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

Concept: Art


It is now standard practice, at Universities around the world, for academics to place pictures of themselves on a personal profile page maintained as part of their University’s web-site. Here we investigated what these pictures reveal about the way academics see themselves. Since there is an asymmetry in the degree to which emotional information is conveyed by the face, with the left side being more expressive than the right, we hypothesised that academics in the sciences would seek to pose as non-emotional rationalists and put their right cheek forward, while academics in the arts would express their emotionality and pose with the left cheek forward. We sourced 5829 pictures of academics from their University websites and found that, consistent with the hypotheses, there was a significant difference in the direction of face posing between science academics and English academics with English academics showing a more leftward orientation. Academics in the Fine Arts and Performing Arts however, did not show the expected left cheek forward bias. We also analysed profile pictures of psychology academics and found a greater bias toward presenting the left check compared to science academics which makes psychologists appear more like arts academics than scientists. These findings indicate that the personal website pictures of academics mirror the cultural perceptions of emotional expressiveness across disciplines.

Concepts: Psychology, Left-wing politics, University, Music, Art


The experts of animal locomotion well know the characteristics of quadruped walking since the pioneering work of Eadweard Muybridge in the 1880s. Most of the quadrupeds advance their legs in the same lateral sequence when walking, and only the timing of their supporting feet differ more or less. How did this scientific knowledge influence the correctness of quadruped walking depictions in the fine arts? Did the proportion of erroneous quadruped walking illustrations relative to their total number (i.e. error rate) decrease after Muybridge? How correctly have cavemen (upper palaeolithic Homo sapiens) illustrated the walking of their quadruped prey in prehistoric times? The aim of this work is to answer these questions. We have analyzed 1000 prehistoric and modern artistic quadruped walking depictions and determined whether they are correct or not in respect of the limb attitudes presented, assuming that the other aspects of depictions used to determine the animals gait are illustrated correctly. The error rate of modern pre-Muybridgean quadruped walking illustrations was 83.5%, much more than the error rate of 73.3% of mere chance. It decreased to 57.9% after 1887, that is in the post-Muybridgean period. Most surprisingly, the prehistoric quadruped walking depictions had the lowest error rate of 46.2%. All these differences were statistically significant. Thus, cavemen were more keenly aware of the slower motion of their prey animals and illustrated quadruped walking more precisely than later artists.

Concepts: Human, Walking, Locomotion, Art, Paleolithic, Stone Age, Prehistory, Correctness


News coverage of medical research is followed closely by many Americans and affects the practice of medicine and influence of scientific research. Prior work has examined the quality of media coverage, but no investigation has characterized the choice of stories covered in a controlled manner. We examined whether the media systematically covers stories of weaker study design.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medicine, Science, Research, Neurology, Engineering, Latin, Art


Weaving the visual arts into a science curriculum can both help develop scientific imagination and engage non-scientists.

Concepts: Social sciences, Higher education, Art, Aesthetics


In recent years, penile traction therapy (PTT) has gained considerable interest as a novel nonsurgical treatment option for men with Peyronie’s disease (PD) and short penises. The current published literature suggests that selected cases of PD may benefit from a conservative approach with PTT, resulting in increased penile length and reduction of penile deformity. It appears to be safe and well tolerated but requires a great deal of patient compliance and determination. This article reviews the current literature pertaining to the use of PTT in men with PD, short penises and in the setting of pre- and postprosthesis corporal fibrosis.

Concepts: Andrology, Literature, Erectile dysfunction, Penis, Peyronie's disease, Art, Micropenis, Penis enlargement


The concepts of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are both of vital importance in medicine and health sciences. However, the meaning of these concepts has seldom been discussed in the medical literature. The aim of this study was to explore what the concepts of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ meant for gender researchers based in a medical faculty.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Health, Focus group, Meaning of life, Health science, Latin, Art


In the HPTN 052 study, transmission between HIV-discordant couples was reduced by 96% when the HIV-infected partner received suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART). We examined two transmission events where the newly infected partner was diagnosed after the HIV-infected partner (index) initiated therapy. We evaluated the sequence complexity of the viral populations and antibody reactivity in the newly infected partner to estimate the dates of transmission to the newly infected partners. In both cases, transmission most likely occurred significantly before HIV-1 diagnosis of the newly infected partner, and either just before the initiation of therapy or before viral replication was adequately suppressed by therapy of the index. This study further strengthens the conclusion about the efficacy of blocking transmission by treating the infected partner of discordant couples. However, this study does not rule out the potential for HIV-1 transmission to occur shortly after initiation of ART, and this should be recognized when antiretroviral therapy is used for HIV-1 prevention.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, AIDS, Diagnosis, Initiation, Index, Art, The Conclusion


Inspired by recent findings that prolonged sitting has detrimental health effects, Rietveld Architecture Art Affordances (RAAAF) and visual artist Barbara Visser designed a working environment without chairs and desks. This environment, which they called The End of Sitting, is a sculpture whose surfaces afford working in several non-sitting postures (e.g. lying, standing, leaning).

Concepts: Arts, Sitting, Art, Architecture, Interaction design, Affordance


Understanding others' mental states is a crucial skill that enables the complex social relationships that characterize human societies. Yet little research has investigated what fosters this skill, which is known as Theory of Mind (ToM), in adults. We present five experiments showing that reading literary fiction led to better performance on tests of affective ToM (experiments 1 to 5) and cognitive ToM (experiments 4 and 5) compared with reading nonfiction (experiments 1), popular fiction (experiments 2 to 5), or nothing at all (experiments 2 and 5). Specifically, these results show that reading literary fiction temporarily enhances ToM. More broadly, they suggest that ToM may be influenced by engagement with works of art.

Concepts: Sociology, Science, Fiction, Mind, Literature, Theory of mind, Art, Genre fiction


Young children regularly engage in musical activities, but the effects of early music education on children’s cognitive development are unknown. While some studies have found associations between musical training in childhood and later nonmusical cognitive outcomes, few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been employed to assess causal effects of music lessons on child cognition and no clear pattern of results has emerged. We conducted two RCTs with preschool children investigating the cognitive effects of a brief series of music classes, as compared to a similar but non-musical form of arts instruction (visual arts classes, Experiment 1) or to a no-treatment control (Experiment 2). Consistent with typical preschool arts enrichment programs, parents attended classes with their children, participating in a variety of developmentally appropriate arts activities. After six weeks of class, we assessed children’s skills in four distinct cognitive areas in which older arts-trained students have been reported to excel: spatial-navigational reasoning, visual form analysis, numerical discrimination, and receptive vocabulary. We initially found that children from the music class showed greater spatial-navigational ability than did children from the visual arts class, while children from the visual arts class showed greater visual form analysis ability than children from the music class (Experiment 1). However, a partial replication attempt comparing music training to a no-treatment control failed to confirm these findings (Experiment 2), and the combined results of the two experiments were negative: overall, children provided with music classes performed no better than those with visual arts or no classes on any assessment. Our findings underscore the need for replication in RCTs, and suggest caution in interpreting the positive findings from past studies of cognitive effects of music instruction.

Concepts: Experimental design, Causality, Randomized controlled trial, Assessment, Child, Music, Art, Music education