Monday, March 30, 2009
Now that you have each explored a number of aspects of each of your topics I have some more specific things for you to do for the next couple posts.
For your next post would like each of you to find a popular press article about a journal article that you are interested in and read both the press article as well as the primary source. You should give a general summary and then discuss what the press article gets right & wrong (or misrepresents). For the primary article find something that the press article has missed that you think is important and discuss it.
If you have problems finding something checkout The New Yorker, the NYTimes science section, LATimes, Salon, The Atlantic, anything by Malcolm Gladwell or Oliver Sacks (though they usually write about more than 1 article). I'm also here if you need any help.
For the post after that I would like each of you to attempt to write a short popular press article about another cool journal article (preferably one that doesn't have something already written about it). Try to find something 'sexy' (well at last as sexy as science can be). This doesn't have to be any longer than your usual posts.
Finally, for your last post of the semester (Friday April 24th - or really anytime during that following weekend) I would like you to write a summary post of what you've learned (overarching themes, as well as specifics). It would also be great if you'd offer any suggestions as to what would have been a more valuable experience for this James Scholar project.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
From the data that they collected, they received results which were expected by many of the experimenters. The females that were dressing in more attractive attire were perceived to be more positive compared to women that were dressed in unattractive attire.
This is a very interesting find because even though some people may be more or less attractive than others they can use clothing to help give them an edge in society. But, I believe that clothing can only take you so far. From my earlier findings you can see that there are many factors that deal with attractions between humans. Clothing seems to be more of an initial response to the individual. From the article you can see that many people simply perceive the women being viewed as more easily approachable/friendly.
I was not surprised in the fact that attractive dressed women would be considered more attractive to men. Initial attractions are more than just facial. It is important to wear clothing to help show others your physical physique because you can see multiple points make up a whole.
I would like to see what images they used in this research. They never showed the images that were used which made me fairly frustrating. I would very much like to see what images they used. Also, I would like to see them use a larger range of models and clothing types to possibly pinpoint as being most attractive.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
There was a moderate amount of aggressiveness found throughout the years in both male and female participants. One finding that I found particularly interesting was that the stable rate of aggression amongst the different age groups was due to the highly aggressive people remaining highly aggressive and the less aggressive people remaining less aggressive throughout the years of the study rather than the individuals fluctuating in aggressive behavior.
The study concluded that, in comparison to those with low levels of aggression, those with continuously high levels had less desirable outcomes. For instance, people who displayed higher levels of aggression were significantly more likely to partake in criminal activities, violate traffic laws, have spousal problems, and act violently than those with low aggressiveness. the outcomes for the people who showed moderate levels of aggressiveness throughout the years did not differ greatly enough from those who had low levels to be statistically significant. Also, those who began to display highly aggressive behavior in early adulthood had more negative outcomes, although not quite as bad as those who displayed the behavior from childhood.
I know from earlier readings that aggressive behavior is mostly caused by a lack of serotonin or serotonin receptors in the brain. This article made me wonder if there is a way to overcome the genetic predisposition for aggression. The study did not start until the kids were eight years old, and had undoubtedly been exposed to many different things, so I think it would be interesting to observe a group of newborns who's parents show highly aggressive behavior being raised in different environments. There is a clear nature vs. nurture battle here, and I'm guessing both play a role, but I think tweaking the study in the article would enlighten us a bit more on the issue.
Huesmann, L. Rowell, Eric F. Dubow, and Paul Boxer. "Continuity of aggression from childhood to early adulthood as a predictor of life outcomes: implications for the adolescent-limited and life-course-persistent models." Aggressive Behavior 35.2 (March-April 2009): 136(14). Academic OneFile. Gale. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
These chemicals can be detected from up to 36 meters away. Mosquitoes have chemical receptors which are stimulated by such chemicals. But, there are also factors besides these chemicals. It has been cited that body temperature and moisture serves as an attractant. Also, floral fragrances from perfumes, soaps, lotions, and hair-care products may also contribute to the attractiveness to mosquitoes. Lastly, mosquitoes are more attracted to males and least attracted to children.
Overall, I find this clinical guide very informative. I can definitely see why I rarely am bitten by mosquitoes now. It does not seem that I am excreting some magical chemical, it is probably the opposite. I am excreting a small amount of other chemicals. Also, I am not personally a very sweaty person and usually stay on the cool side of things, which overall decreases that probability of being bitten.
