A tortoise never forgets, and are like “elephants” of the reptile world, suggests a new study. Giant land tortoises have a reputation for being sluggish in both speed and brainpower, but a new study found that they were able to remember how to carry out tasks that they learned nine years ago.

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For the first task, the scientists trained the tortoises to bite a colored ball on the end of a stick. Once mastered, the researchers then taught them to move towards and bite the colored ball, which was held around one to two meters away. For the final task, the scientists assigned each tortoise a unique color and trained the tortoises to choose the correctly colored ball, from two offered targets.

When the researchers tested the tortoises three months later, the tortoises immediately performed the first two tasks. Although they were unable to recall their correct individual colors for the third task, five out of six tortoises relearned which color ball to bite quicker than in the initial training, suggesting some residual memory.

The researchers also revisited three of the Aldabra tortoises they had trained nine years earlier which were still housed at Vienna Zoo. Remarkably, all three recalled the first two tasks, showing an incredible long-term recall ability befitting their long lifespan.


“A tortoise never forgets”

A tortoise can remember a task from 9 years ago.

Genuine question. Is this type of title not just clickbait and is this ok for science magazines?

Just seems weird to me for anyone who wants to take information literally.


Why are we always so surprised to find that other creatures are intelligent as well. It never ceases to amaze me how arrogant we are and little we think of other living creatures.


Tasks such as:
-Eat lettuce
-Bump into stuff


Impressive. I forget the password to my work computer when I come back after a week vacation.


When proteins in the brain form deposits consisting of insoluble aggregates, diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s can occur. Now a research team has come a step closer to understanding this process.

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Fascinating idea. It has always disturbed me that there was no explanation of the origin of amyloid other than stochastic chance perhaps provoked by a laundry list of possible contributors. The researchers here provide a convincing link to reduced chaperone activity (of the classic DNA-J and DNA-K system) in allowing amyloid formation. It will be interesting to see if the a-beta of Alzheimer’s can also form amyloid/oligomers/plaques via a similar mechanism. I believe there are anti-HSC90 drugs being tested against tumors and it would be tragic if that increased the chances of neurodegenerative disease!


While this is a promising step it has yet to be determined that the fold found in the plaques is the normal one for those proteins or an abnormal one. I am interested in seeing research on the bonding agent that allows the plaque to be created in the first place. If this bonding didn’t occur then the folded proteins would have been filtered from the bloodstream in due course. As it is, I think there are two paths to proceed, treatment and prevention. Removal of the bonding agent to allow the proteins to be washed away and a prevention via antibody of the specific folded proteins in the first place.


Giving pet crickets to elderly Korean women significantly improved their executive function & performance, researchers have found. The RCT’s findings suggest ‘pet insects’ could considerably improve many elderly Koreans’ mental health, despite their low costs.

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I keep a variety of stick insects and they make me so happy every day, I could imagine them and other insects being beneficial to folks with diseases affecting the brain.
They are super low maintenance, fascinating to look at and are very hardy so it’s pretty hard to accidentally kill them.
A cat or a dog would demand my attention constantly, but my stick bois? They’re happy even when I spend an entire week crying in bed. All power to insects as pets.


TIL about pet insects


As an elderly Korean woman, thank you


I have a mantis and kept crickets to feed her and noticed something. The first box of crickets I got had no food so they just ate each other and didn’t last long. Kept trying to jump out whenever I tried to take some out to feed her. It made me sad but I mean, they’re food, right?

The second box though had one of those food balls for them and I also put a piece of meat in there every couple days. They lasted weeks and they chirped and sang and seemed pretty happy and never tried to jump out.

Anyway, I got kind of attached to them even though they were feeder crickets because they were pretty cute. Now I just feed her larva.


**SMALL STUDY PSA: Sample size is a notoriously overused and extremely insufficient benchmark for evaluating study strength/validity.**

Of course, it’s critically important to have the appropriate level of statistical power. But the largest n’s and 1-*β*s in the world won’t matter much if other core components are total shit-shows (study design, sampling, datasets, etc.). Big samples generally can’t offset serious problems in those areas.

