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

Concept: Answer


Despite partial success, communication has remained impossible for persons suffering from complete motor paralysis but intact cognitive and emotional processing, a state called complete locked-in state (CLIS). Based on a motor learning theoretical context and on the failure of neuroelectric brain-computer interface (BCI) communication attempts in CLIS, we here report BCI communication using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and an implicit attentional processing procedure. Four patients suffering from advanced amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-two of them in permanent CLIS and two entering the CLIS without reliable means of communication-learned to answer personal questions with known answers and open questions all requiring a “yes” or “no” thought using frontocentral oxygenation changes measured with fNIRS. Three patients completed more than 46 sessions spread over several weeks, and one patient (patient W) completed 20 sessions. Online fNIRS classification of personal questions with known answers and open questions using linear support vector machine (SVM) resulted in an above-chance-level correct response rate over 70%. Electroencephalographic oscillations and electrooculographic signals did not exceed the chance-level threshold for correct communication despite occasional differences between the physiological signals representing a “yes” or “no” response. However, electroencephalogram (EEG) changes in the theta-frequency band correlated with inferior communication performance, probably because of decreased vigilance and attention. If replicated with ALS patients in CLIS, these positive results could indicate the first step towards abolition of complete locked-in states, at least for ALS.

Concepts: Neurofeedback, Evoked potential, Neuroscience, Answer, Electroencephalography, Support vector machine, Electromyography, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis


Do highly productive researchers have significantly higher probability to produce top cited papers? Or do high productive researchers mainly produce a sea of irrelevant papers-in other words do we find a diminishing marginal result from productivity? The answer on these questions is important, as it may help to answer the question of whether the increased competition and increased use of indicators for research evaluation and accountability focus has perverse effects or not. We use a Swedish author disambiguated dataset consisting of 48.000 researchers and their WoS-publications during the period of 2008-2011 with citations until 2014 to investigate the relation between productivity and production of highly cited papers. As the analysis shows, quantity does make a difference.

Concepts: Sentence, Diminishing returns, Questions, Answer, Productivity, Evaluation, Question


Today, computer vision systems are tested by their accuracy in detecting and localizing instances of objects. As an alternative, and motivated by the ability of humans to provide far richer descriptions and even tell a story about an image, we construct a “visual Turing test”: an operator-assisted device that produces a stochastic sequence of binary questions from a given test image. The query engine proposes a question; the operator either provides the correct answer or rejects the question as ambiguous; the engine proposes the next question (“just-in-time truthing”). The test is then administered to the computer-vision system, one question at a time. After the system’s answer is recorded, the system is provided the correct answer and the next question. Parsing is trivial and deterministic; the system being tested requires no natural language processing. The query engine employs statistical constraints, learned from a training set, to produce questions with essentially unpredictable answers-the answer to a question, given the history of questions and their correct answers, is nearly equally likely to be positive or negative. In this sense, the test is only about vision. The system is designed to produce streams of questions that follow natural story lines, from the instantiation of a unique object, through an exploration of its properties, and on to its relationships with other uniquely instantiated objects.

Concepts: Parsing, Alan Turing, Image processing, Machine vision, Question, Answer, Machine learning, Artificial intelligence


When the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the recently reported clusters of microcephaly and other neurologic disorders represent a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), she called for increased research into their cause, including the question of whether the Zika virus is the source of the problem.(1) The declaration provides an opportunity to step up the pace of research in order to find the answer to some important questions more quickly. It could not only facilitate the accumulation of knowledge about the relationship between the Zika virus and microcephaly, but also accelerate the study of . . .

Concepts: World, Source, The Declaration, Answer, Charlton Comics, Public health, Question, World Health Organization


To estimate the proportion of older adults in the emergency department (ED) who are willing and able to use a tablet computer to answer questions.

Concepts: Answer, ThinkPad, Question, Dublin, Tablet PC


Here we consider the nature of unrealistic optimism and other related positive illusions. We are interested in whether cognitive states that are unrealistically optimistic are belief states, whether they are false, and whether they are epistemically irrational. We also ask to what extent unrealistically optimistic cognitive states are fixed. Based on the classic and recent empirical literature on unrealistic optimism, we offer some preliminary answers to these questions, thereby laying the foundations for answering further questions about unrealistic optimism, such as whether it has biological, psychological, or epistemic benefits.

Concepts: Truth, Perception, Cognitive psychology, Epistemology, Answer, Psychology, Economics, Philosophy


Fecundity, the biologic capacity to reproduce, is essential for the health of individuals and is, therefore, fundamental for understanding human health at the population level. Given the absence of a population (bio)marker, fecundity is assessed indirectly by various individual-based (e.g. semen quality, ovulation) or couple-based (e.g. time-to-pregnancy) endpoints. Population monitoring of fecundity is challenging, and often defaults to relying on rates of births (fertility) or adverse outcomes such as genitourinary malformations and reproductive site cancers. In light of reported declines in semen quality and fertility rates in some global regions among other changes, the question as to whether human fecundity is changing needs investigation. We review existing data and novel methodological approaches aimed at answering this question from a transdisciplinary perspective. The existing literature is insufficient for answering this question; we provide an overview of currently available resources and novel methods suitable for delineating temporal patterns in human fecundity in future research.

Concepts: Population, Answer, Health, Reproduction, Sperm, Human, Fertility, Demography


The ways in which people learn, remember, and solve problems have all been impacted by the Internet. The present research explored how people become primed to use the Internet as a form of cognitive offloading. In three experiments, we show that using the Internet to retrieve information alters a person’s propensity to use the Internet to retrieve other information. Specifically, participants who used Google to answer an initial set of difficult trivia questions were more likely to decide to use Google when answering a new set of relatively easy trivia questions than were participants who answered the initial questions from memory. These results suggest that relying on the Internet to access information makes one more likely to rely on the Internet to access other information.

Concepts: Future, Instant messaging, Present, MySpace, Answer, World Wide Web, Problem solving, History of the Internet


Using the best current evidence to inform clinical decisions remains a challenge for clinicians. Given the scarcity of trustworthy clinical practice guidelines providing recommendations to answer clinicians' daily questions, clinical decision support systems (ie, assistance in question identification and answering) emerge as an attractive alternative. The trustworthiness of the recommendations achieved by such systems is unknown.

Concepts: Evidence-based medicine, Question, Avicenna, Information systems, Answer, Decision support system, Decision theory, Clinical decision support system


This year is the 50th anniversary of Tinbergen’s (1963) article ‘On aims and methods of ethology’, where he first outlined the four ‘major problems of biology’. The classification of the four problems, or questions, is one of Tinbergen’s most enduring legacies, and it remains as valuable today as 50 years ago in highlighting the value of a comprehensive, multifaceted understanding of a characteristic, with answers to each question providing complementary insights. Nonetheless, much has changed in the intervening years, and new data call for a more nuanced application of Tinbergen’s framework. The anniversary would seem a suitable opportunity to reflect on the four questions and evaluate the scientific work that they encourage.

Concepts: Computer program, Comparative psychology, Answer, Sociobiology, Evolutionary psychology, Nikolaas Tinbergen, Ethology