Our recent research, revealing significant differences in how the brains of physically trained and sedentary young adults process information from the heart, is now available for commentary and formal peer review in two preprint repositories: SJS (@social_sjs) and bioRxiv (@biorxivpreprint).
Our new article, published in Psychophysiology and freely available from my Publications page, compares the accuracy of the three algorithms for B point detection included in Biopac’s popular software Acknowledge. We found unexpected and dramatic differences in the accuracy of these three algorithms, with the one based on the third derivative of the impedance cardiogram performing significantly better. In our article, we also provide a decision tree to help in the manual detection of the B point, especially by young and inexperienced researchers.
In two recent papers, published in the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Medicine, and in Scientific Reports, we showed that young athletes perform better in a sustained attention task compared to their sedentary counterparts. Interestingly, the benefits of exercise on attention are observed only during the first 30 minutes of the 1-hour task. After that, there are no differences in the performance of the two groups. We observe that during this enhanced attention period, athletes also exhibit significantly different EEG and heart period event-related potentials (ERPs). This novel finding points towards a previously unrecognised brain-heart interaction in the mediation of cognitive benefits induced by physical exercise. These interesting results on the role of regular exercise on attention have also attracted the attention of Spanish popular science journals.
In reforming the culture of peer review and moving towards a system that embraces the use and recognition of pre-print servers, we are cognizant of the need to avoid re-inventing the wheel, by identifying and using existing infrastructure and initiatives that can assist in furthering this goal.
In this recently published study we compared 30 experienced crisis managers with 30 managers from other disciplines, in terms of self-reported stress, health status and psychophysiological reactivity to crisis-related and non-specific visual and acoustic aversive stimuli and cognitive challenge. Crisis managers reported lower stress levels, a more positive strain-recuperation-balance, greater social resources, reduced physical symptoms, as well as more physical exercise and less alcohol consumption. They exhibited diminished electrodermal and heart rate responses to crisis-related and non-specific stressors.
In our recently article published in “Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience”, we show that high emotional arousal is not solely associated to unethical economic behavior —such as tax evasion— as previous research had revealed. Instead, people get emotionally aroused also when making ethical choices if these choices imply the loss of monetary reward. In other words, it seems to be more stressful for someone to lose money than to make an unethical decision that causes a loss of money to others. This means that, in certain circumstances, our bodies reward unethical decisions in order to minimise the unpleasant feeling produced by decisions that cost us money. This behavior is inverted when the possibility of punishment exists. In that case corrupt decisions become more stressful than ethical ones.
The feature article on last Sunday’s Vima Science discussing University Rankings presented a research paper authored by Michael Taylor, Varvara Trachana, Stelios Gialis and myself. The Vima Science article uses data and arguments presented in our paper to criticise current University indices that are constructed from a list of arbitrary indicators combined using subjective weightings. The article specifically focuses on how these rankings fail to capture the high productivity of Greek scientists and University students as measured through citation data, and discusses Michael’s suggestions on what criteria should students and parents use in order to select a suitable University.
After a long delay, our debate article “Academic self-publishing: a not-so-distant future” finally appeared at Prometheus, a journal publishing critical studies in innovation. The journal issue hosting our article was originally expected in September 2013, but a series of unfortunate events resulted in an eight-month standoff between the journal’s editorial team and its publisher Taylor & Francis. In short, the debate proposition paper, authored by four academics from the University of Leicester’s School of Management, harshly criticized the large profits made by major publishing firms on the back of academics’ labors and the failure of the Finch report on open access to address this problem.
A new article we have been working for some time with Dr. Plamen Ivanov was recently published in PLoS ONE. In the article we analyse times between consecutive transactions for a diverse group of stocks registered on the NYSE and NASDAQ markets, and we relate the dynamical properties of the intertrade times with those of the corresponding price fluctuations. We report that market structure strongly impacts the scale-invariant temporal organisation in the transaction timing of stocks, which we have observed to have long-range power-law correlations.
Global university rankings are a powerful force shaping higher education policy worldwide. Several different ranking systems exist, but they all suffer from the same mathematical shortcoming – their ranking index is constructed from a list of arbitrary indicators combined using subjective weightings. Yet, different ranking systems consistently point to a cohort of mostly US and UK privately-funded universities as being the ‘best’. Moreover, the status of these nations as leaders in global higher education is reinforced each year with the exclusion of world-class universities from other countries from the top 200.