Nature Communications: “Cardiac afferent activity modulates the expression of racial stereotypes”

NOMIS Distinguished Scientist Award winner Manos Tsakiris and his team of scientists have published the results of their research examining the connection between racial stereotypes and heartbeat in the journal Nature Communications.

By tapping into the phasic activation of arterial baroreceptors, known to be associated with changes in the neural processing of fearful stimuli, the team demonstrated activation of race-threat stereotypes synchronized with the cardiovascular cycle. In other words, our heartbeat can increase pre-existing racial biases when we face a potential threat.

Participants in the study were likely to misperceive a situation involving a black person as life-threatening, when experienced during cardiac systole rather than cardiac diastole. The heart’s firing of signals to the brain during cardiac systole, in combination with the concurrent presentation of a potential threat, increases the chances that even a non-threat will be perceived as threatening. This finding could provide valuable insight into understanding racially biased behavior, such as the high incidence of shootings of unarmed black people in the United States.

The research was conducted by scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London, working with Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), and was enabled by the European Research Council and the NOMIS Foundation. More information can be found in the Royal Holloway press release.

University of Zurich joins Open Library of Humanities’ Library Partnership Subsidy system

The University of Zurich (UZH), a NOMIS partner and one of the leading research universities in Europe, has joined the Open Library of Humanities’ (OLH) Library Partnership Subsidy (LPS) system. OLH is a charitable organization dedicated to publishing open-access scholarship with no author-facing article-processing charges. OLH is funded by an international consortium of libraries whose mission is to make scholarly publishing fairer, more accessible and rigorously preserved for the digital future.

In 2017 the Department of Economics at UZH and the NOMIS Foundation established a partnership in the form of the NOMIS Professorship for Decision and Neuroeconomic Theory.

Tages-Anzeiger: “The rejuvenation researcher”

The Swiss newspaper, Tages-Anzeiger, has published an article about the work of NOMIS Distinguished Scientist and Scholar Award winner Tony Wyss-Coray. The article, published in German (“Der Verjüngungsforscher”), discusses Wyss-Coray’s findings that suggest the plasma in our blood directly influences aging. His most recent studies have shown that circulatory factors can modulate neurogenesis, neuroimmunity and cognitive function in mice and that blood-derived factors from young mice or humans can rejuvenate the aging mouse brain.

NOMIS is supporting Wyss-Coray’s continued research into identifying the circulatory factors that influence aging and using those factors to rejuvenate the aging or degenerated brain.

NZZ: “Self-perception: The ‘I’ in a world of images”

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), based in Zurich, Switzerland, has published an article about the work of NOMIS Distinguished Scientist Award winner Manos Tsakiris, who is leading and developing the Body and Image in Arts and Sciences (BIAS) project at the Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, University of London. The article, published in German (“Selbstwahrnehmung: Das ‘Ich’ in einer Welt aus Bildern”), highlights Tsakiris’ efforts to better understand how the barrage of images in today’s world influence the experience of embodiment and self-identity.

The BIAS project is enabled by the NOMIS Foundation.

TEDx: Ending the arms race with infectious diseases

Dr. Janelle Ayres, researcher at the NOMIS Center for Immunbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, addresses the disconnect between our methods for treating infectious disease and our understanding of the mechanisms that keep us healthy during infection in her TEDxSanDiego talk. Only by eradicating the pathogen and limiting the collateral damage done to the body during an infection can we survive. Dr. Ayres discusses strategies for using the good bacteria living in our bodies, i.e., the microbiome, to develop new therapeutics for promoting survival of infectious disease.

Dr. Ayres is Assistant Professor at the NOMIS Foundation Laboratories for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California.

TEDx: Mind the body

NOMIS researcher and Distinguished Scientist Award winner Professor Manos Tsakiris talks about how our bodies are represented in our brains and how neurocognitive mechanisms shape our physical experiences in his TEDxGhent talk. Prof. Tsakiris discusses his research investigating the plasticity of the sense of self – specifically, how the changing body influences our sense of self and how this new sense of self affects others.

Prof. Tsakiris is professor of psychology at the Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London. He won the first-ever NOMIS Distinguished Scientist Award in 2016.