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Concept: Participation


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


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


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


Prior studies have shown that spatial cognition is influenced by stress prior to task. The current study investigated the effects of real-time acute stress on allocentric and egocentric spatial processing. A virtual reality-based spatial reference rule learning (SRRL) task was designed in which participants were instructed to make a location selection by walking to one of three poles situated around a tower. A selection was reinforced by either an egocentric spatial reference rule (leftmost or rightmost pole relative to participant) or an allocentric spatial reference rule (nearest or farthest pole relative to the tower). In Experiment 1, 32 participants (16 males, 16 females; aged from 18 to 27) performed a SRRL task in a normal virtual reality environment (VRE). The hit rates and rule acquisition revealed no difference between allocentric and egocentric spatial reference rule learning. In Experiment 2, 64 participants (32 males, 34 females; aged from 19 to 30) performed the SRRL task in both a low-stress VRE (a mini virtual arena) and a high-stress VRE (mini virtual arena with a fire disaster). Allocentric references facilitated learning in the high-stressful VRE. The results suggested that acute stress facilitate allocentric spatial processing.

Concepts: Participation, Classical mechanics, Reality, Virtual reality, Power of two


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


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


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 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


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


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


Most tobacco users initiate use as youth or young adults. To promote tobacco cessation for this group and encourage non-users' engagement in tobacco control efforts, a community-based organization developed a “Street Team” brief outreach intervention that enlisted youth and young adults to encourage their peers to stop tobacco use through a brief intervention. Street Team members provided education, a Quit Kit, and referrals to cessation resources at a total of 27 community events over a four-year period. Tobacco users (n = 279) completed assessments of tobacco use, quit intention, and quit self-efficacy at baseline. Self-reports of cessation outcomes including past week abstinence were assessed 1-, 3-, and 6-months post-intervention. Perceptions of the intervention were gathered from Street Team members (n = 28) and intervention participants post-intervention. T-tests and χ(2)-tests were used to compare those who completed at least one follow-up assessment to those lost to follow-up. Time effects were analyzed using fixed effect models. Missing = using analyses indicate 16.1, 18.6, and 12.5% 7-day quit rate at 1-, 3-, and 6-months follow-up. Feedback from intervention participants indicate the intervention was acceptable and that discussions with Street Team members and provision of quit kits motivated tobacco users to consider quitting. All Street Team members responded positively to their participation in the intervention. This Street Team approach for youth and young adults is promising as an effective approach to the promotion of tobacco cessation among users and engagement and empowerment in tobacco control efforts among non-users.

Concepts: Participation, Effectiveness, Tobacco, Nicotine, Smoking cessation, Assessment, Team, Quitting