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

Concept: Allocation


Little is known about how physician time is allocated in ambulatory care.

Concepts: Allocation, Ambulatory care


Do economics students behave more selfishly than other students? Experiments involving monetary allocations suggest so. This article investigates the underlying motives for the economic students' more selfish behavior by separating three potential explanatory mechanisms: economics students are less concerned with fairness when making allocation decisions; have a different notion of what is fair in allocations; or are more skeptical about other people’s allocations, which in turn makes them less willing to comply with a shared fairness norm. The three mechanisms were tested by inviting students from various disciplines to participate in a relatively novel experimental game and asking all participants to give reasons for their choices. Compared with students of other disciplines, economics students were about equally likely to mention fairness in their comments; had a similar notion of what was fair in the situation; however, they expected lower offers, made lower offers, and were less willing to enforce compliance with a fair allocation at a cost to themselves. The economics students' lower expectations mediated their allocation decisions, suggesting that economics students behaved more selfishly because they expected others not to comply with the shared fairness norm.

Concepts: Participation, Economics, Experiment, Expected value, Allocation, Economic system, Selfishness, Behave


It is argued that trophy hunting of large, charismatic mammal species can have considerable conservation benefits but only if undertaken sustainably. Social-ecological theory suggests such sustainability only results from developing governance systems that balance financial and biological requirements. Here we use lion (Panthera leo) trophy hunting data from Tanzania to investigate how resource ownership patterns influence hunting revenue and offtake levels. Tanzania contains up to half of the global population of free-ranging lions and is also the main location for lion trophy hunting in Africa. However, there are concerns that current hunting levels are unsustainable. The lion hunting industry in Tanzania is run by the private sector, although the government leases each hunting block to companies, enforces hunting regulation, and allocates them a species-specific annual quota per block. The length of these leases varies and theories surrounding property rights and tenure suggest hunting levels would be less sustainable in blocks experiencing a high turnover of short-term leases. We explored this issue using lion data collected from 1996 to 2008 in the Selous Game Reserve (SGR), the most important trophy hunting destination in Tanzania. We found that blocks in SGR with the highest lion hunting offtake were also those that experienced the steepest declines in trophy offtake. In addition, we found this high hunting offtake and the resultant offtake decline tended to be in blocks under short-term tenure. In contrast, lion hunting levels in blocks under long-term tenure matched more closely the recommended sustainable offtake of 0.92 lions per 1000 km2. However, annual financial returns were higher from blocks under short-term tenure, providing $133 per km2 of government revenue as compared to $62 per km2 from long-term tenure blocks. Our results provide evidence for the importance of property rights in conservation, and support calls for an overhaul of the system in Tanzania by developing competitive market-based approaches for block allocation based on long-term tenure of ten years.

Concepts: Mammal, Lion, Sustainability, Hunting, Property, Allocation, Sustainable development, Lions


Objectives. We examined state-specific administrative barriers to allocating 2009 H1N1 influenza public health emergency response (PHER) funds. Methods. We conducted a qualitative review of PHER grants management reports to identify and code barriers reported by states in allocating funds. Using linear regression, we examined the relationship between the percentage of funds allocated and each individual barrier and, separately, the cumulative effect of multiple barriers. Results. States reported 6 barrier types, including regulatory issues (n = 14, or 28%), contracting issues (n = 14, or 28%), purchasing issues (n = 6, or 12%), legislative issues (n = 5, or 10%), staffing issues (n = 5, or 10%), and issues transferring funds between state and local health departments (n = 4, or 8%). In multivariate models, having experienced a purchasing barrier was associated with a significant decrease in PHER allocation (B = -26.4; P = .018). Separately, the cumulative effect of having 3 barriers was associated with a decrease in PHER allocation (B = -16.0; P = .079). Conclusions. Purchasing barriers were associated with delayed use of PHER funds. Moreover, the cumulative effect of any 3 barriers hampered the allocation of funds. Understanding barriers to using funds can inform future funding guidance for improved efficiency of response efforts. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print February 17, 2015: e1-e6. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302378).

