Anthropology

It's a common enough tale, told throughout the history of literature. A parent prefers their 'real' children and the life of the step-child is miserable as a result, compared to the biological child.

That "Cinderella effect" claims that it is biologically inevitable that parents care less for stepchildren because they do not spread their genes - as you might expect, actual biologists did not come up with it, anthropologists did. And the authors of a new paper recognize something you knew all along; in many cases, the value and personality of a step-child matters more than biological inheritance, just like with biological children. 


'Huh?' - what you tell your children not to say when they did not understand what you just told them - has nonetheless taken over the word. 


It's not correlation-causation but a new study has found that, among those with mental illnesses, left-handers are far more likely to suffer from psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. 

Scientists and psychologists have long been interested in handedness because the brain develops asymmetrically and some cognitive processes develop from the left or right side. Since hand dominance is a convenient measure it has been a focus for decades, with some research finding a great prevalence of psychosis in left-handed people.


Centuries of economic hypotheses have been based on the premise of rational actors: when given a choice between two items, people select the one they value more. But as with many simple premises, this one has a flaw in that it is demonstrably untrue.


Yet that was never really the case. Too many exceptions mean a rule was never a rule anyway - there are lots of examples where people act against their own apparent interests. One of these biases — the mere fact of possessing something raises its value to its owner — is known as the "endowment effect."  

A new paper seeks to address whether this bias is truly universal and speculates that it may have been present in humanity's evolutionary past.


Having children early and in rapid succession lead to high infant mortality rates in the South Asian countries of Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan, according to a paper in
the International Journal of Gynecology&Obstetrics.

1 in 14 births to young mothers in those countries ends with the death of the child within the first year, say researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. 


Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a common human virus, you get a cold sore near the mouth, but a study of the full genetic code of HSV-1 shows a dramatic confirmation of the "out-of-Africa" pattern of human migration., according to their paper.

Geneticists explore how organisms are related by studying changes in the sequence of bases, or "letters" on their genes. From knowledge of how quickly a particular genome changes, they can construct a "family tree" that shows when particular variants had their last common ancestor.

Studies of human genomes have shown that our ancestors emerged from Africa roughly 150,000 to 200,000 years ago, and then spread eastward toward Asia, and westward toward Europe.


In the early parts of Dan Brown's "The DaVinci Code" he spends a great deal of time outlining how both art history (no, really) and his particular brand of religious revisionism are legitimate ... but repressed by Big Religion.

In science, we see that all of the time; X says he can invent perpetual motion or has overturned some aspect of medicine or biology and "dogma" keeps it hidden. It's the myth of the oppressed underdog. Americans love it, it's good reading, David vs. Goliath stuff. It is the story of how America came to be.

Marijuana use continues to be on the upswing in the United States. A public relations campaign claiming health benefits while ignoring health risks have led to diminishing public disapproval and more lenient legislation.

People who disapprove of a particular drug are unlikely to use it, but what about the gateway affect? Does the use of one drug affects people's attitudes toward using other drugs? Do personality traits matter?

High school seniors who frown upon the use of drugs are most likely to be female, nonsmokers or hold strong religious beliefs, according to a paper by Joseph Palamar of New York University. Palamar that examines how teenagers' attitudes toward marijuana influenced their thoughts on the further use of other illicit drugs. 


The early days of Ashkenazi Jews – that is, Jews with more recent ancestry in central and Eastern Europe – are a hot debate topic. It is believed that their ancestors migrated into Europe from Judea in the first century A.D., after the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans, and that led to some intermarriage with Europeans later on.  

Others have argued that they have a mainly European ancestry, and arose by conversion to Judaism of indigenous Europeans, especially in Italy. While still others have even argued that they were largely assimilated in the North Caucasus during the time of the Khazar Empire, the Turkic people in the Western steppe whose rulers turned to Judaism around of the tenth century AD.


Transgendered androphilic males may have been accepted in ancient hunter-gatherer cultures because they were an extra set of hands to support their families, according to a new article in Human Nature.