Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand

Victoria University of Wellington was established in 1897 by Act of Parliament, and was a constituent college of the University of New Zealand.It is particularly well known for its programmes in law, the humanities, and some scientific disciplines, and offers a broad range of other courses. Entry to all courses at first year is open, and entry to second year in some programmes is restricted.Victoria had the highest average research grade in the New Zealand Government's Performance-Based Research Fund exercise in 2012, having been ranked 4th in 2006 and 3rd in 2003. Victoria has been ranked 265th in the World's Top 500 universities by the QS World University Rankings . Wikipedia.

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News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

Our closest evolutionary relatives are quite the mind readers. And they can use that knowledge to help people figure things out when they are labouring under a misapprehension, according to the latest research. The ability to attribute mental states to others, aka theory of mind, is sometimes considered unique to humans, but evidence is mounting that other animals have some capacity for it. In a study last year, chimps, bonobos and orangutans watched videos of people behaving in different scenarios as cameras tracked their eye movements. The experiment found that the apes looked where an actor in the video would expect to see an object, rather than towards its true location, suggesting the animals were aware others could hold false beliefs. But that experiment left open the possibility apes were simply predicting that the actor would go to the last place he’d seen the object, without understanding that he held a false belief. Now, David Buttelmann at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and colleagues tested 34 zoo chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans, in search of more conclusive evidence. In their test, person A places an object into one of two boxes, then either remains in the room or leaves. Person B removes it, places it in the other box and locks both boxes. Then A tries to open the box where they left the object. The apes know how to unlock the boxes and can decide to open either one. When A remained in the room, the apes were equally likely to unlock either box. But when A wasn’t there for the switch, the apes unlocked the box containing the object in 77 per cent of trials. This shows apes can recognise when A is acting under a false belief, the researchers argue. The apes guess that the person is trying to find the object, and help them by opening the right box. When A knows which box the object is in and tries to open the other box, the team’s reasoning goes, it’s not clear why they are doing this so the apes don’t respond in a consistent way Their performance in this test closely matches the behaviour of a 16-month-old baby. In a second test, A gives the object to B, then leaves the room while B puts the object in one of the boxes. In this case, rather than having a false belief, A doesn’t actually know where the object is. The apes chose to unlock each box equally often, perhaps, the researchers say, because it was less clear what the person’s intention was. Because the apes behave differently in each of the two scenarios, it shows they have some mental representation of what the other person believes, says Buttelmann, rather than just thinking that person doesn’t know where the object is. The results show apes apply their understanding of others’ beliefs when deciding how to behave in social interactions, he says. Many other studies have found that great apes understand other mental states such as goals, intentions and desires. “The fact that we now have two studies that show evidence of belief understanding in great apes, shows that we are not that different,” says Buttelmann. “Whether this belief understanding is as fully fledged as it is in humans is a different question.” Thibaud Gruber, from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, says the new study is a great improvement on the previous work because it tests active responses rather than tracking the apes’ gaze. “The results suggest that, similar to 16-month-old infants, all great apes are able to use their mind reading skills to help others,” he says. “It’s particularly interesting that they actually use these skills to help the experimenter, while usually apes are seen as the competitive ones, compared to humans the cooperative ones!” Richard Byrne of the University of St Andrews, UK, says observational studies have pointed towards these abilities in non-human great apes for 40 years. “I’m glad to see that another non-verbal theory of mind test has been passed by three species of great ape, but I’m not at all surprised,” he says. But Alia Martin from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, isn’t convinced by the conclusions, given that in two of the test conditions apes still choose boxes randomly, indicating they don’t have a good understating of the situation. “I’m excited to see researchers look for this amazing ability in apes, but we’re going to need more research to settle the ape theory of mind debate.” Read more: Why teenagers can’t see your point of view

