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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘research’

BGU Researchers Say Oxytocin May Promote ‘Lying for Your Team’

Monday, March 31st, 2014

A team of researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev have discovered that the hormone oxytocin can promote “group-serving dishonesty.”

According to findings published today (Monday) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), participants receiving oxytocin “lied more to benefit their groups, did so quicker, and did so without expectation of reciprocal dishonesty from their group members. A control setting ruled out that oxytocin drives self-serving dishonesty.”

The team, led by Dr. Shaul Shalvi at the university’s Department of Psychology, worked in cooperation with Carsten K.W. De Dreu of the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Psychology.

Shalvi is director of BGU’s Center for Decision Making and Economic Psychology (DMEP). He noted, “Our results suggest people are willing to bend ethical rules to help the people close to us, like our team or family. This raises an interesting although perhaps more philosophical question: Are all lies immoral?”

Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus and functions as both a hormone and a neurotransmitter to create bonding between couples and between mothers and babies. It also stimulates social interactions.

Researchers have found a correlation between increased oxytocin and greater empathy, lower social anxiety, more pro-social choice in anonymous games, reduction in fear response, cooperation in single-shot anonymous games and trust in interpersonal exchange. It also stimulates defense-related aggression.

The study was funded in part by the People Program (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program under a Research Executive Agency Grant Agreement and by the Netherlands Science Foundation.

Israeli Researchers Discover Security Gap in Samsung’s Galaxy S4

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Ben Gurion University security researchers have discovered a critical vulnerability in Samsung’s highly secure software on its flagship device the Galaxy S4.

The university’s Cyber Security Labs noted that the Samsun devices are based on the Knox architecture and that Samsung Knox is currently undergoing the U.S. Department of Defense approval review process.

Researchers believe that the breach in Samsung’s most advanced security-driven infrastructure for mobile phones enables easy interception of data communications between the secure container and the external world including file transfers, emails and browser activity.

The vulnerability was uncovered by Ph.D. student Mordechai Guri during an unrelated research task. Guri is part of a wider research team at the cyber security labs which focuses on mobile and other cyber related research topics.

“To us, Knox symbolizes state-of-the-art in terms of secure mobile architectures and I was surprised to find that such a big ’hole‘ exists and was left untouched,” he said.

Guri added, “The Knox has been widely adopted by many organizations and government agencies and this weakness has to be addressed immediately before it falls into the wrong hands. We are also contacting Samsung in order to provide them with the full technical details of the breach so it can be fixed immediately.”

The newly found breach can be used to bypass all Knox security measures. By simply installing an “innocent” app on the regular phone (in the non-secure container) all communications from the phone can be captured and exposed.

‘Most People Don’t Lie, and Liars Confess,’ Says Ben Gurion Study

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

A recent survey conducted by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the University of Amsterdam found that most people tend to avoid lying, and people who do lie usually own up to it.

“The fact that participants who indicated lying often actually did lie more often in the dice test demonstrates that they were honest about their dishonesty,” says Bruno Verschuere of the University of Amsterdam. “It may be that frequent liars show more psychopathic traits and therefore have no trouble admitting to lying frequently.”

There are practical applications to the study.

“It is important to study the conditions leading people to lie, deceive, or engage in unethical conduct more broadly,” said Dr. Shaul Shalvi of Ben Gurion University’s Dept. of Psychology. “Such behaviors are rather costly from a societal perspective. Consider, for example, behaviors like lying when filing an insurance claim, reporting that the TV that was stolen from one’s apartment was just a couple inches larger than it really was. From the individual’s perspective, this seems like a minor lie. Insurance companies however, pay millions of dollars annually for such insurance ‘build-ups’,” Shalvi concludes.

Israelis Invent Revolutionary Alternative Fuel

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers have invented a process to make a green feed alternative for crude oil out of two of the most common substances on Earth – water and carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas detrimental to the environment.

Profs. Moti Herskowitz and Miron Landau, along with Dr. Roxana Vidruk and the team at BGU’s Blechner Center of Industrial Catalysis and Process Development have developed a green feed that can be converted using well-established technologies into liquid fuel and delivered using existing infrastructure to gas stations. As opposed to other alternative fuel sources, such as electric cars, which require additional infrastructure, this green feed would merely replace oil as the input for refineries.

The project is partially supported by I-SAEF (Israel Strategic Alternative Energy Foundation).

Herskowitz unveiled the revolutionary breakthrough at the Bloomberg Fuel Choices Summit in Tel Aviv last week.

“It is an extraordinary challenge to convert carbon dioxide and hydrogen to green feed,” says Herskowitz. “The technology is based on novel specially tailored catalysts and catalytic processes. Well-established, commercially available technology can be directly applied to the process developed at BGU. It is envisaged that the short-term implementation of the process will combine synthetic gas produced from various renewable and alternative sources with carbon dioxide and hydrogen.”

Prof. Herskowitz, who is the Israel Cohen Chair in Chemical Engineering and the VP & Dean at BGU, indicated that the new process should become a reality in the near future. “Since there are no foreseen technological barriers, the new process should become a reality within five to ten years,” he says.

Regarding other alternative fuels, Herskowitz maintains that his invention represents a game-changer.

“The liquids that have been used over the past decade are ethanol (alcohol), biodiesel and/or blends of these fuels with conventional fuels, as will continue to be done in the foreseeable future. These alternatives are, however, far from ideal, and there is a pressing need for a game-changing approach to produce alternative drop-in liquid transportation fuels by sustainable, technologically viable and environmentally acceptable processes from abundant, low-cost, renewable materials.”