Concepts: Influenza, Swine influenza, Pandemic, 2009 flu pandemic, Influenza A virus subtype H1N1, Allocation, Pandemic H1N1/09 virus, Economic system


Adults frequently employ reputation-enhancing strategies when engaging in prosocial acts, behaving more generously when their actions are likely to be witnessed by others and even more so when the extent of their generosity is made public. This study examined the developmental origins of sensitivity to cues associated with reputationally motivated prosociality by presenting five-year-olds with the option to provide one or four stickers to a familiar peer recipient at no cost to themselves. We systematically manipulated the recipient’s knowledge of the actor’s choices in two different ways: (1) occluding the recipient’s view of both the actor and the allocation options and (2) presenting allocations in opaque containers whose contents were visible only to the actor. Children were consistently generous only when the recipient was fully aware of the donation options; in all cases in which the recipient was not aware of the donation options, children were strikingly ungenerous. These results demonstrate that five-year-olds exhibit “strategic prosociality,” behaving differentially generous as a function of the amount of information available to the recipient about their actions. These findings suggest that long before they develop a rich understanding of the social significance of reputation or are conscious of complex strategic reasoning, children behave more generously when the details of their prosocial actions are available to others.

Concepts: Understanding, Consciousness, Strategy, Allocation


Big changes to the way in which research funding is allocated to UK universities were brought about in the Research Excellence Framework (REF), overseen by the Higher Education Funding Council, England. Replacing the earlier Research Assessment Exercise, the purpose of the REF was to assess the quality and reach of research in UK universities-and allocate funding accordingly. For the first time, this included an assessment of research ‘impact’, accounting for 20% of the funding allocation. In this article we use a text mining technique to investigate the interpretations of impact put forward via impact case studies in the REF process. We find that institutions have developed a diverse interpretation of impact, ranging from commercial applications to public and cultural engagement activities. These interpretations of impact vary from discipline to discipline and between institutions, with more broad-based institutions depicting a greater variety of impacts. Comparing the interpretations with the score given by REF, we found no evidence of one particular interpretation being more highly rewarded than another. Importantly, we also found a positive correlation between impact score and [overall research] quality score, suggesting that impact is not being achieved at the expense of research excellence.

Concepts: Allocation


Why are physically formidable men willingly allocated higher social status by others in cooperative groups? Ancestrally, physically formidable males would have been differentially equipped to generate benefits for groups by providing leadership services of within-group enforcement (e.g., implementing punishment of free riders) and between-group representation (e.g., negotiating with other coalitions). Therefore, we hypothesize that adaptations for social status allocation are designed to interpret men’s physical formidability as a cue to these leadership abilities, and to allocate greater status to formidable men on this basis. These hypotheses were supported in 4 empirical studies wherein young adults rated standardized photos of subjects (targets) who were described as being part of a white-collar business consultancy. In Studies 1 and 2, male targets' physical strength positively predicted ratings of their projected status within the organization, and this effect was mediated by perceptions that stronger men possessed greater leadership abilities of within-group enforcement and between-group representation. Moreover, (a) these same patterns held whether status was conceptualized as overall ascendancy, prestige-based status, or dominance-based status, and (b) strong men who were perceived as aggressively self-interested were not allocated greater status. Finally, 2 experiments established the causality of physical formidability’s effects on status-related perceptions by manipulating targets' relative strength (Study 3) and height (Study 4). In interpreting our findings, we argue that adaptations for formidability-based status allocation may have facilitated the evolution of group cooperation in humans and other primates. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Scientific method, Sociology, Empiricism, Experiment, Hypothesis, Allocation