I believe that next week I will research species that may be specifically attracted to certain humans. I find it extremely interesting if certain humans may be mentally pointed out.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
The results were not all that surprising. For the 3 younger groups, over aggressiveness was the number one cause of enmity towards other males. For young adults, however, the number one factor in disliking a peer was aberrant behavior, which is the number two reason in the primary schoolers and preadolescents and the third reason in preschoolers. Although these factors were common throughout, each group also had reasons for disliking peers that were specific mainly to themselves. Rule violation and lack of play were factors for preschoolers, non-help was a factor for primary schoolers, negative evaluation was a factor for pre adolescents, and lack of genuineness, a more abstract reaason, was one for young adults.
I found the study somewhat interesting in that it brings to light reasons we like or dislike people. I found it pretty obvious that aggressive behavior is an undesireable trait in a friend, but never thought about the more abstract reasons such as lack of genuineness or loyalty. The results fit in well with the theories of development that say that more complex thought comes with age. We can see that the reasons the younger boys had for disliking their peers were much more concrete and obvious than the reasons the young adults had. Aggressive behavior seems like a gift in some situations, and a curse in others.
Hayes, Donald S, Elaine S. Gershman and William Halteman. "Enmity in males at four developmental levels: cognitive bases for disliking peers." Journal of Genetic Psychology. v157. n2 (June 1996): p153(8).
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
The first experiment used 4 sets of 6 beads which were handled for 10 minutes then allowed to age for 0,15,30, and 45 minutes. Then they observed the attractancy of the beads. Each test was then replicated 16 times. Linear regression analysis was used then to correlate the data.
Next, they tested if they could removed this “attractancy” of the beads by washing them with solvent. They followed the same procedure as before and allowed the beads to drip dry before testing. They replicated these tests 4 times.
The third experiment combined both clean and touched beads which were washed with 10mL of one of five solvent. These samples were tested three times a day with a new population of mosquitoes.
The forth experiment bead were handled and later washed respectively to 100%,50%,25%, or 12.5%. These samples were used for a total of eight test and data points.
In the first experiment they found a direct correlation with the attratancy and the time of aging. The long the beads were let to rest the less attractive they were to the mosquitoes population. Within the second experiment we saw that all five of the solvents were extremely effective by reducing the attraction to the mosquitoes. Which they found similar results in the third experiment as well. Lastly the correlation which they found in the last experiment was what was expected and received a very nice slope to the graphs/data.
I was actually very surprised by this experiment. I thought that it is a very good study because I do want to know why pesky mosquitoes are always there to annoy me. Personally, attractions within any species are fascinating to me. In a case such as this I have noticed that many mosquitoes are not as attracted to me as other people. I never wear bug spray and always seem to be perfectly fine on the hot muggy days in the summer. Personally, I would love to see if certain people are more attractive to mosquitoes. Maybe I am just repulsive to them!
I would like to see research which was based on skin types or colorations. Maybe there is something in people’s genetics that deter such small insects from finding them a tasty meal. Maybe such things as freckles or moles are genetically helpful. Or maybe our psychology and moods help attract mosquitoes. Maybe stress and pheromones send out the dinner bell for such species.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
However, a father figure is often needed in the life of a young mammal, and since giving birth is specific to females, there must be a way to keep the male around in some cases. This can perhaps be seen most clearly in prairie voles. These rodents are known to form such strong bonds with the opposite sex, that even if one partner died, the other would not find another mate. Studies have shown that the chemicals responsible for this are oxytocin and vasopressin. Vasopressin is more prevalent in males, where as oxytocin is more prevalent in females. Furthermore, studies done on human subjects have shown simular results. When a person was asked to talk about their first date with their significant other, there was found to be an elevated level of oxytocin in their blood.
Another interesting finding is that the formation of these bonds, through oxytocin, also triggers dopamine to be released. Dopamine is the reward system in the body, and its production is commonly stimulated by addictive drugs. So, "love" may actually be addicting.
I found this article very interesting in that it explained something so emotionally confusing and seeming abstract in a concrete and scientific way. When one thinks of love, poetry and heart shaped boxes of chocolate usually come to mind, but never scientific journal articles. The article really shines light on why we feel how we feel about the people we love, and also explains why some people may have difficulty forming the social bonds in which these chemicals play a role. Its's also kind of funny telling your girlfriend that she stimulates an increase in your oxytocin receptors.
Debiec, Jack. "From affiliative behaviors to romantic feelings: A role of nanopeptides." FEBS Letters (2007): 2580-586