Entries in Study (3)


Research Shows Elephants Recognize Cooperation

Jupiterimages/Photos[dot]com(ATLANTA) -- Elephants understand how cooperation works and recognize the circumstances in which they should work together for a common goal, according to a new study.

"A lot of species in the animal kingdom cooperate," said Joshua Plotkin, the study's lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. "But most species probably don't really understand about how cooperation works, they don't have the cognition for it. They don't think about it."

Researchers from Emory University in Atlanta teamed up with the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Thailand to see if the elephants can learn to cooperate with eachother in pairs. The study included 12 Asian elephants.

The study began with researchers placing corn on a table that was far out of reach from the elephants. The table had one rope attached to it, and the rope was threaded around the table so a long strand was available on both sides. If one elephant attempted to pull the table closer, the rope quickly pulled through the other side. If two elephants pulled the table closer using both sides of the rope, however, they could move the table close enough to get the corn. Soon after, the elephants recognized that they needed a partner to complete the task.

"You can see that the trunks pull almost in unison," Plotkin said. "It makes the table come towards them so they can reach in and grab the food."

In another part of the study, researchers used the same apparatus but made it impossible for the elephants to retrieve the corn. Some of the elephants actually learned alternative strategies on their own, speaking volumes about the level of their intelligence.

The study is being published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Muslim-American Terror Attacks Dropped Significantly in 2010

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- Twenty Muslim-Americans either perpetrated or were arrested for terrorist acts in 2010, a drop from the 47 who fell into that category in 2009, according to a study released last week.

“Muslim-American Terrorism Since 9/11: An Accounting,” the report issued by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University, puts the actions of a small group of people into light, writing, “Is this a problem that deserves the attention of law enforcement and the Muslim-American community?  Absolutely.  But Americans should take note that these crimes are being perpetrated by a handful of people who actions are denounced and rejected by virtually all the Muslims living in the United States.”

The authors wondered whether a spike in Muslim-American terrorism was a 2009 trend, or just a temporary uptick in the data. They found that it was the latter, and that much of the spike in 2009 was due to a group of "17 Somali-Americans who had joined al- Shabaab in Somalia. However, the number of individuals plotting against domestic targets also dropped by half, from 18 in 2009 to 10 in 2010."

Law enforcement has also improved its efficiency rate of foiling terror plots before they come to fruition, the study says. In 2010, 75 percent of Muslim Americans engaged in terrorist plots were disrupted in an early planning stage, an increase from 63 percent in 2001.

The report also shows that domestic attacks from Muslim Americans pale in comparison to the rest of the population. While 11 Muslim Americans have killed a total of 33 people since Sept. 11, 2001, the study says, there have been approximately 150,000 murders in that same time span including 15,241 in 2009 alone.

"Out of the thousands of acts of violence that occur in the United States each year, an efficient system of government prosecution and media coverage brings Muslim-American terrorism suspects to national attention, creating the impression -- perhaps unintentionally -- that Muslim-American terrorism is more prevalent than it really is," the study concluded.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: College Students More Social Than Studious

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new study has found that students are more locked in to their social lives than they are to their studies.

The study followed 2,322 traditional, college-aged students from the fall of 2005 to the spring of 2009 at 24 different United States colleges and universities. The research is closely tied to a book, entitled Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, soon to be released by one of the co-authors of the study.

Two professors, one from New York University and another from the University of Virginia, found in their research that 45 percent of their subjects "demonstrated no significant gains in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and written communications during the first two years of college." After four years, 36 percent showed no significant gains in those same areas.

It also found that students spent 51 percent of their time socializing or on extracurricular activities.

The study is based on data from the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test that examines critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and writing skills. The test does not examine specific knowledge gained relevant to a particular field of study or major.

"These are really kind of shocking, disturbing numbers. Students are able to navigate through the system quite well with little effort," said New York University professor Richard Arum, lead author of the book.

ABC News Radio