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Concept: Activity


A brain-to-brain interface (BTBI) enabled a real-time transfer of behaviorally meaningful sensorimotor information between the brains of two rats. In this BTBI, an “encoder” rat performed sensorimotor tasks that required it to select from two choices of tactile or visual stimuli. While the encoder rat performed the task, samples of its cortical activity were transmitted to matching cortical areas of a “decoder” rat using intracortical microstimulation (ICMS). The decoder rat learned to make similar behavioral selections, guided solely by the information provided by the encoder rat’s brain. These results demonstrated that a complex system was formed by coupling the animals' brains, suggesting that BTBIs can enable dyads or networks of animal’s brains to exchange, process, and store information and, hence, serve as the basis for studies of novel types of social interaction and for biological computing devices.

Concepts: Brain, Cerebral cortex, Emergence, Visual perception, The Animals, Activity, Behavior, Task


The present study examined the relationship between personality and individual differences in multi-tasking ability. Participants enrolled at the University of Utah completed measures of multi-tasking activity, perceived multi-tasking ability, impulsivity, and sensation seeking. In addition, they performed the Operation Span in order to assess their executive control and actual multi-tasking ability. The findings indicate that the persons who are most capable of multi-tasking effectively are not the persons who are most likely to engage in multiple tasks simultaneously. To the contrary, multi-tasking activity as measured by the Media Multitasking Inventory and self-reported cell phone usage while driving were negatively correlated with actual multi-tasking ability. Multi-tasking was positively correlated with participants' perceived ability to multi-task ability which was found to be significantly inflated. Participants with a strong approach orientation and a weak avoidance orientation - high levels of impulsivity and sensation seeking - reported greater multi-tasking behavior. Finally, the findings suggest that people often engage in multi-tasking because they are less able to block out distractions and focus on a singular task. Participants with less executive control - low scorers on the Operation Span task and persons high in impulsivity - tended to report higher levels of multi-tasking activity.

Concepts: Psychology, Activity, Multitasking, Media multitasking, Task, Multiplication, Executive functions


Low levels of physical activity and increased participation in sedentary leisure-time activities are two important obesity-risk behaviors that impact the health of today’s youth. Friend’s health behaviors have been shown to influence individual health behaviors; however, current evidence on the specific role of friendship networks in relation to levels of physical activity and sedentary behavior is limited. The purpose of this review was to summarize evidence on friendship networks and both physical activity and sedentary behavior among children and adolescents.

Concepts: Sociology, Activity, Behavior, Human behavior, Friendship, Laelius de Amicitia


The comparison of volumes of cells and subcellular structures with the pH values reported for them leads to a conflict with the definition of the pH scale. The pH scale is based on the ionic product of water, K(w) = [H(+)]×[OH(-)].We used K(w) [in a reversed way] to calculate the number of undissociated H(2)O molecules required by this equilibrium constant to yield at least one of its daughter ions, H(+) or OH(-) at a given pH. In this way we obtained a formula that relates pH to the minimal volume V(pH) required to provide a physical meaning to K(w), [Formula: see text] (where N(A) is Avogadro’s number). For example, at pH 7 (neutral at 25°C) V(pH) = 16.6 aL. Any deviation from neutral pH results in a larger V(pH) value. Our results indicate that many subcellular structures, including coated vesicles and lysosomes, are too small to contain free H(+) ions at equilibrium, thus the definition of pH based on K(w) is no longer valid. Larger subcellular structures, such as mitochondria, apparently contain only a few free H(+) ions. These results indicate that pH fails to describe intracellular conditions, and that water appears to be dissociated too weakly to provide free H(+) ions as a general source for biochemical reactions. Consequences of this finding are discussed.

Concepts: Acid, Chemistry, Atom, Acid dissociation constant, PH, Activity, PH indicator, Equilibrium constant


A comprehensive review on the chemistry of Spongia sp. is here presented, together with the biological activity of the isolated compounds. The compounds are grouped in sesquiterpene quinones, diterpenes, C21 and other linear furanoterpenes, sesterterpenes, sterols (including secosterols), macrolides and miscellaneous compounds. Among other reports we include studies on the intraspecific diversity of a Mediterranean species, compounds isolated from associated sponge and nudibranch and compounds isolated from S. zimocca and the red seaweed Laurentia microcladia. Under biological activity a table of the reported biological activities of the various compounds and the biological screening of extracts are described. The present review covers the literature from 1971 to 2015.

Concepts: Present, Photosynthesis, Species, Report, Activity, Sponge, Seaweed, Bryozoa


Findings on weight training and waist circumference (WC) change are controversial. This study examined prospectively whether weight training, moderate to vigorous aerobic activity (MVAA), and replacement of one activity for another were associated with favorable changes in WC and body weight (BW).

