SciCombinator

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

Concept: Participation

199

Food tastes better and people eat more of it when eaten with company than alone. Although several explanations have been proposed for this social facilitation of eating, they share the basic assumption that this phenomenon is achieved by the existence of co-eating others. Here, we demonstrate a similar “social” facilitation of eating in the absence of other individuals. Elderly participants tasted a piece of popcorn alone while in front of a mirror (which reflects the participant themselves eating popcorn) or in front of a wall-reflecting monitor, and were found to eat more popcorn and rate it better tasting in the self-reflecting condition than in the monitor condition. Similar results were found for younger adults. The results suggest that the social facilitation of eating does not necessarily require the presence of another individual. Furthermore, we observed a similar “social” facilitation of eating even when participants ate a piece of popcorn in front of a static picture of themselves eating, suggesting that static visual information of “someone” eating food is sufficient to produce the “social” facilitation of eating.

Concepts: Nutrition, Participation, Eating, Food, Observation, Philosophy of science, Taste, Food and drink

197

Intergroup violence is common among humans worldwide. To assess how within-group social dynamics contribute to risky, between-group conflict, we conducted a 3-y longitudinal study of the formation of raiding parties among the Nyangatom, a group of East African nomadic pastoralists currently engaged in small-scale warfare. We also mapped the social network structure of potential male raiders. Here, we show that the initiation of raids depends on the presence of specific leaders who tend to participate in many raids, to have more friends, and to occupy more central positions in the network. However, despite the different structural position of raid leaders, raid participants are recruited from the whole population, not just from the direct friends of leaders. An individual’s decision to participate in a raid is strongly associated with the individual’s social network position in relation to other participants. Moreover, nonleaders have a larger total impact on raid participation than leaders, despite leaders' greater connectivity. Thus, we find that leaders matter more for raid initiation than participant mobilization. Social networks may play a role in supporting risky collective action, amplify the emergence of raiding parties, and hence facilitate intergroup violence in small-scale societies.

Concepts: Participation, E-participation, Sociology, Networks, Social network, Network theory, Standard RAID levels

169

Abstract. Acute and convalescent serum samples were collected from febrile inpatients identified at two hospitals in Moshi, Tanzania. Confirmed brucellosis was defined as a positive blood culture or a ≥ 4-fold increase in microagglutination test titer, and probable brucellosis was defined as a single reciprocal titer ≥ 160. Among 870 participants enrolled in the study, 455 (52.3%) had paired sera available. Of these, 16 (3.5%) met criteria for confirmed brucellosis. Of 830 participants with ≥ 1 serum sample, 4 (0.5%) met criteria for probable brucellosis. Brucellosis was associated with increased median age (P = 0.024), leukopenia (odds ratio [OR] 7.8, P = 0.005), thrombocytopenia (OR 3.9, P = 0.018), and evidence of other zoonoses (OR 3.2, P = 0.026). Brucellosis was never diagnosed clinically, and although all participants with brucellosis received antibacterials or antimalarials in the hospital, no participant received standard brucellosis treatment. Brucellosis is an underdiagnosed and untreated cause of febrile disease among hospitalized adult and pediatric patients in northern Tanzania.

Concepts: Participation, Hospital, Blood type, Physician, Brucellosis, Fever, Blood culture, Received Pronunciation

113

In conjunction with BBC Lab UK, the present study developed 12 brief psychological skill interventions for online delivery. A protocol was designed that captured data via self-report measures, used video recordings to deliver interventions, involved a competitive concentration task against an individually matched computer opponent, and provided feedback on the effects of the interventions. Three psychological skills were used; imagery, self-talk, and if-then planning, with each skill directed to one of four different foci: outcome goal, process goal, instruction, or arousal-control. This resulted in 12 different intervention participant groups (randomly assigned) with a 13th group acting as a control. Participants (n = 44,742) completed a competitive task four times-practice, baseline, following an intervention, and again after repeating the intervention. Results revealed performance improved following practice with incremental effects for imagery-outcome, imagery-process, and self-talk-outcome and self-talk-process over the control group, with the same interventions increasing the intensity of effort invested, arousal and pleasant emotion. Arousal-control interventions associated with pleasant emotions, low arousal, and low effort invested in performance. Instructional interventions were not effective. Results offer support for the utility of online interventions in teaching psychological skills and suggest brief interventions that focus on increasing motivation, increased arousal, effort invested, and pleasant emotions were the most effective.

Concepts: Psychology, Participation, Skill, Learning, Neuropsychology, Emotion, BBC

90

Do economics students behave more selfishly than other students? Experiments involving monetary allocations suggest so. This article investigates the underlying motives for the economic students' more selfish behavior by separating three potential explanatory mechanisms: economics students are less concerned with fairness when making allocation decisions; have a different notion of what is fair in allocations; or are more skeptical about other people’s allocations, which in turn makes them less willing to comply with a shared fairness norm. The three mechanisms were tested by inviting students from various disciplines to participate in a relatively novel experimental game and asking all participants to give reasons for their choices. Compared with students of other disciplines, economics students were about equally likely to mention fairness in their comments; had a similar notion of what was fair in the situation; however, they expected lower offers, made lower offers, and were less willing to enforce compliance with a fair allocation at a cost to themselves. The economics students' lower expectations mediated their allocation decisions, suggesting that economics students behaved more selfishly because they expected others not to comply with the shared fairness norm.

