet, The Material World, Thinking Allowed, Heart and Soul, Case Notes, Health Matters, Everywoman United Nations US Congress UK Parliament.

 Audio and Video

Gene duplication (27 Jan) - Picture an imperfect hall of mirrors, with gene sequences reflecting wildly: That's the human genome. The duplications that riddle the genome range greatly in size, clustered in some areas yet absent in others, residing in gene jungles as well as within vast expanses of seemingly genetic gibberish. And in their organization lie clues to genome origins. "We've known for some time that duplications are the primary force for genes and genomes to evolve over time," says Evan Eichler, director of the bioinformatics core facility at the Center for Computational Genomics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. [more]



Memory - human genetics (24 Jan) - People who inherit one version of a key gene score better on certain memory tests than people who inherit a slightly different version, researchers reported yesterday. Washington Post, EurekAlert, BBC News Online.


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Attention (23 Jan) - With so many visual stimuli bombarding our eyes -- cars whizzing by, leaves fluttering -- how can we focus attention on a single spot -- a word on a page or a fleeting facial expression? How do we filter so purely that the competing stimuli never even register in our awareness? [more]


Anxiety - aggression (23 Jan) - Researchers report finding a gene that is essential for normal levels of anxiety and aggression. Calling it the Pet-1 gene, researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Department of Neurosciences say that when this gene is removed or "knocked out" in a mouse, aggression and anxiety in adults are greatly elevated compared to a control (also called wild type) mouse. [more] [more] [audio]


Animal cognition (22 Jan)  - Psychologists have found evidence that monkeys have sophisticated abilities to acquire and apply knowledge using some of the same strategies as do humans. Specifically, the researchers have discovered that rhesus monkeys can learn the correct order of arbitrary sets of images and can apply that knowledge to answer new questions about that order. [more]


Compliance (22 Jan) - Mailed reminders to physicians and their patients who take antidepressant drugs can help patients stick with their medication routine, according to a new study. The reminders significantly increased the number of patients who took their medications routinely, compared with patients who did not receive the reminders. [more]


Language (22 Jan) - Language probably leapt, not crept, from squeaks to Shakespeare, two physicists have calculated. Human communication, they propose, underwent a 'phase transition', like solid ice melting to liquid water. Nature Science Update, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Homicide - media (22 Jan) - Newspapers are failing their readers in coverage of homicide cases, according to new research sponsored by the ESRC. Better balance is needed by covering a wider range of cases instead of the current narrow focus on exceptional and dramatic stories, says a study led by Professor Keith Soothill and Brian Francis of the University of Lancaster. [more]


Obesity (21 Jan) - Between 1977 and 1996, portion sizes for key food groups grew markedly in the United States, not only at fast-food restaurants but also in homes and at conventional restaurants, a new study shows. [more]


Bullying (21 Jan) - Peer-group influence on adolescents is well established, especially regarding drugs and alcohol. New research indicates it also extends to bullying behavior. [more]


Development (21 Jan) - "Children as young as 12 months are making decisions based on the emotional reactions of adults around them. It turns out they can also use emotional information they pick up from television. This means that adults might want to think twice before they speak in a harsh or surprising tone or let an infant see television programs meant for an older person," according to Donna Mumme. [more]



Sleep (12 Jan) - New studies have revealed that even the best-behaved and careful drivers may encounter a new danger on the road - themselves.  According to the British journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers in Australia and New Zealand report that sleep deprivation can have some of the same hazardous effects as being drunk. [more]


Smell (20 Jan) - Reveling in the fragrance of a beautiful flower and being miserable as you endure the stench of changing the kitty litter may seem like opposite emotional experiences. However, a study in the February issue of Nature Neuroscience says your brain's response to such strong pleasant and unpleasant emotions are actually quite similar. [more

REVIEWS & DISCUSSION

Self - Lisa Bortolotti reviews Psychological Dimensions of the Self by Arnold H. Buss. [more] [review]

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Science - James Sage reviews The Empirical Stance by Bas C. Van Fraassen. [more] [review]

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Mental health - Tony O'Brien reviews Out of the Shadows: Confronting America's Mental Illness Crisis by E. Fuller Torrey. [more] [review]

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Borderline personality disorder - Christian Perring reviews Women and Borderline Personality Disorder: Symptoms and Stories by Janet Wirth-Cauchon. [more] [review]

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Genius - Costica Bradatan reviews Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds by Harold Bloom. [more] [review]

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Psychology - J. E. Morris reviews Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. [more] [review]

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Obesity - Fred Charatan reviews Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser. [more] [review] [chapter]

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Networks - David Cohen reviews Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age by Duncan J. Watts. [more] [review]

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Nurturing - Judith Lipton reviews The Tending Instinct: How Nurturing is Essential to Who We Are and How We Live by Shelley E. Taylor. [more] [excerpt] [review]

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Development - Ann Dowker reviews How Babies Think: The Science of Childhood by Alison Gopnik, Andrew Meltzoff and Patricia Kuhl. [more] [review]

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