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Too Big or Just Right? Optimal Circle of Friends Depends on Socioeconomic Conditions

Some people like to have a few close friends, while others prefer a wider social circle that is perhaps less deep. These preferences reflect people’s personalities and individual circumstances – but is one approach to social networks “better” than the other? New research suggests that the optimal social networking strategy – whether narrow and deep or broad and shallow – depends on socioeconomic conditions. ... More>


But How Do You Really Feel? Someday the Computer May Know


What Makes Self-Directed Learning Effective?

In recent years, educators have come to focus more and more on the importance of lab-based experimentation, hands-on participation, student-led inquiry, and the use of “manipulables” in the classroom. The underlying rationale for these pedagogical strategies seems to be that students are better able to learn when they can control the flow of their experience, or when their learning is “self-directed.” ... More>


Planet in a Jar: Studying Behavior on a Worldwide Scale

No jar exists that is large enough to contain Planet Earth for a controlled study. Or does it? One sociologist believes that scientists can build that jar—inside a supercomputer. ... More>


Why Does That Conductor Look So Creepy?

Several movies have tried and failed to generate lifelike animations of humans. The voices, appearances and behavior of humans are being replicated by animators and robotics engineers, but this replication is not always a success. "The uncanny" is an experience that seems familiar yet foreign at the same time, causing some sort of brain confusion and, ultimately, a feeling of fear or repulsion.... More>