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Social Foraging
Dynamics of Social Interaction
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The Human Functional Brain Network Demonstrates Structural and Dynamical Resilience to Targeted Attack

The Human Functional Brain Network Demonstrates Structural and Dynamical Resilience to Targeted Attack | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

In recent years, the field of network science has enabled researchers to represent the highly complex interactions in the brain in an approachable yet quantitative manner. One exciting finding since the advent of brain network research was that the brain network can withstand extensive damage, even to highly connected regions. However, these highly connected nodes may not be the most critical regions of the brain network, and it is unclear how the network dynamics are impacted by removal of these key nodes. This work seeks to further investigate the resilience of the human functional brain network. Network attack experiments were conducted on voxel-wise functional brain networks and region-of-interest (ROI) networks of 5 healthy volunteers. Networks were attacked at key nodes using several criteria for assessing node importance, and the impact on network structure and dynamics was evaluated. The findings presented here echo previous findings that the functional human brain network is highly resilient to targeted attacks, both in terms of network structure and dynamics.

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Cooperative societies in three- dimensional space: On the origins of aggregations, flocks, and schools, with special reference to dolphins and fish

Cooperative societies in three- dimensional space: On the origins of aggregations, flocks, and schools, with special reference to dolphins and fish | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

 

In three-dimensional open space habits, and to a lesser degree open terrestrial habitats, cooperative groupings of animals have repeatedly evolved. These cooperative systems have been observed in a wide variety of animal taxa, ranging from sea urchins to cetaceans. Various attempts have been made to relate the origins of such patterns to kin or altruism theory. An evolutionary stable strategy appears to be involved.

 

We propose a graded series of group structures of increasing complexity by means of which three-dimensional groupings could have evolved without recourse to either group selection or even necessarily kin selection or reciprocal altruism. These structures are asocial and social aggregations, and polarized schools. Social aggregations and polarized schools allow cooperative feeding and avoidance of predation. They confer three predation-related advantages over living alone for animals in open environments: (1) the dilution effect of large prey numbers relative to those of predators, (2) the encounter effect, which provides some protection from searching predators, and (3) the confusion effect by means of which visual tracking by a predator is confounded. We suggest that the gaze stabilization system of the visual system is involved in the most advanced version of the confusion effect.

 

In polarized schools members sense and react to each other, forming a sensory integration system (SIS). This system allows detection and transmission of information across a school, flock, or herd in three dimensions.

Because members watch beyond their immediate neighbors the transmission of such group reactions can greatly exceed the reaction speed of individual members, or any predator. Because the confusion effect and the SIS depend upon uniformity of behavior the polarized school is uncommonly difficult and perhaps impossible to cheat against. We perceive this as a key factor in the establishment of the evolutionarily stable strategy of schooling.

 

Polarized schools and aggregations are considered as the extremes of a behavioral continuum. Because in daytime the polarized school is a safer place to be and because the aggregation allows more freedom of movement for such activities as food finding, groups in open space oscillate between the these extremes during varying levels of predation.

 

The social complexity of fish schools seems modest whereas dolphin schools show the complexities of fairly typical mammalian organization. Occupancy of open space by both oceanic dolphins and schooling fish seems to have fostered promiscuous mating. In both open water fish and mammals elements of a cooperative disposition occur, which involves both cooperation and suppression of some aspects of individuality. Such dispositional elements allow the automatic support of a cooperative society. Dolphin schools, which during daytime rest or danger react like fish schools, express typical mammalian organization at other times. Dolphin echolocation has probably allowed the expression of mammalian behavior patterns at sea because it confers a major advantage over shark predators. The expression of mammalian social complexity may have required both kin and reciprocal altruistic patterns in different species.

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Cells 'flock' to heal wounds: Researchers analyze physics of epithelial cell cooperation

Cells 'flock' to heal wounds: Researchers analyze physics of epithelial cell cooperation | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Like flocks of birds, cells coordinate their motions as they race to cover and ultimately heal wounds to the skin. How that happens is a little less of a mystery today.

 

Researchers once thought only the cells at the edge of a growing patch of wounded skin were actively moving while dividing cells passively filled in the middle. But that's only part of the picture. Rice University physicist Herbert Levine and his colleagues have discovered that the process works much more efficiently if highly activated cells in every part of the patch exert force as they pull their neighbors along.

 

There's a need to understand how cells cooperate to protect the site of a wound in the hours and days after injury, said Levine, who has introduced the first iteration of a computer model to analyze the two-dimensional physics of epithelial sheets. He hopes it will give new insight into a process with long-term implications not only for healing but also for understanding cancer, a prime motivator in his research since joining Rice under a grant from the Cancer Research and Prevention Institute of Texas.

 

A paper on the research by Levine, based at Rice University's BioScience Research Collaborative, and colleagues at the University of California at San Diego and in Germany and France appears January 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

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Big Data Apps: The Ultimate in Conversion Optimization

Big Data Apps: The Ultimate in Conversion Optimization | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Big data is all the rage right now. Companies like Amazon and Facebook are finding innovative ways to turn massive amounts of data into strategic marketing decisions. Based on the amount of news coverage big data gets these days and the investments organizations have been making (see below), it is clear that big data is not simply a buzzword that will be dead next year.

 

With all the hype, it is important to start thinking about what this means for the non-Amazon’s of the world. As a search marketer, I work with clients that are still facing challenges in dealing with “small” data. And now they have to tackle big data?

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Computer, electrical engineers working to help biologists cope with big data

Computer, electrical engineers working to help biologists cope with big data | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Liang Dong held up a clear plastic cube, an inch or so across, just big enough to hold 10 to 20 tiny seeds.

 

Using sophisticated sensors and software, researchers can precisely control the light, temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide inside that cube.

 

Dong -- an Iowa State University assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, of chemical and biological engineering and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory -- calls it a "microsystem instrument." Put hundreds of those cubes together and researchers can simultaneously grow thousands of seeds and seedlings in different conditions and see what happens. How, for example, do the plants react when it is hot and dry? Or carbon dioxide levels change? Or light intensity is adjusted very slightly?

 

The instrument designed and built by Dong's research group will keep track of all that by using a robotic arm to run a camera over the cubes and take thousands of images of the growing seeds and seedlings.

 

Plant scientists will use the images to analyze the plants' observable characteristics -- the leaf color, the root development, the shoot size. All those observations are considered a plant's phenotype. And while plant scientists understand plant genetics very well, Dong said they don't have a lot of data about how genetics and environment combine to influence phenotype.

 

Dong's instrument will provide researchers with lots of data -- too much for scientists to easily sort and analyze. That's a problem known as big data. And it's increasingly common in the biological sciences.

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Steven Jackson, MBA's curator insight, January 26, 2013 9:38 PM

Too much data to easily sort and analyze?  You've could have Big Data.

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Bioinformatics clouds for big data manipulation

As advances in life sciences and information technology bring profound influences on bioinformatics due to its interdisciplinary nature, bioinformatics is experiencing a new leap-forward from in-house computing infrastructure into utility-supplied cloud computing delivered over the Internet, in order to handle the vast quantities of biological data generated by high-throughput experimental technologies. Albeit relatively new, cloud computing promises to address big data storage and analysis issues in the bioinformatics field. Here we review extant cloud-based services in bioinformatics, classify them into Data as a Service (DaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and present our perspectives on the adoption of cloud computing in bioinformatics.

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Oxytocin, social sharing and recovery from trauma

Therapists have long known that people who’ve had a traumatic experience feel the need to talk about what they’ve been through. This process is called ‘social sharing’ and can take place for days, weeks, months or years after the event.

 

Typically, social sharing involves 'just the facts' of what happened; emotions and feelings are shared to a much lesser extent. But sharing 'just the facts' of what happened doesn't help make people feel better. What really makes the difference is the 'social sharing of emotions' (SSE).

 

SSE, like the neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) -- known variously as 'the hug hormone', 'the moral molecule' and 'the natural love drug' -- has a calming and bonding function in humans. So a team of researchers decided to examine whether it followed that administering oxytocin might ease this therapeutic and powerful 'social sharing of emotions'. Their study, published in the recent issue of the International Journal of Psychology, is the first to investigate the biology of emotional sharing.

 

The researchers took 60 adult men and asked them questions about their various personal characteristics. They then gave them a dose of placebo or OT and made them wait for 45 minutes while watching a movie featuring friendship and camaraderie. They were then asked to recall a past negative experiencethat still currently affects them, and rate its emotional intensity at the time. Participants then described the event on paper, and rated their current negative emotional intensity; they also had to indicate whether they would agree to share the related facts and emotions with another person.

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I want to know where love is: First brain map of love and desire

I want to know where love is: First brain map of love and desire | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Thanks to modern science, we know that love lives in the brain, not in the heart. Butwhere in the brain is it -- and is it in the same place as sexual desire? A recent international study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine is the first to draw an exact map of these intimately linked feelings.


"No one has ever put these two together to see the patterns of activation," says Jim Pfaus, professor of psychology at Concordia University, member of the Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology and a co-author of the study. "We didn't know what to expect -- the two could have ended up being completely separate. It turns out that love and desire activate specific but related areas in the brain."

 

Along with colleagues in the U.S. and Switzerland, Pfaus analyzed the results from 20 separate studies that examined brain activity while subjects engaged in tasks such as viewing erotic pictures or looking at photographs of their significant others. By pooling this data, the scientists were able to form a complete map of love and desire in the brain.

 

They found that that two brain structures in particular, the insula and the striatum, are responsible for tracking the progression from sexual desire to love. The insula is a portion of the cerebral cortex folded deep within an area between the temporal lobe and the frontal lobe, while the striatum is located nearby, inside the forebrain.

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U.S.C. Exhibit Shows Fractals Built From Paper: Many Hands Make Fractals Tactile

U.S.C. Exhibit Shows Fractals Built From Paper: Many Hands Make Fractals Tactile | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
For a project to teach math concepts, people used 48,912 business cards to build the Mosely Snowflake Sponge, now on display at the University of Southern California.

 

Human beings are born with an innate capacity to learn languages. Yet while mathematics is the language of pattern and form, many people struggle to acquire even its basic grammar.


But what if we could experience math directly — just as we experience language by speaking it? Some years ago I founded an organization, the Institute for Figuring, dedicated to the proposition that many ideas in math and science could be approached not just through equations and formulas but through concrete, physical activities.

 

Take fractals, mathematical structures or sets with intermediate dimensionality. Coined by the mathematician Benoit B. Mandelbrot, the term comes from the Latin “fractus,” meaning broken. Instead of having one, two or three dimensions, a fractal will have, say, 1.89 or 2.73 dimensions.


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Age-related Difficulty Recognizing Words Predicted By Brain Differences

Older adults may have difficulty understanding speech because of age-related changes in brain tissue, according to new research in the May 13 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The study shows that older adults with the most difficulty understanding spoken words had less brain tissue in a region important for speech recognition. The findings may help explain why hearing aids do not benefit all people with age-related hearing difficulties.


Although some hearing loss can be a normal part of aging, many older adults complain about difficulty understanding speech, especially in challenging listening conditions like crowded restaurants. Research has suggested that this decline in speech recognition is independent of hearing loss.

 

To identify what causes the decline in speech recognition, the researchers, led by Kelly Harris, PhD, at the Medical University of South Carolina, scanned the brains of 18 younger adults (19-39 years old) and 18 older adults (61-79 years old) as they tried to identify words in listening conditions that varied in difficulty. During a challenging listening condition, the older adults repeated fewer words correctly than did the younger adults, consistent with previous studies.

 

Harris and her colleagues found that structural differences in the brain's auditory cortex predicted performance on the task, even when they controlled for hearing loss. The older adults who had the most difficulty recognizing words also had the least brain volume in a region of auditory cortex called Heschl's gyrus/superior temporal gyrus. However, the relationship between the ability to identify words and the volume of auditory cortex was also present in younger adults.


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Never forget a Face(book): Memory for online posts beats faces and books

Never forget a Face(book): Memory for online posts beats faces and books | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
People’s memory for Facebook posts is strikingly stronger than their memory for human faces or sentences from books, according to a new study.

 

The findings shed light on how our memories favour natural, spontaneous writing over polished, edited content, and could have wider implications for the worlds of education, communications and advertising.

 

The research, authored by academics at the University of Warwick (Dr Laura Mickes) and UC San Diego (including Professors Christine Harris and Nicholas Christenfeld), tested memory for text taken from anonymised Facebook updates, stripped of images and removed from the context of Facebook, and compared it to memory for sentences picked at random from books and also to human faces.

 

The researchers found that in the first memory test, participants' memory for Facebook posts was about one and a half times their memory for sentences from books.

 

In a second memory test, participants' memory for Facebook posts was almost two and a half times as strong as for faces.

