Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Abstraction


After reviewing the pertinent philosophical and psychoanalytic writings on the concept of dignity, this paper proposes three categories of dignity. Conceptualized as phenomenological clusters, heuristic viewpoints, and levels of abstraction, these include (i) metaphysical dignity which extends the concept of dignity beyond the human species to all that exists in this world, (ii) existential dignity which applies to human beings alone and rests upon their inherent capacity for moral transcendence, and (iii) characterological dignity which applies more to some human beings than others since they possess a certain set of personality traits that are developmentally derived. The paper discusses the pros and cons of each category and acknowledges the limitations of such classification. It also discusses the multiple ways in which these concepts impact upon clinical work and concludes with some remarks on the relationship of dignity to choice, narcissism, and suicide.

Concepts: Psychology, Ontology, Idea, Thought, Concept, Metaphysics, Abstraction, Category of being


The relationship between sex/gender differences and autism has attracted a variety of research ranging from clinical and neurobiological to etiological, stimulated by the male bias in autism prevalence. Findings are complex and do not always relate to each other in a straightforward manner. Distinct but interlinked questions on the relationship between sex/gender differences and autism remain underaddressed. To better understand the implications from existing research and to help design future studies, we propose a 4-level conceptual framework to clarify the embedded themes.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medicine, Abstraction, Conceptual framework


Social relationships and interactions contribute to daily emotional well-being. The emotional benefits that come from engaging with others are known to arise from real events, but do they also come from the imagination during daydreaming activity? Using experience sampling methodology with 101 participants, we obtained 371 reports of naturally occurring daydreams with social and non-social content and self-reported feelings before and after daydreaming. Social, but not non-social, daydreams were associated with increased happiness, love and connection and this effect was not solely attributable to the emotional content of the daydreams. These effects were only present when participants were lacking in these feelings before daydreaming and when the daydream involved imagining others with whom the daydreamer had a high quality relationship. Findings are consistent with the idea that social daydreams may function to regulate emotion: imagining close others may serve the current emotional needs of daydreamers by increasing positive feelings towards themselves and others.

Concepts: Abstraction, Imagination, Daydream


‘Communication’ between abiotic nanoscale chemical systems is an almost-unexplored field with enormous potential. Here we show the design and preparation of a chemical communication system based on enzyme-powered Janus nanoparticles, which mimics an interactive model of communication. Cargo delivery from one nanoparticle is governed by the biunivocal communication with another nanoparticle, which involves two enzymatic processes and the interchange of chemical messengers. The conceptual idea of establishing communication between nanodevices opens the opportunity to develop complex nanoscale systems capable of sharing information and cooperating.

Concepts: Nanoparticle, Nanotechnology, System, Model, Abstraction, The Opportunity


This article investigates how neuroscience in general, and neuroscience of creativity in particular, can be used in teaching “applied creativity” and the usefulness of this approach to creativity training. The article is based on empirical data and our experiences from the Applied NeuroCreativity (ANC) program, taught at business schools in Denmark and Canada. In line with previous studies of successful creativity training programs the ANC participants are first introduced to cognitive concepts of creativity, before applying these concepts to a relevant real world creative problem. The novelty in the ANC program is that the conceptualization of creativity is built on neuroscience, and a crucial aspect of the course is giving the students a thorough understanding of the neuroscience of creativity. Previous studies have reported that the conceptualization of creativity used in such training is of major importance for the success of the training, and we believe that the neuroscience of creativity offers a novel conceptualization for creativity training. Here we present pre/post-training tests showing that ANC students gained more fluency in divergent thinking (a traditional measure of trait creativity) than those in highly similar courses without the neuroscience component, suggesting that principles from neuroscience can contribute effectively to creativity training and produce measurable results on creativity tests. The evidence presented indicates that the inclusion of neuroscience principles in a creativity course can in 8 weeks increase divergent thinking skills with an individual relative average of 28.5%.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Education, Cognition, Idea, Thought, Problem solving, Abstraction


