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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crazy Researches and Experiments (Part 2 of 3)

As promised here's the second part of yesterday's post. Hope you'll enjoy this as much as you do with the previous one.

Pigeons can discriminate “good” and “bad” paintings by children


Abstract

Humans have the unique ability to create art, but non-human animals may be able to discriminate “good” art from “bad” art. In this study, the researcher investigated whether pigeons could be trained to discriminate between paintings that had been judged by humans as either “bad” or “good”. To do this, adult human observers first classified several children’s paintings as either “good” (beautiful) or “bad” (ugly). Using operant conditioning procedures, pigeons were then reinforced for pecking at “good” paintings. After the pigeons learned the discrimination task, they were presented with novel pictures of both “good” and “bad” children’s paintings to test whether they had successfully learned to discriminate between these two stimulus categories. The results showed that pigeons could discriminate novel “good” and “bad” paintings. (Download full text PDF)

Dogs catch human yawns

Abstract

This study is the first to demonstrate that human yawns are possibly contagious to domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Twenty-nine dogs observed a human yawning or making control mouth movements. Twenty-one dogs yawned when they observed a human yawning, but control mouth movements did not elicit yawning from any of them. The presence of contagious yawning in dogs suggests that this phenomenon is not specific to primate species and may indicate that dogs possess the capacity for a rudimentary form of empathy. Since yawning is known to modulate the levels of arousal, yawn contagion may help coordinate dog–human interaction and communication. Understanding the mechanism as well as the function of contagious yawning between humans and dogs requires more detailed investigation. (Download full text PDF)

Garlic: A way out of work

Abstract

Two 18-year-old men were seen for second-degree burns to the dorsum of their knees, ankles, and feet. Upon investigation, it was revealed that the burns were self-inflicted and resulted from the application of crushed garlic with the intent of exemption from work. Reviews of the literature reveal that garlic-induced burns have been previously reported; however, only once before as a factitious dermatitis. The sharp demarcation line between normal and abnormal skin should suggest that a burn is not from hot liquids. Health care providers had best be advised of the side effects of natural remedies and be aware of how garlic may be abused to the advantage of an individual. (Read it online)

I'm trying to find enough time for the last installment. Hold on for the last part tomorrow.

(Photo credits: dulemba.blogspot.com, askspikeonline.com, projectobrazil.blogspot.com)

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