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.

The Laboratory for Network Physiology launches its official website

The Laboratory for Network Physiology directed by Plamen Ch. Ivanov recently launched its official website. Professor Ivanov, with whom I collaborate closely for the past six years, is leading a unique team of statistical physicists, neuroscientists, applied mathematicians and biomedical engineers that have as their mission to understand how organ systems dynamically interact and collectively behave as a network to produce health or disease. This coordinated effort proposes a new scientific field, Network Physiology, to probe the network of interactions among diverse physiologic systems.

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.

New article published in PLoS ONE: Impact of Stock Market Structure on Intertrade Time and Price Dynamics

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.

Our article on University Rankings published in the Journal of Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

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.

In a complex world is it always meaningful to ask why?

As I make my way through an ocean of stimuli and experiences I observe the subtle changes in my mood and try to explain where they come from and what is causing them. My mind is hardwired to look for causes in a linear way. Big emotions are caused by dramatic life events while minor mood changes can have less significant origins, such as something I ate yesterday or an approaching project deadline. This hunt for external causes keeps my mind busy and the conversations with friends going, but is it always meaningful?