Latest Science and Society News

When it hasn't been your day – your week, your month, or even your year – it might be time to turn to Facebook friends for a little positive reinforcement. According to a new study by social scientists at Cornell University, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Facebook, emotions can spread among users of online social networks.

Father’s Day is coming up on 15th June and a recent study in the Journal of Research in Adolescence suggests a way in which better relationships can be fostered between adolescents and their fathers or stepfathers. The study was carried out by a team of researchers from San Francisco State University, the University of California and Arizona State University. The results suggest that if the adolescent talks to someone when involved in an argument with their father/stepfather and receives either a reason for their father’s behaviour or an explanation about who’s to blame, they feel better about both themselves and their father. Furthermore, the adolescent is less likely to suffer from depression.

When people work in socially homogeneous groups, they overestimate their own contributions to the group’s success, according to a new study co-authored by an MIT scholar. In fact, in some cases such “self-serving bias” occurs to a degree about five times as great in homogeneous groups as in ethnically diverse groups.

Interaction of the monoamine oxidase A genotype with childhood adversity is predictive of crime rates in a group of incarcerated men. This is the main finding of a new study from researchers in Sam Houston State University published in the journal Psychiatric Genetics.

 

While touch always involves awareness, it also sometimes involves emotion. For example, picking up a spoon triggers no real emotion, while feeling a gentle caress often does. Now, scientists in the Cell Press journal Neuron describe a system of slowly conducting nerves in the skin that respond to such gentle touch. Using a range of scientific techniques, investigators are beginning to characterize these nerves and to describe the fundamental role they play in our lives as a social species—from a nurturing touch to an infant to a reassuring pat on the back. Their work also suggests that this soft touch wiring may go awry in disorders such as autism.

 

A new international study led by Imperial College London has estimated how achieving globally-agreed targets for six important health risks between 2010 and 2025 will reduce deaths caused by the big-four chronic diseases: cancers, diabetes, lung disease and cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke).