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Research News

Researchers: Nothing Special About Einstein's Brain

Saturday, May 31, 2014

There had to be something anatomically different about Einstein's brain that made him so smart, right? A new study says no, not true. NPR's Scott Simon talks with Terence Hines of Pace University.

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Morning Edition

Anatomy Of A Dance Hit: Why We Love To Boogie With Pharrell

Friday, May 30, 2014

There are songs that just make people want to get up and shake their booty. Why? Scientists say the most enticing rhythms have something missing โ€” beats that your body can't help but fill in.

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A Little Bird Either Learns Its Name Or Dies

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Names are useful. We use them to catch someone's attention, to talk about them. Do animals create names for each other like we do? Yes, turns out. Here's a crazy example, with a dastardly back story.

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Morning Edition

Research: Children Of Judges May Influence Court Decisions

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It's been suspected that judges are swayed by their personal beliefs and affiliations. An analysis found that judges become more likely to rule in "pro-feminist" ways if the judges have daughters.

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Morning Edition

Malaysia Makes Public Satellite Data From Missing Jetliner

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The release came in response to pressure from families, who have been mistrustful of the official investigation. What do the documents show, and where are they in the search for the missing plane?

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Morning Edition

What Those Baby Photos On Social Media Can Teach Us About Moms

Friday, May 23, 2014

Today's babies are part of the first generation with their entire lives documented on social media. Researchers are finding lessons in the streams of their photos.

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All Things Considered

Big Flightless Birds Come From High-Flying Ancestors

Thursday, May 22, 2014

We're sure glad ostriches and emus don't fly. But DNA evidence now suggests their small ancestors flew to each continent, where they evolved independently into giants with stubby wings.

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All Things Considered

Experimental Malaria Vaccine Blocks The Bad Guy's Exit

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Most attempts at a malaria vaccine have unsuccessfully tried to keep the parasite from breaking into red blood cells. But a new twist that keeps the parasite from escaping the cells may work better.

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Morning Edition

Mating Rituals: Why Certain Risky Behaviors Can Make You Look Hot

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Social science research suggests risky behavior such as braving heights or swimming in deep waters increases your sex appeal. Driving without a seat belt? Not so much.

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Morning Edition

Gluten Researcher Reverses His Earlier Finding

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A 2011 study found gluten can cause gastrointestinal distress even in people who don't suffer from celiac disease. Peter Gibson published that study, and in a new paper he says the opposite is true.

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Morning Edition

Why Reporting On Scientific Research May Warp Findings

Monday, May 19, 2014

The pressure to publish original research can mean scientists are neglecting to verify the work of others. In its current issue, the journal Social Psychology is trying a different approach.

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Medicine Needs More Research On Female Animals, NIH Says

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A bias toward using male lab animals and tissue samples from males may be limiting the effectiveness of medical research, according to top officials at NIH. They'll roll out new guidelines this fall.

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All Things Considered

Why This Octopus Isn't Stuck-Up

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Some chemical in octopus skin acts as a repellent to the little suction cups on the arms, a surprise finding shows. Without it, the eight-armed creature would tie itself in knots.

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Just One-Third Of People Can Tell If You're Faking That Laugh

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Plenty of primates laugh, but only humans fake it. So what are we getting out of that phony chuckle? Perhaps an unfair advantage at work and in social situations, researchers say.

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Doctors Debate Whether Screening For Domestic Abuse Helps Stop It

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

After your doctor asks you whether you smoke, she might also ask if you feel safe with your partner. But an analysis suggests universal screening may not be helping people who have been abused.

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Morning Edition

More Parental Attention May Give First-Born Kids Advantages

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Firstborn kids often do better in school and, on average, go on to earn more money than their younger siblings. A new theory tries to explain why.

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Melting Of Antarctic Ice Sheet Might Be Unstoppable

Monday, May 12, 2014

A new study examined 40 years of data collected by ground, air and satellite stations and found that sea level could rise by more than 10 feet in coming centuries.

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What Men Really Want When It Comes to Work

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Just in time for Mother's Day, a study coming out next month says that paternity leave has become hugely important for guys.

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All Things Considered

How To Tell When A Laugh Is Real: The Answer Is In A Breath

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Greg Bryant, a professor at UCLA, explains his studies on laughter. Using acoustic analysis, he found that real laughter was more emotional, closer to animals, and fake laughter was closer to speech.

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All Things Considered

Anti-Aging Hormone Could Make You Smarter

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Scientists have found that a hormone associated with long life also seems to make people smarter. The gene strengthens the connections between brain cells, a process that's essential for learning.

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