Researchers at the Blechner Center have also developed a novel process for converting vegetable and algae oils to advanced green diesel and jet fuels.

Hezbollah Goes Paranoid, Captures Israeli ‘Spy Eagle’

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Headlines of fowl accused of spying for Israel are making the rounds again in Middle Eastern media, with the most recent bird of espionage being an eagle  “arrested” by Hezbollah  in Lebanon.

Local hunters caught the bird in the town of Achkout, who alerted authorities after discovering that the bird had an ID ring attached to its leg with the words “Israel” and “Tel Aviv University” printed on it, according to one Lebanese news site.

The Hezbollah- affiliated Al-Manar TV, whose news site’s Israel section is called “Enemy Entity,” claimed that the eagle was one of many birds sent by Israel to spy and gather information via GPS transmitters across the Middle East. The report pointed to the “arrest of birds carrying similar devices” in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and most recently in Egypt.

Tel Aviv University responded, “This morning, the media reported on an Israeli ‘spy” that was caught by Hezbollah. The ‘spy’ is a predatory fowl that was part of the one the research projects conducted by Tel Aviv University on raptors.”

Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority stated that the eagle was born in a breeding center in southern Israel and had been released a couple of years ago.

Ohad Hatzofeh, one of the Tel Aviv University bird researchers who identified the eagle told Tazpit News Agency that he was “fed up” with the eagle ‘spy’ accusations.

If all of the Arab countries that have “caught” previous spies, such as a stork, a vulture and  pigeon, it only shows how paranoid they really are.

In July, Turkish authorities detained a bird on the suspicion that it was spying for Israel. The kestrel, referred to as the “Israeli agent” by Turkish press because it had metal ring with “Tel Avivunia Israel” on it, was placed in an X-ray machine at a university hospital and underwent a scan for bugging devices. After passing the surveillance, the Zionist spy was freed.

Egypt arrested a stork in late August for spying for Israel because of authorities were suspicious of the tracking device placed by scientists to record its migration. Eventually, the stork, called Menes, was freed but local villagers later ate the spy.

Saudi Arabia apprehended a vulture in 2011, accusing the raptor of being an Israeli spy because of a GPS device with the suspicious “Tel Aviv University” label on its leg. The vulture was eventually freed.

Sudan captured an Israeli hawk last year because tags reading “Israel Nature Authority” and Hebrew University Jerusalem, obvious stooges of the Mossad, were found on its legs.

In May 2012, Turkish authorities were sure they had foiled a Mossad ploy when they caught a European bee-eater.

Video: Camp Jihad

Monday, August 5th, 2013

This film was shot on location in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) facilities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, by a TV crew hired by the Nahum Bedein Center for Near East Policy Research.


The Impressions of an Expert on Pedophilia

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Guest Post by Anonymous, Ph.D.

The following short post was written by a psychologist who is a Ph.D. and widely respected in his field. He originally wrote it as a comment to the previous post. But because of my respect for this man and my belief in his expertise I am offering it as a guest post. The poster has chosen to remain anonymous, and I am going honor his wishes. The following are his unedited words:

I am impressed with many of the comments here, and I welcome this discussion.

Firstly, I am a psychologist. Secondly, I have watched the positions of the APA for years. While this Rind et al. paper is not an official position of APA, it represents a sizable percentage of the field of psychology.

If we retrospect on many of the position changes that occurred in APA over the past several decades, we find a liberal bend that is unmistakable. There is validity to the premise that the revisions of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders) involved greater attention to empirical research, but there is likewise a major intrusion of “political correctness” that has affected these positions (and the field as a whole).

The revision of the DSM that omitted homosexuality was not based on research, nor was much else. It was “political” pressure. It essentially stated that, “If I don’t want such-and-such to be considered pathological, then leave it out of the manual”. Fortunately, subsequent revisions included less of this liberal thinking and more of the scientific research.

Now, let’s address a new concept that should be part of this discussion. It’s called “hardiness.” It is true that not every victim of CSA (child sexual abuse) will manifest symptoms. Some will have suppressed them enough to function normally, others will first display symptoms later, even years later (which is a strong challenge to the notion of statutes of limitations). But many will suffer no ill effects.

There is major trouble with the research on this, as most studies focus on known victims who manifest symptoms, while hardy victims are not under scrutiny. Let’s give an example. The recent jewelry heist of $136 million is undoubtedly significant. If someone had stolen a Bic pen from the sign in board at that display, it would be meaningless, although it was a theft. The child who overcomes the experience of CSA is hardy. But the crime occurred, the damage was attempted, and there is a pedophile that deserves all the imaginable consequences of removal from society.

All in all, I am unimpressed with the Rind paper. It trivializes the condition of the perpetrator just because some (even many) children are strong enough to maintain their emotional health despite what was inflicted upon them.

As for the “illness of pedophilia”, I’m not convinced of the accuracy of many of the labels in the DSM (worthy of discussion in a forum more targeted to the subject). There are obsessive features to pedophilia, there may be a hard wired attraction, there could be an addiction, and, yes, a tinge or more of sociopathy. We may be mislabeling this, and counting the angels who dance on the head of a pin.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah .

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/the-impressions-of-an-expert-on-pedophilia/2013/07/31/

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