That’s why it’s important to look at the whole picture. You’ve got to understand how different study components & attributes interact. (And some don’t play nice.)

But back to my original point **— small studies like this one (n=35) can still be somewhat useful, despite being, well, pretty small.**

* This is a randomized controlled trial with a very homogenous sample. RCTs are only as good as they are conducted, of course, but it appears to be decently designed to me (at least based on my initial quick read).
* The combination of two measures of cognitive function (WCST + fMRIs) helps mitigate some big threats to study validity. Both are consider quite reliable, but they also have significant limitations. When feasible, having two lenses helps!
* The positive association between caring for other animals/plants and cognitive function has already been somewhat well-documented in the literature (i.e. past research). The context provided by the existing evidence/knowledge base is really important.

**All that being said, don’t get me wrong — it would’ve been** ***great*** **if this study had a larger, more externally valid sample.**

That’s why these findings need more replication within and outside of Korea. (There are some additional issues I noticed that that will hopefully be addressed by future studies.)

But researchers have to work with what’s on hand, which is usually very limited a) time, b) staff, c) money, d) data, e) etc. It’s one reason why science is an iterative process. Future studies, larger and better, will eventually build upon this one.

At least hopefully, because ***pet cricket science kicks ass.***


A new study compared effects of non-sexist vs. benevolently sexist supportive feedback in women, using cardiovascular measures of challenge/threat. Benevolently sexist feedback led to cardiovascular responses consistent with threat, even when the sexist feedback is intended as supportive.

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For people wondering what benevolent sexist feedback looks like, this was the phrase they used:

” *You seem like a* ***very smart girl*** *because your answers showed a lot of creativity. I know it’s hard not to get* ***emotional*** *during this type of test, but I’m sure you’ll do well on the next set of questions as long as you* ***don’t let your nerves get the best of you***. “


In other words: women find sexism of any kind stressful.

While this may seem an obvious conclusion, this research can also be applied to micro-aggressions of all types. Some people of privilege may think microaggressions aren’t real, or ‘they are, but it’s not a big deal’. Studies like this one can help prove that even small gestures of inequality or reminders of ‘otherness’ can have real physical and psychological harm on a person.


English isn’t my native language on top of being dyslexic, can someone ELI5?


That makes sense. If I as a woman don’t feel I am seen as capable, that is a threat to my ability to provide for myself and my family. It’s pushing me down on the social hierarchy, which will often lead to less opportunity and resources.

It being done in a benevolent way is almost more threatening because it would be harder to stand up to without further social harm, like being perceived as someone who overreacts or is unbalanced emotionally (“hysterical”), causing further threat to my social status and opportunities to provide for myself and my family.

When someone is sexist in a mean way it is a lot easier to have others see it and be taken seriously about the discrimination, which gives me more control to stop it, or at least for others to see the person and their opinions unfavorably, mitigating the threat. Benevolent sexism gives the sexist deniability, which makes it less likely I will be able to stop it and it’s consequences without causing equal or additional harm to myself.


This makes sense to me. If I’m reading it right, it would mean that compliments given at the expense of other’s aren’t appreciated. Telling someone they are “pretty smart for a girl” implies that you view women in general as inferior.


A successful HIV vaccine would induce antibodies in sites of transmission such as the rectum and vagina. A new study shows that an experimental HIV vaccine given to monkeys induced stronger antibody responses in the rectum when particular bacteria where present.

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I hope this is not one of the 80% or so promising lines of investigation hyped by media that fail to produce real life results


There has already been a cure for the HIV virus found by accident. Look up ccr5-∆32 and a Berlin patient who underwent a transplant while having HIV. Supposedly it only works on strains of HIV-1 that use both the CD4 and CCR5 cell surface receptors to infect T cells. However, after that the research fell out of ways…..then certain companies started “buying off”newborn umbilical cords for those that had that mutation. After that you started seeing those commercials of drugs that helped reduce the risk of transmission if you continuously take the stuff. I call b.s. on that whole thing but I’ll leave that up to everybody to decide.


