ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network

Posts Tagged "Behavior"

Anthropology in Practice

Is data really changing the nature of wearable technology?

Fitbit and other health trackers.

Do you have a FitBit story? Last November, S came home with a Fitbit Flex. For those of you who don’t have one of these increasingly ubiquitous devices, it’s a small, plastic band that you wear on your wrist (there are other tracker options as well). It tracks the number of steps you take each [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

Burger with a side of toys: How is fast food being marketed to children?

CC, click on image for license and information.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began to heavily legislate cigarette marketing in the 1960s following a report from the Surgeon General’s office on the dangers of smoking. Efforts were largely focused on reducing the ads that targeted children, which often ran during programs for children and teens like The Flintstones. In a story that has [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

Can Cookie Monster teach us about peer pressure?

Photo by Brian Richardson, CC. Click on image for license and information.

It’s not quite news that Cookie Monster no longer eats cookies. Well, he’ll have one cookie, but only after he fills up on vegetables! Understandably, the public was outraged, and in response, Cookie Monster felt the need to clarify: He still eats cookies—for dessert—but he likes fruit and vegetables too. Cookie Monster needed to reassert [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

Confessions from a Reluctant e-Reader Adopter

How do you read? Photo by KDCosta, 2012.

I’m a bibliophile. And an avid bookworm. I bring books home the way some people do stray animals—I have a soft spot for books that have been thrown away, though I have been forced to learn some restraint in recent years as a result of space considerations. I’m always in need of more shelves. S [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

The Ways We Talk About Pain

Excerpts from the Personal Journal of Krystal D’Costa [i] Tuesday: I fell. Again. This time it was while getting out of the car. I’m not sure how I managed it. I got my foot caught on the door jamb and tumbled forward. I hit my shin—hard—against the door jamb and I think I tweaked my [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

Scent of a Woman

At seventeen I discovered the perfume that would become my signature scent. It’s a warm, rich, inviting fragrance[i] that reminds me (and hopefully others) of a rose garden in full bloom. Despite this fullness, it’s light enough to wear all day and it’s been in the background of many of my life experiences. It announces [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

Unmasking the Truth in Caricature

I had an interesting experience with Facebook’s face-recognition system for auto-tagging photos recently. Essentially, it misidentified a person in my photos. I didn’t catch the error until I posted the photos and, of course, Facebook had already helpfully notified the person that he had been tagged. What followed was damage control for the 21st-century: de-tagging, [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

Communicating Meaning Online: A Digital Expression of Theory of Mind

Licensed for use under Creative Commons by Kate Ter Harr.

The growth of email, instant messaging, texting, and various other digitally-mediated communicative tools (DMC) has been rapid and pervasive. The majority of people today are comfortable enough to use these communicative tools on a daily basis, particularly among younger generations. DMC appears to be a preferred means of communication. But the popularity of DMC forces [...]

Keep reading »
Beautiful Minds

Introducing The Psychology Podcast with Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman

itunes_logo

It’s my great pleasure to introduce The Psychology Podcast with Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, where we give you insights into the mind, brain, behavior and creativity. Each episode will feature a guest who will stimulate your mind, and give you a greater understanding of your self, others, and the world we live in. Hopefully, we’ll also provide a glimpse into [...]

Keep reading »
Bering in Mind

“So Then I Said to Roger Federer…”: The Tricky Business of Name-Dropping

Psychologists examine how name-dropping can backfire on those poor at the craft

Keep reading »
Bering in Mind

“Annoying Habits of College Professors” (circa 1935 to 1937)

Jesse Bering

The timeless pet peeves of American university students

Keep reading »
Bering in Mind

Equal Right to Kiss? Why You May Be Disgusted by Gay Behavior without Knowing It

“Gay-friendly” people unconsciously feel that two men kissing in public is morally wrong

Keep reading »
Bering in Mind

The Sorriest Animal: Why We Seek Forgiveness

Investigators explore how to use an apology effectively

Keep reading »
Bering in Mind

You Disgust Me: Does Bad Behavior Really Make Us Feel Unclean and Nauseated?

Research shows that people feel dirty after contemplating crimes

Keep reading »
Dog Spies

Could a Life-Sized TV Control Your Dog’s Brain?

3233723212_8a19b94fb0_q

This question was not proposed by a mad scientist bent on world doggie domination. The idea to see whether dogs follow life-sized videos is actually entirely sensible. Researchers studying non-human animals want to know whether their species of interest will attend to artificial stimuli—like photographs, slides or films—because if a species realistically attends to artificial [...]

Keep reading »
Dog Spies

What’s a Dog For?

