Share on Twitter Email Scientists are beginning to investigate the relationship between religious fundamentalism and cognitive processes. A new preliminary study published in Frontiers in Psychology hints that religious fundamentalism is associated with more intense processing of error-related stimuli.“My research interests are focused on motivational processes underlying social knowledge formation and usage. Specifically, I am studying why people become closed-minded and dogmatic,” said Malgorzata Kossowska, a professor in the Institute of Psychology at the Jagiellonian University and the corresponding author of the study.“Closed-mindedness and dogmatism have important behavioral consequences such as prejudice, intolerance, injustice, and inequality. Religious fundamentalism is a very good example of closed minded, dogmatic beliefs. Besides, in Poland, where I am doing my research, almost everybody is religious, and nowadays most of them are religious fundamentalists. Thus, understanding closed-minded religious beliefs allowed me to better understand social processes in my country.” Pinterest LinkedIn Share on Facebook “In this particular piece we focused on the general sensitivity to error-related events as an important mechanism through which fundamentalism facilitates self-control,” Kossowska told PsyPost. “We observed this mechanism in brain activity. I believe that this approach allows for the integration of multiple levels of analysis and therefore refines and constrains psychological theories.”The researchers used electroencephalography (EEG) to examine the brain activity of 34 participants while they completed a Stroop task. During the task, the participants identified the color of various words related to error and uncertainty flashed on a screen. The researchers were particularly interested in the N400 response, a pattern of electrical brain activity that is associated with the processing of unexpected or inappropriate information.Kossowska and her colleagues observed significantly larger error-related brain activity among fundamentalist participants who were intolerant of uncertainty, but not among participants who were tolerant of uncertainty. In other words, for people who are intolerant of uncertainty, religious fundamentalism is associated with an increased N400 response on error-related words. “Our results are in line with the claim that religion acts like a meaning system that offers order and control, protecting people against anxiety and subjective pain of errors when faced with uncertainty,” Kossowska explained.“More specifically, we found that increased sensitivity to error-related words may be considered as a defensive mechanism of religious fundamentalists. Detecting errors may allow one to bring their behavior in line with fundamentalist rules and standards.”However, the study has important limitations and there is need for further research.“There are many major caveats. The study shows a correlation between religious fundamentalism and response-related brain activity; however, the causal direction of this relationship is unclear,” Kossowska said.“Further research is needed to determine whether a fundamentalist mindset causes overactive performance monitoring or, on the contrary, excessive behavioral monitoring leads to religious fundamentalism. In addition, fundamentalism was studied on quite a homogeneous sample of young Polish Catholics. Thus, studying this effect across religions and cultures will likely yield valuable insights.” “Next, although small, low-powered studies are endemic in neuroscience, they are also problematic,” Kossowska added. “It was recently recognized that low sample size of studies, small effects or both, lead to low statistical power that negatively affects the probability that a nominally statistically significant finding actually reflects a true effect. Therefore, the results should be treated with some caution and replications of the results would be of great value.”The study, “Religious Fundamentalism Modulates Neural Responses to Error-Related Words: The Role of Motivation Toward Closure“, was authored by Małgorzata Kossowska, Paulina Szwed, Miroslaw Wyczesany, Gabriela Czarnek and Eligiusz Wronka. Share
Brazilian researchers yesterday described for the first time another complication in babies born with Zika virus infection: a joint deformity known as arthrogryposis.The new findings underscore warnings from top health officials over the past several months that microcephaly and brain malformations could be the tip of the iceberg regarding birth defects linked to the virus. Though microcephaly was the first Zika-linked manifestation seen in newborns, clinicians who have observed a range of problems refer to the birth defects as congenital Zika syndrome.In other Zika research developments today, a team led by the University of Kansas unveiled a new Zika risk map that accounts for more factors that earlier maps.Joint problem seen alongside other birth defectsResearchers from the Brazilian city of Recife, which has been at the center of the outbreak, detailed seven arthrogryposis cases in babies born with Zika virus in an early online edition of the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Though earlier case reports hinted at an association between arthrogryposis and microcephaly in newborns affected by Zika virus, yesterday’s report is the first case series.All of the babies had congenital Zika infections and signs of brain calcification. They were seen at a rehabilitation