 

Lead author Dr Laura Mickes of the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick said: "We were really surprised when we saw just how much stronger memory for Facebook posts was compared to other types of stimuli.

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Predicting Recovery of Cognitive Function Soon after Stroke: Differential Modeling of Logarithmic and Linear Regression

Predicting Recovery of Cognitive Function Soon after Stroke: Differential Modeling of Logarithmic and Linear Regression | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Cognitive disorders in the acute stage of stroke are common and are important independent predictors of adverse outcome in the long term. Despite the impact of cognitive disorders on both patients and their families, it is still difficult to predict the extent or duration of cognitive impairments. The objective of the present study was, therefore, to provide data on predicting the recovery of cognitive function soon after stroke by differential modeling with logarithmic and linear regression. This study included two rounds of data collection comprising 57 stroke patients enrolled in the first round for the purpose of identifying the time course of cognitive recovery in the early-phase group data, and 43 stroke patients in the second round for the purpose of ensuring that the correlation of the early-phase group data applied to the prediction of each individual's degree of cognitive recovery. In the first round, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores were assessed 3 times during hospitalization, and the scores were regressed on the logarithm and linear of time. In the second round, calculations of MMSE scores were made for the first two scoring times after admission to tailor the structures of logarithmic and linear regression formulae to fit an individual's degree of functional recovery. The time course of early-phase recovery for cognitive functions resembled both logarithmic and linear functions. However, MMSE scores sampled at two baseline points based on logarithmic regression modeling could estimate prediction of cognitive recovery more accurately than could linear regression modeling (logarithmic modeling, R2 = 0.676, P<0.0001; linear regression modeling, R2 = 0.598, P<0.0001). Logarithmic modeling based on MMSE scores could accurately predict the recovery of cognitive function soon after the occurrence of stroke. This logarithmic modeling with mathematical procedures is simple enough to be adopted in daily clinical practice.

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To multitask, first brain must practice, practice

To multitask, first brain must practice, practice | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
The reason most people are lousy multitaskers, according to new research, is that our brains process tasks slowly, creating a decision-making bottleneck when multiple tasks compete for attention. Train the brain to perform a task more quickly and multitasking becomes a snap.

 

“We found that with training, the ‘thinking’ regions of our brain become very fast at doing each task, thereby quickly freeing them up to take on other tasks,” says study coauthor Paul Dux, a former research fellow at Vanderbilt University and now a faculty member at the University of Queensland in Australia.

 

For the study, researchers trained seven people daily for two weeks on two simple tasks—selecting an appropriate finger response to different images and selecting an appropriate vocal response (syllables) to the presentation of different sounds.

 

The tasks were done either separately or simultaneously to mimic multitasking. Scans of the individuals’ brains were conducted three times over the two weeks using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they were performing the tasks.

 

The participants were initially slow to perform one or both tasks when they tried to do them together, but after practice and training, the same participants were able to perform both tasks quickly, when they were done separately and when they were done at the same time. In other words, they became very efficient multitaskers.

 

The fMRI data shows that these gains were the result of information being processed more quickly and efficiently through the prefrontal cortex.

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The Right Image's curator insight, January 21, 2013 5:59 AM

You need a practised brain to absorb all this - but interesting resarch

UQ_Alumni_CR's curator insight, April 18, 2013 9:17 PM

Paul Dux, alumni?

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How Sensitive Is the Human Visual System to the Local Statistics of Natural Images?

How Sensitive Is the Human Visual System to the Local Statistics of Natural Images? | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

A key hypothesis in sensory system neuroscience is that sensory representations are adapted to the statistical regularities in sensory signals and thereby incorporate knowledge about the outside world. Supporting this hypothesis, several probabilistic models of local natural image regularities have been proposed that reproduce neural response properties. Although many such physiological links have been made, these models have not been linked directly to visual sensitivity. Previous psychophysical studies of sensitivity to natural image regularities focus on global perception of large images, but much less is known about sensitivity to local natural image regularities. We present a new paradigm for controlled psychophysical studies of local natural image regularities and compare how well such models capture perceptually relevant image content. To produce stimuli with precise statistics, we start with a set of patches cut from natural images and alter their content to generate a matched set whose joint statistics are equally likely under a probabilistic natural image model. The task is forced choice to discriminate natural patches from model patches. The results show that human observers can learn to discriminate the higher-order regularities in natural images from those of model samples after very few exposures and that no current model is perfect for patches as small as 5 by 5 pixels or larger. Discrimination performance was accurately predicted by model likelihood, an information theoretic measure of model efficacy, indicating that the visual system possesses a surprisingly detailed knowledge of natural image higher-order correlations, much more so than current image models. We also perform three cue identification experiments to interpret how model features correspond to perceptually relevant image features.

