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  Topic: Science Break, Selected Shorts< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 17 2008,19:30   

Science investigates Heddle's brain

Two items from the January issue of Scientific American:
Seeing on Faith

Religion might literally influence how you view the world.  Scientists in the Netherlands compared Dutch Calvinists with Dutch atheists, looking for any effects potentially imposed on thinking by the neo-Calvinist concept of sphere sovereignty, which emphasizes that each sector of society has its own responsibilities and authorities. The researchers hypothesize that Calvinists therefore might not be as good as atheists at seeing the big picture. Participants were shown images of large rectangles or squares that each consisted of smaller rectangles or squares. In some tests, volunteers had to quickly identify the shapes of the smaller parts; in others, the larger wholes. The Calvinists scored slightly but significantly lower than atheists did in correctly identifying whole images. The investigators plan to study other religions for similar influences. See more in the November 12 PLoS ONE.


Politics of Blank Looks

How we react to faces could be linked to our political affiliations. Psychologist Jacob M. Vigil of the University of North Florida had 740 college students look at 12 photographs of faces digitally blurred to not display any clear emotion. The volunteers were then asked if these faces expressed sadness, joy, disgust, surprise, fear or anger. The students who identified themselves as Republicans were more likely than those who identified themselves as Democrats to interpret these vague faces as more threatening, as measured by anger or disgust, and less submissive, as conveyed by fear or surprise. These findings, which appeared online October 21 in Nature Precedings, are consistent with research linking conservative political views on military spending and capital punishment with heightened reactions to disturbing images and sounds. Vigil conjectures that the political ideologies we advocate could be linked with the way that we respond to ambiguous details.

And the set of natural numbers is also the set that starts at 0 and goes to the largest number.  -- Joe G

Please stop putting words into my mouth that don't belong there and thoughts into my mind that don't belong there. -- KF

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