Croatian Association of Counties launches photo contest “I love my county”

first_imgThe promotion of natural beauties and cultural heritage from all Croatian counties and the encouragement of a stronger regional identity are the goals of the photo competition “I love my county” launched by the Croatian Association of Counties.The Croatian Association of Counties wants to encourage young artists / amateurs to create and think about their own county as a destination that, in addition to its beauty, also offers interesting content adapted for publication in new media. “Croatia is a piece of paradise on earth, and in that paradise the counties take their place. That is why we want to promote all natural beauties, interesting details, as well as the cultural heritage of Lijepa Naša even more intensively. Our intention is for photos to flood the Internet and social networks, and that is exactly why we have directed and adapted this photo contest to today’s modern age.“Pointed out the president of the Croatian Association of Counties, Goran Pauk, on the occasion of launching the photo competition.Prizes are awarded in three categories: the best photo by number of shares, the best photo by number of likes and the best photo by professional choice. Photographs must be taken exclusively in the territory of the Republic of Croatia, and each author can send up to three photographs. It is possible to submit them exclusively online, via the Facebook application “I love my county” which is accessed via official Facebook page of the Croatian Association of Counties i official website. Minimal corrections are allowed on photos, such as alignment, cropping, photo edge shaping, contrast, and color.Photos collected through the competition will be used by the Croatian Community of Counties exclusively for promotional purposes, and you can send them until May 31, 2016. All details, as well as the conditions for submitting photos will be published on the official website www.hrvzz.hr and the Facebook page www.facebook.com/HrvatskaZajednicaZupanija.Join this beautiful tourist story and show with a photo what you love in your county.last_img read more

The issue of the concession for the Dubrovnik cable car has finally been resolved

first_imgThe City of Dubrovnik has passed a Decision on the award of a concession for the Dubrovnik-Srđ cable car and a Concession Agreement, the City of Dubrovnik points out.Namely, after the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Croatia finally issued the consent for the concession, there are no more obstacles to completing the procedure and concluding the contract which will finally become the concession fee revenue of the City of Dubrovnik budget, which is legally defined. The concession agreement, in accordance with the conclusion of the City Council, is proposed for a period of 10 years with a variable concession fee of 15 percent of revenues from the sale of cable car tickets, and will include previously agreed benefits for citizens. The draft contract also contains an obligation according to which Excelsa nekretnine is obliged to pay a concession fee from July 8, 2015, the day of entry into force of the last annual approval for the operation of the cable car, which is reminded by the city of Dubrovnik, accepted by the company. at the Mayor’s Office on June 30 and July 6, 2015.The concession is issued for 10 years with a variable concession fee of 15 percent of the revenues from the sale of tickets for the cable car,After the session of the City Council (Thursday, January 12), the Concession Agreement was sent to the Ministry of State Property as the legal successor of DUUDI, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Finance, but also to the State Attorney’s Office. and by signing it by the City of Dubrovnik and the company Excelsa nekretnine meet all the conditions for the legal operation of the cable car.The company Excelsa nekretnine dd, the owner of the Dubrovnik-Srđ cable car, has been operating without a concession for six years, leaving the city budget without significant funds. Of course, the question is how this is possible, and the simplest answer is – only in Croatia. But the issue of the concession and the payment of the fee was finally resolved.By the way, the price for using the Dubrovnik cable car is 120,00 kuna for adults (in both directions) up to 50,00 kuna for children, and one cabin can hold a total of 32 passengers who walk 778 meters of “trail” in a light ride in 4 minutes. Photo: Dubrovnik Cable Carlast_img read more