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Embracing Emergence: How Collective Impact Addresses Complexity (SSIR)

Embracing Emergence: How Collective Impact Addresses Complexity (SSIR) | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Organizations around the world have begun to see collective impact as a new and more effective process for social change. They have grasped the difference our past articles emphasized between the isolated impact of working for change through a single organization versus a highly structured cross-sector coalition. Yet, even as practitioners work toward the five conditions of collective impact we described earlier, many participants are becoming frustrated in their efforts to move the needle on their chosen issues. (See “The Five Conditions of Collective Impact,” below.)

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SPF-GMKL: generalized multiple kernel learning with a million kernel

Multiple Kernel Learning (MKL) aims to learn the kernel in an SVM from training data. Many MKL formulations have been proposed and some have proved effective in certain applications. Nevertheless, as MKL is a nascent field, many more formulations need to be developed to generalize across domains and meet the challenges of real world applications. However, each MKL formulation typically necessitates the development of a specialized optimization algorithm.The lack of an efficient, general purpose optimizer capable of handling a wide range of formulations presents a significant challenge to those looking to take MKL out of the lab and into the real world.

 

This problem was somewhat alleviated by the development of the Generalized Multiple Kernel Learning (GMKL) formulation which admits fairly general kernel parameterizations and regularizers subject to mild constraints. However, the projected gradient descent GMKL optimizer is inefficient as the computation of the step size and a reasonably accurate objective function value or gradient direction are all expensive. We overcome these limitations by developing a Spectral Projected Gradient (SPG) descent optimizer which: a) takes into account second order information in selecting step sizes; b) employs a non-monotone step size selection criterion requiring fewer function evaluations; c) is robust to gradient noise, and d) can take quick steps when far away from the optimum.

 

We show that our proposed SPG-GMKL optimizer can be an order of magnitude faster than projected gradient descent on even small and medium sized datasets. In some cases, SPG-GMKL can even outperform state-of-the-art specialized optimization algorithms developed for a single MKL formulation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that SPG-GMKL can scale well beyond gradient descent to large problems involving a million kernels or half a million data points. Our code and implementation are available publically.

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Big Data Apps: The Ultimate in Conversion Optimization

Big Data Apps: The Ultimate in Conversion Optimization | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Big data is all the rage right now. Companies like Amazon and Facebook are finding innovative ways to turn massive amounts of data into strategic marketing decisions. Based on the amount of news coverage big data gets these days and the investments organizations have been making (see below), it is clear that big data is not simply a buzzword that will be dead next year.

 

With all the hype, it is important to start thinking about what this means for the non-Amazon’s of the world. As a search marketer, I work with clients that are still facing challenges in dealing with “small” data. And now they have to tackle big data?

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New approach to 'spell checking' gene sequences

New approach to 'spell checking' gene sequences | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

A PhD student from CSIRO and the University of Queensland has found a better way to 'spell check' gene sequences and help biologists better understand the natural world.

 

The student, Lauren Bragg, has contributed to the May issue of the journal Nature Methods highlighting her new approach and its software implementation called Acacia.

 

Acacia analyses the output of next-generation gene sequencing instruments which read the four-letter alphabet of As, Cs, Ts and Gs -- the 'bases' that code for DNA and spell out the genes of different living organisms. Acacia specifically applies to important parts of microbe genes called amplicons.

Just as a computer spell checker finds typing errors in words, so Acacia finds errors in the DNA code of amplicon sequences produced during gene sequencing.

 

Acacia shows clear improvements over the two error-correction tools currently used by biologists for amplicon sequences and it's easier for biologists to use.

Ms Bragg's development of Acacia is part of the field of bioinformatics, a blend of computer science, statistics and biology. Despite her surname, however, she is modest about her achievements.

 

"It's exciting to be published in a journal like Nature Methods but I get more satisfaction from hearing how my software is helping biologists fix sequencing errors." she said.

