Latest Science and Society News

New research from North Carolina State University and the University of Minnesota finds that people in the United States want labels on food products that use nanotechnology – whether the nanotechnology is in the food or is used in food packaging. The research also shows that many people are willing to pay more for the labeling.

 

Bold and outgoing or shy and retiring –– while many people can shift from one to the other as circumstances warrant, in general they lean toward one disposition or the other. And that inclination changes little over the course of their lives.

 

Humans aren't the only species that knows how to carry on polite conversation. Marmoset monkeys, too, will engage one another for up to 30 minutes at a time in vocal turn-taking, according to evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 17.

 

Egoism and narcissism appear to be on the rise in our society, while empathy is on the decline. And yet, the ability to put ourselves in other people’s shoes is extremely important for our coexistence. A research team headed by Tania Singer from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences has discovered that our own feelings can distort our capacity for empathy. This emotionally driven egocentricity is recognised and corrected by the brain. When, however, the right supramarginal gyrus doesn’t function properly or when we have to make particularly quick decisions, our empathy is severely limited.

 

Being able to provide high-quality health care is a primary driver of job satisfaction among physicians, and obstacles to quality patient care are a source of stress for doctors, according to a new RAND Corporation study.  While physicians note some advantages of electronic health records, physicians complain that the systems in use today are cumbersome to operate and are an important contributor to their dissatisfaction, the study found.

 

Most know that hiding something from others can cause internal angst. New research suggests the consequences can go far beyond emotional strife and that being forced to keep information concealed, such as one’s sexual orientation, disrupts the concealer’s basic skills and abilities, including intellectual acuity, physical strength, and interpersonal grace—skills critical to workplace success.