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

Concept: Character


In two studies, 5- and 6-year-old children were questioned about the status of the protagonist embedded in three different types of stories. In realistic stories that only included ordinary events, all children, irrespective of family background and schooling, claimed that the protagonist was a real person. In religious stories that included ordinarily impossible events brought about by divine intervention, claims about the status of the protagonist varied sharply with exposure to religion. Children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school, or both, judged the protagonist in religious stories to be a real person, whereas secular children with no such exposure to religion judged the protagonist in religious stories to be fictional. Children’s upbringing was also related to their judgment about the protagonist in fantastical stories that included ordinarily impossible events whether brought about by magic (Study 1) or without reference to magic (Study 2). Secular children were more likely than religious children to judge the protagonist in such fantastical stories to be fictional. The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children’s differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories.

Concepts: Truth, Philosophy, Religion, Reality, Character, Judgment, Short story, Secularity


Despite being infrequent, complications of airway management remain an important contributor to morbidity and mortality during anaesthesia and care of the critically ill. Developments in the last three decades have made anaesthesia safer, and this has been mirrored in the equipment and techniques available for airway management. Modern technology including novel oxygenation modalities, widespread availability of capnography, second-generation supraglottic airway devices and videolaryngoscopy provide the tools to make airway management safer still. However, technology will only take safety so far, and non-technical aspects of airway management are critically important for communication and decision making during airway crises, acknowledging a ‘cannot intubate, cannot oxygenate’ situation and transitioning to emergency front of neck airway. Randomised controlled trials provide little useful information about safety in this setting, and data from registries and databases are likely to be of more value. This narrative review focuses on recent evidence in this area.

Concepts: Critical thinking, The Canon of Medicine, Randomized controlled trial, Decision theory, Anesthesia, Endotracheal tube, Pulse oximetry, Character


A new CO2 fixation process into solid CO2 -storage materials (CO2 SMs) under mild conditions has been developed. The novel application of amine-glycol systems to the capture, storage, and utilization of CO2 with readily available 1,2-ethanediamine (EDA) and ethylene glycol derivatives (EGs) was demonstrated. Typically, the CO2 SMs were isolated in 28.9-47.5 % yields, followed by extensive characterization using (13) C NMR, XRD, and FTIR. We found that especially the resulting poly-ethylene-glycol-300-based CO2 SM (PCO2 SM) product could be processed into stable tablets for CO2 storage; the aqueous PCO2 SM solution exhibited remarkable CO2 capturing and releasing capabilities after multiple cycles. Most importantly, the EDA and PEG 300 released from PCO2 SM were found to act as facilitative surfactants for the multiple preparation of CaCO3 microparticles with nano-layer structure.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Carbon dioxide, Fiction, Calcium carbonate, Ethylene glycol, Ethylene oxide, Character, Dry ice


Soft robot arms possess unique capabilities when it comes to adaptability, flexibility, and dexterity. In addition, soft systems that are pneumatically actuated can claim high power-to-weight ratio. One of the main drawbacks of pneumatically actuated soft arms is that their stiffness cannot be varied independently from their end-effector position in space. The novel robot arm physical design presented in this article successfully decouples its end-effector positioning from its stiffness. An experimental characterization of this ability is coupled with a mathematical analysis. The arm combines the light weight, high payload to weight ratio and robustness of pneumatic actuation with the adaptability and versatility of variable stiffness. Light weight is a vital component of the inherent safety approach to physical human-robot interaction. To characterize the arm, a neural network analysis of the curvature of the arm for different input pressures is performed. The curvature-pressure relationship is also characterized experimentally.

Concepts: Fiction, Systems theory, Hilbert space, Force, Novel, Science fiction, Character, Power-to-weight ratio


In this cohort of individuals with and without multiple sclerosis (MS), we illustrate some of the novel approaches that smartphones provide to monitor patients with chronic neurologic disorders in their natural setting.

