Non-human primates play crucial roles in sustaining natural ecosystems worldwide. However, approximately 68% of primate species are now at risk of extinction, mainly due to agriculture and the depletion of natural resources. Dr Alejandro Estrada at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Dr Paul A. Garber at the University of Illinois-Urbana, and a group of scientists from various parts of the world recently carried out a study to better understand the role that Indigenous Peoples play in the conservation of threatened primates.
In many African countries, attitudes towards gender and sexual minorities are overwhelmingly negative. This could be partly due to religious norms and beliefs. However, empirical studies examining how religious leaders in Africa view such minority groups are still scarce. David Kuria Mbote of the Kuria Foundation for Social Enterprise and researchers from Saint Paul’s University in Kenya and institutes in the U.S. have been conducting research aimed at better understanding the attitudes of religious leaders in Kenya towards gay men, lesbian women, transgender people, and other marginalised groups.
In 2009, the US National Research Council Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Sciences Community published a report highlighting the need to estimate the validity of expert opinions in forensic disciplines. These include the opinions of firearm examiners, who are trained to identify firearms and other weapon-related evidence during criminal investigations. Dr Susan Vanderplas at the University of Nebraska Lincoln has recently introduced a new unifying approach for accurately calculating the error associated with firearm analyses. Her method could be applied in forensic laboratories worldwide, to improve the reliability of forensic evidence in criminal investigations.
For decades, linguists and psychologists have been trying to understand the fascinating ways in which humans communicate with each other in different real-world settings. Overall, spoken communication involves a mixture of words, facial expressions, and gestures. Dr Holly Keily, a researcher at the University at Buffalo, has recently carried out a study specifically exploring how speakers explain events to partners who will need to identify them, particularly focusing on their use of gestures.
Over recent decades, the use of digital technologies has increased exponentially worldwide, bringing significant changes to daily life. Like most societal transformations, this process of ‘digitalisation’ has had both positive and negative aspects. Dr Jens Allwood, Professor Emeritus at the University of Gothenburg, has recently published a paper exploring some of the darker elements of digitalisation, particularly focusing on its tendency to dehumanise our daily activities.
The broad dissemination of information online has made students more inclined to question what they are being taught in the classroom. Many educators are thus trying to adapt their teaching strategies to ensure that new generations successfully acquire new skills and learn new knowledge. Dr Brenton Fredericks, Head of the Communication Sciences Department at Central University of Technology in South Africa, recently developed a framework that could improve communication between educators and students in the classroom, promoting more constructive and effective learning.