July 13, 2010

Are We Born With Brains Like Those of Apes?
Clearly, the brain expands greatly as you grow from baby to adult. But researchers discovered not only that the brain grows in a nonuniform way, but also that the parts of the brain that change most rapidly as people grow up are the same parts that changed the most as humans evolved away from our primate relatives. (Andrew Moseman, 80beats, Discover)

Rumor About the Higgs Boson
On his blog, physicist Tommaso Dorigo of the University of Padua writes about talk of a tentative hint of the Higgs at the Tevatron, a particle accelerator at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. (Rachel Courtland, Short Sharp Science, New Scientist)

Creativity Scores Are Declining
With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling. (Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, Newsweek)

The Positive and Negative Side of Perfectionism
Researchers are just beginning to tease apart this complex trait and its relation to health. “Perfectionism is a virtue to be extolled definitely,” said Prem Fry, a psychology professor at Trinity Western University in Canada. “But beyond a certain threshold, it backfires and becomes an impediment,” she said. (Rachel Rettner, LiveScience)

Attractive Politicians Get More TV Airtime
University of Haifa researchers have found that, if you’re a politician, good looks will make you seem more newsworthy. Because better-looking pols get more media coverage. (Karen Hopkin, 60-Second Science, Scientific American)

Less Attractive Male Finches Get Friendly
Female house finches prefer to mate with males with the reddest feathers, but dull-colored males make themselves more appealing by acting more social before mating season, according to a study. The researchers found that the duller a male bird was in color, the more likely he was to engage with multiple social groups. (Sindya Bhanoo, The New York Times)

Q&A
David Stipp

David Stipp is the author of The Youth Pill, a new book that focuses on gene mutations that can double animals’ life spans. (Jane Glenn Haas, The Orange County Register)

Category: Field Notes

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