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Archive for the ‘Personality’ Category

Drinking as little as half a pint of beer per week during pregnancy can cut a baby’s intelligence by several IQ points.

via Moderate drink during pregnancy can lower baby’s IQ – health – 15 November 2012 – New Scientist.

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As leaders ascend to more powerful positions in their groups, they face ever-increasing demands. This has given rise to the common perception that leaders have higher stress levels than non-leaders. But if leaders also experience a heightened sense of control—a psychological factor known to have powerful stress-buffering effects—leadership should be associated with reduced stress levels. Using unique samples of real leaders, including military officers and government officials, we found that, compared to non-leaders, leaders had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and lower reports of anxiety (Study 1). In a second study, leaders holding more powerful positions exhibited lower cortisol levels and less anxiety than leaders holding less powerful positions, a relationship explained significantly by their greater sense of control. Altogether, these findings reveal a clear relationship between leadership and stress, with leadership level being inversely related to stress.

via Leadership Is Associated with Lower Levels of Stress – Article – Harvard Business School.

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Blocking a specific receptor in mice eliminated pathological aggression. (!!) Humans have a corresponding receptor. This could be a game changer.

via Hulk smash? Maybe not anymore: Scientists block excess aggression in mice « Biosingularity.

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cientists have frequently questioned whether differences in competitive behavior could in part be explained by differing physiological responses to competition. In their new study, researchers from Harvard and Duke collected saliva from the apes using cotton wads dipped in Sweet Tarts candy, then measured hormone levels before and after pairs from each species were presented with a pile of food.

They found that males of both species who were intolerant and could not share with their partners showed hormonal changes in anticipation of competing for the food, but bonobos and chimpanzees were completely different in which hormones increased.

Male chimpanzees showed an increase in testosterone, which is thought to prepare animals for competition or aggressive interactions. By contrast, male bonobos showed an increase in cortisol, which is associated with stress and more passive social strategies in other animals.

“Chimpanzee males reacted to the competition as if it was a threat to their status, while bonobos reacted as if a potential competition is stressful by showing changes in their cortisol levels,” said Victoria Wobber, a Harvard graduate student and first author of the study.

Human males usually experience an increase in cortisol before many types of competition in a similar way as seen in the bonobos. However, if men have what is called a “high power motive,” or a strong desire to achieve high status, they experience an increase in testosterone before a competition.

“These results suggest that the steroid hormone shifts that are correlated with the competitive drive of men are shared through descent with other apes,” Wobber said.

via Some males react to competition like bonobos, others like chimpanzees.

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Being the top dog — or, in this case, the top gelada monkey — is even better if the alpha male is willing to concede at times to subordinates, according to a study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan and Duke University.

via How cooperation can trump competition in monkeys.

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Van Horn and his colleagues estimate that the rod destroyed about 4% of Gage’s cerebral cortex, and about 11% of the total white matter in the frontal lobe. According to their model, the accident damaged some of the major white matter tracts in left the frontal lobe, including the uncinate fasciculus, which connects parts of the frontal cortex to the limbic system, and the superior longitudinal fasciculus, which runs the entire length of the brain to connect all four lobes in each hemisphere to each other. It also damaged the frontal cortex connector hubs, localized regions that contain a high density of connections to other areas.

This would have disrupted global network organization, making the damage far more profound and widespread than previously thought.

via Phineas Gage’s connectome | Mo Costandi | Neurophilosophy blog | Science | guardian.co.uk.

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Head Color Linked With Personality in Social Bird Species | Inspiring Discoveries | Science | Epoch Times.

We think that head color is used as a signal of personality to other birds in the flock, so they know who to associate with,” said study co-author Leah Williams, also at LJMU, in the release.

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