Frontiers in Psychology
Short-term attentional perseveration associated with real-life creative achievement
What makes some people more creative than others? Psychologists have suggested that creativity partly depends on a person’s ability to continuously switch attention between the details and the bigger picture of a given task. But in two carefully designed experiments, Darya Zabelina and Mark Beeman from Northwestern University found evidence for the opposite effect, at least for one measure of creativity: creative people with achievements in the real world may concentrate so much on one aspect that they have difficulty switching to another.
Across two studies, 74 college students were selected from among a large number of students for their extremely high or low scores on a questionnaire about their achievements in creative fields like cooking, science, writing, and music. Each student was subjected to a series of 128 challenges to quickly (within 1 second) and accurately identify either the details or the larger picture, in alternating sets of trials. This task required persistence, such that participants needed to zoom in on the details for some time before unpredictably zooming out to see the bigger picture (and vice versa), over a series of challenges.
When the researchers accounted for differences in intelligence and reaction speed, creative achievers made significantly more (9% of challenges) mistakes than less creative students (2%). Thus higher scores on real-world measure of creativity (but not on divergent thinking task) predicted persistence in the attention task. It appears that the tendency for persistent attention is a defining characteristic of individuals who have achieved noteworthy creative successes, even though this tendency seems to undermine the ability to engage in the type of flexible thinking associated with other measures of creative cognition. Results thus suggest that people’s attentional styles may differ depending on the type of creativity they exhibit.
Frontiers in Microbiology
Genetic variability and evolutionary dynamics of viruses of the family Closteroviridae
The family Closteroviridae includes viruses causing economic losses in different agricultural crops worldwide, including citrus, grapevine and vegetables. Presently, control of viral diseases consists of prophylactic measures to limit virus dispersion and the use of resistant cultivars obtained by plant breeding or genetic engineering. However, viruses have a great potential for rapid evolution and they often overcome the disease control methods. Characterization of the genetic diversity of viral populations provides relevant information on the processes involved in virus evolution and epidemiology and it is crucial for designing reliable diagnostic tools and developing efficient and durable disease control strategies. In this review by Luis Rubio and colleagues, analyses of the genetic variability of closteroviruses showed a risk of emergence of new diseases produced by: A) generation of new genotypes by genome recombination, or adaptation to new hosts or insect vectors, B) introduction of new genotypes by long distance transport of infected propagative plant material, and C) increased virulence resulting from interaction between different viruses of viral genotypes. On the other hand, genetic stability provided by strong negative selection in some closteroviruses could be exploited for crop protection based on genetic engineering.
Frontiers in Oncology (published last week):
Implementing and Integrating a Clinically-Driven Electronic Medical Record for Radiation Oncology in a Large Medical Enterprise
Hospitals can save medical personnel’s time, physical space for filing, and money with Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), digital databases that consolidate all information about patients in an integrated enterprise-wide system. The Radiation Oncology department of the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, US, shifted from paper medical records to exclusively EMRs and the move involved adapting 2 pre-existing systems, at a one-time cost of approximately $ 125000. John P. Kirkpatrick and colleagues report that over $ 21000 are saved per year and that 90% of clinicians who used the system agreed that the EMR is an improvement over paper charts. Clinicians were typically positive about the effects of EMRs on the quality of care, patient safety, the quality of records, communication within the department, and ease of use.