Mapping words to color

Researchers led by postdoc Colin Twomey and professor Joshua Plotkin developed an algorithm that can infer the communicative needs different linguistic communities place on colors.

Katherine Unger Baillie

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In the News


Need to break up with someone? Baboons have found a good way to do it, study finds

Robert Seyfarth of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about how and why groups of primates “break up” and warned not to project that information onto human relationships. "You always find somebody who says, yeah, the baboons are showing us that you shouldn't have a despotic breakup and it's bad to just dump somebody and walk off," he said. "But I guess I'm not going to go into that territory."


The Guardian

The inner lives of cats: what our feline friends really think about hugs, happiness and humans

Carlo Siracusa of the School of Veterinary Medicine said cats are capable of bonding with people, contrary to claims that they’re merely using their owners for food and shelter. “Humans hug and kiss. Dogs become very excited and jump around. Cats don’t do anything like that. They are much more elegant,” he said. “They approach us. They bump their heads. Then they have some contact with us and walk away.”


Popular Science

The protein that keeps worker ants in line can also make them queen

Research by PIK Professor Shelly Berger and Roberto Bonasio of the Perelman School of Medicine found a protein in the brains of ants is responsible for regulating social behavior. “Kr-h1 is required to maintain the boundaries between social castes and to ensure that workers continue to work while gamergates continue to act like queens,” said Berger.


Philadelphia Inquirer

Prizewinning photo by Penn biologist called metaphor for ‘spiraling crisis’ in the ocean

Kristen Brown, a postdoc in the lab of Katie Barott at the School of Arts & Sciences, won a contest with a photo she took while researching coral reefs.


Psychology Today

Hyenas inherit their moms’ social connections

Erol Akçay of the School of Arts & Sciences and former postdoc Amiyaal Ilany discussed their research on hyena’s social networks. “We show that a simple process—social inheritance—is important to understanding network structure and dynamics,” said Akçay.


Quanta Magazine

’Social’ mitochondria, whispering between cells, influence health

James Eberwine of the Perelman School of Medicine spoke about how mitochondria interact, communicate, and mutate. “If we understand how the mitochondria are acting together, and we learn how to manipulate it,” he said, “we’re going to gain so much more insight into biology.”