Humans across the world dance to the same beat

This is a group of shishi-odori deer dancers, Japanese folk performing artists who sing, drum and perform acrobatic dancing. CREDIT Image courtesy of Hiro Ugaya

This is a group of shishi-odori deer dancers, Japanese folk performing artists who sing, drum and perform acrobatic dancing.
Image courtesy of Hiro Ugaya

A new study carried out by the University of Exeter and Tokyo University of the Arts has found that songs from around the world tend to share features, including a strong rhythm, that enable coordination in social situations and encourage group bonding.

Despite decades of skepticism about the presence of cross-culturally universal aspects of music, the study provides strong evidence for the existence of common features in global music. The results, which are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), support the idea that music is a powerful social glue that helps bond societies together.

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Study: Even fraud-savvy investors often look for the wrong red flags

New research identifies the types of investors who are vigilant about corporate fraud, but finds that most of those investors are tracking the wrong red flags – meaning the warning signs they look for are clear only after it’s too late to protect their investment. The work was performed by researchers at North Carolina State University, George Mason University, the University of Virginia and the University of Cincinnati.

“Individual investors get hurt if they own stock in fraudulent companies that cook the books, such as Enron,” says Dr. Joe Brazel, a professor of accounting at NC State and lead author of a paper on the work. “But we wanted to know how investors think about fraud and whether they try to protect themselves.”

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Emotional brains 'physically different' to rational ones

Researchers at Monash University have found physical differences in the brains of people who respond emotionally to others' feelings, compared to those who respond more rationally, in a study published in the journal NeuroImage.

Roepke and Seligman on prospection and depression

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A pessimistic view of the future may not be the result of depression but the cause of it.

That is the conclusion of research by Ann Marie Roepke and Professor Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology today.

The two researchers carried out a review of the literature on depression and ‘prospection’ – the mental representation of possible futures. From it they propose that three kinds of faulty prospection can drive depression.

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Weighing yourself daily can tip the scale in your favor

 For those wishing to lose weight and keep it off, here’s a simple strategy that works: step on a scale each day and track the results.

A two-year Cornell study, recently published in the Journal of Obesity, found that frequent self-weighing and tracking results on a chart were effective for both losing weight and keeping it off, especially for men.

Subjects who lost weight the first year in the program were able to maintain that lost weight throughout the second year. This is important because studies show that about 40 percent of weight lost with any dietary treatment is regained in one year, and almost 100 percent of weight loss is regained at the end of five years.

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Researchers design placenta-on-a-chip to better understand pregnancy

National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers and their colleagues have developed a “placenta-on-a-chip” to study the inner workings of the human placenta and its role in pregnancy. The device was designed to imitate, on a micro-level, the structure and function of the placenta and model the transfer of nutrients from mother to fetus. This prototype is one of the latest in a series of organ-on-a-chip technologies developed to accelerate biomedical advances.

The study, published online in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, was conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the University of Pennsylvania, Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center, Seoul National University and Asan Medical Center in South Korea.

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