November 29, 2012

Moral vs. Practical Decision-Making
Researchers at schools including New York University and the University of Toronto looked at how decision-making changes when framed in moral versus practical contexts. The results, which appeared in the journal PLOS ONE, suggest that decisions with a “moral underpinning” are made more quickly and are also more extreme. “Once an issue is declared moral, people’s judgments about that issue become more extreme, and they are more likely to apply those judgments to others,” said Ingrid Haas, a co-author of the report and an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in a statement. (CBC News)

Bee Intelligent
Lars Chittka and others have found that bees can count, read symbols, and solve problems that would perplex some of the smartest mammals. Some have an eye for art appreciation, having been trained to pick either Monet or Picasso’s paintings from a choice of the two artists’ work. They may even have a form of self-awareness, and all of this with a brain the size of a pinhead. Studying how they are capable of such great ingenuity promises to reveal much about the evolution of intelligence. It might even provide a new perspective on the workings of our own brains. (David Robson, New Scientist)

Why Do Store Mannequins With Cameras Inside Creep Us Out?
The mannequins aren’t going to come to life and start killing people Dr. Who-style (I hope) so why do we find it so much creepier for the cameras to be inside the dummies rather than unobtrusively in the corner of a store? I polled a few experts for their takes. Here are the condensed versions of what they had to say. (Kashmir Hill, Forbes)

The Self-Esteem and Spirituality of Female Porn Stars
Despite the stereotype that porn actresses are “damaged goods,” they actually report higher self-esteem, more positive feelings, and greater levels of spirituality than other women, a new study finds. (Megan Gannon, LiveScience)

More on the End of the Mayan Calendar
NASA scientists took time to soothe 2012 doomsday fears, warning against the dark side of Mayan apocalypse rumors—frightened children and suicidal teens who truly fear the world may come to an end December 21. (Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience)

Category: Field Notes

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