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Relationship value and economic value are evaluated by the same part of the brain — ScienceDaily

Wishing a friend happy birthday or spending a long period of time listening to their problems signifies commitment to the friendship. In other words, these actions serve as commitment signals (*1) and it is known that people value their relationships more with others who behave this way towards them.

Researchers from several Japanese universities have revealed that the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for calculating economic value, is also responsible for judging the value of relationships with friends based on the received commitment signals.

The research group consisted of Professor OHTSUBO Yohsuke (Graduate School of Humanities, Kobe University), Professor OHIRA Hideki (Graduate School of Informatics, Nagoya University), Aichi Medical University’s Lecturer MATSUNAGA Masahiro (and the Department of Health and Psychosocial Medicine research team), and Lecturer HIMICHI Toshiyuki (Kochi University of Technology).

These findings were published in the online edition of ‘Social Neuroscience’ on September 25.

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Relationship between plant traits and ecosystem functions — ScienceDaily

A research team has investigated the consequences of changes in plant biodiversity for the functioning of ecosystems. The scientists found that the relationships between plant traits and ecosystem functions change from year to year. This makes predicting the long-term consequences of biodiversity change extremely difficult.

“We found that — over the longer term — the links between plant traits and ecosystem functions were indeed very weak, as we could only explain about 12 per cent of the variance in ecosystem functioning,” said the paper’s lead author, Dr Fons van der Plas from the Institute of Biology at Leipzig University. Together with colleagues from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and other research institutions in Germany and abroad, he found different patterns than in previous studies — which had focused on short-term links between plant traits and ecosystem functions. These had previously assumed much stronger links between plant traits

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