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Concept: Consistency


Spiteful, antisocial behavior may undermine the moral and institutional fabric of society, producing disorder, fear, and mistrust. Previous research demonstrates the willingness of individuals to harm others, but little is understood about how far people are willing to go in being spiteful (relative to how far they could have gone) or their consistency in spitefulness across repeated trials. Our experiment is the first to provide individuals with repeated opportunities to spitefully harm anonymous others when the decision entails zero cost to the spiter and cannot be observed as such by the object of spite. This method reveals that the majority of individuals exhibit consistent (non-)spitefulness over time and that the distribution of spitefulness is bipolar: when choosing whether to be spiteful, most individuals either avoid spite altogether or impose the maximum possible harm on their unwitting victims.

Concepts: Dysphoria, Borderline personality disorder, Consistency, Antisocial personality disorder, Cognition, Economics, Mental disorder


BACKGROUND: When using Illumina high throughput short read data, sometimes the genotype inferred from the positive strand and negative strand are significantly different, with one homozygous and the other heterozygous. This phenomenon is known as strand bias. In this study, we used Illumina short-read sequencing data to evaluate the effect of strand bias on genotyping quality, and to explore the possible causes of strand bias.ResultWe collected 22 breast cancer samples from 22 patients and sequenced their exome using the Illumina GAIIx machine. By comparing the consistency between the genotypes inferred from this sequencing data with the genotypes inferred from SNP chip data, we found that, when using sequencing data, SNPs with extreme strand bias did not have significantly lower consistency rates compared to SNPs with low or no strand bias. However, this result may be limited by the small subset of SNPs present in both the exome sequencing and the SNP chip data. We further compared the transition and transversion ratio and the number of novel non-synonymous SNPs between the SNPs with low or no strand bias and those with extreme strand bias, and found that SNPs with low or no strand bias have better overall quality. We also discovered that the strand bias occurs randomly at genomic positions across these samples, and observed no consistent pattern of strand bias location across samples. By comparing results from two different aligners, BWA and Bowtie, we found very consistent strand bias patterns. Thus strand bias is unlikely to be caused by alignment artifacts. We successfully replicated our results using two additional independent datasets with different capturing methods and Illumina sequencers. CONCLUSION: Extreme strand bias indicates a potential high false-positive rate for SNPs.

Concepts: Evolution, Gene, Genotype, Consistency, Molecular biology, DNA, Zygosity, Genetics


Efforts to promote the completion of advance directives implicitly assume that completion rates of these documents, which help ensure care consistent with people’s preferences in the event of incapacity, are undesirably low. However, data regarding completion of advance directives in the United States are inconsistent and of variable quality. We systematically reviewed studies published in the period 2011-16 to determine the proportion of US adults with a completed living will, health care power of attorney, or both. Among the 795,909 people in the 150 studies we analyzed, 36.7 percent had completed an advance directive, including 29.3 percent with living wills. These proportions were similar across the years reviewed. Similar proportions of patients with chronic illnesses (38.2 percent) and healthy adults (32.7 percent) had completed advance directives. The findings provide benchmarks for gauging future policies and practices designed to motivate completion of advance directives, particularly among those people most likely to benefit from having these documents on record.

Concepts: Five Wishes, Completeness, Consistency, Metalogic, Advance health care directive, Medicine, Medical ethics, Health care proxy


Peak runoff in streams and rivers of the western United States is strongly influenced by melting of accumulated mountain snowpack. A significant decline in this resource has a direct connection to streamflow, with substantial economic and societal impacts. Observations and reanalyses indicate that between the 1980s and 2000s, there was a 10-20% loss in the annual maximum amount of water contained in the region’s snowpack. Here we show that this loss is consistent with results from a large ensemble of climate simulations forced with natural and anthropogenic changes, but is inconsistent with simulations forced by natural changes alone. A further loss of up to 60% is projected within the next 30 years. Uncertainties in loss estimates depend on the size and the rate of response to continued anthropogenic forcing and the magnitude and phasing of internal decadal variability. The projected losses have serious implications for the hydropower, municipal and agricultural sectors in the region.

Concepts: Consistency, Water, Western culture, Water pollution, River, United States, Agriculture, Hydrology


Registered nurse turnover is an important indicator of the nurse job market. Despite its wide use as a measure for health-care system analysis, there is a lack of consistency in the definition of turnover. Some definitions include any nurse leaving an organization; others may include involuntary and voluntary leaving. These inconsistent definitions also result in various turnover rates. The RN Work Project is a 10-year panel study of new nurses. Data were collected from the new nurses, rather than from a specific organization. About 17.5% of new nurses leave their first job within 1 year of starting their jobs. Consistent and accurate measurement of turnover is an important step in addressing organizational work environments and policies about the nursing workforce.

Concepts: Registered nurse, Nurse, Consistency, Probability theory, Measurement, Nursing


Inconsistent results have been reported on the effects of distraction on negative emotions during medical procedures in infants. These differing results may be attributable to the fact that the effects are apparent under a mildly stressful medical procedure. A total of 17 infants, 18 preschoolers, and 15 school-aged children who were hospitalized were administered, monitoring for vital signs, a mildly stressful medical procedure, by a nurse in a uniform with attractive character designs as a distractor. Consistent with the hypothesis, participating infants showed fewer negative behaviors and lower salivary α-amylase levels when distracted. The results support the efficacy of distraction in infants under a mildly stressful medical procedure.

