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Regular version of the site
Of all publications in the section: 57
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Article
Smirnov I., Thurner S. Plos One. 2017. Vol. 12. No. 8. P. 1-16.

Homophily, the tendency of individuals to associate with others who share similar traits, has been identified as a major driving force in the formation and evolution of social ties. In many cases, it is not clear if homophily is the result of a socialization process, where individuals change their traits according to the dominance of that trait in their local social networks, or if it results from a selection process, in which individuals reshape their social networks so that their traits match those in the new environment. Here we demonstrate the detailed temporal formation of strong homophily in academic achievements of high school and university students. We analyze a unique dataset that contains information about the detailed time evolution of a friendship network of 6,000 students across 42 months. Combining the evolving social network data with the time series of the academic performance (GPA) of individual students, we show that academic homophily is a result of selection: students prefer to gradually reorganize their social networks according to their performance levels, rather than adapting their performance to the level of their local group. We find no signs for a pull effect, where a social environment of good performers motivates bad students to improve their performance. We are able to understand the underlying dynamics of grades and networks with a simple model. The lack of a social pull effect in classical educational settings could have important implications for the understanding of the observed persistence of segregation, inequality and social immobility in societies.

Added: Aug 31, 2017
Article
Babkina T., Menshikov I., Shklover A. et al. Plos One. 2017. Vol. 12. No. 11. P. 1-17.

In this research, the social behavior of the participants in a Prisoner's Dilemma laboratory game is explained on the basis of the quantal response equilibrium concept and the representation of the game in Markov strategies. In previous research, we demonstrated that social interaction during the experiment has a positive influence on cooperation, trust, and gratefulness. This research shows that the quantal response equilibrium concept agrees only with the results of experiments on cooperation in Prisoner’s Dilemma prior to social interaction. However, quantal response equilibrium does not explain of participants’ behavior after social interaction. As an alternative theoretical approach, an examination was conducted of iterated Prisoner's Dilemma game in Markov strategies. We built a totally mixed Nash equilibrium in this game; the equilibrium agrees with the results of the experiments both before and after social interaction.

Added: Jun 4, 2018
Article
Brederoo S., Bos L., Dragoy O. et al. Plos One. 2015. Vol. 10. No. 4.

Verbs and other temporal expressions allow speakers to specify the location of events in time, as well as to move back and forth in time, shifting in a narrative between past, present and future. The referential flexibility of temporal expressions is well understood in linguistics but its neurocognitive bases remain unknown. Here we aimed to obtain a neural signature of time shifting in natural language. We analyzed event-related potentials (ERPs) and oscillatory responses to occurrences of the word ‘now’ and of verbs in Punctual (‘An hour ago the boy stole a candy and now he peeled the fruit’) and Iterative (‘The entire afternoon the boy stole candy and now he peeled the fruit’) contexts. ‘An hour ago’ introduces a time frame that lies entirely in the past, ‘now’ shifts the narrative to the present, and ‘peeled’ shifts it back to the past. These two time shifts in Punctual contexts are expected to leave very similar traces on electrophysiological responses. ‘The entire afternoon’ may encompass past and present: both ‘now’ and ‘peeled’ are consistent with that time frame, therefore no time shift is required. We found no difference in ERPs between Punctual and Iterative contexts either at ‘now’ or at the verb. However, time shifts modulated brain oscillations. ‘Now’ and ‘peeled’ in Punctual contexts resulted in nearly identical signals: an increase in gamma power with a left-anterior distribution. Gamma bursts were absent in Iterative contexts. We propose that gamma oscillations here reflect operations that bind temporal variables to the values allowed by the constraints introduced by temporal expressions in discourse.

Added: Dec 15, 2014
Article
Cugmas M., Ferligoj A., ŽIBERNA A. Plos One. 2018. Vol. 13. No. 5. P. 1-24.

This paper addresses the question of whether one can generate networks with a given global structure (defined by selected blockmodels, i.e., cohesive, core-periphery, hierarchical, and transitivity), considering only different types of triads. Two methods are used to generate networks: (i) the newly proposed method of relocating links; and (ii) the Monte Carlo Multi Chain algorithm implemented in the ergm package in R. Most of the selected blockmodel types can be generated by considering all types of triads. The selection of only a subset of triads can improve the generated networks’ blockmodel structure. Yet, in the case of a hierarchical blockmodel without complete blocks on the diagonal, additional local structures are needed to achieve the desired global structure of generated networks. This shows that blockmodels can emerge based only on local processes that do not take attributes into account.

