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

Concept: Philosophical terminology


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


We study a superlattice of silicene and hexagonal boron nitride by first principles calculations and demonstrate that the interaction between the layers of the superlattice is very small. As a consequence, quasi free-standing silicene is realized in this superlattice. In particular, the Dirac cone of silicene is preserved. Due to the wide band gap of hexagonal boron nitride, the superlattice realizes the characteristic physical phenomena of free-standing silicene. In particular, we address by model calculations the combined effect of the intrinsic spin-orbit coupling and an external electric field, which induces a transition from a semimetal to a topological insulator and further to a band insulator.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Mathematics, Fundamental physics concepts, Condensed matter physics, Band gap, Philosophical terminology, Boron nitride, Aluminium nitride


Recent advances in machine learning have made significant contributions to drug discovery. Deep neural networks in particular have been demonstrated to provide significant boosts in predictive power when inferring the properties and activities of small-molecule compounds (Ma, J. et al. J. Chem. Inf.

Concepts: Machine learning, Learning, Neural network, Artificial neural network, Predictive analytics, Philosophical terminology


Although people often assume that multiple motives for doing something will be more powerful and effective than a single motive, research suggests that different types of motives for the same action sometimes compete. More specifically, research suggests that instrumental motives, which are extrinsic to the activities at hand, can weaken internal motives, which are intrinsic to the activities at hand. We tested whether holding both instrumental and internal motives yields negative outcomes in a field context in which various motives occur naturally and long-term educational and career outcomes are at stake. We assessed the impact of the motives of over 10,000 West Point cadets over the period of a decade on whether they would become commissioned officers, extend their officer service beyond the minimum required period, and be selected for early career promotions. For each outcome, motivation internal to military service itself predicted positive outcomes; a relationship that was negatively affected when instrumental motives were also in evidence. These results suggest that holding multiple motives damages persistence and performance in educational and occupational contexts over long periods of time.

Concepts: Motivation, Outcome, Intrinsic and extrinsic properties, Multiplication, Philosophical terminology, Motive, Officer


Abstract Although the attitudes towards homosexuality have become more liberal, particularly in industrialized Western countries, there is still a great deal of variance in terms of the worldwide levels of homonegativity. Using data from the two most recent waves of the World Values Survey (1999-2004, 2005-2009) this article seeks to explain this variance by means of a multi-level analysis of 79 countries. We include characteristics on the individual level, as age or gender, as well as aggregate variables linked to specificities of the nation-states. In particular, we focus on the religious denomination of a person and her religiosity in order to explain her attitude towards homosexuality. We find clear differences in levels of homonegativity among the followers of the individual religions.

Concepts: Metaphysics, Religion, Morality, Abstraction, Islam, Philosophical terminology, Christianity, Societal attitudes toward homosexuality


Recent research suggests that diet quality influences depression risk; however, a lack of experimental evidence leaves open the possibility that residual confounding explains the observed relationships. The aim of this study was to document the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between dietary patterns and symptoms of depression and to undertake a detailed examination of potential explanatory factors, particularly socioeconomic circumstances, in the diet-depression relationship.

Concepts: Scientific method, Experimental design, Critical thinking, Nutrition, Confounding, Theory, Explanation, Philosophical terminology


Tool use in nonhuman apes can help identify the conditions that drove the extraordinary expansion of hominin technology. Chimpanzees and bonobos are our closest living relatives. Whereas chimpanzees are renowned for their tool use, bonobos use few tools and none in foraging. We investigated whether extrinsic (ecological and social opportunities) or intrinsic (predispositions) differences explain this contrast by comparing chimpanzees at Kalinzu (Uganda) and bonobos at Wamba (DRC). We assessed ecological opportunities based on availability of resources requiring tool use. We examined potential opportunities for social learning in immature apes. Lastly, we investigated predispositions by measuring object manipulation and object play. Extrinsic opportunities did not explain the tool use difference, whereas intrinsic predispositions did. Chimpanzees manipulated and played more with objects than bonobos, despite similar levels of solitary and social play. Selection for increased intrinsic motivation to manipulate objects likely also played an important role in the evolution of hominin tool use.

Concepts: Difference, Hominidae, Chimpanzee, Motivation, Intrinsic and extrinsic properties, Philosophical terminology, Tool, Tool-using species


The extent of increasing anthropogenic impacts on large marine vertebrates partly depends on the animals' movement patterns. Effective conservation requires identification of the key drivers of movement including intrinsic properties and extrinsic constraints associated with the dynamic nature of the environments the animals inhabit. However, the relative importance of intrinsic versus extrinsic factors remains elusive. We analyze a global dataset of ∼2.8 million locations from >2,600 tracked individuals across 50 marine vertebrates evolutionarily separated by millions of years and using different locomotion modes (fly, swim, walk/paddle). Strikingly, movement patterns show a remarkable convergence, being strongly conserved across species and independent of body length and mass, despite these traits ranging over 10 orders of magnitude among the species studied. This represents a fundamental difference between marine and terrestrial vertebrates not previously identified, likely linked to the reduced costs of locomotion in water. Movement patterns were primarily explained by the interaction between species-specific traits and the habitat(s) they move through, resulting in complex movement patterns when moving close to coasts compared with more predictable patterns when moving in open oceans. This distinct difference may be associated with greater complexity within coastal microhabitats, highlighting a critical role of preferred habitat in shaping marine vertebrate global movements. Efforts to develop understanding of the characteristics of vertebrate movement should consider the habitat(s) through which they move to identify how movement patterns will alter with forecasted severe ocean changes, such as reduced Arctic sea ice cover, sea level rise, and declining oxygen content.

Concepts: Species, Oceanography, Motivation, Ocean, Intrinsic and extrinsic properties, Arctic Ocean, Philosophical terminology, Marine biology


Is it sufficient to base arguments for conservation on the intrinsic value of nature, regardless of the services and economic benefits that biodiversity provides for humans? This question underlies much recent debate that has been at times acrimonious and has led to calls for a more inclusive approach to conservation. Yet melding different ideologies within a unified conceptual framework has proven difficult. Here I describe an approach that recognizes the importance of the level of biological organization and spatial extent in determining the strength of alternative arguments for why we should conserve nature. I argue that the framework helps reconcile contrasting viewpoints and brings clarity to when different conservation management approaches (for instance, regulation versus monetary valuation) are most appropriate.

Concepts: DNA, Life, Species, Ecology, Natural environment, Philosophical terminology, Argumentation theory, Value theory


Managing injury risk is important for maximising athlete availability and performance. Although athletes are inherently predisposed to musculoskeletal injuries by participating in sports, etiology models have illustrated how susceptibility is influenced by repeat interactions between the athlete (i.e. intrinsic factors) and environmental stimuli (i.e. extrinsic factors). Such models also reveal that the likelihood of an injury emerging across time is related to the interconnectedness of multiple factors cumulating in a pattern of either positive (i.e. increased fitness) or negative adaptation (i.e. injury).The process of repeatedly exposing athletes to workloads in order to promote positive adaptations whilst minimising injury risk can be difficult to manage. Etiology models have highlighted that preventing injuries in sport, as opposed to reducing injury risk, is likely impossible given our inability to appreciate the interactions of the factors at play. Given these uncertainties, practitioners need to be able to design, deliver, and monitor risk management strategies that ensure a low susceptibility to injury is maintained during pursuits to enhance performance. The current article discusses previous etiology and injury prevention models before proposing a new operational framework.

Concepts: Natural selection, Management, Risk management, Motivation, Uncertainty, Accident, Operational risk, Philosophical terminology