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Posts Tagged "Behavior"

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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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, [...]

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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 [...]

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Dog Spies

Usher might ruin your dog’s Fourth of July

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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” [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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, [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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Not bad science

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

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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, [...]

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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 [...]

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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, [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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The Scicurious Brain

Did Your Daddy Raise You to Sing Like That?

800px-Taeniopygia_guttata_-Bird_Kingdom,_Niagara_Falls,_Ontario,_Canada_-pair-8a

When most of us hear birds twittering away in the trees, we hear it as background noise. It’s often hard to separate out one bird from another. But when you can, you begin to hear just how complex birdsong can be, a complex way of male signaling to a female how THEY are the best, [...]

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The Scicurious Brain

Friday Weird Science! Being served at bars…is not about you

A strange and awkward title, that. But it’s true. That paper about how best to get service at bars? Is not about you. And it’s not about how BEST to get served at a bar. It’s about a robot. Sorry. Head over to Neurotic Physiology to find out why.

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