I thought testing on monkeys wasn’t allowed anymore?


um. so how are they going to be administering this vaccine?


When men face worsening economic conditions relative to women, they tend to buy more guns…this supports previous findings that, for some men, gun ownership is a way to compensate for perceived threats to their gender identity.

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Has anyone commenting read the full study? The abstract makes me really want to understand the sample and methodology.


This seems like a stretch. Isn’t it more likely that they’re reacting to their own worsening economic situation more than their economic situation relative to women?


Why would you conflate “worsening economic conditions” with “perceived threats to gender identity?”


Men don’t do masculine things to protect their gender identity as men, these things are considered masculine because traditionally men have been the ones that enjoyed them. This logic that men do these things because they’re insecure of their masculinity is putting the cart before the horse. They are masculine because men do them. There is not some hypothetical “man standard” men go to when they feel their identity is threatened.

TLDR men doing manly things is not to compensate for lack of masculinity, rather things are considered manly because masculine men do them.


I really wish these studies wouldn’t editorialize the findings. The title alone has a lot of theories which are not tested in the study.

Here is what the study finds:

* Men who rank higher on a “hostile sexism” inventory are more likely to support loosened gun control.
* Men who lose “breadwinner” status, or become unemployed are more likely to purchase a gun than females.
* Men are more likely to buy guns in regions where guns are sold frequently.

Without performing an actual experiment, there is no way to determine whether this is to “compensate for threats to their gender identity”, or for other reasons. They would need to do an inventory which compares how safe men feel before and after they purchase a gun, vs how masculine men feel before and after they purchase a gun. This study is done retrospectively, meaning no actual experimentation was performed (despite the authors saying they “tested”). I’m sorry, but a t-test or ANOVA is not an experiment. It simply allows you to quantify correlations (which we all know are not causations, though the discussion and introduction of this paper seem to not care about this important distinction).

Imho, it is a bit of a stretch (and worded in an inflammatory way) to say that men buy guns to feel like more of a man. They do not look at that exact correlation in the title, and they do no experiment to prove it. They have good data and good conclusions for the bullets I list above, but they really stretch their statistical results to suit an obvious ideological agenda.

A more reasonable description of the results is that men are more likely to purchase a gun than women when their livelihood is threatened, and that men who have sexist views are more likely to want access to weapons. If I had to put a reason to this, I would say that a significant loss of stability (whether emotional or financial) makes men more likely to purchase a gun to feel safe. To me, this says more that men are more willing to buy and use a gun more than women, and has less to do with a perceived threat to masculinity. I’m happy to change my mind if someone can point me to the place in the study where they directly compare men’s perceived masculinity before purchasing a gun. My biggest issue is their jump from the data to their conclusion. Masculinity/femininity obviously place different survival mechanisms in response to stress on the different genders. This is supported by their data. However, they do nothing to test whether or not there is a perception of “threatened masculinity”, when the difference could simply be that men and women respond to threatening situations differently.

As a future study, I think it would be interesting to look at these numbers along with male gun-related suicide, and local crime. Are these guns actually being used, and what for?


Beyond 60 meters, the vast majority of eyewitnesses may be unable to reliably identify potential culprits from memory, new research suggests. The findings could influence how eyewitness testimony is considered in courts of law.

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I’m not positive I could recognize my own mother beyond 60 meters…


Great to see more study of this.

IIRC, eyewitness testimony and its shortcomings are a major plot point of 12 Angry Men (though I could be remembering a different movie about a jury’s deliberation). In the past week or so I’ve come to realize that issues with human memory and eyewitness testimony aren’t common knowledge.


The researchers suggest distance decreases accuracy most likely due to a less detailed memory trace of the face.

But it’s really important to note that this study was conducted under optimal conditions, so these thresholds should be generally considered ceilings. Additionally, younger children and the elderly had even lower thresholds, meaning they were less reliable at even shorter distances.