Added: Nov 2, 2018
Article
Dybo A., Kushniarevich A., Utevska O. et al. Plos One. 2015. Vol. 10. No. 9.

The Slavic branch of the Balto-Slavic sub-family of Indo-European languages underwent rapid divergence as a result of the spatial expansion of its speakers from Central-East Europe, in early medieval times. This expansion-mainly to East Europe and the northern Balkans-resulted in the incorporation of genetic components from numerous autochthonous populations into the Slavic gene pools. Here, we characterize genetic variation in all extant ethnic groups speaking Balto-Slavic languages by analyzing mitochondrial DNA (n = 6,876), Y-chromosomes (n = 6,079) and genome-wide SNP profiles (n = 296), within the context of other European populations. We also reassess the phylogeny of Slavic languages within the Balto-Slavic branch of Indo-European. We find that genetic distances among Balto-Slavic populations, based on autosomal and Y-chromosomal loci, show a high correlation (0.9) both with each other and with geography, but a slightly lower correlation (0.7) with mitochondrial DNA and linguistic affiliation. The data suggest that genetic diversity of the present-day Slavs was predominantly shaped in situ, and we detect two different substrata: 'central-east European' for West and East Slavs, and 'south-east European' for South Slavs. A pattern of distribution of segments identical by descent between groups of East-West and South Slavs suggests shared ancestry or a modest gene flow between those two groups, which might derive from the historic spread of Slavic people.

Added: Nov 14, 2019
Article
Мальков Ю. А., Ponomarenko A. Plos One. 2016. Vol. 11. No. 6. P. 1-14.

Navigability, an ability to find a logarithmically short path between elements using only local information, is one of the most fascinating properties of real-life networks. However, the exact mechanism responsible for the formation of navigation properties remained unknown. We show that navigability can be achieved by using only two ingredients present in the majority of networks: network growth and local homophily, giving a persuasive answer how the navigation appears in real-life networks. A very simple algorithm produces hierarchical self-similar optimally wired navigable small world networks with exponential degree distribution by using only local information. Adding preferential attachment produces a scale-free network which has shorter greedy paths, but worse (power law) scaling of the information extraction locality (algorithmic complexity of a search). Introducing saturation of the preferential attachment leads to truncated scale-free degree distribution that offers a good tradeoff between these parameters and can be useful for practical applications. Several features of the model are observed in real-life networks, in particular in the brain neural networks, supporting the earlier suggestions that they are navigable.

Added: Sep 9, 2016
Article
Thomas G., Poortinga W., Sautkina E. Plos One. 2016. Vol. 11. No. 4. P. 1-16.

Repeated behaviours in stable contexts can become automatic habits. Habits are resistant to information-based techniques to change behaviour, but are contextually cued, so a change in behaviour context (e.g., location) weakens habit strength and can facilitate greater consideration of the behaviour. This idea was demonstrated in previous work, whereby people with strong environmental attitudes have lower car use, but only after recently moving home. We examine the habit discontinuity hypothesis by analysing the Understanding Society dataset with 18,053 individuals representative of the UK population, measuring time since moving home, travel mode to work, and strength of environmental attitudes. Results support previous findings where car use is significantly lower among those with stronger environmental views (but only after recently moving home), and in addition, demonstrate a trend where this effects decays as the time since moving home increases. We discuss results in light of moving into a new home being a potential ‘window of opportunity’ to promote pro-environmental behaviours.

Added: Oct 3, 2018
Article
Oksuzyan A., Demakakos P., Shkolnikova M. A. et al. Plos One. 2017. Vol. 12. No. 9. P. 1-16.

BACKGROUND:

This study compares handgrip strength and its association with mortality across studies conducted in Moscow, Denmark, and England.

MATERIALS:

The data collected by the Study of Stress, Aging, and Health in Russia, the Study of Middle-Aged Danish Twins and the Longitudinal Study of Aging Danish Twins, and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing was utilized.

RESULTS:

Among the male participants, the age-standardized grip strength was 2 kg and 1 kg lower in Russia than in Denmark and in England, respectively. The age-standardized grip strength among the female participants was 1.9 kg and 1.6 kg lower in Russia than in Denmark and in England, respectively. In Moscow, a one-kilogram increase in grip strength was associated with a 4% (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.96, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.94, 0.99) reduction in mortality among men and a 10% (HR = 0.90, 95%CI: 0.86, 0.94) among women. Meanwhile, a one-kilogram increase in grip strength was associated with a 6% (HR = 0.94, 95%CI: 0.93, 0.95) and an 8% (HR = 0.92, 95%CI: 0.90, 0.94) decrease in mortality among Danish men and women, respectively, and with a 2% (HR = 0.98, 95%CI: 0.97, 0.99) and a 3% (HR = 0.97, 95%CI: 0.95, 0.98) reduction in mortality among the English men and women, respectively.

