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

Concept: Philosophy of language


Mitigating or reducing the risk of harm associated with the delivery of healthcare is a policy priority. While the risk of harm can be reduced in some instances (i.e. preventable), what constitutes preventable harm remains unclear. A standardized and clear definition of preventable harm is the first step towards safer and more efficient healthcare delivery system. We aimed to summarize the definitions of preventable harm and its conceptualization in healthcare.

Concepts: Medicine, Philosophy of language, Definitionism


Altruism has long been taken to be the guiding principle of ethical organ donation in the UK, and has been used as justification for rejecting or allowing certain types of donation. We argue that, despite this prominent role, altruism has been poorly defined in policy and position documents, and used confusingly and inconsistently. Looking at how the term has been used over recent years allows us to define ‘organ donation altruism’, and comparing this with accounts in the philosophical literature highlights its theoretical shortcomings. The recent report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics reaffirmed the importance of altruism in organ donation, and offered a clearer definition. This definition is, however, more permissive than that of altruism previously seen in UK policy, and as a result allows some donations that previously have been considered unacceptable. We argue that while altruistic motivation may be desirable, it is not necessary.

Concepts: Definition, Philosophy of language, Extensional definition, Ethics, Bioethics, Altruism, Empathy-altruism, Philosophical Investigations


Assessment of consulting skills using simulated patients is widespread in medical education. Most research into such assessment is sited in a statistical paradigm that focuses on psychometric properties or replicability of such tests. Equally important, but less researched, is the question of how far consultations with simulated patients reflect real clinical encounters - for which sociolinguistics, defined as the study of language in its socio-cultural context, provides a helpful analytic lens.

Concepts: Scientific method, Physician, Philosophy of language, Educational psychology, Psychometrics, Linguistics, Grammar, Social research


Languages vary enormously in global importance because of historical, demographic, political, and technological forces. However, beyond simple measures of population and economic power, there has been no rigorous quantitative way to define the global influence of languages. Here we use the structure of the networks connecting multilingual speakers and translated texts, as expressed in book translations, multiple language editions of Wikipedia, and Twitter, to provide a concept of language importance that goes beyond simple economic or demographic measures. We find that the structure of these three global language networks (GLNs) is centered on English as a global hub and around a handful of intermediate hub languages, which include Spanish, German, French, Russian, Portuguese, and Chinese. We validate the measure of a language’s centrality in the three GLNs by showing that it exhibits a strong correlation with two independent measures of the number of famous people born in the countries associated with that language. These results suggest that the position of a language in the GLN contributes to the visibility of its speakers and the global popularity of the cultural content they produce.

Concepts: Philosophy of language, Language, Semantics, Dialect, German language, Translation, Reason, Languages


We report a confusing stimulus which demonstrates the power of local interpretation of three-dimensional structure to disrupt a coherent global perception.

Concepts: Philosophy of language, Power


Social isolation and related concepts have been discussed increasingly in the field of mental health. Despite this, there is a lack of conceptual clarity and consistency in the definition and operationalisation of these terms. This review aimed to provide a clear framework for social isolation and related concepts, and to identify well-established measures in the field of mental health for each conceptual domain discussed.

Concepts: Truth, Philosophy of language, Semantics, Definitionism, Concept, Concepts, Fuzzy concept, Concept map


Vascular age is an alternate means of representing an individual’s cardiovascular risk. Little consensus exists on what vascular age represents and its clinical utility has not been determined. We systematically reviewed the literature to provide a comprehensive overview of different methods that have been used to define vascular age, and to examine its potential clinical value in patient communication and risk prediction.

Concepts: Medicine, Death, Truth, Blood vessel, Cardiovascular disease, Philosophy of language, Definitionism, Being


Purpose: To develop a transdisciplinary conceptualization of social belonging that could be used to guide measurement approaches aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of community-based programs for people with disabilities. Method: We conducted a narrative, scoping review of peer reviewed English language literature published between 1990 and July 2011 using multiple databases, with “sense of belonging” as a key search term. The search engine ranked articles for relevance to the search strategy. Articles were searched in order until theoretical saturation was reached. We augmented this search strategy by reviewing reference lists of relevant papers. Results: Theoretical saturation was reached after 40 articles; 22 of which were qualitative accounts. We identified five intersecting themes: subjectivity; groundedness to an external referent; reciprocity; dynamism and self-determination. Conclusion: We define a sense of belonging as a subjective feeling of value and respect derived from a reciprocal relationship to an external referent that is built on a foundation of shared experiences, beliefs or personal characteristics. These feelings of external connectedness are grounded to the context or referent group, to whom one chooses, wants and feels permission to belong. This dynamic phenomenon may be either hindered or promoted by complex interactions between environmental and personal factors. [Box: see text].

Concepts: Philosophy of language, Semantics, Review, Search engine optimization, Reciprocity, Searching, Reference, Reciprocal


We present a historical overview of forest concepts and definitions, linking these changes with distinct perspectives and management objectives. Policies dealing with a broad range of forest issues are often based on definitions created for the purpose of assessing global forest stocks, which do not distinguish between natural and planted forests or reforests, and which have not proved useful in assessing national and global rates of forest regrowth and restoration. Implementing and monitoring forest and landscape restoration requires additional approaches to defining and assessing forests that reveal the qualities and trajectories of forest patches in a spatially and temporally dynamic landscape matrix. New technologies and participatory assessment of forest states and trajectories offer the potential to operationalize such definitions. Purpose-built and contextualized definitions are needed to support policies that successfully protect, sustain, and regrow forests at national and global scales. We provide a framework to illustrate how different management objectives drive the relative importance of different aspects of forest state, dynamics, and landscape context.

Concepts: Philosophy of language, Ecosystem


According to the feature-based model of semantic memory, concepts are described by a set of semantic features that contribute, with different weights, to the meaning of a concept. Interestingly, this theoretical framework has introduced numerous dimensions to describe semantic features. Recently, we proposed a new parameter to measure the importance of a semantic feature for the conceptual representation-that is, semantic significance. Here, with speeded verification tasks, we tested the predictive value of our index and investigated the relative roles of conceptual and featural dimensions on the participants' performance. The results showed that semantic significance is a good predictor of participants' verification latencies and suggested that it efficiently captures the salience of a feature for the computation of the meaning of a given concept. Therefore, we suggest that semantic significance can be considered an effective index of the importance of a feature in a given conceptual representation. Moreover, we propose that it may have straightforward implications for feature-based models of semantic memory, as an important additional factor for understanding conceptual representation.

Concepts: Philosophy of language, Semantics, Meaning of life, Concept, Semiotics, Cognitive linguistics, Concepts, Concept map