News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

It’s not just humans who get pregnancy cravings. The females of one bird species also seem to get an itch for certain foods when they are incubating eggs – and their partners are able to pander to their dietary whims. “For the first time, we tested whether and how males cater to the specific desires of their mates in the wild,” says Rachael Shaw at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, who led the study conducted at Zealandia, a nature sanctuary in the city. The researchers tested 16 pairs of New Zealand robins (Petroica longipes) while the female was incubating. Females were fed mealworms and two types of insect larvae under two conditions: when a male could see what his partner ate and when he couldn’t. The female birds generally preferred a food type if they hadn’t eaten it recently. The males somehow knew what food the females wanted, even when they couldn’t see what they were being fed by the researchers. When a male robin held a preferred food item, his partner begged more intensely for it prior to or during food sharing. The study demonstrates the subtlety with which a mated pair of birds conveys important information crucial to successful breeding, says John Marzluff at the University of Washington in Seattle. “This study is the first to confirm in the wild that not only the hunger of the female, but [also] the specific preference for food type is conveyed to the male, and that this information is most likely encoded in the vigour of her begging behaviour,” he says. This suggests that females can somehow signal their current desires to their mates, enabling males to cater to female desire in the wild. This is important because in monogamous species such as New Zealand robins, food sharing by the male is vital to help the female offset the energetic costs of reproduction, such as egg laying and incubation. The male’s ability to give his mate what she wants could be an important factor in determining the success of a pair, as well as influencing whether they stay together, says Shaw. This discovery raises the possibility that many other species might be capable of doing the same, she adds. Read more: Birds sing to their newborn chicks to warn them of hot weather; Birds do impressions – it’s time to take them seriously

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRASUPP-03-2016 | Award Amount: 3.00M | Year: 2017

The objective of the AENEAS project is to develop a concept and design for a distributed, federated European Science Data Centre (ESDC) to support the astronomical community in achieving the scientific goals of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The scientific potential of the SKA radio telescope is unprecedented and represents one of the highest priorities for the international scientific community. By the same token, the large scale, rate, and complexity of data the SKA will generate, present challenges in data management, computing, and networking that are similarly world-leading. SKA Regional Centres (SRC) like the ESDC will be a vital resource to enable the community to take advantage of the scientific potential of the SKA. Within the tiered SKA operational model, the SRCs will provide essential functionality which is not currently provisioned within the directly operated SKA facilities. AENEAS brings together all the European member states currently part of the SKA project as well as potential future EU SKA national partners, the SKA Organisation itself, and a larger group of international partners including the two host countries Australia and South Africa.

The clinical evidence indicates that the number of people with all levels of hearing impairment and hearing loss is rising mainly due to a growing global population and longer life expectancies. Hearing loss caused by pathology in the cochlea or the cochlear nerve is classified as sensorineural hearing loss. The study of the normal function and pathology of the inner ear has unique difficulties as it is inaccessible during life and so, conventional techniques of pathologic studies such as biopsy and surgical excision are not feasible.\nSIFEM focuses on the development of a Semantic Infostructure interlinking an open source Finite Element Tool with existing data, models and new knowledge for the multi-scale modelling of the inner-ear with regard to the sensorineural hearing loss. The experts will have access to both the data (micro-CT images, histological data) and inner ear models, while the open-source developed tools and the SIFEM Conceptual Model will be contributed to the VPH toolkit enhancing their reusability. These SIFEM open source tools and services enhance and accelerate the delivery of validated and robust multi-scale models by focusing on: (i) Finite Element Models manipulation and development, (ii) cochlea reconstruction and (iii) 3D inner ear models visualization.\nThe final outcome is the development of a functional, 3D, multi-scale and validated inner-ear model that includes details of the micromechanics, cochlea geometry, supporting structures, surrounding fluid environment and vibration patterns. In the open context that the project addresses the results can be used to better identify the mechanisms that are responsible for the highly sensitive and dynamic properties of hearing loss. These result to the description of alterations that are connected to diverse cochlear disorders and assist the experts to better assess each patients condition leading to more efficient treatment and rehabilitation planning and, in long-term, to personalized healthcare.

Curtis N.F.,Victoria University of Wellington
Coordination Chemistry Reviews | Year: 2012

The cyclic tetraamine 2,5,5,7,9,12,12,14-Octamethyl-1,4,8,11-tetraazacyclotetradecane can occur as six-diasterioisomers which are best characterised by the Cahn Ingold Prelog (CIP) priority rules. When coordinated, the nitrogen centres can occur in five configurations, resulting in 30 possible configurations. The configuration of the amines and their metal-ion compounds are unambiguously defined by the CIP configuration of the four carbon and four nitrogen chiral centres present. The chemistry of these cyclic tetraamines, and their metal-ion compounds is reviewed, with emphasis on structural studies, which permit unambiguous assignment of configuration. The literature reporting the preparations and properties of 2,5,5,7,9,12,12,14-octamethyl-1,4,8,11-tetraazacyclotetradecane and its compounds contains confusing and incorrect configuration assignments. © 2012 Elsevier B.V..

