Nanoconnectomic upper bound on the variability of synaptic plasticity
Thomas M Bartol Jr Cailey Bromer Justin Kinney Michael A Chirillo Jennifer N Bourne Kristen M Harris Terrence J Sejnowski Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, United States; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States; The University of Texas at Austin, United States; University of California, San Diego, United States
Abstract Information in a computer is quantified by the number of bits that can be stored and recovered. An important question about the brain is how much information can be stored at a synapse through synaptic plasticity, which depends on the history of probabilistic synaptic activity. The strong correlation between size and efficacy of a synapse allowed us to estimate the variability of synaptic plasticity. In an EM reconstruction of hippocampal neuropil we found single axons making two or more synaptic contacts onto the same dendrites, having shared histories of presynaptic and postsynaptic activity. The spine heads and neck diameters, but not neck lengths, of these pairs were nearly identical in size. We found that there is a minimum of 26 distinguishable synaptic strengths, corresponding to storing 4.7 bits of information at each synapse. Because of stochastic variability of synaptic activation the observed precision requires averaging activity over several minutes.
concussions are now known to be much more serious injuries than once thought. And the danger may not be limited to the immediate repercussions. Researchers have already linked more severe traumatic brain injury to later suicide—particularly in military veterans and professional athletes—and have more recently explored the connection between concussion and depression.
Now, new research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal shows that even mild concussions sustained in ordinary community settings might be more detrimental than anyone anticipated; the long-term risk of suicide increases threefold in adults if they have experienced even one concussion. That risk increases by a third if the concussion is sustained on a weekend instead of a weekday—suggesting recreational concussions are riskier long-term than those sustained on the job. “The typical patient I see is a middle-aged adult, not an elite athlete,” says Donald Redelmeier, a senior scientist at the University of Toronto and one of the study’s lead authors. “And the usual circumstances for acquiring a concussion are not while playing football; it is when driving in traffic and getting into a crash, when missing a step and falling down a staircase, when getting overly ambitious about home repairs—the everyday activities of life.”
A 2014 paper in the Journal of Consumer Research reports signaling competence and status with bits of non-conformity.
The Red Sneakers Effect: Inferring Status and Competence from Signals of Nonconformity
Silvia Bellezza, Francesca Gino, Anat Keinan
Abstract This research examines how people react to nonconforming behaviors, such as entering a luxury boutique wearing gym clothes rather than an elegant outfit or wearing red sneakers in a professional setting. Nonconforming behaviors, as costly and visible signals, can act as a particular form of conspicuous consumption and lead to positive inferences of status and competence in the eyes of others. A series of studies demonstrates that people confer higher status and competence to nonconforming rather than conforming individuals. These positive inferences derived from signals of nonconformity are mediated by perceived autonomy and moderated by individual differences in need for uniqueness in the observers. An investigation of boundary conditions demonstrates that the positive inferences disappear when the observer is unfamiliar with the environment, when the nonconforming behavior is depicted as unintentional, and in the absence of expected norms and shared standards of formal conduct.
Your sweats, PJs and flip-flops are losing you money! … Do you crave more confidence, respect and power? … Find out how image connects to success. (Eve Michaels, author of Dress Code)
I have a number of super-successful Silicon Valley clients who dress in ripped denim, Vans shoes, and T-shirts. They are worth hundreds of millions, even more, but it's a status symbol to dress like you're homeless to attend board meetings. (Tom Searcy, CBS Moneywatch)
In both professional and nonprofessional settings, individuals often make a significant effort to learn and adhere to dress codes, etiquette, and other written and unwritten standards of behavior. Conformity to such rules and social norms is driven by a desire to gain social acceptance and status (see Cialdini and Goldstein 2004) and avoid negative sanctions such as social disapproval, ridicule, and exclusion (Kruglanski and Webster 1991; Levine 1989; Miller and Anderson 1979; Schachter 1951). In the present research, we propose that under certain conditions, nonconforming behaviors can be more beneficial than efforts to conform and can signal higher status and competence to others. We argue that while unintentional violations of normative codes and etiquette can indeed result in negative inferences and attributions, when the deviant behavior appears to be deliberate, it can lead to higher rather than lower status and competence inferences.
Since nonconformity often has a social cost (e.g., Levine 1989; Schachter 1951), observers may infer that a nonconforming individual is in a powerful position that allows her to risk the social costs of nonconformity without fear of losing her place in the social hierarchy. Signaling theory suggests that, for a signal to be effective, it must be costly and observable by others (Feltovich, Harbaugh, and To 2002; Spence 1973; Zahavi and Zahavi 1997). We propose that nonconforming behaviors, as costly and observable signals, can act as a particular form of conspicuous consumption and lead to inferences of status and competence by observers. Such positive inferences are consistent with Veblen's classic theory of conspicuous consumption (1899/1994), which suggests that individuals display status through the prominent, visible evidence of their ability to afford luxury goods. Similarly, we argue that nonconformity can lead to inferences of higher status and greater competence by providing visible evidence that individuals can afford to follow their own volition. Based on some of our experimental stimuli for nonconformity, we label this potential positive outcome of nonconforming behaviors the “red sneakers effect.”
As a preliminary test, we first explore the relationship between nonconformity and status in the field by examining the dress style of conference participants and their professional status. Next, five lab and field studies explore how nonconforming behavior is perceived by others. In particular, when do people interpret nonconformity as a signal of status and competence, and what are the processes underlying such inferences? Our studies explore various consumption environments and populations, including shop assistants at high-end boutiques, business executives, and college students.
Our investigation of psychological processes reveals that inferences of status and competence derived from signals of nonconformity are mediated by perceived autonomy. We demonstrate that nonconformity can fuel perceptions of status and competence in the eyes of others because deviating from the norm signals that one has the autonomy needed to act according to one's own inclinations and to bear the cost of nonconformity. Moreover, we show that the relationship between a person's nonconforming behavior and observers' perceptions of enhanced status and competence is moderated by observers' need for uniqueness (Snyder and Fromkin 1977), such that observers with high levels of need for uniqueness tend to confer greater status and competence to nonconforming behaviors as compared to observers with low needs for uniqueness. We further investigate boundary conditions of the effect by manipulating and measuring additional characteristics of the observers, the environment, and the nonconforming behavior.
Our research contributes to the conspicuous consumption literature and to research on nonconformity. First, we extend consumer behavior research analyzing alternative and counterintuitive ways to display status, such as using less recognizable but more expensive luxury brands and products or smaller logos (Berger and Ward 2010; Han, Nunes, and Dreze 2010). Specifically, we investigate a different kind of consumer behavior and an alternative way of displaying status (e.g., violating a dress code rather than buying subtly branded but expensive luxury products). Second, in contrast to most nonconformity research, which has focused on nonconforming individuals and the antecedents for their behavior, we focus on the consequences of nonconformity and the perceptions of external observers. Importantly, we concentrate on nonconformity-based inferences of status and competence.
The 5-to-4 vote, with the court’s four liberal members dissenting, was unprecedented — the Supreme Court had never before granted a request to halt a regulation before review by a federal appeals court.
Court Rejects a Bid to Block Coal Plant RegulationsJAN. 21, 2016 “It’s a stunning development,” Jody Freeman, a Harvard law professor and former environmental legal counsel to the Obama administration, said in an email. She added that “the order certainly indicates a high degree of initial judicial skepticism from five justices on the court,” and that the ruling would raise serious questions from nations that signed on to the landmark Paris climate change pact in December.
The effort to divert materials and good to war production directly impacted the lives of all civilians. One wonders what kind of event would allow that to happen today? I remember my mother talking about improvising women's nylon stockings.