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Concept: Philosophy


On 22 February 2011, Christchurch New Zealand (population 367,700) experienced a devastating earthquake, causing extensive damage and killing one hundred and eighty-five people. The earthquake and aftershocks occurred between the 2009 and 2011 waves of a longitudinal probability sample conducted in New Zealand, enabling us to examine how a natural disaster of this magnitude affected deeply held commitments and global ratings of personal health, depending on earthquake exposure. We first investigated whether the earthquake-affected were more likely to believe in God. Consistent with the Religious Comfort Hypothesis, religious faith increased among the earthquake-affected, despite an overall decline in religious faith elsewhere. This result offers the first population-level demonstration that secular people turn to religion at times of natural crisis. We then examined whether religious affiliation was associated with differences in subjective ratings of personal health. We found no evidence for superior buffering from having religious faith. Among those affected by the earthquake, however, a loss of faith was associated with significant subjective health declines. Those who lost faith elsewhere in the country did not experience similar health declines. Our findings suggest that religious conversion after a natural disaster is unlikely to improve subjective well-being, yet upholding faith might be an important step on the road to recovery.

Concepts: Causality, Belief, Faith, Philosophy, New Zealand, Religion, Earthquake, God


The role of breakfast as an essential part of an healthy diet has been only recently promoted even if breakfast practices were known since the Middle Age. The growing scientific evidences on this topic are extremely sector-based nevertheless breakfast could be regarded from different point of views and from different expertises. This approach, that take into account history, sociology, anthropology, medicine, psychology and pedagogy, is useful to better understand the value of this meal in our culture. The aim of this paper was to analyse breakfast-related issues based on a multidisciplinary approach with input by specialists from different fields of learning.

Concepts: Psychology, Nutrition, Middle Ages, Sociology, Culture, Philosophy, Anthropology, Social sciences


We present and analyze a gedanken experiment and show that the assumption that an antenna operating at a single frequency can transmit more than two independent information channels to the far field violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Transmission of a large number of channels, each associated with an angular momenta ‘twisted wave’ mode, to the far field in free space is therefore not possible.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Fundamental physics concepts, Electromagnetic radiation, Wave, Philosophy, Frequency, Second law of thermodynamics, Laws of thermodynamics


Despite our optimistic belief that we would behave honestly when facing the temptation to act unethically, we often cross ethical boundaries. This paper explores one possibility of why people engage in unethical behavior over time by suggesting that their memory for their past unethical actions is impaired. We propose that, after engaging in unethical behavior, individuals' memories of their actions become more obfuscated over time because of the psychological distress and discomfort such misdeeds cause. In nine studies (n = 2,109), we show that engaging in unethical behavior produces changes in memory so that memories of unethical actions gradually become less clear and vivid than memories of ethical actions or other types of actions that are either positive or negative in valence. We term this memory obfuscation of one’s unethical acts over time “unethical amnesia.” Because of unethical amnesia, people are more likely to act dishonestly repeatedly over time.

Concepts: Psychology, Greek loanwords, Memory, Hippocampus, Philosophy, Human behavior, Episodic memory, Amnesia


Automatic identification of term variants or acceptable alternative free-text terms for gene and protein names from the millions of biomedical publications is a challenging task. Ontologies, such as the Cardiovascular Disease Ontology (CVDO), capture domain knowledge in a computational form and can provide context for gene/protein names as written in the literature. This study investigates: 1) if word embeddings from Deep Learning algorithms can provide a list of term variants for a given gene/protein of interest; and 2) if biological knowledge from the CVDO can improve such a list without modifying the word embeddings created.

Concepts: Gene, Philosophy of science, Philosophy, Machine learning, Learning, Controlled vocabulary, Knowledge, Plato


To evaluate clinical trial registration, reporting and publication rates for new drugs by: (1) legal requirements and (2) the ethical standard that all human subjects research should be publicly accessible to contribute to generalisable knowledge.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Philosophy, Drug discovery, Philosophy of life, Morality, Food and Drug Administration, Immanuel Kant, Eudaimonia


No literature reviews have systematically identified and evaluated research on the psychological determinants of endurance performance, and sport psychology performance enhancement guidelines for endurance sports are not founded on a systematic appraisal of endurance-specific research.

Concepts: Psychology, Philosophy, Clinical psychology, Emotion, Sport, Applied psychology, Sport psychology


Philosophers and legal scholars have long theorized about how intentionality serves as a critical input for morality and culpability, but the emerging field of experimental philosophy has revealed a puzzling asymmetry. People judge actions leading to negative consequences as being more intentional than those leading to positive ones. The implications of this asymmetry remain unclear because there is no consensus regarding the underlying mechanism. Based on converging behavioral and neural evidence, we demonstrate that there is no single underlying mechanism. Instead, two distinct mechanisms together generate the asymmetry. Emotion drives ascriptions of intentionality for negative consequences, while the consideration of statistical norms leads to the denial of intentionality for positive consequences. We employ this novel two-mechanism model to illustrate that morality can paradoxically shape judgments of intentionality. This is consequential for mens rea in legal practice and arguments in moral philosophy pertaining to terror bombing, abortion, and euthanasia among others.

Concepts: Psychology, Sociology, Law, Intentionality, Philosophy, Ethics, Morality, Intention


In two studies, 5- and 6-year-old children were questioned about the status of the protagonist embedded in three different types of stories. In realistic stories that only included ordinary events, all children, irrespective of family background and schooling, claimed that the protagonist was a real person. In religious stories that included ordinarily impossible events brought about by divine intervention, claims about the status of the protagonist varied sharply with exposure to religion. Children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school, or both, judged the protagonist in religious stories to be a real person, whereas secular children with no such exposure to religion judged the protagonist in religious stories to be fictional. Children’s upbringing was also related to their judgment about the protagonist in fantastical stories that included ordinarily impossible events whether brought about by magic (Study 1) or without reference to magic (Study 2). Secular children were more likely than religious children to judge the protagonist in such fantastical stories to be fictional. The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children’s differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories.

Concepts: Truth, Philosophy, Religion, Reality, Character, Judgment, Short story, Secularity


Little research has focused on the relationship between religion and climate change attitudes and behavior. Further, while there have been some studies examining the relationship between environmental attitudes and religion, most are focused on Christian denominations and secularism, and few have examined other religions such as Buddhism. Using an online survey of 1,927 Australians we examined links between membership of four religious groupings (Buddhists, Christian literalists and non-literalists, and Secularists) and climate change attitudes and behaviors. Differences were found across religious groups in terms of their belief in: (a) human induced climate change, (b) the level of consensus among scientists, © their own efficacy, and (d) the need for policy responses. We show, using ordinal regression, that religion explains these differences even after taking into account socio-demographic factors, knowledge and environmental attitude, including belief in man’s dominion over nature. Differences in attitude and behavior between these religious groups suggest the importance of engaging denominations to encourage change in attitudes and behavior among their members.

Concepts: Truth, Philosophy, Religion, Islam, Christianity, Major religious groups, Secularity, Unbelieving