Mice master complex thinking with a remarkable capacity for abstraction

Categorization is the brain’s tool to organize nearly everything we encounter in our daily lives. Grouping information into categories simplifies our complex world and helps us to react quickly and effectively to new experiences. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology have now shown that also mice categorize surprisingly well. The researchers identified neurons encoding learned categories and thereby demonstrated how abstract information is represented at the neuronal level. A toddler is looking at a new picture book. Suddenly it points to an illustration and shouts ‘chair’. The kid made the right call, but that does not seem particularly noteworthy to us. We recognize all kinds of chairs as ‘chair’ without any difficulty. For a toddler, however, this is an enormous learning process. It must associate the chair pictured in the book with the chairs it already knows – even though they may have different shapes or colors. How does the child do that? The answer is…

Army’s own vaccine that could fight COVID variants begins clinical trials

A unique vaccine produced by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research started clinical testing Tuesday, and Army researchers hope it will combat variants of SARS-COV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine, called spike ferritin nanoparticle, or SpFN, could also help fight other coronaviruses, a group of related RNA viruses that often cause respiratory-related diseases in mammals. Army researchers have been tracking the threat posed by new coronaviruses even before the pandemic, according to Kayvon Modjarrad, director of emerging infectious diseases at Walter Reed. That threat has been accelerating in recent years. “That’s why we need a vaccine like this: one that has potential to protect broadly and proactively against multiple coronavirus species and strains,” Modjarrad said in a statement announcing the SpFN testing.

Taking sex differences in personality seriously

Few topics in psychology are more controversial than sex differences [1]. Debates can be classified into two main types: (a) The description of sex differences, including both the size and variability of sex differences across a multitude of physical and psychological traits, and (b) The origins and development of sex differences, including the complex interplay between social, cultural, genetic, and biological factors that influence sex differences. These lines often get blurred. Researchers who emphasize sociocultural factors in their research tend to conceptualize sex differences as small and worry that if we exaggerate the differences, then all hell will break loose in society. On the other side, those who emphasize biological influences tend to emphasize how differences in personality and behavior can be quite large. I believe that this blurring between the descriptive and the explanatory levels of analysis has stunted the field and distorted public debates over these complex…

SOTT FOCUS: Objective:Health – Kids and Covid Shots

If there’s one thing the elites seem to love to do, it’s injecting kids with questionable biological material. Take, for instance, the following: We know children do not transmit Covid-19 virus and that the concept of asymptomatic spread has been questioned severely, particularly for children. Children, if infected, just do not spread Covid-19 to others readily, either to other children, other adults in their families or otherwise, nor to their teachers. It is well-noted that asymptomatic cases are not the drivers of the pandemic; something particularly important in relation to children as they’re generally asymptomatic. In other words there are no data whatsoever that could be used to support the need for vaccination of children in this Covid-19 pandemic. Yet there are currently a number of trials in process for a number of covid shots where the subjects of the studies ARE CHILDREN. Why are we vaccinating children against Covid-19 when we know the vast majority don’t catch it or…

How dreams change under authoritarianism

When the Nazis came to power, the writer Charlotte Beradt began collecting dreams. What did she learn? Not long after Hitler came to power, in 1933, a thirty-year-old woman in Berlin had a series of uncanny dreams. In one, her neighborhood had been stripped of its usual signs, which were replaced with posters that listed twenty verboten words; the first was “Lord” and the last was “I.” In another, the woman found herself surrounded by workers, including a milkman, a gasman, a newsagent, and a plumber. She felt calm, until she spied among them a chimney sweep. (In her family, the German word for “chimney sweep” was code for the S.S., a nod to the trade’s blackened clothing.) The men brandished their bills and performed a Nazi salute. Then they chanted, “Your guilt cannot be doubted.” These are two of about seventy-five dreams collected in “The Third Reich of Dreams,” a strange, enthralling book by the writer Charlotte Beradt. Neither scientific study nor psychoanalytic text, “The…