Concepts: Medical procedure, Distraction, Vital signs, Consistency, Human behavior, Medical imaging


To pin down the processing characteristics of symmetry and closure in contour processing, we investigated their ability to activate rapid motor responses in a primed flanker task. In three experiments, participants selected as quickly and accurately as possible the one of two target contours possessing symmetry or closure. Target pairs were preceded by prime pairs whose spatial arrangement was consistent or inconsistent with respect to the required response. We tested for the efficiency and automaticity of symmetry and closure processing. For both cues, priming effects were present in full magnitude in the fastest motor responses consistent with a simple feedforward model. Priming effects from symmetry cues were independent of skewing and the orientation of their symmetry axis but sometimes failed to increase with increasing prime-target interval. We conclude that closure and (possibly) viewpoint-independent symmetry cues are extracted rapidly during the first feedforward wave of neuronal processing.

Concepts: Consistency, Vector space, Gödel's incompleteness theorems, Metalogic, First-order logic, Time


A pervasive bias in the subjective concept of randomness is that people often expect random sequences to exhibit more alternations than produced by genuine random processes. What is less known is the stability of this bias. Here we examine two important aspects of the over-alternation bias: first, whether this bias is present in stimuli that vary across feature dimensions, sensory modalities, presentation modes, and probing methods; and second, how consistent the bias is across these stimulus variations. In Experiment 1, participants adjusted sequences until they looked maximally random. The sequences were presented as temporal streams of colors, shapes, auditory tones, or tiled as spatial matrices. In Experiment 2, participants produced random matrices by adjusting the color of each cell. We replicated the findings using a within-subjects design in Experiment 3. We found that participants judged and produced over-alternating stimuli as the most random. Importantly, this bias was consistent across presentation modes (temporal vs. spatial), feature dimensions (color vs. shape), sensory modalities (visual vs. auditory), speed (fast vs. slow), stimulus size (small vs. large matrices), and probing methods (adjusting the generating process vs. individual bits). Overall, the results suggest that the subjective concept of randomness is highly stable across stimulus variations.

Concepts: Shape, Color, Consistency, Randomness, Logic, Random variable, Sensory system, Random sequence


Rituals are found in all types of performance domains, from high-stakes athletics and military to the daily morning preparations of the working family. Yet despite their ubiquity and widespread importance for humans, we know very little of ritual’s causal basis and how (if at all) they facilitate goal-directed performance. Here, in a fully pre-registered pre/post experimental design, we examine a candidate proximal mechanism, the error-related negativity (ERN), in testing the prediction that ritual modulates neural performance-monitoring. Participants completed an arbitrary ritual-novel actions repeated at home over one week-followed by an executive function task in the lab during electroencephalographic (EEG) recording. Results revealed that relative to pre rounds, participants showed a reduced ERN in the post rounds, after completing the ritual in the lab. Despite a muted ERN, there was no evidence that the reduction in neural monitoring led to performance deficit (nor a performance improvement). Generally, the findings are consistent with the longstanding view that ritual buffers against uncertainty and anxiety. Our results indicate that ritual guides goal-directed performance by regulating the brain’s response to personal failure.

Concepts: Cognitive science, Consistency, Experiment, Human brain, Electroencephalography, Completeness, Metalogic, Brain


There are surprisingly few discussions of the link between wellbeing and alcohol, and few empirical studies to underpin them. Policymakers have therefore typically considered negative wellbeing impacts while ignoring positive ones, used gross overestimates of positive impacts via a naïve ‘consumer surplus’ approach, or ignored wellbeing completely. We examine an alternative subjective wellbeing method for investigating alcohol and wellbeing, using fixed effects analyses of the associations between drinking and wellbeing within two different types of data. Study 1 examines wave-to-wave changes in life satisfaction and past-week alcohol consumption/alcohol problems (CAGE) from a representative cohort of people born in Britain in 1970, utilising responses at ages 30, 34 and 42 (a sample size of 29,145 observations from 10,107 individuals). Study 2 examines moment-to-moment changes in happiness and drinking from an iPhone-based data set in Britain 2010-13, which is innovative and large (2,049,120 observations from 31,302 individuals) but unrepresentative. In Study 1 we find no significant relationship between changing drinking levels and changing life satisfaction (p = 0.20), but a negative association with developing drinking problems (-0.18 points on a 0-10 scale; p = 0.003). In contrast, Study 2 shows a strong and consistent moment-to-moment relationship between happiness and drinking events (+3.88 points on a 0-100 scale; p < 0.001), although associations beyond the moment in question are smaller and more inconsistent. In conclusion, while iPhone users are happier at the moment of drinking, there are only small overspills to other moments, and among the wider population, changing drinking levels across several years are not associated with changing life satisfaction. Furthermore, drinking problems are associated with lower life satisfaction. Simple accounts of the wellbeing impacts of alcohol policies are therefore likely to be misleading. Policymakers must consider the complexity of different policy impacts on different conceptions of 'wellbeing', over different time periods, and among different types of drinkers.

Concepts: Drink, Subjective life satisfaction, IPhone, Change, Consistency, Policy, Scientific method, Happiness