4294212194_cafa9ed17d_q

A few years back, John Homans, former executive editor of New York magazine, published What’s a Dog For? — an intimate reflection on his beloved family dog, Stella, as well as a snapshot into the flourishing field of canine science. Looking down at the wagging tail by your side, you could easily answer the above [...]

Keep reading »
Dog Spies

Pulp Fiction Gangster Gets Dogs

5104399796_30332ba6af_m

Pulp Fiction gangster Jules Winnfield is right. “A dog’s got personality, and personality goes a long way.” Cross-species animal behavior studies confirm Winnfield’s statement (although he’s wrong about pigs: pigs have personality, too). Humans aren’t the only ones with ‘personalities,’ that is, usual patterns of behavior or characteristics that are relatively stable over time and [...]

Keep reading »
Dog Spies

The Unexpected Dog Killer

Alison Kennedy-Benson permission granted Dog Spies

For some, it happens in the bathroom. For others, it’s the living room. All across America, as fireworks go off on July 4th, many dogs experience varying degrees of fear and stress. Some crouch and huddle in the bathtub; others pace, pant and whine in the living room; others wildly dig and chew; and of [...]

Keep reading »
Dog Spies

Is Dog Training Scientific?

ScienceinTraining

Dog owners seem pleased when they meet me because they can talk about their dog with someone who is truly interested. Sometimes they share intricate descriptions about something interesting that their dog does (often followed with the question, “Why does she do that?”), and other times, owners have a question like, “How do I get [...]

Keep reading »
Dog Spies

Maybe Dogs Don’t Want to be Walked by a Drone

7481335294_f9984b6858_m

I like playing the game, “What’s going to make people mad?” Dogs wearing pantyhose = mass hysteria! A dog being walked by a drone = not cool… but hmm… kinda cool? Now that the robots have taken over our cars and our gameshows, they’re also moving in on our dogs. Earlier this month, one innovative [...]

Keep reading »
Dog Spies

Usher might ruin your dog’s Fourth of July

5724364290_8e072caf9f_q

For many, the Fourth of July is about food, food, alcohol and more food (maybe with a side of baseball). But as late afternoon rolls around and people prepare for fireworks displays, you might remember, “Hey… didn’t Banjo freak out about the fireworks last year?” If you live in NYC, R&B star Usher is “curating” [...]

Keep reading »
Dog Spies

Dogs and Cats in the Home: Happiness for All?

catanddog

‘Dogs and Cats in the Home: Happiness for All?’ was a Finalist in the inaugural ScienceSeeker Awards* in the category Best Post About Peer-reviewed Research (winners and finalists listed here). Congrats to all those recognized and many thanks to the judges** for putting in how many hours? A version of this post first appeared at [...]

Keep reading »
Extinction Countdown

Endangered Falcon Lives Fast, Dies Young in Response to Habitat Loss

mauritius kestrel

Few species have undergone as spectacular a recovery as the Mauritius kestrel (Falco punctatus). Forty years ago the birds were nearly extinct, with only four of the small falcons remaining in the wild. But intense conservation efforts over the ensuing decades paid off. By 1994 the population had grown to a few hundred birds, enough [...]

Keep reading »
Extinction Countdown

Tourists Are Giving Endangered Iguanas Diarrhea and High Cholesterol

iguana grape

Hop on over to the photo-sharing site Flickr and you’ll find dozens of photos and videos of people eagerly feeding grapes to hungry iguanas on the beaches of the Bahamas. It looks like great fun and the iguanas obviously go crazy for the fruit, which is usually fed to the lizards on the ends of [...]

Keep reading »
Guest Blog

So You Think You Know Why Animals Play…

The lush riverside vegetation sways as a herd of elephant wends its way between the broken pools. Standing at the top of an embankment, a half-grown male is watching a larger elephant trudge up the slope toward it. Without warning, the youngster squats down on his haunches (just like a dog) and launches himself down [...]

Keep reading »
Guest Blog

Too Hard for Science? Bora Zivkovic–Centuries to Solve the Secrets of Cicadas

Red-eyed periodic cicadas emerge every 13 or 17 years, but finding out why could take millennia In ""Too Hard for Science?" I interview scientists about ideas they would love to explore that they don’t think could be investigated. For instance, they might involve machines beyond the realm of possibility, such as particle accelerators as big [...]

Keep reading »
Guest Blog

Digitizing Jane Goodall’s legacy at Duke

Fifty years ago, in the summer of 1960–the same year that a U.S. satellite snapped the first photo of the Earth from space, the same year that the CERN particle accelerator became operational, the same year that the Beatles got their name–a 26-year-old Jane Goodall got on a plane in London and went for the [...]

Keep reading »
Guest Blog

Serotonin and sexual preference: Is it really that simple?

