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Concept: Category theory


The historic Paris Agreement calls for limiting global temperature rise to “well below 2 °C.” Because of uncertainties in emission scenarios, climate, and carbon cycle feedback, we interpret the Paris Agreement in terms of three climate risk categories and bring in considerations of low-probability (5%) high-impact (LPHI) warming in addition to the central (∼50% probability) value. The current risk category of dangerous warming is extended to more categories, which are defined by us here as follows: >1.5 °C as dangerous; >3 °C as catastrophic; and >5 °C as unknown, implying beyond catastrophic, including existential threats. With unchecked emissions, the central warming can reach the dangerous level within three decades, with the LPHI warming becoming catastrophic by 2050. We outline a three-lever strategy to limit the central warming below the dangerous level and the LPHI below the catastrophic level, both in the near term (<2050) and in the long term (2100): the carbon neutral (CN) lever to achieve zero net emissions of CO2, the super pollutant (SP) lever to mitigate short-lived climate pollutants, and the carbon extraction and sequestration (CES) lever to thin the atmospheric CO2 blanket. Pulling on both CN and SP levers and bending the emissions curve by 2020 can keep the central warming below dangerous levels. To limit the LPHI warming below dangerous levels, the CES lever must be pulled as well to extract as much as 1 trillion tons of CO2 before 2100 to both limit the preindustrial to 2100 cumulative net CO2 emissions to 2.2 trillion tons and bend the warming curve to a cooling trend.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Sun, Greek loanwords, Carbon, Climate change, Category theory, Emission standard, Global warming


Integration of local elements into a coherent global form is a fundamental aspect of visual object recognition. How the different hierarchically organized stages of visual analysis develop in order to support object representation in infants remains unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate structural encoding of natural images in 4- to 6-month-old infants and adults. We used the steady-state visual evoked potential (ssVEP) technique to measure cortical responses specific to the global structure present in object and face images, and assessed whether differential responses were present for these image categories. This study is the first to apply the ssVEP method to high-level vision in infants. Infants and adults responded to the structural relations present in both image categories, and topographies of the responses differed based on image category. However, while adult responses to face and object structure were localized over occipitotemporal scalp areas, only infant face responses were distributed over temporal regions. Therefore, both infants and adults show object category specificity in their neural responses. The topography of the infant response distributions indicates that between 4 and 6 months of age, structure encoding of faces occurs at a higher level of processing than that of objects.

Concepts: Structure, Hierarchy, Ontology, Evoked potential, Group, Organization, Category theory, Monoid


Humans can see and name thousands of distinct object and action categories, so it is unlikely that each category is represented in a distinct brain area. A more efficient scheme would be to represent categories as locations in a continuous semantic space mapped smoothly across the cortical surface. To search for such a space, we used fMRI to measure human brain activity evoked by natural movies. We then used voxelwise models to examine the cortical representation of 1,705 object and action categories. The first few dimensions of the underlying semantic space were recovered from the fit models by principal components analysis. Projection of the recovered semantic space onto cortical flat maps shows that semantic selectivity is organized into smooth gradients that cover much of visual and nonvisual cortex. Furthermore, both the recovered semantic space and the cortical organization of the space are shared across different individuals. VIDEO ABSTRACT:

Concepts: Neuron, Brain, Human brain, Cerebral cortex, Cerebellum, Group, Category theory, Topological space


Little is known about how attention changes the cortical representation of sensory information in humans. On the basis of neurophysiological evidence, we hypothesized that attention causes tuning changes to expand the representation of attended stimuli at the cost of unattended stimuli. To investigate this issue, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure how semantic representation changed during visual search for different object categories in natural movies. We found that many voxels across occipito-temporal and fronto-parietal cortex shifted their tuning toward the attended category. These tuning shifts expanded the representation of the attended category and of semantically related, but unattended, categories, and compressed the representation of categories that were semantically dissimilar to the target. Attentional warping of semantic representation occurred even when the attended category was not present in the movie; thus, the effect was not a target-detection artifact. These results suggest that attention dynamically alters visual representation to optimize processing of behaviorally relevant objects during natural vision.

Concepts: Brain, Attention, Human brain, Magnetic resonance imaging, Cerebral cortex, Cerebellum, Sensory system, Category theory


In 1918, Gordon Holmes combined observations of visual-field scotomas across brain-lesioned soldiers to produce a schematic map of the projection of the visual field upon the striate cortex [1]. One limit to the precision of his result, and the mapping of anatomy to retinotopy generally, is the substantial individual variation in the size [2, 3], volumetric position [4], and cortical magnification [5] of area V1. When viewed within the context of the curvature of the cortical surface, however, the boundaries of striate cortex fall at a consistent location across individuals [6]. We asked whether the surface topology of the human brain can be used to accurately predict the internal, retinotopic function of striate cortex as well. We used fMRI to measure polar angle and eccentricity in 25 participants and combined their maps within a left-right, transform-symmetric representation of the cortical surface [7]. These data were then fit using a deterministic, algebraic model of visual-field representation [8]. We found that an anatomical image alone can be used to predict the retinotopic organization of striate cortex for an individual with accuracy equivalent to 10-25 min of functional mapping. This indicates tight developmental linkage of structure and function within a primary, sensory cortical area.

