121 research outputs found

    Comparative Network Analysis of Preterm vs. Full-Term Infant-Mother Interactions

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    Several studies have reported that interactions of mothers with preterm infants show differential characteristics compared to that of mothers with full-term infants. Interaction of preterm dyads is often reported as less harmonious. However, observations and explanations concerning the underlying mechanisms are inconsistent. In this work 30 preterm and 42 full-term mother-infant dyads were observed at one year of age. Free play interactions were videotaped and coded using a micro-analytic coding system. The video records were coded at one second resolution and studied by a novel approach using network analysis tools. The advantage of our approach is that it reveals the patterns of behavioral transitions in the interactions. We found that the most frequent behavioral transitions are the same in the two groups. However, we have identified several high and lower frequency transitions which occur significantly more often in the preterm or full-term group. Our analysis also suggests that the variability of behavioral transitions is significantly higher in the preterm group. This higher variability is mostly resulted from the diversity of transitions involving non-harmonious behaviors. We have identified a maladaptive pattern in the maternal behavior in the preterm group, involving intrusiveness and disengagement. Application of the approach reported in this paper to longitudinal data could elucidate whether these maladaptive maternal behavioral changes place the infant at risk for later emotional, cognitive and behavioral disturbance

    Socio-Economic Instability and the Scaling of Energy Use with Population Size

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    The size of the human population is relevant to the development of a sustainable world, yet the forces setting growth or declines in the human population are poorly understood. Generally, population growth rates depend on whether new individuals compete for the same energy (leading to Malthusian or density-dependent growth) or help to generate new energy (leading to exponential and super-exponential growth). It has been hypothesized that exponential and super-exponential growth in humans has resulted from carrying capacity, which is in part determined by energy availability, keeping pace with or exceeding the rate of population growth. We evaluated the relationship between energy use and population size for countries with long records of both and the world as a whole to assess whether energy yields are consistent with the idea of an increasing carrying capacity. We find that on average energy use has indeed kept pace with population size over long time periods. We also show, however, that the energy-population scaling exponent plummets during, and its temporal variability increases preceding, periods of social, political, technological, and environmental change. We suggest that efforts to increase the reliability of future energy yields may be essential for stabilizing both population growth and the global socio-economic system

    The Dynamics of Latifundia Formation

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    Land tenure inequity is a major social problem in developing nations worldwide. In societies, where land is a commodity, inequities in land tenure are associated with gaps in income distribution, poverty and biodiversity loss. A common pattern of land tenure inequities through the history of civilization has been the formation of latifundia [Zhuāngyuán in chinese], i.e., a pattern where land ownership is concentrated by a small fraction of the whole population. Here, we use simple Markov chain models to study the dynamics of latifundia formation in a heterogeneous landscape where land can transition between forest, agriculture and recovering land. We systematically study the likelihood of latifundia formation under the assumption of pre-capitalist trade, where trade is based on the average utility of land parcels belonging to each individual landowner during a discrete time step. By restricting land trade to that under recovery, we found the likelihood of latifundia formation to increase with the size of the system, i.e., the amount of land and individuals in the society. We found that an increase of the transition rate for land use changes, i.e., how quickly land use changes, promotes more equitable patterns of land ownership. Disease introduction in the system, which reduced land profitability for infected individual landowners, promoted the formation of latifundia, with an increased likelihood for latifundia formation when there were heterogeneities in the susceptibility to infection. Finally, our model suggests that land ownership reforms need to guarantee an equitative distribution of land among individuals in a society to avoid the formation of latifundia

    The ability of analysts’ recommendations to predict optimistic and pessimistic forecasts

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    Previous researches show that buy (growth) companies conduct income increasing earnings management in order to meet forecasts and generate positive forecast Errors (FEs). This behavior however, is not inherent in sell (non-growth) companies. Using the aforementioned background, this research hypothesizes that since sell companies are pressured to avoid income increasing earnings management, they are capable, and in fact more inclined, to pursue income decreasing Forecast Management (FM) with the purpose of generating positive FEs. Using a sample of 6553 firm-years of companies that are listed in the NYSE between the years 2005–2010, the study determines that sell companies conduct income decreasing FM to generate positive FEs. However, the frequency of positive FEs of sell companies does not exceed that of buy companies. Using the efficiency perspective, the study suggests that even though buy and sell companies have immense motivation in avoiding negative FEs, they exploit different but efficient strategies, respectively, in order to meet forecasts. Furthermore, the findings illuminated the complexities behind informative and opportunistic forecasts that falls under the efficiency versus opportunistic theories in literature

    Cross-sectional interactions between quality of the physical and social environment and self-reported physical activity in adults living in income-deprived communities