center in Pernambuco that follows Zika-affected babies. Investigations ruled out other causes of microcephaly, including toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, rubella, syphilis, and HIV. All were born at term, and only one child had a normal head circumference.Arthrogryposis was seen in both the arms and legs of six babies and only in the legs of the seventh. Electromyelography suggested problems with peripheral motor neurons, and spinal MRI showed thinning of the spinal cord.Problem linked to Zika attack on nerve cells?High-definition scans of joints and surrounding tissues found no joint abnormalities, which led the team to suspect that the deformities were neurogenic, affecting muscle contraction and relaxation and producing fixed postures in the womb.The team wrote that possible mechanisms include Zika virus damage to neurons or neural progenitor cells, already thought to be a culprit in microcephaly and related cerebral malformation. They also said the condition might be related to problems with arteries and veins.The team said that though more research with larger numbers of babies is needed to identify the neurologic abnormalities that lead to arthrogryposis, children born with Zika virus should receive orthopedic follow-up because of the risk of developing musculoskeletal deformities.’Expanding list of devastating outcomes’Siobahn Dolan, MD, MPH, medical advisor to the March of Dimes, said of the new findings, “Everything we’re learning from what Brazil is experiencing is concerning.” Reports of arthrogryposis seem to be “a downstream effect” and are another sign of how serious the neurologic insult from Zika virus can be to fetuses, she added.The expanding list of devastating outcomes is tragic, Dolan said.Clinicians don’t yet know what the long-term functional capacity will be for babies born with arthrogryposis, she said. “It will be a while until we know the full spectrum.”Dolan said the complications underscore the importance of steps to protect pregnant women, such as avoiding mosquito bites, taking sexual precautions if a partner may be infected with Zika virus, and avoiding travel to Zika-affected areas.New map weaves in more Zika factorsThe new Zika risk map was recently published on the fast-track publication site of Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Institute. In a University of Kansaspress release, researchers said the risk is affected by a range of factors, such as climate, socioeconomics, and people’s ability to access certain areas.Breaking down the global land areas into 5-by-5 kilometer squares, the map shows the virus’ powerful ability to spread in South and Central America, as well as the first assessment of Zika transmission risk in Europe, which appears to be relatively low. Vulnerable parts of the United States include parts of Florida, Texas, and Louisiana.Abdallah Samy, PhD, who led the team at the Kansas University Biodiversity Institute, said in the press release that the map can be used by public health officials and international groups to battle the virus. “It’s also intended for the public. If you’re going to travel to a specific area in Brazil, and you know it’s a risk area for Zika, you should consider how to reduce the chances of transmission with clothing or insect repellant,” he said.See also:Aug 9 BMJ reportAug 9 BMJ press releaseAug 10 University of Kansas press releaseOswaldo Cruz Zika fast track reportMarch of Dimes Zika virus and pregnancy advisory
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A giant corona virus is detected in White Rock and has been able to survive for over a week in the front yard of a residence. Photo by David Hanson
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To increase freight capacity to and from the port of Sines, Portuguese infrastructure manager Refer is to build a passing loop able to accommodate trains up to 750 m long between Canal-Caveira and Azinheira dos Barros on the route between Lisboa and Sines. The Canadian government has extended the C$2·2m subsidy for the Algoma Central Railway passenger service between Sault Ste Marie and Hearst, Ontario until March 31 2015, to ‘give affected stakeholders as well as local municipal leaders more time to make arrangements for the development of a sustainable long-term solution’ for the service. Mozambique’s CFM has introduced a second return evening passenger service on the Maputo – Matola-Gare route to handle growing demand. DB Schenker Rail Polska has won a 45·5m złoty contract to operate coal trains at Poland’s Skawina power plant. The first GSM-R in Poland was certified on March 19 on the line from Legnica to the German border via Wegliniec. Transport projects are among the schemes to be financed in 2014 with the proceeds of a €600m bond issue completed by the Ile-de-France region on April 15, the largest financial transaction of its kind undertaken by the French authority.Construction of the Hutong Railway between Shanghai and Nantong officially began on March 1 and is scheduled to take 5½ years. The line will include what is said to be the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge, with four rail tracks and six road lanes. Croatia’s Hrvatske Željeznice Infrastruktura has applied for a EBRD loan to help finance a €120m rehabilitation programme for the 22 km Savski Marof – Zagreb section of Trans-European Corridor X, and development and monitoring of a safety plan and strategic review of options for the commercialisation of railway property.