Concepts: Activity, Aerobic exercise


Social insect colonies are highly successful, self-organized complex systems. Surprisingly however, most social insect colonies contain large numbers of highly inactive workers. Although this may seem inefficient, it may be that inactive workers actually contribute to colony function. Indeed, the most commonly proposed explanation for inactive workers is that they form a ‘reserve’ labor force that becomes active when needed, thus helping mitigate the effects of colony workload fluctuations or worker loss. Thus, it may be that inactive workers facilitate colony flexibility and resilience. However, this idea has not been empirically confirmed. Here we test whether colonies of Temnothorax rugatulus ants replace highly active (spending large proportions of time on specific tasks) or highly inactive (spending large proportions of time completely immobile) workers when they are experimentally removed. We show that colonies maintained pre-removal activity levels even after active workers were removed, and that previously inactive workers became active subsequent to the removal of active workers. Conversely, when inactive workers were removed, inactivity levels decreased and remained lower post-removal. Thus, colonies seem to have mechanisms for maintaining a certain number of active workers, but not a set number of inactive workers. The rapid replacement (within 1 week) of active workers suggests that the tasks they perform, mainly foraging and brood care, are necessary for colony function on short timescales. Conversely, the lack of replacement of inactive workers even 2 weeks after their removal suggests that any potential functions they have, including being a ‘reserve’, are less important, or auxiliary, and do not need immediate recovery. Thus, inactive workers act as a reserve labor force and may still play a role as food stores for the colony, but a role in facilitating colony-wide communication is unlikely. Our results are consistent with the often cited, but never yet empirically supported hypothesis that inactive workers act as a pool of ‘reserve’ labor that may allow colonies to quickly take advantage of novel resources and to mitigate worker loss.

Concepts: Scientific method, Economics, Activity, Ant, Replacements, Replacement, Vitruvius, Colony


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of exposure to dim light at night (dLAN) when sleeping on functional brain activation during a working-memory tasks. We conducted the brain functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis on 20 healthy male subjects. All participants slept in a polysomnography laboratory without light exposure on the first and second nights and under a dim-light condition of either 5 or 10 lux on the third night. The fMRI scanning was conducted during n-back tasks after second and third nights. Statistical parametric maps revealed less activation in the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) after exposure to 10-lux light. The brain activity in the right and left IFG areas decreased more during the 2-back task than during the 1- or 0-back task in the 10-lux group. The exposure to 5-lux light had no significant effect on brain activities. The exposure to dLAN might influence the brain function which is related to the cognition.

Concepts: Brain, Sleep, Neuroscience, Magnetic resonance imaging, Electroencephalography, Polysomnography, Activity, Task


Healthcare services increasingly use the activity recognition technology to track the daily activities of individuals. In some cases, this is used to provide incentives. For example, some health insurance companies offer discount to customers who are physically active, based on the data collected from their activity tracking devices. Therefore, there is an increasing motivation for individuals to cheat, by making activity trackers detect activities that increase their benefits rather than the ones they actually do. In this study, we used a novel method to make activity recognition robust against deceptive behavior. We asked 14 subjects to attempt to trick our smartphone-based activity classifier by making it detect an activity other than the one they actually performed, for example by shaking the phone while seated to make the classifier detect walking. If they succeeded, we used their motion data to retrain the classifier, and asked them to try to trick it again. The experiment ended when subjects could no longer cheat. We found that some subjects were not able to trick the classifier at all, while others required five rounds of retraining. While classifiers trained on normal activity data predicted true activity with ~38% accuracy, training on the data gathered during the deceptive behavior increased their accuracy to ~84%. We conclude that learning the deceptive behavior of one individual helps to detect the deceptive behavior of others. Thus, we can make current activity recognition robust to deception by including deceptive activity data from a few individuals.

Concepts: Training, Activity, Motivation, Human behavior, Automation, Normality, Deception, Retraining


Non-invasive measurements of brain activity have an important role to play in understanding driving ability. The current study aimed to identify the neural underpinnings of human driving behavior by visualizing the areas of the brain involved in driving under different levels of demand, such as driving while distracted or making left turns at busy intersections. To capture brain activity during driving, we placed a driving simulator with a fully functional steering wheel and pedals in a 3.0 Tesla functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) system. To identify the brain areas involved while performing different real-world driving maneuvers, participants completed tasks ranging from simple (right turns) to more complex (left turns at busy intersections). To assess the effects of driving while distracted, participants were asked to perform an auditory task while driving analogous to speaking on a hands-free device and driving. A widely distributed brain network was identified, especially when making left turns at busy intersections compared to more simple driving tasks. During distracted driving, brain activation shifted dramatically from the posterior, visual and spatial areas to the prefrontal cortex. Our findings suggest that the distracted brain sacrificed areas in the posterior brain important for visual attention and alertness to recruit enough brain resources to perform a secondary, cognitive task. The present findings offer important new insights into the scientific understanding of the neuro-cognitive mechanisms of driving behavior and lay down an important foundation for future clinical research.

Concepts: Psychology, Brain, Magnetic resonance imaging, Cerebrum, Electroencephalography, Activity, Premotor cortex, Prefrontal cortex