Providing children with tablets loaded with literacy apps yields positive results

photodune-3820799-child-tablet-xs

At the Association for Computing Machinery’s Learning at Scale conference this week, they presented the results of the first three deployments of their system. In all three cases, study participants’ performance on standardized tests of reading preparedness indicated that the tablet use was effective.

The trials examined a range of educational environments. One was set in a pair of rural Ethiopian villages with no schools and no written culture; one was set in a suburban South African school with a student-to-teacher ratio of 60 to 1; and one was set in a rural U.S. school with predominantly low-income students.

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Can gratitude reduce costly impatience?

GratitudeThe human mind tends to devalue future rewards compared to immediate ones – a phenomenon that often leads to favoring immediate gratification over long-term wellbeing. As a consequence, patience has long been recognized to be a virtue. And indeed, the inability to resist temptation underlies a host of problems ranging from credit card debt and inadequate savings to unhealthy eating and drug addiction.

The prevailing view for reducing costly impatience has emphasized the use of willpower. Emotions were to be tamped down in order to avoid irrational impulses for immediate gain. But as Northeastern University psychologist David DeSteno notes, “Emotions exist to serve adaptive purposes, so the idea that emotions would always be a hindrance to long-term success makes little sense.”

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Do successful leaders produce more successful leaders?

“Black Monday” has become as much a part of the National Football League season as Draft Day. The Monday after the last game of the season is marked by the firing of a number of head coaches and the start of a frenetic search for new ones. Many NFL teams searching for a coach rely on “coaching trees” and turn to assistants of highly successful head coaches.

Craig Crossland, a professor of management in the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, and his colleagues studied the NFL to determine if the so-called “acolyte effect” that makes protégés of successful head coaches successful in turn is real. They tracked the career outcomes of almost 1,300 coaches over 30 years.

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Don’t count on strangers in medical emergencies, especially if you’re African-American

Emergency Medical CareIn the first study of its kind, Cornell sociologists have found that people who have a medical emergency in a public place can’t necessarily rely on the kindness of strangers. Only 2.5 percent of people, or 1 in 39, got help from strangers before emergency medical personnel arrived, in research published April 14 in the American Journal of Public Health.

For African-Americans, these dismal findings only get worse. African-Americans were less than half as likely as Caucasians to get help from a bystander, regardless of the type of symptoms or illness they were suffering – only 1.8 percent, or fewer than 1 in 55 African-Americans, received assistance. For Caucasians, the corresponding number was 4.2 percent, or 1 in 24.

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This is why you feel groggy after sleeping in a new place

Sleepy girl

“We know that marine animals and some birds show unihemispheric sleep, one awake and the other asleep,” says Yuka Sasaki of Brown University. While the human brain doesn’t show the same degree of asymmetry that the brains of marine animals do, the new findings suggest that “our brains may have a miniature system of what whales and dolphins have.”

Researchers have long recognized that people sleep poorly the first night in a new location, a phenomenon known as the first-night effect. As a result, sleep scientists typically throw out data from the first night a person sleeps in the lab, analyzing data from the second sleep session on.

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Could off-grid electricity systems accelerate energy access?

The new report is available from the World Resources Institute. CREDIT IIASA/WRI

The new report is available from the World Resources Institute.
CREDIT: IIASA/WRI

Small-scale electricity systems provide uneven benefits and limited service options, according to a new study published today from researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Previous research has shown multiple benefits of electricity access for education, livelihoods, and health, in particular from the reduction in kerosene for lighting that lead to indoor air pollution. However, small-scale systems–which are often set up in an ad-hoc way in remote areas outside licensed power grids–have not previously been systematically studied. Off-grid systems can include a wide variety of energy sources, from a simple diesel generator powering a microgrid set up by a wealthy farmer to solar-powered home systems sold by entrepreneurs.

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Study shows vivid language used to assure whistleblowers of protection instead evokes fear

James Wainberg, Ph.D., a professor of accounting at FAU's College of Business and co-author of the study, which is the first to demonstrate that promoting explicit whistleblower protections can have the unintended consequence of actually inhibiting reporting of misconduct by intensifying the perceived risk of retaliation. CREDIT: Florida Atlantic University

James Wainberg, Ph.D., a professor of accounting at FAU’s College of Business and co-author of the study, which is the first to demonstrate that promoting explicit whistleblower protections can have the unintended consequence of actually inhibiting reporting of misconduct by intensifying the perceived risk of retaliation.
CREDIT: Florida Atlantic University

“When you start listing all the protections that you’re giving them you start raising their awareness of the risks and dangers,” said James Wainberg, Ph.D., a professor of accounting at FAU’s College of Business and co-author of the study with Stephen Perreault, Ph.D., assistant professor at Providence College School of Business. “It serves to raise their level of anxiety and has the opposite of its intended effect. All the protections are really a list of the things that can go wrong.”

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Women who are cheated on ‘win’ in the long run; new women ‘lose’

Is your man unfaithful?Women who lose their unfaithful mate to another woman actually win in the long run, according to new research.

“Our thesis is that the woman who ‘loses’ her mate to another woman will go through a period of post-relationship grief and betrayal, but come out of the experience with higher mating intelligence that allows her to better detect cues in future mates that may indicate low mate value. Hence, in the long-term, she ‘wins,'” said Craig Morris, research associate at Binghamton University and lead author on the study. “The ‘other woman,’ conversely, is now in a relationship with a partner who has a demonstrated history of deception and, likely, infidelity. Thus, in the long-term, she ‘loses.'”

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Problems finding your way around may be earliest sign of Alzheimer’s disease

Participants in this Alzheimer's disease study used a joystick to navigate a virtual maze and locate landmarks, such as this bookcase. CREDIT: Courtesy of Denise Head

Participants in this Alzheimer’s disease study used a joystick to navigate a virtual maze and locate landmarks, such as this bookcase.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Denise Head

Long before Alzheimer’s disease can be diagnosed clinically, increasing difficulties building cognitive maps of new surroundings may herald the eventual clinical onset of the disorder, finds new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

“These findings suggest that navigational tasks designed to assess a cognitive mapping strategy could represent a powerful new tool for detecting the very earliest Alzheimer’s disease-related changes in cognition,” said senior author Denise Head, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences.

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Common painkillers are more dangerous than we think

PainkillerMany Danes are prescribed NSAIDs for the treatment of painful conditions, fever and inflammation. But the treatment also comes with side effects, including the risk of ulcers and increased blood pressure. A major new study now gathers all research in the area. This shows that arthritis medicine is particularly dangerous for heart patients, and also that older types of arthritis medicine, which have not previously been in focus, also appear to be dangerous for the heart.

“It’s been well-known for a number of years that newer types of NSAIDs – what are known as COX-2 inhibitors, increase the risk of heart attacks. For this reason, a number of these newer types of NSAIDs have been taken off the market again. We can now see that some of the older NSAID types, particularly Diclofenac, are also associated with an increased risk of heart attack and apparently to the same extent as several of the types that were taken off the market,” says Morten Schmidt, MD and PhD from Aarhus University, who is in charge of the research project. He adds:

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