Lesion studies suggest that an alternative system can compensate for damage to the primary region employed when animals acquire a memory. However, it is unclear whether functional compensation occurs at the cellular ensemble level. Here, we inhibited the activities of a specific subset of neurons activated during initial learning by utilizing a transgenic mouse that expresses tetanus toxin (TeNT) under the control of the c-fos promoter. Notably, suppression interfered with relearning while sparing the ability to acquire and express fear memory for a distinct context. These results suggest that the activity of the initial ensemble is preferentially dedicated to the same learning and that it is not replaceable once it is allocated. Our results provide substantial insights into the machinery underlying how the brain allocates individual memories to discrete neuronal ensembles and how it ensures that repetitive learning strengthens memory by reactivating the same neuronal ensembles.

Concepts: Brain, Human brain, Allocation


Previous studies have revealed that preschoolers selectively allocate their resources based on their social relationship with recipients such as friendship. In this investigation, we investigated how expectations about recipients' prosociality and the ability of future thinking relate to the selective allocation of resources. In Study 1, participants aged 3.5-6 years chose how to allocate resources from two ways (selfish allocation, where only the participants could receive stickers, and equal allocation, where the participants and recipients receive get the same number of stickers) in costly and non-costly situations with three recipients (friend, peer, and stranger). Participants were asked to state which alternatives the recipients would choose if they were given a choice. The results showed that children aged 5 and 6 years tended to choose equal allocation of resources when they expected the recipients to do the same both in costly and non-costly situations. This tendency was not observed in children aged 3.5 and 4 years. In Study 2, the relationships between selectivity in non-costly allocation and two facets of future thinking (delay of gratification and mental time travel) were investigated in children aged 5 and 6 years. The results suggested that children with a higher mental time travel ability tended to be more selective in allocating resources based on social relationships; they tended to allocate more resources to the friend and fewer to the peer. Our findings suggest that expectations about a recipient’s prosociality and the ability of mental time travel affect selectivity of resource allocation in children aged 5 and 6 years.

Concepts: Interpersonal relationship, Scarcity, Allocation, Resource allocation, Allocation of resources


Adaptive collective systems are common in biology and beyond. Typically, such systems require a task allocation algorithm: a mechanism or rule-set by which individuals select particular roles. Here we study the performance of such task allocation mechanisms measured in terms of the time for individuals to allocate to tasks. We ask: (1) Is task allocation fundamentally difficult, and thus costly? (2) Does the performance of task allocation mechanisms depend on the number of individuals? And (3) what other parameters may affect their efficiency? We use techniques from distributed computing theory to develop a model of a social insect colony, where workers have to be allocated to a set of tasks; however, our model is generalizable to other systems. We show, first, that the ability of workers to quickly assess demand for work in tasks they are not currently engaged in crucially affects whether task allocation is quickly achieved or not. This indicates that in social insect tasks such as thermoregulation, where temperature may provide a global and near instantaneous stimulus to measure the need for cooling, for example, it should be easy to match the number of workers to the need for work. In other tasks, such as nest repair, it may be impossible for workers not directly at the work site to know that this task needs more workers. We argue that this affects whether task allocation mechanisms are under strong selection. Second, we show that colony size does not affect task allocation performance under our assumptions. This implies that when effects of colony size are found, they are not inherent in the process of task allocation itself, but due to processes not modeled here, such as higher variation in task demand for smaller colonies, benefits of specialized workers, or constant overhead costs. Third, we show that the ratio of the number of available workers to the workload crucially affects performance. Thus, workers in excess of those needed to complete all tasks improve task allocation performance. This provides a potential explanation for the phenomenon that social insect colonies commonly contain inactive workers: these may be a ‘surplus’ set of workers that improves colony function by speeding up optimal allocation of workers to tasks. Overall our study shows how limitations at the individual level can affect group level outcomes, and suggests new hypotheses that can be explored empirically.

Concepts: Affect, Ant, Allocation, Resource allocation, Eusociality, Economic system, Call-sign allocation plan, Task allocation and partitioning of social insects