Maternal stress alters offspring gut and brain through vaginal microbiome

first_imgLinkedIn Share Changes in the vaginal microbiome are associated with effects on offspring gut microbiota and on the developing brain, according to a new study published in Endocrinology, a journal of the Endocrine Society.The neonate is exposed to the maternal vaginal microbiota during birth, providing the primary source for normal gut colonization, host immune maturation, and metabolism. These early interactions between the host and microbiota occur during a critical window of neurodevelopment, suggesting early life as an important period of cross talk between the developing gut and brain.‘Mom’s stress during pregnancy can impact her offspring’s development, including the brain, through changes in the vaginal microbiome that are passed on during vaginal birth,’ said one of the study’s authors, Tracy Bale, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania. ‘As the neonate’s gut is initially populated by the maternal vaginal microbiome, changes produced by maternal stress can alter this initial microbe population as well as determine many aspects of the host’s immune system that are also established during this early period.’ Pinterest Share on Twittercenter_img In this study, researchers utilized an established mouse model of early maternal stress, which included intervals of exposure to a predator odor, restraint, and novel noise as stressors. Two days after birth, tissue was collected from the moms using vaginal lavages and maternal fecal pellets and offspring distal gut were analyzed. Offspring brains were examined to measure transport of amino acids. Researchers found stress during pregnancy was associated with disruption of maternal vaginal and offspring gut microbiota composition.These findings demonstrate the important link between the maternal vaginal microbiome in populating her offspring’s gut at birth, and the profound effect of maternal stress experience on this microbial population and in early gut and brain development, especially in male offspring.‘These studies have enormous translational potential, as many countries are already administering oral application of vaginal lavages to c-section delivered babies to ensure appropriate microbial exposure occurs,’ Bale said. ‘Knowledge of how maternal experiences such as stress during pregnancy can alter the vaginal microbiome is critical in determination of at-risk populations.’ Email Share on Facebooklast_img read more

Brain scans illuminate emotional response to sound

first_imgVigeant and Martin S. Lawless, Ph.D. student in acoustics, are looking at the emotional response to reverberation in room acoustics. Reverberation is a measure of how long a sound persists in a space after it is made. In concert halls, reverberation is used to support the music, but in many spaces it is excessive. Noisy rooms where background sounds just seem to hang in the air making it difficult to hear speech or music have a lot of reverberance.“For room acoustics there are a lot of attributes that aren’t well defined,” said Vigeant. “We don’t know what changing variables x, y or z will do. However, for reverberation, everyone usually agrees on what is in a good range and what is not.”To test the emotional response to reverberation, the researchers use short pieces of music recorded in anechoic chambers — rooms that absorb all reflection and echoes of sound. These symphonic snippets are then altered to contain differing amounts of reverberation. The researchers report their results in a recent issue of Journal of the Acoustical Society of America Express Letters.Vigeant and Lawless tested five subjects each in both an fMRI simulator and a real machine for about 70 images in each machine. At the same time, they asked the subjects to rate the music on a scale from -2 to +2 as unpleasant to pleasant. The researchers note that the number of subjects is small, but also that each individual had seven scans for each of the musical snippets with reverberation. They also note that fMRI statistical analysis is relatively complex and can vary depending on a study’s design.“We used musicians as subjects because they are used to doing critical listening,” said Lawless. “They learn more quickly than non-musicians, which means their answers are more reliable.”The simulation fMRI testing prepares the subjects for the closeness of the real machine, although the simulator lacks some of the properties of the real thing. In both machines, the subjects wear headphones and view a small mirror screen that tells them when the sounds will occur. Because complete stillness is necessary for the scans, the subjects use a trigger to choose their preference ratings and a thumb button to submit their choices. The subjects hear a setup tone and then 16 seconds of music, which is then followed by a rating period of 10 seconds.Every person experiences music selectively, the researchers note. When something is pleasurable, certain areas of the brain increase activity, which shows on the fMRI.“The brain is always active, so what we see is a change in activity,” said Vigeant.Vigeant and Lawless found two subjects whose brains lit up in an area that signifies anticipation of pleasure when listening to those music segments they rated as most pleasurable. Share on Facebook Noisy gymnasiums, restaurants where conversations are nearly impossible and concert halls less than perfect for the music are all acoustical problems. Now Penn State acoustical engineers are using functional MRI to better understand room acoustics and the emotions they can cause.“Traditional methods of evaluating room acoustics use subjective rating methods and part of our study uses this method,” said Michelle Vigeant, assistant professor of acoustics and architectural engineering. “The other part uses fMRI to see how changes in acoustics appear in the brain.”fMRI measures brain activity by sensing changes in blood flow in the brain, which is linked to brain activity. Pinterest LinkedIncenter_img Share Share on Twitter Emaillast_img read more