CONCLUSION:

The study suggests that, although absolute grip strength values appear to vary across the Muscovite, Danish, and English samples, the degree to which grip strength is predictive of mortality is comparable across national populations with diverse socioeconomic and health profiles and life expectancy levels.

Added: Oct 25, 2017
Article
Tomkins S., Collier T., Oralov A. et al. Plos One. 2012. Vol. 7. No. 2.
Added: Jun 21, 2017
Article
Thiel S. D., Bitzer S., Nierhaus T. et al. Plos One. 2014. Vol. 2. No. 9. P. e89802.

Perceptual decisions not only depend on the incoming information from sensory systems but constitute a combination of current sensory evidence and internally accumulated information from past encounters. Although recent evidence emphasizes the fundamental role of prior knowledge for perceptual decision making, only few studies have quantified the relevance of such priors on perceptual decisions and examined their interplay with other decision-relevant factors, such as the stimulus properties. In the present study we asked whether hysteresis, describing the stability of a percept despite a change in stimulus property and known to occur at perceptual thresholds, also acts as a form of an implicit prior in tactile spatial decision making, supporting the stability of a decision across successively presented random stimuli (i.e., decision hysteresis). We applied a variant of the classical 2-point discrimination task and found that hysteresis influenced perceptual decision making: Participants were more likely to decide 'same' rather than 'different' on successively presented pin distances. In a direct comparison between the influence of applied pin distances (explicit stimulus property) and hysteresis, we found that on average, stimulus property explained significantly more variance of participants' decisions than hysteresis. However, when focusing on pin distances at threshold, we found a trend for hysteresis to explain more variance. Furthermore, the less variance was explained by the pin distance on a given decision, the more variance was explained by hysteresis, and vice versa. Our findings suggest that hysteresis acts as an implicit prior in tactile spatial decision making that becomes increasingly important when explicit stimulus properties provide decreasing evidence.

Added: Oct 23, 2014
Article
Korostelev Y., Zharov I., Mironov A. A. et al. Plos One. 2016. Vol. 11. No. 9. P. 1-23.

The large and increasing volume of genomic data analyzed by comparative methods provides information about transcription factors and their binding sites that, in turn, enables statistical analysis of correlations between factors and sites, uncovering mechanisms and evolution of specific protein-DNA recognition. Here we present an online tool, Prot-DNA-Korr, designed to identify and analyze crucial protein-DNA pairs of positions in a family of transcription factors. Correlations are identified by analysis of mutual information between columns of protein and DNA alignments. The algorithm reduces the effects of common phylogenetic history and of abundance of closely related proteins and bindingsites. We apply it to five closely related subfamilies of the MerR family of bacterial transcription factors that regulate heavy metal resistance systems. We validate the approach using known 3D structures of MerR-family proteins in complexes with their cognate DNA binding sitesand demonstrate that a significant fraction of correlated positions indeed form specific side-chain-to-base contacts. The joint distribution of amino acids and nucleotides hence may be used to predict changes of specificity for point mutations in transcription factors.

Added: Mar 14, 2018
Article
Grigoriev P., Jasilionis D., Stumbrys D. et al. Plos One. 2017. Vol. 12. No. 7. P. 1-14.

Although excessive alcohol-related mortality in the post-Soviet countries remains the major public health threat, determinants of this phenomenon are still poorly understood. We assess simultaneously individual- and area-level factors associated with an elevated risk of alcohol-related mortality among Lithuanian males aged 30–64.

Added: Oct 25, 2017
Article
Hennig-Schmidt H., Goerg S., Walkowitz G. et al. Plos One. 2016. Vol. 11. No. 6. P. 1-16.

The reconcilability of actions and beliefs in inter-country relationships, either in business or politics, is of vital importance as incorrect beliefs on foreigners’ behavior can have serious implications. We study a typical inter-country interaction by means of a controlled laboratory investment game experiment in Germany, Israel and Palestine involving 400 student participants in total. An investor has to take a risky decision in a foreign country that involves transferring money to an investee/allocator. We found a notable constellation of calibrated and un-calibrated beliefs. Within each country, transfer standards exist, which investees correctly anticipate within their country. However, across countries these standards differ. By attributing the standard of their own environment to the other countries investees are remarkably bad in predicting foreign investors’ behavior. The tendency to ignore this potential difference can be a source of misinterpreting motives in cross-country interaction. Foreigners might perceive behavior as unfavorable or favorable differentiation, even though – unknown to them – investors actually treat fellow-country people and foreigners alike.

