Loud, sad or bad: young people's perceptions of peer groups and smoking.
This paper suggests that most 13 year olds and many 11 year olds have a clear and detailed grasp of their own social map, recognize the pecking order which is established amongst their peers and are aware of the different levels of risk-taking behaviour, including smoking, adopted by different peer groups in their school year. Thirty six 11 year olds and 40 13 year olds took part in the study. Their remarkably consistent views about which pupils adopt or reject smoking are closely related to their perceptions of their social map. Their accounts differentiate top girls, top boys, middle pupils, low-status pupils, trouble-makers and loners, associating smoking behaviour consistently with three of the five groups--the top girls, the low-status pupils and the trouble makers. Top boys, although sharing many of the characteristics of top girls, have an added protection factor--their keen interest in football and physical fitness. From their descriptions, it is apparent that different groups of pupils smoke for different reasons which are related to pecking order and group membership. The implications of these young people's views for health education programmes to prevent smoking and other risk-taking behaviours are far reaching. (+info)
Ideal ward round making in neurosurgical practice.
The success of a perfect ward round lies in the role of the consultant leading the 'round making group' (RMG) as well as the hallmark of effective questioning and participation of each member. Twelve senior consultants with more than 10 years' experience in neurosurgical practice at three different university hospitals were observed during round making by a participant observer. Observations were made on the group climate of the RMG, the leadership pattern and language expressed by the clinician conducting the round and the effectiveness in his performance as a leader during clinical discussions. The group climate showed evidence of good productivity and flexibility with 92% and 75% consultants, pleasantness of climate was above average with only 50% (6/12) and poor objectivity with 42% (5/12) consultants. Forty two percent of the consultants were not always very well comprehensible, while only 50% (6/12) spoke exactly fitting the occasion. Only 33% (4/12) of the consultants used humour effectively, while 42% (5/12) spoke unnecessarily in between discussion and were poor in introducing the problems of patient to the round making group. Ward round making in neurosurgical practice needs a holistic approach with motivation, planning, leadership skills and structured curriculum to fulfill its objectives. (+info)
Female marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus) can be identified from the chemical composition of their scent marks.
The present study analyzed 42 organic solvent extracts of scent mark pools from five dominant female common marmosets by gas chromatography (GC) and combined GC and mass spectrometry. We determined whether there were qualitative or quantitative differences between the chemical composition of scent marks from individual females. Gas chromatography and mass spectral analysis detected the same 162 chemicals in 86% (36/42) of scent mark pools from five dominant females. This near identical chemical composition of scent marks suggested there were few, if any, qualitative differences between the chemical composition of scent marks from individual females. Instead, quantitative differences in scent may provide the key factor distinguishing individual females. Using the relative concentration of highly volatile chemicals detected by GC in scent marks, linear discriminant analysis classified scent mark pools to their correct donor approximately 91% of the time. Such highly reliable statistical matching of scent to donor suggested that each individual female common marmoset has a unique ratio of highly volatile chemicals in their scent marks which may permit individual identification of females from odors in their scent alone. (+info)
The natural history of violence.
In the past, human violence was associated with food shortage, but recently it has increased even in relatively well-fed societies. The reason appears from studies of monkeys under relaxed, spacious conditions and under crowding stress. Uncrowded monkeys have unaggressive leaders, rarely quarrel, and protect females and young. Crowded monkeys (even well-fed) have brutal bosses, often quarrel, and wound and kill each other, including females and young. Crowding has similar behaviour effects on other mammals, with physiological disturbances including greater susceptibility to infections. All this appears to be a regular response to overpopulation, reducing the population before it has depleted its natural resources. Human beings, like monkeys and other mammals, need ample space, and become more violent when crowded. Human history is marked by population cycles: population outgrows resources, the resulting violence, stress and disease mortality cuts down the population, leading to a relief period of social and cultural progress, till renewed population growth produces the next crisis. The modern population crisis is world-wide, and explains the increase of violence even in well-fed societies. The solution to the problem of violence is to substitute voluntary birth control for involuntary death control, and bring about relaxed conditions for a reduced world population. (+info)
Family portraits--a method of recording family history.
Family doctors are particularly concerned with family relationships. Family relationships are generally poorly recorded in general practice in the traditional records. Conversion to A4 folders in the practice provided an opportunity to develop a diagramatic representation of family structure and thus create for each patient a family ;portrait.' (+info)
Fitness effects of group merging in a social insect.
Animal social groups often consist of non-relatives, a condition that arises in many cases because of group merging. Although indirect fitness contributions are reduced in such groups compared with those in groups composed of close kin, the genetic-heterogeneity hypothesis suggests that these groups may benefit from increased intracolony genetic variation, which may boost group performance through increased task efficiency or parasite resistance. We confirm one prediction of the task-efficiency explanation by demonstrating a genetic basis for task thresholds of socially important behaviours in eastern tent caterpillars. However, we found no evidence that the expanded range of task thresholds in mixed colonies translates into improved individual or colony performance in the field. By contrast, increased group size, a less commonly considered correlate of group mixing, was found to enhance individual fitness through its effects on larval growth. We conclude that fitness benefits offsetting the dilution of relatedness in heterogeneous social groups may often stem from augmented group size rather than increased genotypic diversity. (+info)
Neuro-evolutionary patterning of sociality.
Evolutionary shifts in species-typical group size ('sociality') probably reflect natural selection on motivational processes such as social arousal, approach-avoidance, reward, stress/anxiety and dominance. Using four songbird species that differ selectively in sociality (one territorial, one modestly gregarious, and two highly gregarious species), we here examined immediate early gene (IEG) responses of relevant brain regions following exposure to a same-sex conspecific. The paradigm limited behavioural performance, thus species differences should reflect divergence in motivational and/or perceptual processes. Within the extended medial amygdala (which is involved in appetitive approach, social arousal and avoidance), we observed species differences in IEG response that are negatively graded in relation to sociality. In addition, brain areas that are involved in social stress and dominance-related behaviour (ventrolateral septum, anterior hypothalamus and lateral subdivision of the ventromedial hypothalamus) exhibited IEG responses that dichotomously distinguish the territorial species from the three gregarious species. The IEG responses of areas involved in reward (nucleus accumbens and ventral pallidum) and general stress processes (e.g. paraventricular hypothalamus, lateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and most areas of the lateral septum) do not correlate with sociality, indicating that social evolution has been accompanied by selection on a relatively discrete suite of motivational systems. (+info)
Discrete hierarchical organization of social group sizes.
The 'social brain hypothesis' for the evolution of large brains in primates has led to evidence for the coevolution of neocortical size and social group sizes, suggesting that there is a cognitive constraint on group size that depends, in some way, on the volume of neural material available for processing and synthesizing information on social relationships. More recently, work on both human and non-human primates has suggested that social groups are often hierarchically structured. We combine data on human grouping patterns in a comprehensive and systematic study. Using fractal analysis, we identify, with high statistical confidence, a discrete hierarchy of group sizes with a preferred scaling ratio close to three: rather than a single or a continuous spectrum of group sizes, humans spontaneously form groups of preferred sizes organized in a geometrical series approximating 3-5, 9-15, 30-45, etc. Such discrete scale invariance could be related to that identified in signatures of herding behaviour in financial markets and might reflect a hierarchical processing of social nearness by human brains. (+info)