Oct 26, 2020

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Aging chimps show social selectivity

No new friends and no drama. When humans age, they tend to favor small circles of meaningful, established friendships rather than seek new ones, and to lean toward positive relationships rather than ones that bring tension or conflict. These behaviors were thought to be unique to humans but it turns out chimpanzees, one of our closest living relatives, have these traits, too. Understanding why can help scientists gain a better picture of what healthy aging should look like and what triggers this social change. The work is described in the Oct. 23 issue of the journal Science and is authored by a team of psychologists and primatologists, […]Read full article >
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Research shows lullabies in any language relax babies

Virtually all new parents quickly discover that a lullaby will in fact help an infant unwind, but they might be surprised to learn that babies aren’t fussy about the language. Researchers at Harvard’s Music Lab have determined that American infants relaxed when played lullabies that were unfamiliar and in a foreign language. Their results were published in Nature Human Behaviour on Oct. 19. “There’s a longstanding debate about how music affects listeners as a result of both prior experiences with music and the basic design of our psychology,” said Samuel Mehr, a Department of Psychology research associate and principal investigator at the […]Read full article >
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Enzymatic DNA synthesis sees the light

According to current estimates, the amount of data produced by humans and machines is rising at an exponential rate, with the digital universe doubling in size every two years. Very likely, the magnetic and optical data-storage systems at our disposal won’t be able to archive this fast-growing volume of digital 1s and 0s anymore at some point. Plus, they cannot safely store data for more than a century without degrading. One solution to this pending global data-storage problem could be the development of DNA — life’s very own information-storage system — into a digital data storage medium. Researchers already are encoding complex […]Read full article >