Selfie-takers tend to overestimate their attractiveness, study finds

first_imgShare Pinterest Share on Facebook Email They were then instructed to rate each photo based on how attractive and likable they thought their friends would perceive them to be in the photo if it were posted on social media. A sample of 178 independent raters recruited on the internet also rated the participants’ photos for attractiveness and likability, as well as for narcissism.Both groups, the habitual selfie-takers and non-selfie-takers, showed self-favoring bias by thinking that they would be seen as more attractive and more likeable in their photos than they were actually seen by the independent raters. However, the selfie-takers overestimated themselves significantly more, especially when judging their selfies rather than the experimenter-taken photos. In reality, both groups’ selfies were rated as less attractive than the experimenter-taken photos by the independent raters. They also thought the selfie-takers looked significantly more narcissistic than the non-selfie-takers on the basis of their selfies.The researchers conclude that habitual selfie-taking may increase people’s susceptibility to self-favoring bias, causing them to overestimate the attractiveness of their photos to a greater and greater extent over time. They suggest that this effect may occur because selfie-takers develop strategies for taking flattering photos of themselves that are not as effective as they believe, or perhaps because positive feedback in the form of likes on social media reinforces an inflated sense of self.Ironically, practice taking selfies actually appears to contribute to those photos being seen more negatively, in terms of narcissism, at least by some observers. Given these findings, social media users may want to think twice before posting their next selfies.center_img Share on Twitter People who regularly take photos of themselves, or selfies, tend to overestimate their attractiveness and likability to a greater extent, and are seen as more narcissistic by independent observers, compared with non-selfie-takers, according to a study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.A wealth of psychological evidence shows that people have a tendency to perceive themselves as being better than average on a wide range of positive traits, a phenomenon known as “self-favoring bias.” There is also evidence that self-favoring bias is strongest in situations in which one has the greatest amount of personal control. Anyone with a social media account can attest to the popularity of self-taken photos, or selfies. By giving people a great deal of personal control over how they present themselves to the world, selfies may be a prime situation for enhancing self-favoring bias.A team of psychologists led by Daniel Re, of the University of Toronto, conducted a study designed to compare how self-favoring bias is affected selfie-taking. The sample included 198 college students, including 100 who reported regularly taking selfies, and 98 who reported little or no selfie-taking. Study participants were invited to take a selfie using a smartphone camera, and also had their pictures taken by an experimenter. LinkedInlast_img read more

Study finds that people are attracted to outward signs of health, not actual health