Last week, Nature issued a new paper. The paper used two different strains of mice, one lacking all serotonin neurons (called Lmx1b knockouts), and one lacking the rate limiting enzyme for the production of serotonin (called TPH2 knockouts). The authors demonstrated that these mice, lacking serotonin, did not distinguish between sexual partners, mounting male and [...]

Keep reading »
Guest Blog

Learning from Tinka: Able-bodied chimps cop a back-scratching technique from a handicapped friend.

With one misstep and the snap of a trap, Tinka was broken. The 50-year-old chimpanzee’s hands were mangled and left severely deformed and almost useless. Most of the muscles of his left wrist were paralyzed, and he was left with a limited range of movement. His left hand just sat there in a hooked position, [...]

Keep reading »
Guest Blog

Pleasure, reward…and rabbits! Why do animals behave as they do?

My wife and I keep pet rabbits. Observe their cuteness: We feed Jackson (he’s the black one) and Dutchess (she’s the big one) once each morning and once each night, and usually give them a few treats in between. A month or so ago, we noticed that when we open the refrigerator door they hop [...]

Keep reading »
MIND Guest Blog

Chimps Will Share Their Lunch—but Only If They Like You

Chimpanzees have a lot to gain from climbing the social ladder. It now appears that lower-ranking male chimps strengthen bonds with their friends in high places by alerting them to some good eats. Researchers experimentally captured this communication—amounting to “hey buddy, there’s some food over here”—for the first time among a society of wild chimpanzees [...]

Keep reading »
MIND Guest Blog

Plenty of Pheromones in the Sea

As we sat in my car outside a silent movie theater in Los Angeles, my friend anxiously opened a plastic bag containing a white T-shirt she’d slept in for the past three nights. “Does it smell like me?” she asked nervously, gesturing the open end toward my face. I stuck my nose into the bag [...]

Keep reading »
MIND Guest Blog

The Dark Side of Power Posing: Cape or Kryptonite?

In 1942, the mild mannered Clark Kent excused himself from his friend Lois Lane to take an important call. Clark slipped into a phone booth (remember those?), and moments later Superman emerged. Have you ever wished that you had ability to step into a phone booth or bathroom for a minute to shed your insecurities [...]

Keep reading »
MIND Guest Blog

Should Habits or Goals Direct Your Life? It Depends

It happens to us all: you spend all day avoiding the cookie jar at work, but when you pass by it in the late afternoon, your hand reaches in and grabs a cookie. Before you know it, you’re wiping crumbs from your mouth. Or, on the way to the new job, you get distracted by [...]

Keep reading »
Not bad science

Chimpanzees React To A Robo-Doll

Once the chimps calmed down they actually quite liked the robodoll, offering it toys to play with

A large portion of what animals do is interact with each other. As a social species, we can hardly go an hour without some kind of interaction with another human, be it face-to-face or via text or email. Even animals that aren’t particularly social still generally have to interact with each other once in a [...]

Keep reading »
Not bad science

Bumblebees Are More Flexible Than We Knew

A bee drinking the sucrose reward on the yellow 'flower'

I recently wrote about how bumblebees were able to perform some seemingly impressive feats, although the underlying reason they could do so was relatively simple. However, recent work by Caroline Strang and David Sherry has demonstrated that bumblebees are capable of another behavioural feat, never before shown in this species. In this post, researcher Caroline [...]

Keep reading »
Not bad science

Left-Eyed Fish Are Faster Learners

The rainbowfish, Melanotaenia duboulayi

You may have heard the claim that left-handed people are smarter than right handed people. Specifically, it seems that left-handed people are over represented in musicians, architects and art and music students. Why this might be isn’t entirely clear, but it is possible that it has something to do with the left-handed brain being larger [...]

Keep reading »
Not bad science

Robins Pay Attention To Which Way You’re Looking When Stealing From You

The Wild North Island robin

In a week where gaze-following seems to be the hot topic, there being studies in both primates and dogs, another study took a rather different approach to looking at gaze-following. Wild North Island robins are unusual in that they live on an isolated island and as a result are unafraid of humans and other mammals. [...]

Keep reading »
Not bad science

Dogs Follow the Gaze of Humans, Especially When There’s Food Involved

3512872261_b418d1231f_m

I recently wrote about how humans and other primates follow the gaze of others. This week I read about two more interesting findings relating to gaze-following, the first in dogs, the second in robins. The first study used forty family-owned dogs. The researchers wanted half of these dogs to think that there was food hidden [...]

Keep reading »
Not bad science

What Are You Looking At?: Is Gaze-Following Particularly Human?

gaze (2)

Imagine that you walk into a room, where three people are sitting, facing you. Their faces are oriented towards you, but all three of them have their eyes directed towards the left side of the room. You would probably follow their gaze to the point where they were looking (if you weren’t too unnerved to [...]

