Musical Metacognition for July. No colors in this one, and the songs are from the 70’s and 80’s, but note the saxophone in both songs.
Here are some readings on networking and open science from my reading queue. The first is a paper on the life-cycle of a preprint on the arXiv. The top image is Figure 2 in the paper. The other two readings advocate for the use of open access protocols and social media to disseminate research and counter cultural biases towards keeping research behind laboratory doors.
On the genetic architecture of economic and political preferences. Using a SNP analysis, the authors demonstrate that such traits have a polygenic architecture (e.g. many genes, small effect size for each). Studies that are underpowered (and no one knows what the appropriate sample sizes should be) can potentially generate many false positive associations between genes and behavior.
A story that equates (or perhaps confounds) the psychophysiology of political ideologies with the roots of more general ideological bias. Are we really looking at “natural” differences between liberals and conservatives? Or does this simply demonstrate that high-profile social issues with already polar liberal and conservative positions are undergirded by strong emotional responses? The standard evolutionary psychology explanation is a bit contrived as well. But it goes well with the previous article.
Crossmodal and cross-cultural comparisons, unite! In this study, people from several different cultures were asked to make both “congruent” and “incongruent” associations between smells and colors. The authors come to the conclusion that cultural context through experience has both statistical (covariance) and semantic (linguistic) components.
Here are a few readings on the origins of the “horse head mask” meme. Part social experiment, part cousin of anonymous, and definitely distinct from furry fandom, the horse head is on! Here are some readings:
Here are some evolution-related links from my reading queue. Topics: morphological transformations , colinearity in gene expression , and sex determination .
The first two readings [1,2] place pattern formation in development in an evolutionary context, while the third  is a brand new paper on the phylogeny, genetic mechanisms, and dispelling of common myths involved with sex determination.
I invite you to take a look at a new paper by myself and Richard Gordon called “Toy Models for Macroevolutionary Patterns and Trends”, out now in the journal Biosystems. This will eventually be part of a special issue called “Patterns of Evolution”. There is also a Github repository, which will house examples of toy models and other supplemental information. The paper reviews and/or describes 13 toy models, some pre-existing and others brand new examples. Toy models are representations that are intentionally oversimplified, used to approximate overarching trends while at the same time being sensitive to evolutionary context.
Above is an example of a macroevolutionary toy model called the coupled avalanche. We introduce 13 different toy models that cover a range of macroevolutionary phenomena such as the generation of diversity, the representation of lineages, and nonlinear evolutionary changes. There is also an undercurrent of meta-theory and why that is important to evolutionary theory-building.
The paper also provides examples of application domains, such as Artificial Life simulations and the analysis of high-throughput data. Toy models can also be used in tandem to approximate difficult evolutionary problems. While I do not want to give away too much of the details, I will say that the paper should prove useful to hard-core biologists, evolutionary modelers, bioinformaticians, and philosophers of science alike.