Skepticon

Is there Something Fishy about Psychosis?

Darcy Cowan Jul 02, 2010

Psychosis is a scary word, conjuring images of people who have so lost touch with reality that they are unable to integrate with society. As with most everything else this condition exists on a continuum, mild symptoms may pose no problem for the sufferer1 nor be outwardly visible. Previous studies have seen correlations between the [...] … Read More

Can the Order You View Things Affect Your Opinion of Them? Or, To Make a Good Impression Ensure You’re Introduced First

Darcy Cowan Jun 28, 2010

“First the worst, Second the best, Third the golden eagle.” The above is a rhyme from my youth1, the implication being that you really don’t want to be first in anything. First is the worst after all. Obviously this is not true in the world beyond the playground, firsts in every field are celebrated, sometimes [...] … Read More

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Ravens and Empathy: The Role of Bystanders After Conflict

Darcy Cowan Jun 23, 2010

At the same time as we were learning that Vegetarians and Vegans might be more empathic than Omnivores we were also discovering the nature of empathy in Ravens. Published in PLoS One recently was a paper called “Do Ravens Show Consolation? Responses to Distressed Others” looking at the behaviour of Ravens and the implications for [...] … Read More

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Are Vegans and Vegetarians More Empathic Than Omnivores?

Darcy Cowan Jun 18, 2010

Humans are naturally omnivorous, our digestive system is adapted to cope with both animal and vegetable matter. Obviously we can’t eat everything, we wouldn’t get as much sustenance out of a mouthful of grass as a cow does. Termites can deal with the high cellulose content of wood and derive energy from that source while [...] … Read More

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Does Your Environment Determine Your Behaviour?

Darcy Cowan Jun 11, 2010

Last week I posted about the effects of alcohol availability on the amount of violence in an area and mentioned that disorder in the area might also contribute to this. I thought this needed expanding upon, are we really so shallow as a species that we allow the environment that we may be in only [...] … Read More

Alcohol: Effects on Teenage Brains and Correlations Between Availability and Violence

Darcy Cowan Jun 04, 2010

I’ve written previously about the effects of alcohol on decision making. Today I’ll be looking at two further aspects of alcohol consumption and how it affects society. First up is a study that examines the cognitive effects of moderate to heavy drinking during adolescence, with different effects on males versus females. Secondly I’d like to [...] … Read More

I Know What I Mean but Only See How You Act

Darcy Cowan Apr 30, 2010

When I’m writing one of these posts it is difficult to edit them in such a way as to convey my meaning clearly to those without the background I share. I’m not talking about scientific or technical background though, I mean the background that allows me access to my own thoughts. When I re-read my [...] … Read More

Sea Biscuits: Not Just For Carrying Tobey Maguire Around

Darcy Cowan Apr 23, 2010

So,I didn’t have the fortitude to write a proper post this week but earlier this paper came to my attention: “Embryonic, Larval, and Juvenile  Development of the Sea Biscuit Clypeaster subdepressus (Echinodermata: Clypeasteroida)“ Normally this isn’t in my field of interest but this one has videos! Check out these completely entrancing records of science. Unfortunately [...] … Read More

Can Our Fantasy Life Affect Our Perceptions of Real Life?

Darcy Cowan Apr 16, 2010

Recently there’s been a television promotional advertisement that really bugs me. It shows a man watching events appearing before his eyes and has a voice-over that says something to the effect of “When you look back on your life are you going to see a life filled with interesting people and excitement?” and when is [...] … Read More