Biological Sciences

Personalized “deep learning” equips robots for autism therapy

Children with autism spectrum conditions often have trouble recognizing the emotional states of people around them — distinguishing a happy face from a fearful face, for instance. To remedy this, some therapists use a kid-friendly robot to demonstrate those emotions and to engage the children in imitating the emotions and responding to them in appropriate ways. (Read the full story)

Can Magnolia Help Break the Link Between Obesity and Breast Cancer?

Stand under the glossy green canopy of a southern magnolia in full bloom, and you’ll be dazzled by this queen tree’s show of hundreds of highly perfumed ivory blossoms, each the size of a teacup. It’s a stunning sight, but for centuries, Magnolia grandiflora has been known for more than its pretty face. The tree contains a pharmacopeia of sorts, yielding chemical compounds that have been used to treat everything from anxiety to heart attack. (Read the full story)

Why Do I Blush at the Start of a Speech?

The mechanics of how a blush happens are straightforward. Underneath the skin of your face and neck is a lacework of tiny blood vessels called capillaries, which dilate under the influence of adrenaline to allow more blood and oxygen to flow. And a blush isn’t something you can fake. Unlike most human expressions, you can’t force a blush to appear on your face. (Or, sadly, demand that your capillaries shrink back to size.) (Read the full story)