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UQ_Alumni_CR's curator insight, April 18, 2013 9:08 PM

Lauren Bragg, when does she graduate?

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Earth System Governance Tokyo Conference:Complex Architectures, Multiple Agents (28-31 January 2013)

A major international conference to address the challenge of establishing effective strategies for mediating the relationship between humans and the natural world.

 

We invite you to the Earth System Governance Tokyo Conference, to be held 28-31 January 2013 at the United Nations University Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. This event is part of the global conference series organized by the Earth System Governance Project, the largest social science research network in the area of governance and global environmental change. The Earth System Governance Tokyo Conference will be jointly hosted by the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), the International Environmental Governance Architecture Research Group and the Tokyo Institute of Technology on behalf of the Earth System Governance Project.

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Facebook makes users feel envious, dissatisfied: German study reveals social network's big role in users' emotional life

Facebook makes users feel envious, dissatisfied: German study reveals social network's big role in users' emotional life | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

In a joint research study conducted by the Department of Information Systems of the TU Darmstadt (Prof. Dr. Peter Buxmann) and the Institute of Information Systems of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Dr. Hanna Krasnova), Facebook members were surveyed regarding their feelings after using the platform. More than one-third of respondents reported predominantly negative feelings, such as frustration. The researchers identified that envying their "Facebook friends" is the major reason for this result.


Project manager Dr. Hanna Krasnova, who is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Humboldt-Universität, explained that, "Although respondents were reluctant to admit feeling envious while on Facebook, they often presumed that envy can be the cause behind the frustration of "others" on this platform -- a clear indication that envy is a salient phenomenon in the Facebook context. Indeed, access to copious positive news and the profiles of seemingly successful 'friends' fosters social comparison that can readily provoke envy. By and large, online social networks allow users unprecedented access to information on relevant others -- insights that would be much more difficult to obtain offline." Those who do not engage in any active, interpersonal communications on social networks and primarily utilize them as sources of information, e.g. reading friends' postings, checking news feeds, or browsing through photos, are particularly subject to these painful experiences.

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PhD Studentship “Modelling of retinal neural networks” (Full-time, full-tuition, UK/EU only)

University of Reading PhD Studentship (UK/EU only)

 

Project Title: Mesoscopic modelling of retinal neural networks

 

Supervisor: Dr. Etienne B. Roesch

 

School/Department: School of Systems Engineering & Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics.

 

The goal of the project is to build neural field models of the retina that will allow the investigation of the architecture underlying visual information processing. These models will also be used to simulate the disturbances yielding visual impairment in early diabetic retinopathy. Neural fields are integro-differential equations, similar to wave equations, that represent electrical and chemical neurodynamics on continuous space-time scales. They are thus ideal to study populations of cells as homogeneously structured, and as dependent on spatial contiguity as the retina, whilst exploring complex nonlinear dynamics of neural information processing. The construction of the models will be informed by connectomic and physiological data, and the models subjected to extensive parameter-sensitivity analyses. The project falls into the remit of the University of Reading’s strategic investment to support neuroscience and interdisciplinary research. The student will be supervised by Dr. Etienne B. Roesch and Prof. Ingo Bojak.

 

This is a computational neuroscience project, which requires skills and knowledge in neuroscience, applied mathematics and programming. Candidates that have a strong background in at least two of these three fields are welcome to apply, if they are enthusiastic about the third. Neural field models are a particularly accommodating subject for transitions from physics, engineering, etc. into the life sciences. However, we will also place a strong focus on describing real-world data; depending on the student’s aptitude and preference, the candidate will be given the opportunity to engage with ongoing electrophysiological experimentation directly relevant to this project, in our lab and with collaborators in the UK and internationally, in order to identify and validate exploitable applications of the models. Additionally, the candidate will be granted access to the cluster of NVIDIA Tesla GPUs and other facilities at the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics, as well as at the Brain Embodiments Laboratory.