BackgroundInformed consent in research is partly achieved through the use of information sheets. There is a perception however that these information sheets are long and complex. The recommended reading level for patient information is grade 6, or 11-12 years old.AimsTo investigate whether the readability of participant information sheets has changed over time, whether particular study characteristics are related to poorer readability and whether readability and other study characteristics are related to successful study recruitment.MethodWe obtained 522 information sheets from the UK National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network: Mental Health portfolio database and study principal investigators. Readability was assessed with the Flesch reading index and the Grade level test.ResultsInformation sheets increased in length over the study period. The mean grade level across all information sheets was 9.8, or 15-16 years old. A high level of patient involvement was associated with more recruitment success and studies involving pharmaceutical or device interventions were the least successful. The complexity of information sheets had little bearing on successful recruitment.ConclusionsInformation sheets are far more complex than the recommended reading level of grade 6 for patient information. The disparity may be exacerbated by an increasing focus on legal content. Researchers would benefit from clear guidance from ethics committees on writing succinctly and accessibly and how to balance the competing legal issues with the ability of participants to understand what a study entails.

Concepts: Medicine, Perception, Sense, Writing, Cultural studies, Abstraction, Readability, Health research


The idea that underlying, generative mechanisms give rise to causal regularities has become a guiding principle across many social and natural science disciplines. A specific form of this enquiry, realist evaluation is gaining momentum in the evaluation of complex social interventions. It focuses on ‘what works, how, in which conditions and for whom’ using context, mechanism and outcome configurations as opposed to asking whether an intervention ‘works’. Realist evaluation can be difficult to codify and requires considerable researcher reflection and creativity. As such there is often confusion when operationalising the method in practice. This article aims to clarify and further develop the concept of mechanism in realist evaluation and in doing so aid the learning of those operationalising the methodology.

Concepts: Scientific method, Cognition, Science, Idea, Concepts in metaphysics, Nature, Abstraction, Natural science


Are musicians better able to understand speech in noise than non-musicians? Recent findings have produced contradictory results. Here we addressed this question by asking musicians and non-musicians to understand target sentences masked by other sentences presented from different spatial locations, the classical ‘cocktail party problem’ in speech science. We found that musicians obtained a substantial benefit in this situation, with thresholds ~6 dB better than non-musicians. Large individual differences in performance were noted particularly for the non-musically trained group. Furthermore, in different conditions we manipulated the spatial location and intelligibility of the masking sentences, thus changing the amount of ‘informational masking’ (IM) while keeping the amount of ‘energetic masking’ (EM) relatively constant. When the maskers were unintelligible and spatially separated from the target (low in IM), musicians and non-musicians performed comparably. These results suggest that the characteristics of speech maskers and the amount of IM can influence the magnitude of the differences found between musicians and non-musicians in multiple-talker “cocktail party” environments. Furthermore, considering the task in terms of the EM-IM distinction provides a conceptual framework for future behavioral and neuroscientific studies which explore the underlying sensory and cognitive mechanisms contributing to enhanced “speech-in-noise” perception by musicians.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognition, Perception, Concept, Abstraction, Music, Party, Cocktail party


Prior research has established that while the use of concrete, familiar examples can provide many important benefits for learning, it is also associated with some serious disadvantages, particularly in learners' ability to recognize and transfer their knowledge to new analogous situations. However, it is not immediately clear whether this pattern would hold in real world educational contexts, in which the role of such examples in student engagement and ease of processing might be of enough importance to overshadow any potential negative impact. We conducted two experiments in which curriculum-relevant material was presented in natural classroom environments, first with college undergraduates and then with middle-school students. All students in each study received the same relevant content, but the degree of contextualization in these materials was varied between students. In both studies, we found that greater contextualization was associated with poorer transfer performance. We interpret these results as reflecting a greater degree of embeddedness for the knowledge acquired from richer, more concrete materials, such that the underlying principles are represented in a less abstract and generalizable form.

Concepts: Education, Educational psychology, Linguistics, Learning, Metaphysics, Abstraction, Student, Concrete


Across healthcare systems, there is consensus on the need for independent and impartial assessment of performance. There is less agreement about how measurement and reporting performance improves healthcare. This paper draws on academic theories to develop a conceptual framework-one that classifies in an integrated manner the ways in which change can be leveraged by healthcare performance information.

Concepts: Improve, Truth, Thought, Peer review, Concept, Abstraction, Play