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    Background: Understanding the environmental determinants of physical activity in populations at high risk of inactivity could contribute to the development of effective interventions. Socioecological models of activity propose that environmental factors have independent and interactive effects of physical activity but there is a lack of research into interactive effects. Objectives: This study aimed to explore independent and interactive effects of social and physical environmental factors on self-reported physical activity in income-deprived communities. Methods: Participants were 5,923 adults in Glasgow, United Kingdom. Features of the social environment were self-reported. Quality of the physical environment was objectively-measured. Neighbourhood walking and participation in moderate physical activity [MPA] on ≥5 days/week was self-reported. Multilevel multivariate logistic regression models tested independent and interactive effects of environmental factors on activity. Results: ‘Social support’ (walking: OR:1.22,95%CI=1.06-1.41,p<0.01; MPA: OR:0.79,95%CI=0.67-0.94,p<0.01), ‘social interaction’ (walking: OR:1.25,95%CI=1.10-1.42,p<0.01; MPA: OR:6.16,95%CI=5.14-7.37,p<0.001) and ‘cohesion and safety’ (walking: OR:1.78,95%CI=1.56-2.03,p<0.001; MPA: OR:1.93,95%CI=1.65-2.27,p<0.001), but not ‘trust and empowerment’, had independent effects on physical activity. ‘Aesthetics of built form’ (OR:1.47,95%CI=1.22-1.77,p<0.001) and ‘aesthetics and maintenance of open space’ (OR:1.32, 95%CI=1.13-1.54,p<0.01) were related to walking. ‘Physical disorder’ (OR:1.63,95%CI=1.31-2.03,p<0.001) had an independent effect on MPA. Interactive effects of social and physical factors on walking and MPA were revealed. Conclusions: Findings suggest that intervening to create activity-supportive environments in deprived communities may be most effective when simultaneously targeting the social and physical neighbourhood environment

    Staged Models for Interdisciplinary Research

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    Modellers of complex biological or social systems are often faced with an invidious choice: to use simple models with few mechanisms that can be fully analysed, or to construct complicated models that include all the features which are thought relevant. The former ensures rigour, the latter relevance. We discuss a method that combines these two approaches, beginning with a complex model and then modelling the complicated model with simpler models. The resulting "chain" of models ensures some rigour and relevance. We illustrate this process on a complex model of voting intentions, constructing a reduced model which agrees well with the predictions of the full model. Experiments with variations of the simpler model yield additional insights which are hidden by the complexity of the full model. This approach facilitated collaboration between social scientists and physicists- The complex model was specified based on the social science literature, and the simpler model constrained to agree (in core aspects) with the complicated model

    Uniting statistical and individual-based approaches for animal movement modelling

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    <div><p>The dynamic nature of their internal states and the environment directly shape animals' spatial behaviours and give rise to emergent properties at broader scales in natural systems. However, integrating these dynamic features into habitat selection studies remains challenging, due to practically impossible field work to access internal states and the inability of current statistical models to produce dynamic outputs. To address these issues, we developed a robust method, which combines statistical and individual-based modelling. Using a statistical technique for forward modelling of the IBM has the advantage of being faster for parameterization than a pure inverse modelling technique and allows for robust selection of parameters. Using GPS locations from caribou monitored in Québec, caribou movements were modelled based on generative mechanisms accounting for dynamic variables at a low level of emergence. These variables were accessed by replicating real individuals' movements in parallel sub-models, and movement parameters were then empirically parameterized using Step Selection Functions. The final IBM model was validated using both k-fold cross-validation and emergent patterns validation and was tested for two different scenarios, with varying hardwood encroachment. Our results highlighted a functional response in habitat selection, which suggests that our method was able to capture the complexity of the natural system, and adequately provided projections on future possible states of the system in response to different management plans. This is especially relevant for testing the long-term impact of scenarios corresponding to environmental configurations that have yet to be observed in real systems.</p></div

    Being on the field when the game is still under way. The financial press and stock markets in times of crisis

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    This paper looks at the relationship between negative news and stock markets in times of global crisis, such as the 2008/2009 period. We analysed one year of front page banner headlines of three financial newspapers, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Il Sole24ore to examine the influence of bad news both on stock market volatility and dynamic correlation. Our results show that the press and markets influenced each other in generating market volatility and in particular, that the Wall Street Journal had a crucial effect both on the volatility and correlation between the US and foreign markets. We also found significant differences between newspapers in their interpretation of the crisis, with the Financial Times being significantly pessimistic even in phases of low market volatility. Our results confirm the reflexive nature of stock markets. When the situation is uncertain and unpredictable, market behaviour may even reflect qualitative, big picture, and subjective information such as streamers in a newspaper, whose economic and informative value is questionable

    Modeling body mass variation: incorporating social influence into calculations of caloric intake and energy expenditure.

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    Variations in individual body mass and composition have long been a key focus in the health sciences, particularly now that overweight and obesity are considered as public health problems. We study a mathematical model that describes body mass variations which are determined by the energy balance between caloric intake and total energy expenditure. To calculate the change in caloric intake and energy expenditure over time, we proposed a relationship for each of these quantities, and we used measured values that are reported in the literature for the initial conditions. To account for small variations in the daily energy balance of an individual, we include social interactions as the multiplication of two terms: social proximity and social influence. We observe that social interactions have a considerable effect when the body mass of an individual is quite constant and social interactions take random values. However, when an individual's mass value changes (either increases or decreases), social interactions do not have a notable effect. In our simulation, we tested two different models that describe the body mass composition, and it resulted that one fits better the data