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The Fourth International Conference on Swarm Intelligence (ICSI’2013): Harbin, China from June 12 to 15, 2013

The Fourth International Conference on Swarm Intelligence (ICSI’2013) will be held in Harbin, China from June 12 to 15, 2013. Located in the center of Northeast Asia, Harbin is called the bright pearl on the Bridge of Eurasia Land, and it is also an important hub of Eurasia Land Bridge and air corridor. The special historical course and geographical position has contributed to Harbin, the beautiful city with an exotic tone, which not only brings together the historical culture of northern ethnic minorities, but also combines western and eastern culture. It is a famous historical and tourist city in China, with many beautiful names such as “the City of Culture”, “the City of Music”, “Ice City”, “A Pearl under the Neck of the Swan”, “Eastern Moscow” and “Eastern Little Paris”. ICSI’2013 serves as a forum for scientists, engineers, educators, and practitioners to exchange the latest advantages in theories, technologies, and applications of swarm intelligence and related areas. Prospective authors are invited to contribute high-quality papers (6-10 pages) to ICSI’2013 through Online Submission System. Submitting to ICSI’2013 is a blind submission and the reviewing is double blind again at this year. Papers presented at ICSI’2013 will be published in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science (indexed by EI, ISTP, DBLP, and ISI) and some high-quality papers will be selected for special issues in SCI-indexed International Journals.
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Hearing loss accelerates brain function decline in older adults

Hearing loss accelerates brain function decline in older adults | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Older adults with hearing loss are more likely to develop problems thinking and remembering than older adults whose hearing is normal, according to a new study.

 

In the study, volunteers with hearing loss, undergoing repeated cognition tests over six years, had cognitive abilities that declined some 30 percent to 40 percent faster than in those whose hearing was normal. Levels of declining brain function were directly related to the amount of hearing loss, the researchers say. On average, older adults with hearing loss developed a significant impairment in their cognitive abilities 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.

 

The findings, to be reported in theJAMA Internal Medicine online Jan. 21, are among the first to emerge from a larger, ongoing study monitoring the health of older blacks and whites in Memphis, Tenn., and Pittsburgh, Pa. Known as the Health, Aging and Body Composition, or Health ABC study, the latest report on older adults involved a subset of 1,984 men and women between the ages of 75 and 84, and is believed to be the first to gauge the impact of hearing loss on higher brain functions over the long term. According to senior study investigator and Johns Hopkins otologist and epidemiologist Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D., all study participants had normal brain function when the study began in 2001, and were initially tested for hearing loss, which hearing specialists define as recognizing only those sounds louder than 25 decibels.

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The Seventh IEEE International Conference on Semantic Computing (ICSC 2013)

The Seventh IEEE International Conference on Semantic Computing (ICSC 2013) | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The field of Semantic Computing addresses the derivation of semantic information from content and the connection of semantics to knowledge, where "content" may be anything including structured data, video, audio, text, hardware, software, process, etc.

The Seventh IEEE International Conference on Semantic Computing (ICSC 2013) continues to foster the growth of a new research community. The conference builds on the success of the past ICSC conferences as an international forum for researchers and practitioners to present research that advances the state of the art and practice of Semantic Computing, as well as identifying emerging research topics and defining the future of the field. The event is located in Irvine, California at Irvine Hyatt. The technical program of ICSC 2013 includes workshops, invited keynotes, paper presentations, panel discussions, industrial 'show and tells', demonstrations, and more. Submissions of high-quality papers describing mature results or ongoing work are invited.

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Coevolution Trumps Pleiotropy: Carbon Assimilation Traits Are Independent of Metabolic Network Structure in Budding Yeast

Coevolution Trumps Pleiotropy: Carbon Assimilation Traits Are Independent of Metabolic Network Structure in Budding Yeast | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Phenotypic traits may be gained and lost together because of pleiotropy, the involvement of common genes and networks, or because of simultaneous selection for multiple traits across environments (multiple-trait coevolution). However, the extent to which network pleiotropy versus environmental coevolution shapes shared responses has not been addressed. To test these alternatives, we took advantage of the fact that the genus Saccharomyces has variation in habitat usage and diversity in the carbon sources that a given strain can metabolize. We examined patterns of gain and loss in carbon utilization traits across 488 strains of Saccharomyces to investigate whether the structure of metabolic pathways or selection pressure from common environments may have caused carbon utilization traits to be gained and lost together. While most carbon sources were gained and lost independently of each other, we found four clusters that exhibit non-random patterns of gain and loss across strains. Contrary to the network pleiotropy hypothesis, we did not find that these patterns are explained by the structure of metabolic pathways or shared enzymes. Consistent with the hypothesis that common environments shape suites of phenotypes, we found that the environment a strain was isolated from partially predicts the carbon sources it can assimilate.

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