Concepts: Participation, Economics, Experiment, Expected value, Allocation, Economic system, Selfishness, Behave

75

Many PhD programs incorporate boot camps and summer bridge programs to accelerate the development of doctoral students' research skills and acculturation into their respective disciplines. These brief, high-intensity experiences span no more than several weeks and are typically designed to expose graduate students to data analysis techniques, to develop scientific writing skills, and to better embed incoming students into the scholarly community. However, there is no previous study that directly measures the outcomes of PhD students who participate in such programs and compares them to the outcomes of students who did not participate. Likewise, no previous study has used a longitudinal design to assess these outcomes over time. Here we show that participation in such programs is not associated with detectable benefits related to skill development, socialization into the academic community, or scholarly productivity for students in our sample. Analyzing data from 294 PhD students in the life sciences from 53 US institutions, we found no statistically significant differences in outcomes between participants and nonparticipants across 115 variables. These results stand in contrast to prior studies presenting boot camps as effective interventions based on participant satisfaction and perceived value. Many universities and government agencies (e.g., National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation) invest substantial resources in boot camp and summer bridge activities in the hopes of better supporting scientific workforce development. Our findings do not reveal any measurable benefits to students, indicating that an allocation of limited resources to alternative strategies with stronger empirical foundations warrants consideration.

Concepts: Scientific method, Participation, Science, Data analysis, University, Academia, Postgraduate education, Doctorate

72

Family dogs and dog owners offer a potentially powerful way to conduct citizen science to answer questions about animal behavior that are difficult to answer with more conventional approaches. Here we evaluate the quality of the first data on dog cognition collected by citizen scientists using the Dognition.com website. We conducted analyses to understand if data generated by over 500 citizen scientists replicates internally and in comparison to previously published findings. Half of participants participated for free while the other half paid for access. The website provided each participant a temperament questionnaire and instructions on how to conduct a series of ten cognitive tests. Participation required internet access, a dog and some common household items. Participants could record their responses on any PC, tablet or smartphone from anywhere in the world and data were retained on servers. Results from citizen scientists and their dogs replicated a number of previously described phenomena from conventional lab-based research. There was little evidence that citizen scientists manipulated their results. To illustrate the potential uses of relatively large samples of citizen science data, we then used factor analysis to examine individual differences across the cognitive tasks. The data were best explained by multiple factors in support of the hypothesis that nonhumans, including dogs, can evolve multiple cognitive domains that vary independently. This analysis suggests that in the future, citizen scientists will generate useful datasets that test hypotheses and answer questions as a complement to conventional laboratory techniques used to study dog psychology.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Participation, Educational psychology, Factor analysis, Dog, Dog health, Gray Wolf

51

Nightmares are intensive dreams with negative emotional tone. Frequent nightmares can pose a serious clinical problem and in 2001, Tanskanen et al. found that nightmares increase the risk of suicide. However, the dataset used by these authors included war veterans in whom nightmare frequency - and possibly also suicide risk - is elevated. Therefore, re-examination of the association between nightmares and suicide in these data is warranted. We investigated the relationship between nightmares and suicide both in the general population and war veterans in Finnish National FINRISK Study from the years 1972 to 2012, a dataset overlapping with the one used in the study by Tanskanen et al. Our data comprise 71,068 participants of whom 3139 are war veterans. Participants were followed from their survey participation until the end of 2014 or death. Suicides (N = 398) were identified from the National Causes of Death Register. Frequent nightmares increase the risk of suicide: The result of Tanskanen et al. holds even when war experiences are controlled for. Actually nightmares are not significantly associated with suicides among war veterans. These results support the role of nightmares as an independent risk factor for suicide instead of just being proxy for history of traumatic experiences.

Concepts: Death, Participation, Demography, Data, Psychological trauma, Suicide, Veteran, Nightmare

30

When investigators enroll patients in a clinical study, they make an implicit contract with each participant. Through the data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) mechanism, they fulfill the first part of the contract - protecting the participant from avoidable harm that might result from participation in the trial. They fulfill the second part of the contract - the commitment to honor the time at risk that the participant spent in the trial - by deriving the clearest and most clinically directive information possible from the data gathered during the trial. This task takes tremendous time and energy. The SPRINT (Systolic . . .

Concepts: Clinical trial, Participation, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, The Trial, Clinical death, Board game, Sprint Nextel

29

Increased cannabis potency has renewed concerns that secondhand exposure to cannabis smoke can produce positive drug tests. A systematic study was conducted of smoke exposure on drug-free participants. Six experienced cannabis users smoked cannabis cigarettes (5.3% THC in Session 1 and 11.3% THC in Sessions 2 and 3) in a sealed chamber. Six non-smokers were seated with smokers in an alternating manner. Sessions 1 and 2 were conducted with no ventilation and ventilation was employed in Session 3. Non-smoking participant specimens (collected 0-34 h) were analyzed with four immunoassays at different cutoff concentrations (20, 50, 75 and 100 ng/mL) and by GC-MS (LOQ = 0.75 ng/mL). No presumptive positives occurred for non-smokers at 100 and 75 ng/mL; a single positive occurred at 50 ng/mL; and multiple positives occurred at 20 ng/mL. Maximum THCCOOH concentrations by GC-MS for non-smokers ranged from 1.3 to 57.5 ng/mL. THCCOOH concentrations generally increased with THC potency, but room ventilation substantially reduced exposure levels. These results demonstrate that extreme cannabis smoke exposure can produce positive urine tests at commonly utilized cutoff concentrations. However, positive tests are likely to be rare, limited to the hours immediately post-exposure, and occur only under environmental circumstances where exposure is obvious.

Concepts: Participation, Smoking, Cannabis, Smoke, Drug test