Animalia · Science

Individually Marked Ants

Ant colonies show remarkably coordinated behavior, despite lacking any direction from a well-informed central controller. Each worker instead applies simple decision rules to limited knowledge, and exchanges information with her neighbors using rudimentary cues and signals. From this process emerge the construction of complex nests, collective decisions among food sources, the adaptive allocation of labor across tasks, and many other group accomplishments. To identify the underlying decision rules requires a detailed description of the behavior of individually identifiable ants. The ant species Temnothorax curvispinosus is especially useful for this kind of study, because they form small colonies of only a few hundred workers, and they thrive in thin, glass-walled laboratory nests, facilitating detailed video records of their behavior. Most importantly, as shown in these images, workers can be individually marked with tiny drops of paint. Ants are first immobilized with carbon dioxide, and then marked with a distinctive pattern of four drops. They soon emerge unharmed from narcosis, and retain their marks for several months to years. This approach has been particularly useful in showing how emigrating colonies can choose the best among several new homes, even when few individual workers are aware of all the options under consideration.

Credit: Stephen Pratt

Human-ities · Performativity · Philosophy · Theory · Videos

Judith Butler: Behavior Creates Gender

Human-ities · Performativity

The Snarky Voice in Your Head

There’s a jerk inside all of us: we roll our eyes when someone in line has a complicated order, curse at little old ladies who don’t drive fast enough, and sneer at people who are just too happy. Over time, that snark kills our productivity and poisons our relationships. Here’s how to keep your inner asshole in check.

There’s a difference between being occasionally sarcastic and a little derisive in your head, but when negativity becomes your default reaction, you have a problem. You may have had a wake-up moment, much like Anna Holmes, founding editor of Jezebel, had when she realized she was sneering at someone for no reason other than that the person was happy. Here’s what she said:

Just rolled my eyes at a woman skipping happily across 42nd Street. Then I realized I’M the asshole.

— Anna Holmes (@AnnaHolmes) May 31, 2012

How about a quick check. Do you:

-Roll your eyes at every “hipster” who, by most accounts, is just a person trying (successfully or not) to dress fashionably?
-Primarily complain about how horrible people/things are on Facebook/Twitter?
-Get angrier every passing moment that you stand in line at the grocery store, or have to wait for your check to arrive at a restaurant?
-Find you’re constantly frustrated with coworkers who don’t “get it?”
-Comment angrily on blogs, videos, and other web sites (usually beginning with “ummm” and ending with “just saying?”)
-Feel like it’s okay to be a complete jerk, as long as you’re “witty” about it?

Excerpt of an article written by Alan Henry, at Lifehacker. Continue HERE

Animalia · Human-ities · Performativity · Special

Domestic dogs display empathic response to distress in humans

Dr Deborah Custance and Jennifer Mayer, both from the Department of Psychology, developed an innovative procedure to examine if domestic dogs could identify and respond to emotional states in humans.

Eighteen pet dogs, spanning a range of ages and breeds, were exposed to four separate 20-second experimental conditions in which either the dog’s owner or an unfamiliar person pretended to cry, hummed in an odd manner, or carried out a casual conversation.

The dogs demonstrated behaviours consistent with an expression of empathic concern. Significantly more dogs looked at, approached and touched the humans as they were crying as opposed to humming, and no dogs responded during talking. The majority of dogs in the study responded to the crying person in a submissive manner consistent with empathic concern and comfort-offering.

“The humming was designed to be a relatively novel behavior, which might be likely to pique the dogs’ curiosity. The fact that the dogs differentiated between crying and humming indicates that their response to crying was not purely driven by curiosity,” explained Dr Custance. “Rather, the crying carried greater emotional meaning for the dogs and provoked a stronger overall response than either humming or talking.”

The study also found that the dogs responded to the person who was crying regardless of whether it was their owner or the unfamiliar person: “If the dogs’ approaches during the crying condition were motivated by self-oriented comfort-seeking, they would be more likely to approach their usual source of comfort, their owner, rather than the stranger,” said Jennifer. “No such preference was found. The dogs approached whoever was crying regardless of their identity. Thus they were responding to the person’s emotion, not their own needs, which is suggestive of empathic-like comfort-offering behavior.”

Text and image via Medical Xpress

Performativity · Photographics · Projects · Videos

The Contemporary Sumo Lifestyle

Photographer Paolo Patrizi has documented the daily routine of a wrestler and the strict codes of behavior associated with it. Click HERE for more.

You can also watch a documentary produced by National Geographic called Sumo Kids (full documentary)