first_imgShare Pinterest Findings published in the journal Behavioral Ecology reveal that skin with yellow and red pigments is perceived as more attractive in Caucasian males, but this skin coloring does not necessarily signal actual good health.Some people are more attractive as mating partners than others. One trait that plays an important role in sexual selection is carotenoid-based coloration. Carotenoids are red and yellow plant pigments present in fruits and vegetables that animals consume. They’re the reason carrots are orange. Previous research has found that in various species–of birds, fish, and reptiles–females are more attracted to their colorful male counterpart. Researchers have argued that carotenoid-based coloration is an honest signal of health, and is associated with acting as an antioxidant. One proposal is that people are attracted to signs of health in a desire to reproduce, and those who display signs of health have a greater chance of survival, greater fertility, and providing genes that promote good health in offspring.Researchers investigated if there was any correlation to the “signals of health” from the carotenoids and actual health. Participants consisted of 43 heterosexual Caucasian men with a mean age of 21 years. The researchers also had a placebo group that consisted of an additional 20 male participants. Share on Facebook Share on Twittercenter_img Email LinkedIn Photographs of the participants at the start of the trial were taken in order to document changes in skin colour. Participants were tested on their health, which included their level of oxidative stress, immune function, and semen quality. After the participants’ health was reviewed, they were given a 12-week supplementation of beta-carotene for the treatment group or “dummy pills” for the placebo group. Participants returned after the 12 week period, where the photography and health tests were repeated. Sixty-six heterosexual Caucasian female raters with a mean age of 33 were recruited online to assess attractiveness of the pre- and post-supplementation faces of each male participant presented side by side on a computer screen.These are examples of color variation between pre- and post-supplementation by Treatment condition. The top photographs show the Beta-carotene participant, The bottom photographs show the placebo participant. The left side is pre-supplementation and the right side is post-supplementation. (Credit: Yong Zhi Foo)Results found that, as predicted, beta-carotene supplements increased overall yellowness and redness but not lightness. Post supplement faces were 50% more likely to be chosen as attractive as well as healthier looking compared to the pre-photographs or the placebo group. Thus beta-carotene supplement significantly enhanced participants’ attractiveness and appearance of health. Beta-carotene treatment did not, however, significantly affect any health functions.This study provides the first experimental evidence of beta-carotene’s effect on attractiveness and health. The results suggest that carotenoid-based skin color may be sexually selected in humans, but there is no evidence to suggest that this is an honest signal of health. This study calls for further research on the influence of carotenoid coloration on mammals, in particular, if findings are replicated in women.Yong Zhi Foo, author and postgraduate Animal Biology student at The University of Western Australia, says “Carotenoids are known to be responsible for the striking mating displays in many animal species. Our study is one of the first to causally demonstrate that carotenoids can affect attractiveness in humans as well. It also reaffirms the results of previous studies showing that what we eat can affect how we look”last_img read more

Testosterone levels are partially determined by where men grow up, according to new research

first_imgEmail Boys who grow up in healthier, wealthier environments tend to have more testosterone as adults, our latest research shows.Previous research tells us that average levels of testosterone vary widely, depending on where men live. Men in wealthier countries tend to have higher levels of testosterone than men in poorer countries or places with high rates of infectious disease.What this earlier research didn’t tell us was whether these differences were due to how men reacted to their immediate surroundings as adults, or whether these differences were set prior to adulthood, or even in infancy. Share on Twitter Pinterest Our study, published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, supports the idea that the environment a man grows up in affects his testosterone levels later in his life. But our results suggest that this “setting” of adult testosterone levels doesn’t occur in infancy, but is determined in later childhood.Sylhet and East LondonThe groups we studied trace their heritage to Sylhet in Bangladesh, a region with a history of migration to London for three generations. They settled in relatively culturally similar, densely populated neighbourhoods of East London. In other words, the lifestyles of these two groups was fairly similar. Our goal was to compare testosterone levels, height and age at puberty depending on the environment where a man spent his childhood.Access to healthcare is limited in Sylhet and urban sanitation is poor. We consider this one of the clearest contrasts between growing up in Sylhet, Bangladesh and London. We compared 59 men who migrated from Sylhet to London as children, 75 who migrated as adults, 107 men who lived in Sylhet all their lives, 56 men born in London with Sylheti parents, and 62 men of European ethnicity from London.Life history theoryA guiding idea for our project was life history theory, an evolutionary theory that sees the energy available over the lifetime of an organism as something like a budget. For example, energy spent on efforts like fighting disease can’t be invested in other energetically costly endeavours, such as growing taller, heavier or more muscular.We found that the longer a man lived in Bangladesh as a child, the shorter he was as an adult. This suggests that boys growing up in Bangladesh had to trade off growing taller for something else, such as immunity.If they were taking in less energy from food or were spending more on physical labour, this might also explain the differences in height. But the men we measured mostly grew up in the city, not farms, and were from well-off families, by Bangladeshi standards, with ready access to food when they were growing up, so we think energy spent on fighting disease is the biggest cost when considering these differences in growth.We consider testosterone as a marker of how much a man has invested in reproduction. Testosterone has costs in terms of muscle and metabolism, and potentially shapes competitive behaviour, so men apparently trade off these costs based on their childhood environment.We think that the energy budgeted for reproduction throughout life is determined at some point in later childhood, and that once a male “commits” a proportion of his investment to reproduction, it determines his regular levels of testosterone for the rest of his adult life.Implications for healthOur findings have important implications for healthcare. Testosterone is associated with growth of muscle, libido and the functioning of male reproductive organs, including the prostate. It’s possible that the change in environment for migrants from Bangladesh to the UK means they will have greater risk of diseases of the prostate.Also, the UK-born children of Bangladeshi migrants had higher levels of testosterone than men with non-migrant parents, suggesting that children of migrants may adjust their trade offs in different ways than children of non-migrants. These men may be at greater risk of enlargement of the prostate in later life, and may need to be especially aware of screening programmes for prostate disease.The next step is to see if these children of migrants have higher incidence of symptoms related to prostate disease, for instance benign prostate hyperplasia.Similar pattern in womenOur work emerged from previous research with Bangladeshi migrant women. Women had higher levels of the reproductive steroid progesterone if they migrated to the UK as children.Since then there have been a number of other studies of women’s health, that suggest these trade offs made in early life determine a host of different characteristics relating to women’s fertility and the timing of a woman’s reproductive lifespan. So it appears that living in the UK – or other wealthy country – increases the amount a person budgets to reproduction, whether they are a man or woman.By Kesson Magid, Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology, Durham UniversityThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.center_img Share Share on Facebook LinkedInlast_img read more