Keep reading »
Not bad science

How Do Male Spiders Get Away With Giving Worthless Gifts to Females?

Male gift-giving spider carrying his wrapped gift

In many animals, males give females a gift in the hope of getting to mate with her. This might sound overly simplistic, but this really can be how it happens. For example, kingfishers will catch fish to give to females as part of their courtship. However, having a system like this means that there is [...]

Keep reading »
Not bad science

Black Widows Have More Control Over Their Attacks Than You Think

The western widow spider, Latrodectus hesperus

Imagine that you’re being attacked by a lion. Or if you happen to be a lion-wrestler, imagine that it’s a shark. How hard are you going to fight back? Probably with everything you’ve got. This is about as dangerous as a situation as you can be in, and you’re going to kick, punch, bite and [...]

Keep reading »
Not bad science

Can Chimpanzees Teach us Anything About Differences Between Boys and Girls?

898098056_80bbc7321e

Whether there exist differences between boys and girls is passionately debated (for example, see this debate about gender disparity between Stephen Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke). Some studies have found that girls are more sociable than boys, but prefer to play with just one other person, while boys prefer a larger group to play with. However, [...]

Keep reading »
Not bad science

Any Black Bear Experts Out There?

The male descending the tree while the female remains at the top. She followed shortly after.

I recently took a trip to Yellowstone national park, which, as expected, was an amazing place. The geysers and hot water pools were beautiful; walking around there you felt like you were on another planet. Just south of yellowstone, I stayed in the Grand Teton national park for a couple nights, and there I was [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Free Will: Is Your Brain the Boss of You? [Video]

Michael Gazzaniga

Philosophers have debated for years whether we deliberately make each of the many decisions we make every day, or if our brain does it for us, on autopilot. Neuroscientists have shown, for example, that neurons in the brain initiate our response to various stimuli milliseconds before we’re even aware that we’re taking such an action. [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Scientists Use Tiny Robots to Understand Ants [Video]

Want to know how ants think? Look to the robots. A study published in PLOS Computational Biology explains how researchers used tiny robots to investigate ant behavior. The researchers wanted to know if real ants use geometry to navigate their environment. They sent the robots through mazes where all paths diverged at the same angle, [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

The Cool City Challenge: Getting a Low-Carbon Lifestyle to Catch On

Most people are aware that reducing carbon emissions could help the planet. But convincing a particular individual to change his or her behavior in ways that emit less carbon—not to mention the behavior of an entire city—can be a monumental challenge. David Gershon, founder of the Empowerment Institute in Woodstock, N.Y., is taking on that [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Mongoose mentors teach traditions through imitation

In Australia, some dolphins suit up for dinner. Before poking through seafloor mud for a delectable crustacean or cephalopod, the dolphins protect their sensitive snouts with marine sponges. What’s more, dolphins teach each other this behavior. It’s a kind of cultural learning observed in other highly intelligent animals, such as chimpanzees, who teach one another [...]

Keep reading »
Octopus Chronicles

8 Great Octopus Videos! [Video]

It’s Octopus Chronicles‘ 88th post! To celebrate, I’ve gone on an all-arms hunt through the deep crevasses of the internet to find eight of my favorite octopus videos. Some are old classics (such as Roger Hanlon‘s amazing, reverse-vanishing octopus) and others are new and stunning—and one even features an octopus walking (slithering?) on land. Really, [...]

Keep reading »
Octopus Chronicles

Giant Octopus Checks Out Camera and Diver [Video] [Updated]

The octopus making headlines this week was probably not—contrary to other claims—attempting to wrestle a diver or take a selfie. But then again, nice, curious invertebrates rarely make headlines. Two divers, Warren Murray and David Malvestuto, were photographing wildlife in Bluefish Cove, off the cost of Carmel, California about 80 feet below the surface, NBC News [...]

Keep reading »
Streams of Consciousness

Is Your Sense of Humor in Your Genes? Geneticists Crack the Code

          // Editor’s note: Brain Basics from Scientific American Mind is a series of short video primers on the brain and how we feel, think and act. Below is a synopsis of the seventh video in the series written by a guest on this blog, Roni Jacobson, a science journalist based [...]

Keep reading »
Tetrapod Zoology

Neat news from the TetZoo-sphere

"Tapirs sometimes walk on the bottom of lakes and rivers". Oh really? Yes, really.

Here are some amazing things that me and my friends have been talking about lately. They all concern fascinating discoveries or insights into unusual aspects of tetrapod behaviour. We’ll start with my current obsession: the short bit of underwater footage (16 seconds long) that shows an adult Lowland tapir Tapirus terrestris ‘walking’ (at great speed) [...]

Keep reading »

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Holiday Sale

Give a Gift &
Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now! >

X

Email this Article

X