IN RESEARCH: Collective bragging can betray insecurity; Probing the rice genome
October 31, 2008
COLLECTIVE BRAGGING CAN BETRAY INSECURITY: From partisans at a political rally to fans at a football game, groups that engage in pompous displays of collective pride may be trying to mask insecurity and a low social status, suggests new research led by UC Davis psychologists.
The research was presented Oct. 23 at the annual meeting of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology in Sacramento. Hosted this year by the UC Davis Department of Psychology, the three-day meeting brought together about 250 research psychologists from around the world.
"Our results suggest that hubristic, pompous displays of group pride might actually be a sign of group insecurity as opposed to a sign of strength," said Cynthia Pickett, associate professor of psychology at UC Davis and one of only a few research psychologists to have studied collective pride.
Pickett and her co-investigators found that groups that boast, gloat and denigrate outsiders tend to be of low social status or vulnerable to threats from other groups. In contrast, those that express pride by humbly focusing on members' efforts and hard work tend to have high social standing.
-- Claudia Morain
PROBING THE RICE GENOME: A new tool for investigating the rice genome has been developed by researchers at UC Davis led by Pamela Ronald, professor of plant pathology. The inexpensive, publicly available rice DNA microarray covers nearly all the 45,000 genes in the rice genome.
Details were published this week in the journal PLoS (Public Library of Science) One.
Ronald and her colleagues used the rice array to investigate gene expression changes when plants are grown in the light versus the dark. They then combined this gene expression data with biochemical pathway data to correctly predict a number of candidate gene products involved in carrying out photorespiration.
-- Pat Bailey
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