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Weekly PLoS ONE News and Blog Round-Up

Here is our round-up of the week’s media and blog coverage of articles published in PLoS ONE.

In a PLoS ONE article published earlier this week, Igor Elman and colleagues describe the ways in which adults respond differently to babies, depending on the babies’ aesthetic appearance. The study participants were shown photos of 80 infants, including 50 normal ones and 30 with abnormal facial features, including cleft palates, skin disorders, and others. The subjects had to rate the attractiveness of each infant on a numerical scale and they could also extend or shorten the length of time they viewed each photo (set to 4 seconds, as a default).

The authors found that female participants tended to give a higher attractiveness rating to the normal-looking babies and a shorter viewing time to the babies with abnormal facial features than the male participants did. The researchers concluded that this phenomenon may reflect an evolutionary-derived need for the diversion of limited resources to the nurturance of healthy offspring.

There was extensive media coverage of the study, with over 200 hits on Google News including Time, the Associated Press and the Washington Post blog, On Parenting. In the blogosphere, the study was covered by Beasts of Ephesus and Human See, Human Do.

Two PLoS ONE articles were included in a recent New Scientist feature on the evolution of “numeracy” in various species of animal. In the article entitled, Number-Based Visual Generalisation in the Honeybee, Jürgen Tautz and colleagues reported that honeybees could discriminate between patterns containing two and three dots when navigating through a maze to reach a reward. In an article published in PLoS ONE in March, a team led by Christian Agrillo, meanwhile, reported some numerical abilities in mosquitofish, which could discriminate between small quantities.

The paper published in PLoS ONE last week by Liz Allen and colleagues (Looking for Landmarks: The Role of Expert Review and Bibliometric Analysis in Evaluating Scientific Publication Outputs) is continuing to generate comment and discussion online. Richard Grant, Information Architect at F1000, on his blog, The Scientist, and Niyaz Ahmed, PLoS ONE Section Editor for Microbiology and Genomics, has also posted some of his thoughts on his blog.

Some of the other blog posts we spotted this week include:

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