Added: Oct 4, 2018
Article
Blythe D. A., Nikulin V. Plos One. 2017. Vol. 12. No. 5. P. 1-28.

We show theoretically that the hypothesis of criticality as a theory of long-range fluctuation in the human brain may be distinguished from the theory of passive filtering on the basis of macroscopic neuronal signals such as the electroencephalogram, using novel theory of narrowband amplitude time-series at criticality. Our theory predicts the division of critical activity into meta-universality classes. As a consequence our analysis shows that experimental electroencephalography data favours the hypothesis of criticality in the human brain.

Added: Jun 7, 2017
Article
Kolbeneva M. G., Alexandrov Y. Plos One. 2016. Vol. 11. No. 7. P. 1-37.

Language acquisition is based on our knowledge about the world and forms through multi- ple sensory-motor interactions with the environment. We link the properties of individual experience formed at different stages of ontogeny with the phased development of sensory modalities and with the acquisition of words describing the appropriate forms of sensitivity. To test whether early-formed experience related to skin sensations, olfaction and taste differs from later-formed experience related to vision and hearing, we asked Russian- speaking participants to categorize or to assess the pleasantness of experience mentally reactivated by sense-related adjectives found in common dictionaries. It was found that cat- egorizing adjectives in relation to vision, hearing and skin sensations took longer than cate- gorizing adjectives in relation to olfaction and taste. In addition, experience described by adjectives predominantly related to vision, hearing and skin sensations took more time for the pleasantness judgment and generated less intense emotions than that described by adjectives predominantly related to olfaction and taste. Interestingly the dynamics of skin resistance corresponded to the intensity and pleasantness of reported emotions. We also found that sense-related experience described by early-acquired adjectives took less time for the pleasantness judgment and generated more intense and more positive emotions than that described by later-acquired adjectives. Correlations were found between the time of the pleasantness judgment of experience, intensity and pleasantness of reported emo- tions, age of acquisition, frequency, imageability and length of sense-related adjectives. All in all these findings support the hypothesis that early-formed experience is less differenti- ated than later-formed experience. 

Added: Aug 24, 2016
Article
Pokhoday M., Scheepers C., Shtyrov Y. et al. Plos One. 2018. Vol. 13. No. 4. P. 1-12.

Understanding the determinants of syntactic choice in sentence production is a salient topic in psycholinguistics. Existing evidence suggests that syntactic choice results from an interplay between linguistic and non-linguistic factors, and a speaker’s attention to the elements of a described event represents one such factor. Whereas multimodal accounts of attention suggest a role for different modalities in this process, existing studies examining attention effects in syntactic choice are primarily based on visual cueing paradigms. Hence, it remains unclear whether attentional effects on syntactic choice are limited to the visual modality or are indeed more general. This issue is addressed by the current study. Native English participants viewed and described line drawings of simple transitive events while their attention was directed to the location of the agent or the patient of the depicted event by means of either an auditory (monaural beep) or a motor (unilateral key press) lateral cue. Our results show an effect of cue location, with participants producing more passive-voice descriptions in the patient-cued conditions. Crucially, this cue location effect emerged in the motor-cue but not (or substantially less so) in the auditory-cue condition, as confirmed by a reliable interaction between cue location (agent vs. patient) and cue type (auditory vs. motor). Our data suggest that attentional effects on the speaker’s syntactic choices are modality-specific and limited to the visual and motor, but not the auditory, domain.

Added: Mar 29, 2018
Article
Petushkova N., Zgoda V., Pyatnitskiy M. et al. Plos One. 2017. Vol. 12. No. 5. P. 0177427-1-0177427-21.

Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry was used to analyze plasma proteins of volunteers (control) and patients with glioblastoma multiform (GBM). A database search was pre-set with a variable post-translational modification (PTM): phosphorylation, acetylation or ubiquitination. There were no significant differences between the control and the GBM groups regarding the number of protein identifications, sequence coverage or number of PTMs. However, in GBM plasma, we unambiguously observed a decreased fraction in post-translationally modified peptides identified with high quality. The disease-specific PTM patterns were extracted and mapped to the set of FDA-approved plasma protein markers. Decreases of 46% and 24% in the number of acetylated and ubiquitinated peptides, respectively, were observed in the GBM samples. Significance of capturing disease-associated patterns of protein modifications was envisaged.

