Dec 19, 2014 0
Altruism and Social Experiences
A pair of Stanford psychologists has conducted experiments that indicate altruism has environmental triggers, and is not something we are simply born with. (Bjorn Carey, Stanford News Service)
What Makes Kids Generous?
University of Chicago developmental neuroscientists have found specific brain markers that predict generosity in children. Those neural markers appear to be linked to both social and moral evaluation processes. There are many sorts of prosocial behaviors. Although young children are natural helpers, their perspective on sharing resources tends to be selfish. Jean Decety, the Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, and Jason Cowell, a postdoctoral scholar in Decety’s Child NeuroSuite lab, wanted to find out how young children’s brains evaluate whether to share something with others out of generosity. (Jann Ingmire, UChicago News)
Are Christian Americans More Likely to Support Torture Than Those Who Are Nonreligious?
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that Americans, by a 59-31 percent margin, believe that CIA “treatment of suspected terrorists” in detention was justified. A plurality deemed that “treatment” to be “torture,” by a 49-38 percent margin. Remarkably, the gap between torture supporters and opponents widens between voters who are Christian and those who are not religious. (Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches)
Religion at Work
Brent Lyons, assistant professor of management and organization studies at Simon Fraser University, in Canada, led a team of researchers who found that employees who discuss their religious beliefs at work are oftentimes happier. “Being able to openly express important aspects of one’s life at work can positively influence job satisfaction,” Lyons says. “However, sometimes individuals feel that their workplace is not open to expressing religion.” ( Max Ufberg, Pacific Standard)
The Latest on the Acid-Bath Stem Cell Papers
A Japanese team announced Friday in Tokyo that it has been unable to reproduce a new, astoundingly simple way of generating pluripotent stem cells, despite working directly with the lead author on the Nature papers reporting the breakthrough method. That researcher, Haruko Obokata, also today resigned from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, home of most of the team conducting the research. (Dennis Normile, ScienceInsider, Science)
Perceptions: Science and Religious Communities
“Perceptions: Science and Religious Communities” is a day-long national conference that will bring together leaders in science and religion—including Nobel Prize winning physicist William D. Phillips, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, DoSER director Jennifer Wiseman, and National Association of Evangelicals president Leith Anderson—to foster dialogue between scientific and religious communities, and to plan a course for future conversation. The conference program is still developing, but includes dynamic speakers, enriching topical discussion tracks, lunch sponsored by AAAS, and a concluding reception. Registration is open! (AAAS)