LocalNews Linton re-elected UWP leader by: Dominica Vibes News – March 1, 2015 Sharing is caring! Share Lennox Linton (file photo)Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton has been re-elected leader of the United Workers Party (UWP).Mr Linton was re-elected unopposed at the party’s 27th delegates conference at the Salisbury Primary School on Sunday 1 March 2015.He was first elected leader on 1 September 2013, after former prime minister Edison James resigned.Mr Linton advised the new executive to understand the commitment they have made and be prepared to serve the people who voted for them.Joshua Francis, member of parliament for the Roseau South Constituency, was elected deputy leader, replacing Claudius Sanford who resigned following the 2014 general election as he failed to win the Salybia Constituency seat for a fourth consecutive term.Mr Francis, who thanked God, his family and the Roseau South Constituency for voting him as deputy leader, said he accepted the position with “a deep sense of gratitude and humility”.He promised to serve “with distinction” and implement change.The other members of the executive are as follows;President – Ronald CharlesVice president – Hector JohnSecretary – Diane VictorAssistant secretary – Andrea KentishTreasurer – Alex BirminghamAssistant treasurer – Jefferson JamesInternational secretary – Dr Thomson FontainePublic relations officer – Nicholas GeorgeFormer prime minister Edison James, Norris Prevost and Ronald Green were also re-elected trustees of the party.Member of parliament for the Wesley Constituency Ezekiel Bazil, who served as president of the party from 2013, “stepped aside” to make way for change. Share Tweet Share 226 Views no discussions
Russell Tennis Academy (RTA) director, Richard Russell, has responded to an email request from Tennis Jamaica (TJ), outlining steps that he will take to ensure that the selection of Jamaica’s Davis Cup team to the national trials are fair and transparent.Nine players were invited to the squad earlier this year by the RTA, which signed a contract in January with the then Aswad Morgan-led TJ administration. Russell, a former Davis Cup player, told The Gleaner that he offered his services free of cost after he learned that a lack of funding had prompted the local governing body to withdraw from the 2019 Davis Cup.The final team, chosen from invitees Randy Phillips, Jacob Bicknell, Dimitri Bird, John Chin, Damion Johnson, McCoy Malcolm, Roger Lyn, Nicholas Gore, and Cliff Dwyer, was to be selected by a six-member selection committee comprising Ryan Russell, Richard Russell, Leroy Brown, Joey Chin, Nicola Bicknell, and Cecil Bird.Johnson, however, pointed out that the selection committee included the parents of three of those players.In response to the concerns that were raised, TJ president John Azar on Sunday wrote an email requesting that Russell ensure that any monetary commitment made to the association would be maintained regardless of who was named in the final team, that more players be invited to trials to ensure fairness, and that three members of the five-member committee be from TJ, with no member being either a parent or immediate family member of any player in the squad.Russell told The Gleaner yesterday that he had replied to the email yesterday stating that as long as there is no variation in the RTA’s two-year contract, funding would be assured and that an invitation to trials would be extended to as many players as possible.Russell pointed out that all Davis Cup players would be selected solely on the basis of winning at the trials.“I confirmed that there was one parent on our committee, and that’s Nicola Bicknell. The parents have nothing to do with the selection of the team because squad members are chosen based upon performance at trials,” Russell said.
With four semi-final slots on offer and a new champion certain, make sure our experts and ex-pros keep you in the know.Our team includes World Cup winners and award-winning writers. There’s tough tackling ex-Leicester Tigers and England player Ben Kay; former Wasps and England captain Lawrence Dallaglio; alongside former Bath and England fly-half Stuart Barnes. Completing our line-up is Owen Slot, the three times rugby writer of the year; Stephen Jones, who has covered every World Cup since the inaugural one in 1987 and deputy rugby correspondent Alex Lowe. Together, they make sure they tackle every talking point.CTA button: Subscribe now
Mark Richt has a hunch Georgia took a look at West Virginia senior receiver Mario Alford when he was at Georgia Military College.He’ just can’t remember.“I do not recall getting involved with him,” Richt said Wednesday. “I just don’t remember the name, but I’m bad with that. I tend to forget. There are just so many names that cross your desk. I’m sure he’s a special player, though.”According to Alford, Richt’s teammates know how special he is.“I talked to Georgia players and they see what I do on film and see some of the games,” said Alford, who caught 27 passes for 552 yards and two touchdowns in his first year at WVU last season. “They tell me how much they wish they could have gotten me.”[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTnkxZeCRbU&w=560&h=315%5DA Greenville, Ga., native, Alford is looking forward to returning to his home state to play against No. 2-ranked Alabama at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta – but first things first.Got to get tickets for family and friends.“I’m trying to get too many in the game,” said a laughing Alford, who grew up a hour away from Atlanta. He’s never played in the Georgia Dome. “Family, friends, high school coach, everyone that supported me back home. I’m trying to get 15, but I know half my family is tailgating outside. I’m going to try to get at least 12 to 14 tickets.”Alford lived even closer to the Georgia/Alabama border and had a fondness for the Crimson Tide.‘I always thought Alabama was a great school,” he said. “They were always on top of everyone else. Growing up, I watched games and they had that name. Alabama, you know. They won championships and all that.Alford said Georgia, Kentucky and Ole Miss recruited him coming out of Greenville High. A Class 1A state champion in the 100-meter dash, Alford said the three SEC schools offered him a scholarship, but indicated they were concerned about his ACT score.Still eyeing Georgia, Alford said he was going to go to there out of juco, but things didn’t work out.“They didn’t want to wait until December to pick me up,” Alford said. “That’s how that happened.”Alford is one of four WVU players from Georgia, but the Mountaineers have many more players from states with at least one SEC school. Twenty-four are from Florida, nine from Texas, two from South Carolina and one from Mississippi and Tennessee.So they have an idea of what to expect Saturday.“We know it’s going to be real crazy,” Alford said. “We’re going to have the adrenaline pumping and all that.”