Research Picks Extra -November 2016

Anyone for tennis?

World-class tennis players at the Wimbledon Championships each summer yield to psychological phenomena such as “loss aversion” and “decision fatigue” in how they play their first serve , according to UK researchers. The study found that in this, one of the most prestigious of the so-called Grand Slam tournaments, players often exhibit loss aversion as they deal with decision fatigue during match play. “The findings have significant implications for the debate about whether experience, competition and high stakes ameliorate the effects of behavioural biases, for the design of behavioural experiments and for the construction of theoretical models of decision making,” the team reports.

Mallard, G. (2016) ‘Loss aversion and decision fatigue at the Wimbledon tennis championship‘, Int. J. Behavioural Accounting and Finance, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp.70-91.

Sexual health and literacy

Literacy and access to education have long been found to correlate with positive indicators of women’s reproductive health and that even marginal levels of literacy are sufficient to nudge women towards appropriate healthcare. However, in low-income parts of the world, education is commonly inaccessible and this has a major impact on health, particularly reproductive health. New research comes to the important conclusion that female literacy and education correlate negatively with several indicators of reproductive health. Moreover, 75% of the countries with the lowest literacy rates for women are listed in the lowest 20% on the human development index. This is not an acceptable situation in which the global community should find itself in the twenty-first century.

Zimmerman, M.S. (2016) ‘Assessing the impact on female literacy and education on maternal and infant health‘, Int. J. Gender Studies in Developing Societies, Vol. 1, No. 4, pp.365-375.

Knuckle down for security

Fingerprints, iris recognition, voice pattern identification and even typing style have all been used as biometric security mechanisms. They all have pros and cons. Now, new research suggests that for low-level security needs the shame and surface of a person’s knuckles would provide a rapid, yet secure access system for individual identification without the complexity and computing power requirements of fingerprint analysis or iris recognition. Accuracy of more than 97% was demonstrated using the Canny edge feature extraction method.

Malik, J., Dahiya, R., Girdhar, D. and Sainarayanan, G. (2016) ‘Finger knuckle print authentication using Canny edge detection method‘, Int. J. Signal and Imaging Systems Engineering, Vol. 9, No. 6, pp.333-341.

Simplifying solar

Linear arrays of solar panels – both photovoltaic for electricity generation and thermal for water heating – have attracted a lot of attention as a sustainable and environment friendly power source and approach to heating. Now, a simple procedure can be used to assess efficiency of integrated individual solar cells in a linear concentrating photovoltaic/thermal integrated system. The system can be used to balance water flow rate against the rise and fall in electricity generation efficiency depending on the needs of the user at any given time so that water heating and electricity generation can be optimised.

Vishwanath, G., Vivar, M., Kumar, N. and Balakrishnan, R. (2016) ‘A simple procedure to study the performance of individual solar cells in a linear concentrating photovoltaic/thermal integrated system’, Int. J. Renewable Energy Technology, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp.309–335.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.