Added: Mar 14, 2018
Article
Charkhabi M., Халезов Е. А., Kotova T. et al. Plos One. 2019. Vol. 14. No. 11. P. 1-13.

School engagement reflects the degree to which students are invested, motivated and willing to participate in learning at their school and this relates to future academic and professional success. Although school engagement is a primary factor predicting educational dropout or successful school completion in Europe and North America, little is known about school engagement factors in non-English speaking countries. We adapted a 15-item school engagement scale and assessed validity and reliability of the Russian translation on a sample of Russian school-aged children (N = 537, 6-12 years, 46% females) who attended at public schools in Moscow. Results of the final factorial structure that included emotional, cognitive and behavioral components were selected based on its excellent fit indices and principles of parsimony. Component results show that the emotional component has the highest internal consistency and the behavioral component has the lowest. Although, all components are significantly interrelated, we observed no gender differences and no significant correlation with age. Theoretically, our data agree with the notion that children's emotional engagement in schools sets the foundation for learning, participating and succeeding in school activities. Practically, the proposed scale in Russian can be used in educational and clinical settings with Russian speaking children. our data agree with the notion that children's emotional engagement in schools sets the foundation for learning, participating and succeeding in school activities. Practically, the proposed scale in Russian can be used in educational and clinical settings with Russian speaking children. our data agree with the notion that children's emotional engagement in schools sets the foundation for learning, participating and succeeding in school activities. Practically, the proposed scale in Russian can be used in educational and clinical settings with Russian speaking children.

Added: Oct 30, 2019
Article
Smirnov I. Plos One. 2019. Vol. 14. No. 5. P. 1-9.

The Internet provides students with a unique opportunity to connect and maintain social ties with peers from other schools, irrespective of how far they are from each other. However, little is known about the real structure of such online relationships. In this paper, we investigate the structure of interschool friendship on a popular social networking site. We use data from 36, 951 students from 590 schools of a large European city. We find that the probability of a friendship tie between students from neighboring schools is high and that it decreases with the distance between schools following the power law. We also find that students are more likely to be connected if the educational outcomes of their schools are similar. We show that this fact is not a consequence of residential segregation. While high- and low-performing schools are evenly distributed across the city, this is not the case for the digital space, where schools turn out to be segregated by educational outcomes. There is no significant correlation between the educational outcomes of a school and its geographical neighbors; however, there is a strong correlation between the educational outcomes of a school and its digital neighbors. These results challenge the common assumption that the Internet is a borderless space, and may have important implications for the understanding of educational inequality in the digital age.

Added: May 29, 2019
Article
Romero-Severson E., Bulla I., Spicknall I. et al. Plos One. 2018. No. e0204741. P. 1-19.

Predicting the population-level effects of an infectious disease intervention that incorporate multiple modes of intervention is complicated by the joint non-linear dynamics of both infection transmission and the intervention itself. In this paper, we consider the sensitivity of Dynamic Optimal Control Profiles (DOCPs) for the optimal joint investment in both a contagiousness and susceptibility-based control of HIV to bio-behavioral, economic, and programmatic assumptions. The DOCP is calculated using recently developed numerical algorithms that allow controls to be represented by a set of piecewise constant functions that maintain a constant yearly budget. Our transmission model assumes multiple stages of HIV infection corresponding to acute and chronic infection and both within- and between-individual behavioral heterogeneity. We parameterize a baseline scenario from a longitudinal study of sexual behavior in MSM and consider sensitivity of the DOCPs to deviations from that baseline scenario. In the baseline scenario, the primary determinant of the dominant control were programmatic factors, regardless of budget. In sensitivity analyses, the qualitative aspects of the optimal control policy were often robust to significant deviation in assumptions regarding transmission dynamics. In addition, we found several conditions in which long-term joint investment in both interventions was optimal. Our results suggest that modeling in the service of decision support for intervention design can improve population-level effects of a limited set of economic resources. We found that economic and programmatic factors were as important as the inherent transmission dynamics in determining population-level intervention effects. Given our finding that the DOCPs were robust to alternative biological and behavioral assumptions it may be possible to identify DOCPs even when the data are not sufficient to identify a transmission model.

Added: Oct 8, 2019
Article
Oksuzyan A., Shkolnikova M., Vaupel J. et al. Plos One. 2015. Vol. 10. No. 6.
Added: Jun 21, 2017