New research uncovers the psychological burden of being unemployed

first_imgShare on Facebook Share Email LinkedIn Pinterestcenter_img Share on Twitter New psychology research highlights how unemployment can place a psychological burden on people by frustrating access to several psychological needs, such as a sense of purpose. Past research has established that unemployment can undermine mental health. The new findings, which appear in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, help explain why that is.“I was especially interested in this topic because the question of why people work/what work or employment gives us is a fundamental one that is relevant for all of us,” said Andrea Zechmann, a researcher and lecturer at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuernberg. “Often, employment is reduced to the obvious — such as that it provides an income, gives us a sense of security, or we talk about employment with a negative connotation (it’s too much, too stressful, the colleagues aren’t nice), but we forget that work in general is something that helps us to stay psychologically healthy.” “Of course, you always have to look at the specific situation (many work conditions are bad and thwart our mental health), but in general work is a good thing for us,” Zechmann said.The researchers traveled to employment agencies or counseling facilities in several German cities to recruit 1,143 individuals who were currently unemployed or expected to become unemployed soon. The participants completed questionnaires approximately every 4 months for about 2 and half years.Zechmann and her colleagues found that unemployed people who found new jobs tended to experience a substantial decrease in psychological distress and financial strain. They also tended to experience an increase in several other important factors, including social contact and their sense of collective purpose.“Employment does not only provide us with an income (the so-called manifest function of employment) but it enables access to psychological experiences that help to satisfy important psychological needs,” she told PsyPost. “These experiences, the so-called latent benefits of employment are: time structure (employment structures our day, week, year, our whole lives), social contact (to people outside the closer family), status/identity (e.g. the status associated with our profession and gives us a feeling of who we are), activity (employment forces us to be active), collective purpose (employment enables us to collaborate with others and to reach larger goals we ourselves could not reach alone), and competence (employment enables us to meet challenges, to feel effective). “Both satisfaction of the manifest and latent functions of employment contributes to our mental health,” Zechmann explained.The study — like all research — includes some limitations. For instance, because of Germany’s unemployment protection system and relatively low levels of inequality, the findings might not fully generalize to other countries.“Questions that still need to be addressed are how the experiences provided by employment can be substituted for those who are unemployed or not in regular employment (on parental leave, homemakers, retirees etc.). We still do not know whether voluntary work or training courses can provide sufficient access to the functions of employment in order to keep people healthy,” Zechmann said. “We also do not know how employment will change in the future, how many professions will be lost due to technological change, etc. Furthermore, there might be even more latent functions of employment which research hasn’t found yet.”More often than not, participants who found employment reported a positive impact. But that doesn’t mean employment is always the best option — or that all jobs can fulfill people’s psychological needs. “I would like to point out that this research does certainly not want to glorify employment. This study only wants to answer the question why employment in general is beneficial to mental health. There are many bad jobs that thwart our mental health and researchers must also continue to identify what makes people ill in the world of work,” Zechmann explained.The study, “Why Do Individuals Suffer During Unemployment? Analyzing the Role of Deprived Psychological Needs in a Six-Wave Longitudinal Study“, Andrea Zechmann and Karsten Ingmar Paul.last_img read more

