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Animal behaviour: Dogs may have body-awareness and understand consequences of own actions
Dogs may be able to recognize their own body as an obstacle and also understand the consequences of their own actions, according to a study involving 32 pet dogs published in Scientific Reports. (2021-02-18)

One in 10 Ohio women thought abortion illegal amid attempts to ban at 6 weeks
Though Ohio never formally enacted a so-called ''heartbeat bill'' banning abortions after six weeks of gestation, legislative and legal actions appear to have fueled beliefs that abortion is illegal in the state, a new study has found. (2021-02-17)

Environmentally friendly behavior is easy -- tourists just need a 'nudge'
A new study has demonstrated that providing a simple 'nudge' -- or cue -- is an effective way to influence the decision making process of tourists and encourage them to act in more environmentally friendly ways. The results offer many practical insights on how a simple, low cost intervention, such as placing a sign in a store, has huge potential on reducing the local impacts of businesses and tourist operators by making pro-environmental choices easy. (2021-02-09)

What impact did police violence have on participation in the October 1, 2020 referendum?
An academic study by professors Toni Rodon (UPF) and Marc Guinjoan (UB) demonstrates that violence decreased participation at the places where it occurred, but increased participation in surrounding municipalities. Part of this increased participation is accounted for by people with a dual sense of national identity who had not planned to vote but did so as a sign of protest or civil disobedience. (2021-02-02)

Oncotarget: The pro-apoptotic actions of 2-methoxyestradiol against ovarian cancer
The objective of this Oncotarget study was to elucidate the molecular mechanism of actions of 2MeOE2, a known microtubule disrupting agent, in inducing apoptosis in ovarian tumors (2021-02-01)

Navigating uncertainty: Why we need decision theory during a pandemic
Modern decision theory can assist policymakers in critical times such as the COVID-19 crisis, argue Bocconi University's Massimo Marinacci and Valentina Bosetti in a paper coauthored by Nobel laureate Lars Peter Hansen (2021-01-22)

Set clear rules for vaccinating health care workers against SARS-CoV-2
Provincial and territorial governments should set clear rules for vaccinating health care workers against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in public and private settings, and should not leave this task to employers, according to an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) https://www.cmaj.ca/content/cmaj/early/2021/01/19/cmaj.202755.full.pdf. (2021-01-19)

Robot learns fast but safe navigation strategy
A research group from the Active Intelligent System Laboratory (AISL) at Toyohashi University of Technology (TUT) has proposed a new framework for training mobile robots to quickly navigate while maintaining low collision rates. The framework combines deep reinforcement learning (DRL) and curriculum learning in the training process for robots to learn a fast but safe navigation policy. (2021-01-18)

Divergences between scientific and Indigenous and Local Knowledge can be helpful
Divergences between scientific and Indigenous and Local Knowledge can provide a better understanding of why local pastoralists may be willing, or not, to participate in conservation initiatives for carnivores, a study from University of Helsinki suggests. (2021-01-15)

New classification marks paradigm shift in how conservationists tackle climate change
A new study co-authored by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Global Conservation Program and the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Forestry introduces a classification called Resistance-Resilience-Transformation (RRT) that enables the assessment of whether and to what extent a management shift toward transformative action is occurring in conservation. (2021-01-14)

Study finds NRA stakeholders conflicted in wake of shootings
A recent study finds that, in the wake of a mass shooting, National Rifle Association (NRA) employees, donors and volunteers had extremely mixed emotions about the organization - reporting higher levels of both positive and negative feelings about the NRA, as compared to people with no NRA affiliation. (2021-01-12)

Robot displays a glimmer of empathy to a partner robot
Like a longtime couple who can predict each other's every move, a Columbia Engineering robot has learned to predict its partner robot's future actions and goals based on just a few initial video frames. The study, conducted at Columbia Engineering's Creative Machines Lab led by Mechanical Engineering Professor Hod Lipson, is part of a broader effort to endow robots with the ability to understand and anticipate the goals of other robots, purely from visual observations. (2021-01-11)

