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

Concept: Core issues in ethics


Humans show a natural tendency to discount bad news while incorporating good news into beliefs (the “good news-bad news effect”), an effect that may help explain seemingly irrational risk taking. Understanding how this bias develops with age is important because adolescents are prone to engage in risky behavior; thus, educating them about danger is crucial. We reveal a striking valence-dependent asymmetry in how belief updating develops with age. In the ages tested (9-26 y), younger age was associated with inaccurate updating of beliefs in response to undesirable information regarding vulnerability. In contrast, the ability to update beliefs accurately in response to desirable information remained relatively stable with age. This asymmetry was mediated by adequate computational use of positive but not negative estimation errors to alter beliefs. The results are important for understanding how belief formation develops and might help explain why adolescents do not respond adequately to warnings.

Concepts: Psychology, Human, Critical thinking, Epistemology, Risk, Religion, Core issues in ethics, Philosophical terminology


The provision of access to clinical trial results that include patient-level data is generating much debate. A growing chorus of transparency advocates is pushing for open access to these data, making a case on the basis of respect for patients' altruism, the need to safeguard public health, and distrust in the integrity and completeness of published trial information.(1) We at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have been actively engaged in this debate, and the EMA has recently published a draft of a policy that would make patient-level data in its possession publicly accessible. The principle of privacy protection will inform . . .

Concepts: Health care, Pharmacology, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Pharmaceutical industry, Virtue, Food and Drug Administration, Core issues in ethics


Persecutory delusions may be unfounded threat beliefs maintained by safety-seeking behaviours that prevent disconfirmatory evidence being successfully processed. Use of virtual reality could facilitate new learning.

Concepts: Belief, Schizophrenia, Delusion, Delusional disorder, Paranoia, Virtual reality, Core issues in ethics, Persecutory delusions


Some studies have shown a direct relationship between nutritional status and survival in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients. Body wasting, defined as a percentage of the ideal body weight for age, has been shown to be an independent predictor of mortality in CF. With respect to height only two studies were performed and these studies suggested that stunting is an important determinant of survival but both did not adjust statistical analysis for confounding variables. We aimed at determining the association between stunting and risk of mortality in CF patients.

Concepts: Statistics, Obesity, Actuarial science, Mass, Cystic fibrosis, Confounding, Analysis of variance, Core issues in ethics


Whether individual behavior in social settings correlates with behavior when individuals are alone is a fundamental question in collective behavior. However, evidence for whether behavior correlates across asocial and social settings is mixed, and no study has linked observed trends with underlying mechanisms. Consistent differences between individuals in boldness, which describes willingness to accept reward over risk, are likely to be under strong selection pressure. By testing three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in a risky foraging task alone and repeatedly in shoals, we demonstrate that the expression of boldness in groups is context-specific. Whereas personality is repeatable in a low-risk behavior (leaving a refuge), the collectively made consensus decision to then cross the arena outweighs leadership by bolder individuals, explaining the suppression of personality in this context. However, despite this social coordination, bolder individuals were still more likely to feed. Habituation and satiation over repeated trials degrade the effect of personality on leaving the refuge and also whether crossing the arena is a collective decision. The suppression of personality in groups suggests that individual risk-taking tendency may rarely represent actual risk in social settings, with implications for the evolution and ecology of personality variation.

Concepts: Decision making, Risk, Decision theory, Risk management, Uncertainty, Core issues in ethics, Three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteiformes


High dietary protein diets are widely used to manage overweight and obesity. However, there is a lack of consensus about their long-term efficacy and safety. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the effect of long-term high-protein consumption on body weight changes and death outcomes in subjects at high cardiovascular risk.

Concepts: Nutrition, Death, Obesity, Physical exercise, Diet, Malnutrition, Body shape, Core issues in ethics


The number of dementia patients requesting euthanasia in the Netherlands has increased over the past five years. The issue is highly controversial. In this contribution we discuss some of the main arguments: the nature of suffering, the voluntariness of the request and the role of the physician. We argue that society has a duty to care for patients who suffer from dementia and to make their lives as good and comfortable as possible. We also argue that it can be morally acceptable for those who do not want to continue their life with dementia to choose to die. The choice can be based on good reasons.

Concepts: Medicine, Morality, Suffering, Suicide, Society, Core issues in ethics, Argumentation theory, Rhine


This study examined the effectiveness of two types of verbal appeals (external and internal motivators) and expected punishment in 372 children’s (4- to 8-year-olds) truth-telling behavior about a transgression. External appeals to tell the truth emphasized social approval by stating that the experimenter would be happy if the children told the truth. Internal appeals to tell the truth emphasized internal standards of behavior by stating that the children would be happy with themselves if they told the truth. Results indicate that with age children are more likely to lie and maintain their lie during follow-up questioning. Overall, children in the External Appeal conditions told the truth significantly more compared with children in the No Appeal conditions. Children who heard internal appeals with no expected punishment were significantly less likely to lie compared with children who heard internal appeals when there was expected punishment. The results have important implications regarding the impact of socialization on children’s honesty and promoting children’s veracity in applied situations where children’s honesty is critical.

Concepts: Sociology, Motivation, Appeal, Fact, Core issues in ethics, Psychological manipulation, Cannonball


Which emotional experiences should people pursue to optimize happiness? According to traditional subjective well-being research, the more pleasant emotions we experience, the happier we are. According to Aristotle, the more we experience the emotions we want to experience, the happier we are. We tested both predictions in a cross-cultural sample of 2,324 participants from 8 countries around the world. We assessed experienced emotions, desired emotions, and indices of well-being and depressive symptoms. Across cultures, happier people were those who more often experienced emotions they wanted to experience, whether these were pleasant (e.g., love) or unpleasant (e.g., hatred). This pattern applied even to people who wanted to feel less pleasant or more unpleasant emotions than they actually felt. Controlling for differences in experienced and desired emotions left the pattern unchanged. These findings suggest that happiness involves experiencing emotions that feel right, whether they feel good or not. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Empiricism, Experience, Concepts in ethics, Emotion, Love, Feeling, Core issues in ethics, Happiness


Injuries at work have a substantial economic and societal burden. Often groups of labour market participants, such as young workers, recent immigrants or temporary workers are labelled as being “vulnerable” to work injury. However, defining groups in this way does little to enable a better understanding of the broader factors that place workers at increased risk of injury. In this paper we describe the development of a new measure of occupational health and safety (OH&S) vulnerability. The purpose of this measure was to allow the identification of workers at increased risk of injury, and to enable the monitoring and surveillance of OH&S vulnerability in the labour market. The development included a systematic literature search, and conducting focus groups with a variety of stakeholder groups, to generate a pool of potential items, followed by a series of steps to reduce these items to a more manageable pool. The final measure is 29-item instrument that captures information on four related, but distinct dimensions, thought to be associated with increased risk of injury. These dimensions are: hazard exposure; occupational health and safety policies and procedures; OH&S awareness; and empowerment to participate in injury prevention. In a large sample of employees in Ontario and British Columbia the final measure displayed minimal missing responses, reasonably good distributions across response categories, and strong factorial validity. This new measure of OH&S vulnerability can identify workers who are at risk of injury and provide information on the dimensions of work that may increase this risk. This measurement could be undertaken at one point in time to compare vulnerability across groups, or be undertaken at multiple time points to examine changes in dimensions of OH&S vulnerability, for example, in response to a primary prevention intervention.

Concepts: Public health, Risk, Occupational health psychology, Hazard, Occupational safety and health, Accident, Core issues in ethics, Hazard prevention