Research suggests the psychological paradox known as the reminiscence bump is a cross-cultural phenomenon

first_imgEmail Share on Facebook When thinking back on their life, older adults typically remember their fondest memories as occurring in young adulthood. But new research, published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, has found that young adults in a variety of cultures tend to experience more distress and worse psychological well-being compared to their older counterparts.The findings add to a body of literature indicating that people experience a “reminiscence bump” as they grow older.“I am interested in how people from different cultures remember their own lives and how these memories are related to mental health,” said Alejandra Zaragoza Scherman (@antiquisima) of Aarhus University, the corresponding author of the new study. “Research has shown that our memory is often faulty and replete of biases. For example, middle-aged and older people often remember young adulthood as a positive period, despite the fact that young people usually report high levels of distress, compared to middle-aged and older people. I found this quite intriguing, but very little cross-cultural research has been done in this area. Investigating age differences on depression, centrality of event, PTSD, and life satisfaction across cultures became the next step in my research program.”For their study, Zaragoza Scherman and her colleagues surveyed 553 young adults (between 18 and 30 years old) and 390 middle-aged adults (between 45 and 64 years old) from Mexico, Greenland, China and Denmark. The surveys included assessments of depression, PTSD, important life events, and life satisfaction.The researchers uncovered a similar pattern of results across all four cultures. Young adult participants reported lower levels of life satisfaction compared to middle-aged participants, and higher levels of depression and PTSD symptoms.“In general, young adults reported higher distress and lower levels of life satisfaction, compared to middle-aged adults. This is good news for the middle-aged adults. There seem to be some benefits to aging. On the other hand, it is bad news for the young adults. Efforts need to be made to better understand how to support young people in achieving mental health,” Zaragoza Scherman told PsyPost.The researchers also found that positive memories were less central to the identity and life stories of young adults compared to middle-aged participants.So why do older people have such fond memories of young adulthood? Cultural life script theory may provide one explanation for this phenomenon, Zaragoza Scherman explained.“One of the most robust findings in the field of autobiographical memory is that of the reminiscence bump. The reminiscence bump shows that when individuals over 40 years of age are asked to remember important life events from their life, they disproportionately recall positive events from their adolescence and early adulthood. This lifetime period is favored in memory,” she told PsyPost.“The cultural life script theory was proposed to explain the reminiscence bump. The cultural life script is commonly shared cultural expectations about the timing and the order of important transitional life events. The theory posits that the life script serves like a template to help people remember their lives.”Zaragoza Scherman and her colleagues found evidence for the theory in another cross-cultural study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition in 2017.“The cultural life script favors adolescence and young adulthood, creating a positivity bias towards this lifetime period. This might help explain why young adulthood is remembered positively despite the fact that young people report more psychological distress,” Zaragoza Scherman said.The main limitation of the new research is that it only collected cross-sectional data.“We still need to understand how memories of important life events evolve throughout the lifespan and how they affect psychological well-being in people from different cultures. Therefore, we need longitudinal research. In addition, we need to better understand the psychological mechanisms behind the age differences we observed,” Zaragoza Scherman said.The study, “Younger adults report more distress and less well‐being: A cross‐cultural study of event centrality, depression, post‐traumatic stress disorder and life satisfaction“, was authored by Alejandra Zaragoza Scherman, Sinué Salgado, Zhifang Shao, and Dorthe Berntsen.(Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay) Pinterestcenter_img LinkedIn Share Share on Twitterlast_img read more