Researchers explore the ethics of who we think should be saved in an automated vehicle accident

In 2018 the results of a massive and audacious online experiment into human morality, published in the journal Nature, provided a window into our moral preferences and occasionally reflected badly on us, highlighting strange predilections regarding age and gender. Now, researchers have challenged how accurately the research portrayed our choices and suggests we might be more morally egalitarian than previously thought. Called the Moral Machine Experiment (MME), the original study, led by Edmond Awad from MIT, US, was designed to "explore the moral dilemmas faced by autonomous vehicles" by presenting people with a series of accident scenarios in which the vehicle finds itself unable to save everyone involved. Participants visited the website and were asked to choose what the car should do, who should live and who should die. These are, essentially, complex and subtle versions of the 'Trolley Problem'...

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SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Necessary Sin – What Was The Apostle Paul Really Saying About The Nature of Spiritual Transformation?

One of the earliest, most eloquent, and most influential of all advocates for Christianity was the Apostle Paul; his letters are widely quoted the world over. After many centuries of translation, interpretation and analysis, bible scholars and historians have continuously pored over his writings to uncover just what the ancient figure meant, what he truly believed, and what he was trying to convey to the various communities he was reaching out to during the times in which he lived. But have they been correct? In his book Paul's Necessary Sin - The Experience of Liberation, Timothy Ashworth presents a new, coherent and consistent rendering of Paul's central ideas that breathes new life and understanding into what are probably the most famous letters ever written. This week on MindMatters we discuss Ashworth's book and its rigorous examination of Paul's thoughts on...

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Schools across US find more success with yoga, mindfulness classes than detention, punishment

The alternative approach to discipline allows students to ground themselves in their senses and calm emotions. An increasing number of schools across the country are introducing mindfulness practice and yoga classes to address student anxiety, tardiness, and disruptions. The alternative approach to school discipline seeks to address student misbehavior by addressing one of its root causes — namely, allowing students to ground themselves in their senses and calm their emotions. Two such schools — Yellow Springs High School and McKinney Middle School, both in Yellow Springs, Ohio — have already seen some success after introducing mindfulness practice to students as an alternative to detention, reports Yellow Springs News. For half an hour every Monday following the end of the class day, students gather in Donna Haller's classroom to sit on blankets and meditate, allowing themselves to calm down and concentrate...

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Study shows learning difficulties due to poor connectivity, not specific brain regions

Different learning difficulties do not correspond to specific regions of the brain, as previously thought, say researchers at the University of Cambridge. Instead poor connectivity between 'hubs' within the brain is much more strongly related to children's difficulties. Between 14-30% of children and adolescents worldwide have learning difficulties severe enough to require additional support. These difficulties are often associated with cognitive and/or behavioural problems. In some cases, children who are struggling at school receive a formal diagnosis of a specific learning difficulty or disability, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia or developmental language disorder, or of a developmental disorder such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia, or autism spectrum disorder. Scientists have struggled to identify specific areas of the brain that might give rise to these difficulties, with studies implicating myriad brain regions. ADHD, for example, has been... ...

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Liberals and conservatives feel moral outrage in different parts of the body — but there’s also a lot of overlap

There are lots of differences between those who express opposing political affiliations — and they may not just be ideological. Liberals and conservatives have different shopping habits, for instance, with one series of studies finding that liberals preferred products that made them feel unique, whilst conservatives picked brands that made them feel better than others. They even view health risks differently when they're choosing what to eat. But could there also be physiological differences between liberals and conservatives? Some evidence seems to suggest this might be the case, though as we reported earlier this month past findings, such as differences in physiological responses to fear, may not be as solid as previously thought. However, new research in Psychological Science has found that people of different political affiliations may differ in another way: where in the body they feel emotions relating...

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Study shows women who are surrounded by plants are happier and live longer

Plants beautify our world offering us so many benefits in terms of nutrition and health. The walks in vegetation can offer tranquility and release of stress. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham Women's Hospital women that have plants in their homes live longer. The researchers carried out this study for 8 years and they have come to the conclusion that spending your day surrounded with vegetation increases longevity. Not only that you breathe in fresh air but staying in nature allows you to have better social engagement and physical activity. Moreover, the forests are for sure less polluted than your neighborhood. In terms of mental well-being the vegetation is a great therapy reducing the risk of depression. The best would be to be outdoors, but if that is not possible for you, then you...

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