Feeling hungry all the time? Study confirms link to blood glucose levels

The interplay between blood sugar and appetite appears to be more complex than scientists realized, with new research showing that glucose levels in the blood even several hours after eating can still have a pronounced effect on how hungry people get later in the day. Specifically, the new findings reveal that some people are prone to experiencing ‘sugar dips’ up to four hours after eating their last meal – a delayed glycemic response that turns out to be a more accurate indicator of appetite (and energy consumption) than glucose levels following meals. “It has long been suspected that blood sugar levels play an important role in controlling hunger, but the results from previous studies have been inconclusive,” says nutrition scientist Sarah Berry from King’s College London.

Sweden’s Professor Johan Giesecke, epidemiologist: “I think I got most things right, actually”

Johan Giesecke, an advisor to the Director General of the WHO, former Chief Scientist of the EU Centre for Disease Control, and former state epidemiologist of Sweden, returned to UnHerd yesterday to resume his discussion with editor Freddie Sayers, adjourned a year ago. He was one of the first major figures to come out against lockdowns last spring, saying they are not evidence-based, the correct policy is to protect the old and the frail only, and the Imperial College modelling was “not very good”. While he admits he made some mistakes, he believes that history will judge him kindly, and says: “I think I got most of the things right, actually.” He gives a solid defence of the outcome in Sweden, ably batting away the “neighbour argument” that says Sweden failed because Norway and Finland did better.

Stanford study quietly published at NIH.gov proves face masks are absolutely worthless against Covid

The diapers most of us are wearing on our face most of the time apparently have no effect at stopping Covid-19. This explains a lot. Did you hear about the peer-reviewed study done by Stanford University that demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that face masks have absolutely zero chance of preventing the spread of Covid-19? No? It was posted on the the National Center for Biological Information government website. The NCBI is a branch of the National Institute for Health, so one would think such a study would be widely reported by mainstream media and embraced by the “science-loving” folks in Big Tech. Instead, a DuckDuckGo search reveals it was picked up by ZERO mainstream media outlets and Big Tech tyrants will suspend people who post it, as political strategist Steve Cortes learned the hard way when he posted a Tweet that went against the face mask narrative. The Tweet itself featured a quote and a link that prompted Twitter to suspend his account, potentially indefinitely….

SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Interview with Tom Costello: Yes, Virginia, There Is a Left-wing Authoritarianism!

Today on MindMatters we interview Thomas Costello, Emory University PhD candidate and lead author of a groundbreaking new study on leftwing authoritarianism. Long thought by social psychologists to be the exclusive of social conservatives (RWA), studies of authoritarianism on the left have been few and far between. Until now. Despite the almost willful ignorance about the subject in the field, LWA really does exist, and Costello and colleagues are clarifying its structure as a valid construct. It turns out that rightwing and leftwing authoritarians have a lot in common – and some differences too. Join us as we pick Tom’s brain about the history of the study of authoritarianism, how it became associated exclusively with conservatism, and what the latest studies are revealing about authoritarians on the left: those anti-conventionalists who channel their aggression against existing hierarchies and favor top-down censorship, and who are more willing to participate in political…

Dunning-Kruger Effect: New study says ignorance and overconfidence affect intuitive thinking

In a newly published study, researchers say the Dunning-Kruger Effect can cause low-performers to overestimate their judgments during the intuitive decision-making process. According to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology on April 8, 2021, researchers found that persons with the highest number of errors demonstrated the highest degree of miscalibration, or overconfidence, in their actual performance on the cognitive reflection test. Researchers say study results have potential implications for the theoretical cognitive bias that persons with low abilities tend to overestimate their actual capabilities, also known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Speaking with The Debrief, Dr. Justin Couchman, professor of psychology at Albright College and co-author of the recent study, says the ability to make correct intuitive decisions is increasingly becoming one of the most critical skills to have in the modern information-technology age.