- Confronted with fake video evidence, nearly everyone confesses. In a simulated “crime,” researchers were able to induce false confessions — but fewer people were willing to rat out others.
- Second language changes the way bilinguals read in their native tongue. Learning a new language makes you read differently in the old one, suggesting you don’t just “switch on” a different language.
- Children with autism do understand emotions. While autism does seem to impair recognition non-verbal emotional expressions, this study finds no difference between recognition of verbal emotional expression in high-function children with autism.
- Evidence for acupuncture effectiveness? David Gorski critiques a study purporting to find a link between acupuncture and brain response to pain medication.
Also, my column on SEEDMAGAZINE.COM today covers my virtual “visit” to this year’s Science Online conference in London, where I discussed the future of science communication with over 150 scientists and science communicators. Here’s an excerpt:
Beyond being able to control and enhance your personal appearance, there are even greater luxuries to be had attending a real-life conference via a virtual world. While I and about two dozen other virtual attendees sat in our pristine amphitheater waiting for the conference to start, we could watch the real people rushing back and forth on a video feed from London, complaining that there wasn’t any breakfast. (The eggs and toast I had prepared for myself were delicious.) But did we actually have it better than the attendees who were physically present? Was it better than the “real” thing?
The technology wasn’t seamless. Most talks were plagued by both audio and video problems, and, most notably, many missing presentation slides. But when the technology did work, it was sometimes possible to forget that those of us watching remotely in Second Life weren’t really “there.” We could chat with each other in our own dialog box, or we could post “tweets” about the proceedings in real time on Twitter, where our pithy observations were projected on the big screen at the Royal Society auditorium, along with those of all the other attendees (here’s an archive of all the tweets from the conference). At one point, I even found myself tweeting that “I’m finding #solo09 to be a very rich experience in 2nd life, despite technical glitches. When it works, it may be better than RL [real life].”
For more, read the whole thing.