How to detect the B point in impedance cardiography

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.

Our two recent papers uncover a novel relation between neural and cardiac indices of enhanced attention in young athletes

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.

Our new paper about stress in crisis managers published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine

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.

Losing money is more stressful than bribing! Our new Frontiers article explores the physiology of corrupt behavior

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.

Our paper on University rankings makes the headlines of “Vima Science”

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.

New article published at Prometheus, Critical Studies in Innovation: Academic self-publishing: a not-so-distant future

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.