What makes COVID misinformation so tough to stop on social media
A recent study highlights two of the reasons that misinformation about COVID-19 is so difficult to tackle on social media: most people think they're above average at spotting misinformation; and misinformation often triggers negative emotions that resonate with people. The findings may help communicators share accurate information more effectively. (2020-12-07)

Researchers find 'missing link'
Otago researchers have found the ''missing link between stress and infertility''. (2020-12-03)

How we learn words and sentences at the same time
How people work out the meanings of new words has been revealed by Lancaster University researchers, who say this is similar to the way in which young children learn language. The researchers said: ''A lot of what infants hear is ''who's a lovely baby yes you are now where's teddy gone oh look here is teddy''. How do babies begin to make sense of this burbling to figure out the language?'' (2020-11-30)

Is it better to give than receive?
Young children who have experienced compassionate love and empathy from their mothers may be more willing to turn thoughts into action by being generous to others, a University of California, Davis, study suggests. Lab studies were done of children at ages 4 and 6. (2020-11-30)

Here's why conservatives and liberals differ on COVID-19
According to a new study from Lehigh Business, the differences between conservative and liberal responses to COVID-19 are mitigated when people perceive the virus itself to have agency -- the ability to control its own actions and thus exert power over people. Conservatives are generally more sensitive to threats that are relatively high in agency, say researchers with Lehigh University's College of Business and KU Leuven, Belgium. (2020-11-13)

Pinning down how the brain predicts the consequences of choices
Learning to predict the outcomes of actions happens through two separate cognitive processes. Though distinct, it is frequently difficult to tell which scheme an individual is executing at any given instance. A new study in mice implements a novel experimental approach that untangles the two, and pins down how a specific brain structure represents the various features involved in the decision making process. (2020-11-04)

Brain region implicated in predicting the consequences of actions
A new study highlights the sophisticated mental machinery that helps the brain simulate the results of different actions and make the best choice. (2020-11-04)

Monkey see others, monkey do: How the brain allows actions based on social cues
Researchers at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan have shown that when monkeys make decisions based on social cues provided by other monkeys, information flow from one part of the brain (the ventral premotor cortex) to another (medial prefrontal cortex) is vital. When this neuronal pathway is silenced temporarily, monkeys cannot catch the social cues and end up behaving like autistic monkeys. (2020-11-02)

Simple actions can help people survive landslides
Simple actions can dramatically improve a person's chances of surviving a landslide, according to records from 38 landslides in the US and around the world. People who survived landslides tended to show key behaviors such as being aware of the risk, moving to higher ground, and making noise if buried. (2020-10-22)

Individuals may legitimize hacking when angry with system or authority
University of Kent research has found that when individuals feel that a system or authority is unresponsive to their demands, they are more likely to legitimise hacker activity at an organisation's expense. (2020-10-22)

Automatic decision-making prevents us harming others - new study
The processes our brains use to avoid harming other people are automatic and reflexive - and quite different from those used when avoiding harm to ourselves, according to new research. (2020-10-15)

People can do more than use less plastic to help save the GBR: QUT research
There are many threats to Australia's Great Barrier Reef - cyclones, shipping, crown-of-thorns starfish - but QUT researchers say climate change is its worst enemy. Yet a survey they conducted found most people don't make a connection between climate change and reef health. They say there is more individuals could do on this front, both in the home and to influence government policies (2020-10-12)

Relationship value and economic value are evaluated by the same part of the brain
Researchers from several Japanese universities have revealed that the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for calculating economic value, is also responsible for judging the value of relationships with friends based on the received commitment signals. (2020-10-12)

Most nations failing to protect nature in COVID-19 pandemic recovery plans
The COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to reset the global economy and reverse decades of ecosystem and species losses, but most countries are failing to invest in nature-related economic reforms or investments, according to a Rutgers-led paper. (2020-10-09)