Visser M.,Victoria University of Wellington
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

Area products for multihorizon stationary black holes often have intriguing properties, and are often (though not always) independent of the mass of the black hole itself (depending only on various charges, angular momenta, and moduli). Such products are often formulated in terms of the areas of inner (Cauchy) horizons and outer (event) horizons, and sometimes include the effects of unphysical "virtual" horizons. But the conjectured mass independence sometimes fails. Specifically, for the Schwarzschild-de Sitter [Kottler] black hole in (3+1) dimensions it is shown by explicit exact calculation that the product of event horizon area and cosmological horizon area is not mass independent. (Including the effect of the third "virtual" horizon does not improve the situation.) Similarly, in the Reissner-Nordstrom- anti-de Sitter black hole in (3+1) dimensions the product of the inner (Cauchy) horizon area and event horizon area is calculated (perturbatively), and is shown to be not mass independent. That is, the mass independence of the product of physical horizon areas is not generic. In spherical symmetry, whenever the quasilocal mass m(r) is a Laurent polynomial in aerial radius, r=√A/4π, there are significantly more complicated mass-independent quantities, the elementary symmetric polynomials built up from the complete set of horizon radii (physical and virtual). Sometimes it is possible to eliminate the unphysical virtual horizons, constructing combinations of physical horizon areas that are mass independent, but they tend to be considerably more complicated than the simple products and related constructions currently being mooted in the literature. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Sterelny K.,Victoria University of Wellington
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2011

This paper contributes to a debate in the palaeoarchaeological community about the major time-lag between the origin of anatomically modern humans and the appearance of typically human cultural behaviour. Why did humans take so long-at least 100 000 years-to become 'behaviourally modern'? The transition is often explained as a change in the intrinsic cognitive competence of modern humans: often in terms of a new capacity for symbolic thought, or the final perfection of language. These cognitive breakthrough models are not satisfactory, for they fail to explain the uneven palaeoanthropological record of human competence. Many supposed signature capacities appear (and then disappear) before the supposed cognitive breakthrough; many of the signature capacities disappear again after the breakthrough. So, instead of seeing behavioural modernity as a simple reflection of a new kind of mind, this paper presents a niche construction conceptual model of behavioural modernity. Humans became behaviourally modern when they could reliably transmit accumulated informational capital to the next generation, and transmit it with sufficient precision for innovations to be preserved and accumulated. In turn, the reliable accumulation of culture depends on the construction of learning environments, not just intrinsic cognitive machinery. I argue that the model is (i) evolutionarily plausible: the elements of the model can be assembled incrementally, without implausible selective scenarios; (ii) the model coheres with the broad palaeoarchaeological record; (iii) the model is anthropologically and ethnographically plausible; and (iv) the model is testable, though only in coarse, preliminary ways. © 2011 The Royal Society.

Gamlen A.,Victoria University of Wellington
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers | Year: 2013

New Zealand, like many countries, has recently shifted from casting emigrants in a negative light to celebrating expatriates as national champions. What explains this change? Wendy Larner focuses on recent government initiatives towards expatriates as part of a neoliberal 'diaspora strategy', aimed at constructing emigrants and their descendants as part of a community of knowledge-bearing subjects, in order to help the New Zealand economy 'go global'. This study confirms that the new diaspora initiatives emerged from a process of neoliberal reform. However, it also highlights that in the same period, older inherited institutional frameworks for interacting with expatriates were being dismantled as part of a different dynamic within the wider neoliberalisation process. It argues that the shift in official attitudes towards expatriates arose from the overlap between these two processes in the period 1999-2008. In this way, the research builds on the 'diaspora strategy' concept, placing it within a broader analysis of institutional transformation through 'creative destruction', and linking it to a wider research agenda aimed at understanding state-diaspora relations beyond the reach of neoliberalism. © 2012 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).

McConnell M.J.,Victoria University of Wellington
Science translational medicine | Year: 2014

The addition of high-dose ascorbate to existing anticancer treatment strategies can improve efficacy and decrease toxicity--but not in all patients or with all combination therapies (Ma et al., this issue).

Low J.,Victoria University of Wellington
Child Development | Year: 2010

Three studies were carried out to investigate sentential complements being the critical device that allows for false-belief understanding in 3-and 4-year-olds (N = 102). Participants across studies accurately gazed in anticipation of a character's mistaken belief in a predictive looking task despite erring on verbal responses for direct false-belief questions. Gaze was independent of complement mastery. These patterns held when other low-verbal false-belief tasks were considered and the predictive looking task was presented as a time-controlled film. While implicit (gaze) knowledge predicted explicit (verbal) false-belief understanding, complement mastery and cognitive flexibility also supported explicit reasoning. Overall, explicit false-belief understanding is complexly underpinned by implicit knowledge and input from higher-order systems of language and executive control. © 2010, the Author(s).

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