Why Do We Mistrust Science? Science Policy 

Why Do We Mistrust Science?

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg “The values of science and the values of democracy are concordant, in many cases indistinguishable.” —⁠⁠⁠⁠Carl Sagan Many of our public policies depend on how voters and elected officials understand science, but public attitudes toward science, and understanding of scientific research, depend on how people feel about uncertainty. What is uncertainty? To most of us, uncertainty means not knowing. To scientists, however, uncertainty expresses how well something is known. Therein lies the key difference, especially when trying to understand scientific method. “Absence of evidence is not evidence…

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Cat Videos: Bloomington, Indiana's own Lil Bub is one of the more popular felines on the Internet. (Photo by Mike Bridavsky/www.lilbub.com) Animals Citizen Science Health 

Cat Videos Boost Energy, Good Feelings

Do you get a warm, fuzzy feeling after watching cat videos online? If so, that emotional effect may be more profound than you realize. The Internet phenomenon of watching cat videos, from Lil Bub to Grumpy Cat, apparently does more than simply entertain. It boosts viewers’ energy and positive emotions while decreasing negative feelings, according to a new study from Indiana University Media School. Can a Cat Video a Day Keep the Doctor Away? The study, by assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick, surveyed almost 7,000 people about their viewing of…

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Brainprint: Sarah Laszlo, an assistant professor of Psychology, in her laboratory (Jonathan Cohen, Binghamton University photographer) Biology Engineering Technology 

Can Brainprints Replace Passwords?

By Kate S. How many passwords do you keep track of? How many have you forgotten? According to researchers from Binghamton University, remembering lots of complicated codes may one day be a thing of the past. The unique way your brain responds to certain words could be used to replace passwords. Studying Brain Biometrics The research team monitored the brain signals of 45 volunteers as they read a list of 75 acronyms, such as FBI and DVD. They recorded the brain’s reaction to each group of letters, focusing on the…

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Chemistry on EH Science Biology 

Handshakes May Engage Our Sense of Smell

Why do people shake hands? A new Weizmann Institute study suggests one of the reasons for this ancient custom may be to check out each other’s chemistry. Even if we are not consciously aware of this purpose, handshaking may provide people with a socially acceptable way of communicating via the sense of smell. Handshakes: Nice to Sniff You Not only do people often sniff their own hands, but they do so more actively and for a much longer time after shaking someone else’s hand, the study has found. “It’s well…

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Valentine's Day Gift Giving (Photo courtesy of Ambro via freedigitialphotos.net) Uncategorized 

Psychology of Valentine’s Day Gifts

We don’t have to buy our loved ones cars on Valentine’s Day to show them how we feel, although car dealerships would love for us to believe otherwise! Since the 19th century, when it was considered bad luck for senders to sign their name on the valentine cards, the occasion is now marked with mass-produced greeting cards and seasonal advertising campaigns for increasingly expensive gifts. However, recent consumer research on gift giving from the University of Cincinnati suggests that if you want to buy someone a Valentine’s Day gift this…

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(stockimages via freedigitalphotos.net) Uncategorized 

Family Support Needed for Future Scientists

Family support makes all the difference in bringing up the next generation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, according to researchers at George Mason University. The researchers say that support from family is the primary factor in encouraging children to consider a future a science, with formal education playing a secondary role.  The findings could shape public policy and encourage community-centered activities designed to foster a love of science. “We were surprised to learn that the family is more important than we ever thought in terms of igniting the passion of…

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EH Science: Playing Cards, Boians Cho Joo Young via freedigitalphotos.net. Science & Art Technology 

Artificial Intelligence Creates Magic Tricks

Researchers working on artificial intelligence (AI) at Queen Mary University of London have taught a computer to create magic tricks, and audiences are enjoying the results. The research team is using magic tricks as a means of exploring what artificial intelligence can do. “Using AI to create magic tricks is a great way to demonstrate the possibilities of computer intelligence and it also forms a part of our research into the psychology of being a spectator,” says team member Peter McOwan, Professor of Computer Science. “For example, we suspected that…

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Do action video games improve sensory-motor skills? (imagerymajestic via freedigitalphotos.net) Technology 

Action Video Games Boost Sensorimotor Skills

People who play action video games learn new sensorimotor skills more quickly than non-gamers do, according to a new study by psychology researchers at the University of Toronto. A new sensorimotor skill, such as riding a bike or typing, requires forming a new pattern of coordination between vision and motor movement. With such skills, an individual progresses from novice performance, characterized by a low degree of coordination, to expert performance, with a high degree of coordination. As a result of successful sensorimotor learning, a person can perform these tasks with greater…

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