Cognitive flexibility training manages responses to social conflict
Scientists at the WRAIR and ARL developed a computer-based training to reduce anger, reactive aggression and hostile attribution bias--the tendency to attribute hostile intent to the actions of others--in ambiguous social conflict situations. HAB and unwarranted anger can jeopardize social bonds, team culture and team performance. It is also linked to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other behavioral health concerns. Researchers showed the HBMT was effective up to 96 hours after the training. (2020-09-30)

Hackers targeting companies that fake corporate responsibility
A new study found some hackers aren't in it for the money; they want to expose firms that engage in phony philanthropy. These hackers -- which include everyone from disgruntled employees to hacktivist groups -- can ''sniff out'' actions that only give the appearance of corporate social responsibility. (2020-09-30)

Confidence in the authorities' handling of COVID-19 provides good mental health
How did you react in March, when the country went into lock-down due to the coronavirus? Psychology experts at UiT The Arctic University of Norway have studied our reaction patterns and mental health in this one of a kind global crisis. (2020-09-18)

Future autonomous machines may build trust through emotion
Army research has extended the state-of-the-art in autonomy by providing a more complete picture of how actions and nonverbal signals contribute to promoting cooperation. Researchers suggested guidelines for designing autonomous machines such as robots, self-driving cars, drones and personal assistants that will effectively collaborate with Soldiers. (2020-09-15)

The effect of military training on the sense of agency and outcome processing
A collaborative study between researchers from the Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), the Royal Military Academy of Belgium , found that working in a highly hierarchical environment such as the military is detrimental for the sense of agency and for the neural processing of outcomes of one's own actions. Yet, groups undergoing specific training targeting responsibility and accountability, such as military officers, did not show this effect. This research opens up the interesting possibility of training people to develop a sense of responsibility (2020-09-01)

Why babies not always remember what they have learned
If and how babies recall what they have learned depends on their mood: what they've learned when feeling calm is inaccessible when they're acitive and vice versa. This was shown in a study conducted by developmental psychologists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) with 96 children aged nine months. They published their report in the journal ''Child Development'' from 19. August 2020. (2020-08-21)

Technology can help speed soil recovery after oil spills
Researchers use spectroscopy to quickly and cheaply analyze soils samples. (2020-08-12)

Personal connections key to climate adaptation
Connections with friends and family are key to helping communities adapt to the devastating impact of climate change on their homes and livelihoods. The research found people are more empowered to deal with the impact of encroaching sea-levels and dwindling fish stocks when they see others doing the same. (2020-08-10)

Study: Increased presence of law enforcement officers in schools does not improve safety
A new longitudinal study sought to learn more about the impact of school resource officers (SROs). The study found that schools that increased staffing levels of SROs were more likely to record increases in crimes and to exclude students from school in response to those crimes than schools without increases in SRO staffing levels; moreover, the increases in crimes and exclusions recorded persisted for up to 20 months. (2020-08-10)

AJTMH July updates
Below is an update of COVID-19 articles published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (AJTMH). We've highlighted below those that we think may of interest for your reporting. (2020-07-22)

International conference on social determinants of health identified change needs
In November 2019, clinicians, health administrators, educators and researchers from around the world gathered in Toronto to discuss how to best address social determinants of health from a primary care perspective. (2020-07-14)

Food safety investments open new markets, boost revenue for small farmers
A new Cornell University study finds that when small-scale farmers are trained in food safety protocols and develop a farm food safety plan, new markets open up to them, leading to an overall gain in revenue. (2020-07-09)

Brain activity prior to an action contributes to our sense of control over what we do
Scientists have identified specific brain regions that contribute to humans' sense of agency - the implicit sense that we control our actions and that they affect the outside world. The findings suggest that brain activity involved in planning our next move is crucial to this sense of agency, supporting a 'constructive' hypothesis in which humans compare the predictions. (2020-07-01)

Study: New leaders emerge as organizations go to virtual work spaces
The study found that in face-to-face gatherings, team members value those with 'classic' leadership characteristics, such as extroversion and intelligence, but in virtual settings, those qualities take a backseat to those who take action. (2020-06-29)

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