Concepts: Multiple sclerosis, Fiction, Character


Substantial progress in high-throughput metagenomic sequencing methodologies has enabled the characterisation of bacteria from various origins (for example gut and skin). However, the recently-discovered bacterial microbiota present within animal internal tissues has remained unexplored due to technical difficulties associated with these challenging samples.

Concepts: Archaea, Bacteria, Gut flora, Eukaryote, Biotechnology, Fiction, Tissue, Character


This study is based on people dying at home relying on the care of unpaid family carers. There is growing recognition of the central role that family carers play and the burdens that they bear, but knowledge gaps remain around how to best support them.

Concepts: Fiction, Play, Humanities, Character, Narrative, Narratology, Plot, Style


In its most basic form, empathy refers to the ability to understand another person’s feelings and emotions, representing an essential component of human social interaction. Owing to an increase in the use of mass media, which is used to distribute high levels of empathy-inducing content, media plays a key role in individual and social empathy induction. We investigated empathy induction in cartoons using eye movement, EEG and behavioral measures to explore whether empathy factors correlate with character drawing styles. Two different types of empathy-inducing cartoons that consisted of three stages and had the same story plot were used. One had an iconic style, while the other was realistic style. Fifty participants were divided into two groups corresponding to the individual cartoon drawing styles and were presented with only one type of drawing style. We found that there were no significant differences of empathy factors between iconic and realistic style. However, the Induced Empathy Score (IES) had a close relationship with subsequent attentional processing (total fixation length for gaze duration). Furthermore, iconic style suppressed the fronto-central area more than realistic style in the gamma power band. These results suggest that iconic cartoons have the advantage of abstraction during empathy induction, because the iconic cartoons induced the same level of empathy as realistic cartoons while using the same story plot (top-down process), even though lesser time and effort were required by the cartoon artist to draw them. This also means that the top-down process (story plot) is more important than the bottom-up process (drawing style) in empathy induction when viewing cartoons.

Concepts: Fiction, Behavior, Character, Narrative, Cartoon, Painting, Comic strip, Cartoonist


The current study investigates whether preschoolers are able to successfully identify the most effective among given questions, adapting their reliance on different types of questions (constraint-seeking vs. hypothesis-scanning) based on the quantitative measure of expected information gain. Children were presented with storybooks describing the reasons why a fictional character, Toma, was late to school over several days. In 3 experiments with 5-year-old children, we manipulated the frequency and likelihoods of the reasons presented. Children were asked to identify which of 2 given questions would be more effective in finding out why Toma was late to school again. In a fourth experiment, we investigated whether preschoolers are adaptive learners, that is, whether they can identify the most effective question iteratively, and we extended our investigation to younger preschoolers (3- and 4-year-olds). We find that children assessed the effectiveness of different types of questions based on the hypothesis space currently under consideration, and this adaptation may be guided by expected information gain. Overall, our results suggest that over the preschool years, children begin to develop the computational foundations that support successful question-asking strategies. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Effectiveness, Fiction, Question, Experiment, Information theory, Interrogative word, Character, Questions


We trace the legacies of filmed patient narratives that were edited and screened to encourage engagement with a participatory quality improvement project in an acute hospital setting in England. Using Gabriel’s theory of “narrative contract,” we examine the initial success of the films in establishing common grounds for participatory project and later, and more varied, interpretations of the films. Over time, the films were interpreted by staff as either useful sources of learning by critical reflection, dubious (invalid or unreliable) representations of patient experience, or as “closed” items available as auditable evidence of completed quality improvement work. We find these interpretations of the films to be shaped by the effect of social distance, the differential outcomes of project work, and changing organizational agendas. We consider the wider conditions of patient narrative as a form of quality improvement knowledge with immediate potency and fragile or fluid legitimacy over time.

Concepts: Hermeneutics, Film, Interpretation, Editing, Character, Narrative, Movie theater, Folklore