In case anyone was wondering, the 60m figure from the post’s title came from the following quotes from the study:

>We have suggested an absolute upper distance threshold of 100m for any age, but it is clear that past 60m, diagnosticity levels are already so low that their utility is questionable… In the current sample, there were very few high-confidence responses after 40m, of which very few were correct.


And also closer than 60 meters.


New genetic analysis reveals what drove the only parrot native to the continental U.S. to extinction: humans

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They were wiped out “Since they had the unfortunate habit of gathering around their fallen comrades” that’s terrible!


They show up in Red Dead Redemption 2 with a counter on their current population when you kill one 🙁



TIL we used to have a parrot native to the US.


Without doing genetic analysis, I could have told you humans are responsible for the extinction of pretty much everything.


We have a group of parrots who look similar to this, live right around the Galveston Texas area. They’ve lived here my whole life and hang by the bay.


More than half of people suffer withdrawal effects when trying to come off antidepressants, finds new study (n=867 from 31 countries). About 62% of participants reported experiencing some withdrawal effects when they discontinued antidepressant, and 44% described the withdrawal effects as severe.

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I was under the impression that withdrawal effects of different anti-depressants were well characterised?


Messed up thing is they dont call it withdrawal. It is referred to as discontinuation syndrome. Which is a fun way of spinning withdrawls. I loathe drug reps for this 4eason. They would always spin (lie) about their medication and the issues it could cause. Source- retired mental health technician.


For long-term patients, for say 30 years, what would the side effects be of staying on the medication indefinitely?


In my experience, doctors are a little too ambitious with the taper plan. Like, 1/2 of your dose for a week, then quit altogether. That’s not going to feel good. Better to taper over several months and let your brain chemistry re-adjust.


Years and years ago, my doctor put me on Paxil to treat my headaches. As it turned out, it also helped my social anxiety. After a while though, I didn’t like taking it. I don’t recall the reason I wanted to get off it, but I just remember being horribly depressed, sobbing in his office. He was clearly uncomfortable with how upset I was. Instead of decreasing my dosage, he doubled it. I knew that wasn’t right, so I tried tapering off it myself. Back then, nobody said anything about withdrawal or brain zaps or anything.
I couldn’t move my eyes without hearing a whooshing sound in my ears and feeling like I was about to collapse. This was completely debilitating. At one point, I seriously considered killing myself.
Long story short, it obviously was horrible withdrawal from stopping Paxil. Since then, I’ve been on and off other antidepressants, with a decent doctor, and had similar symptoms. But they were much less severe and I knew what to expect.


Social media and television use — but not video games — predict depression and anxiety in teens, suggests a new study (n=3,659, grades 7 to 10). Gaming has become more of a social activity, with the average gamer no longer socially isolated, and more than 70% of gamers playing games with a friend.

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What if I only play single player games?


Depression can have a lot of different and simultaneous causes, We know isolation can be a contributing cause of depression — and people who are more isolated also often spend more time staring at screens.

The longitudinal nature of this study is certainly useful for increasing confidence in the association. But it’s still observational, so there’s no way to draw any robust, causal conclusions.

Isolation or other factors really could be confounders here. There’s just no way to tell at this time. And unfortunately, it can be hard to ethically design experimental/QE studies on youth/minor mental health.


The problem will always be the same ; we know it is bad for us, but as adults we choose to use our phones, social Media , and watch tv.

At the same time we try to tell adolescents that it is bad for their health and they shouldn’t use it.

I mean, this approach has been sooooo effective when it comes to keeping kids from trying cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs , right?…


Google Tristan Harris’s TED talk on tech corporations optimizing social media to get you hooked at you’re own psychological dispense. This was what inspired the idea of creating a Department of Attention Economy in the government.


Men especially bond when doing a shared activity together, and not just talking. It feels like video games with voice chat might be the digitisation of these social experiences humans would have all participated in historically, such as hunting.

I would be interested to see research examining loneliness and connectedness between people who game with friends versus those who don’t game with friends.