Concepts: Brain, Human brain, Cerebral cortex, Visual system, Visual cortex, Retinotopy, Category theory, Cortical magnification


It is widely accepted that the main driver of the observed decline in biological diversity is increasing human pressure on Earth’s ecosystems. However, the spatial patterns of change in human pressure and their relation to conservation efforts are less well known. We developed a spatially and temporally explicit map of global change in human pressure over 2 decades between 1990 and 2010 at a resolution of 10 km(2) . We evaluated 22 spatial data sets representing different components of human pressure and used them to compile a temporal human pressure index (THPI) based on 3 data sets: human population density, land transformation, and electrical power infrastructure. We investigated how the THPI within protected areas was correlated to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management categories and the human development index (HDI) and how the THPI was correlated to cumulative pressure on the basis of the original human footprint index. Since the early 1990s, human pressure increased 64% of the terrestrial areas; the largest increases were in Southeast Asia. Protected areas also exhibited overall increases in human pressure, the degree of which varied with location and IUCN management category. Only wilderness areas and natural monuments (management categories Ib and III) exhibited decreases in pressure. Protected areas not assigned any category exhibited the greatest increases. High HDI values correlated with greater reductions in pressure across protected areas, while increasing age of the protected area correlated with increases in pressure. Our analysis is an initial step toward mapping changes in human pressure on the natural world over time. That only 3 data sets could be included in our spatio-temporal global pressure map highlights the challenge to measuring pressure changes over time. Mapeo del Cambio en la Presión Humana Global en Tierra y Dentro de Áreas Protegidas.

Concepts: Natural environment, Developed country, Population density, Nature, Category theory, 1990s, Human Development Index, American Human Development Report


We introduce the ReAL model for the Implicit Association Test (IAT), a multinomial processing tree model that allows one to mathematically separate the contributions of attitude-based evaluative associations and recoding processes in a specific IAT. The ReAL model explains the observed pattern of erroneous and correct responses in the IAT via 3 underlying processes: Recoding of target and attribute categories into a binary representation in the compatible block (Re), evaluative associations of the target categories (A), and label-based identification of the response that is assigned to the respective nominal category (L). In 7 validation studies, using an adaptive response deadline procedure in order to increase the amount of erroneous responses in the IAT, we demonstrated that the ReAL model fits IAT data and that the model parameters vary independently in response to corresponding experimental manipulations. Further studies yielded evidence for the specific predictive validity of the model parameters in the domain of consumer behavior. The ReAL model allows one to disentangle different sources of IAT effects where global effect measures based on response times lead to equivocal interpretations. Possible applications and implications for future IAT research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Scientific method, Mathematics, Psychometrics, Category theory, All rights reserved, Category of being


A click-type entry into shortened curcuminoids of the diarylpentanoid type has been developed. The reaction is ideally suited to generate non-symmetrical analogues of curcumin, a class of natural products difficult to access but of growing biomedical relevance and special mechanistic interest to investigate the unique binding mode of curcumin to tubulin. Investigation of a series of click diarylpentane curcuminoids and their pyrazole adducts in various cellular tubulin functional assays validated this class of compounds as a novel type of anti-mitotic agents, evidencing structure-activity relationships, and identifying the pyrazole adduct 4k as a promising lead.

Concepts: Chemical reaction, Category theory, Adduct, Curcumin, Curcuminoid


To what extent does functional brain organization rely on sensory input? Here, we show that for the penultimate visual-processing region, ventral-temporal cortex (VTC), visual experience is not the origin of its fundamental organizational property, category selectivity. In the fMRI study reported here, we presented 14 congenitally blind participants with face-, body-, scene-, and object-related natural sounds and presented 20 healthy controls with both auditory and visual stimuli from these categories. Using macroanatomical alignment, response mapping, and surface-based multivoxel pattern analysis, we demonstrated that VTC in blind individuals shows robust discriminatory responses elicited by the four categories and that these patterns of activity in blind subjects could successfully predict the visual categories in sighted controls. These findings were confirmed in a subset of blind participants born without eyes and thus deprived from all light perception since conception. The sounds also could be decoded in primary visual and primary auditory cortex, but these regions did not sustain generalization across modalities. Surprisingly, although not as strong as visual responses, selectivity for auditory stimulation in visual cortex was stronger in blind individuals than in controls. The opposite was observed in primary auditory cortex. Overall, we demonstrated a striking similarity in the cortical response layout of VTC in blind individuals and sighted controls, demonstrating that the overall category-selective map in extrastriate cortex develops independently from visual experience.

Concepts: Brain, Temporal lobe, Cerebrum, Auditory system, Visual perception, Thalamus, Category theory, Brodmann area


Children with special health care needs (SHCN) may be at greater risk of obesity than children without SHCN. A new classification system categorizes SHCN among children by service type using the following categories: No-SHCN, medication use only, services use only, medication + service use, and functional limitations. Research is needed to examine obesity and obesity-related behaviors among children using the new classification system.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Taxonomy, Weight loss, English-language films, Category theory