Jessss's Liked Comments

This is highly implausible. What light penetrates the ear drum will only be met with the solid bone encasing the middle ear. Even if any light were still able to penetrate the bone, look up any anatomical drawing of the human skull and you'll see that the inner ears lie beneath the lowest point of the temporal lobe. In other words, the light wouldn't even be hitting the brain. Considering all of the above, even if the light somehow does manage to reach the brain, the existence of photoreceptive cells in the brain that can be stimulated by direct light exposure is questionable.

In addition, there are serious conflicts of interest for a number of authors of the study. The 2nd and 3rd authors are CEOs of a company selling a (very expensive) device that claims that by using its product to shine LED lights into your ears, you can treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 2 other authors (including Takala) are shareholders of this company, and the lead author is a live-in partner of an employee of the company. You'll also notice that these authors have a hand in every single study making similar claims. In other words, they have no independent evidence supporting their claims.

I'm an auduologist and I shine lights into peoples' ears for a living. Perhaps I should start charging an additional fee for "mood influencing properties".
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@vermontjoe

Considering how increasingly common it is to have a college education (both in the US and in Australia where I live) and how competitive it is to get a good job, it's almost become a prerequisite not only to have undergraduate, but also graduate degrees in order stand out enough to even be considered for certain jobs, even though such degrees aren't necessarily required to perform the job - particularly in the business world. There are many industries where if you do not have a college education or even a graduate degree (even though it is not a necessary requirement), you won't even be considered for the job.

I'm just entering my 7th (and hopefully final) year of college next year, but at least I can feel satisfied that in my particular field, the things I've learned in my degrees are certainly necessary to do the job.

I would feel even more satisfied however if my college had slides like this.
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I've heard about single ants doing this, but not this many!

Apparently some ant species have a built in odometer so they can calculate how many steps it will take them to get back to the nest in a straight line. So when experimenters either shortened their legs or glued on tiny stilts, they either under- or over-shooted the mark where they thought the nest was, and then proceeded to walk in increasingly larger concentric circles, hoping to come across the nest, but often dying of starvation and exhaustion before they found it.

Obviously a different mechanism to what's causing these ants to walk in circles, but pretty interesting nonetheless.

An article:
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,4114287,00.html

And the free abstract in J. Exp. Biol.:
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/312/5782/1965
An interesting read if you have a subscription.

It would make a great Neatorama story!
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Okay I made the mistake of commenting before reading the actual article. They pretty much also said that it was probably a combination of natural and sexual selection, stating that the necks may have legthened initially as a means to reach higher leaves, before playing a larger role in fighting for and selecting mates.

So what's with the misleading intro, Alex?
"Have you ever been told that the reason giraffes have such long neck is that they evolved to eat leaves on tall trees? Well, you’ve been lied to. The real reason (surprise, surprise) is sex and mating."
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This stems from the relatively recent field of evolutionary psychology. By looking at how environmental and reproductive pressures could have shaped human behaviours, psychologists have come up with rational explanations for various human behavioural phenomena, many of which are largely accepted (such as gender differences in sexual attraction, jealousy, parenting, and other behaviours).

The reason why evolutionary psychology is so popular and why researchers would be looking for an evolutionary explanation for this particular phenomenon is because evolutionary psychology can account for a broader range of human behaviour than any other psychological theory of human motivation. It is so far the best universal theory of what motivates human (and animal) behaviour that we have so far. As a result, researchers have gone rushing into all sorts of behavioural phenomenon, particularly those relating to reproduction looking for an evolutionary explanation.

Clearly in this particular instance (as in most), the phenomenon is more complicated than what these evolutionary biologists are suggesting. Other factors such as education, cultural values, and social pressures have been forgotten (although for all I know they covered all these limitations in their paper). However one cannot completely exclude our evolutionary roots from what motivates our behaviour. If these provide just one facet of an explanation for this particular phenomenon, perhaps this is it. But more likely in time improved theories will be offered.

@Briannana, Ted, @ Krikkit
Keep in mind that evolutionary psychology does not imply that we are mindless slaves to our evolutionary past, rather it attempts to explain why certain behaviours would occur with such frequency universally across different cultures as a result of our evolutionary past and the biological differences between the genders. Evolutionary psychology is explanatory of the mass, not prescriptive of the individual. There is always going to be plenty of variation in how our evolutionary past affects each of us, but there is no denying that it remains an influence.

@Ted
How can it be racist if it is supposed to be a universal theory describing behaviours that occur across cultures independent of race?

@emmakate
Pulling out is pretty ineffective as far as birth control goes. Not putting in to begin with unless you have a condom would be preferable.
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Dogs are more useful to society. Think of all the service dogs for the blind, drug sniffing dogs, police dogs etc...
It doesn't necessarily make them better, but it's certainly a point in their favour.
If anyone wishes to bring up that more people are seriously injured by dogs, that's generally the owner's fault in the way they raised them. It would appear both cats and dogs are better than some humans in that respect.
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Dogs are more useful to society. Think of all the service dogs for the blind, drug sniffing dogs, police dogs etc...
It doesn't necessarily make them better, but it's certainly a point in their favour.
If anyone wishes to bring up that more people are seriously injured by dogs, that's generally the owner's fault in the way they raised them. It would appear both cats and dogs are better than some humans in that respect.
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@ trialex,
I was thinking the same thing. I've studied psychology for 5 years in Australia and I think I can safely say that we do NOT perform lobotomies in Australia.

On another note, Walter Freeman is often used as an example by scientologists and others who profess the alleged evils of psychology. That claim that a profession with such a sordid history as psychology must be up to no good. It should be noted here that Freeman was not a psychologist or a psychiatrist. He was a neurologist with no surgical training, and an idiot.
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  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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