Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World


Tropes vs. autism in Religious Studies

“Why are autistic people different in just the way they are?” asks Uta Frith, a pioneer of autism research. “I put the blame on an absent Self.” Indeed, the absent self theory is the prevailing account of autism among developmental psychologists. Because autistic people lack conscious self-awareness, so the theory goes, they can’t organize their experiences into a meaningful story.

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International Affairs

The divide – France, Germany, and political NATO

Europe’s unity is under threat, and if France and Germany cannot muster the will to rescue the European project of integration and cooperation, then all bets are really off. Those who imagine that the EU could falter to no great effect are being naïve. A failed EU would pull down NATO and other vestiges of Western unity, and we would be returning to a 19th century balance of power diplomacy.

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Dance of black holes trembles our Universe

The existence of gravitational waves, or ripples in the space-time, is no more just a speculation but a firm truth, after the recent direct detection of such waves from at least two pairs of merging black holes by the LIGO gravitational-wave detector. In such a binary system, two black holes orbit each other at a close separation, nearly at the speed of light, whirling the spacetime in their neighbourhood.

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Public Opinion Quarterly

The polls aren’t skewed, media coverage is

The perceived failures of election forecasting in 2016 have caused many to suggest the polls are broken. However, scholars are quick to point out that more than polling failure this election has demonstrated that people have a hard time thinking probabilistically about election outcomes. Our research suggests skewed media coverage of polls may also be to blame: News media are likely to cover the most newsworthy polls.

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Brain 0217

How does acupuncture work? The role of S1 remapping

Acupuncture is a medical therapy that originated in China several thousand years ago and is rooted in a complex practice ritual based on a philosophy that predates our current understanding of physiology. Despite its long history, though, the intervention itself, particularly when coupled with electrical stimulation, significantly overlaps with many conventional peripherally-focused neuromodulatory therapies.

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Social History of Medicine Journal Cover

What not to expect when you’re expecting

Writing in 1990 about her experience attending antenatal classes in the 1950s, British mother and childbirth activist Heda Borton recalled her husband squirming as he watched a film of a baby being born in their antenatal education class: “My husband came to the evening under protest, and sat blowing his nose and hiding behind his handkerchief.”

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Reducing risk of suicide in cancer patients

Cancer patients experience substantial psychological effects from facing death, financial issues, emotional problems with friends and family, and adverse medical outcomes from treatment. The psychological effects are so severe that some patients consider suicide. Depression is more common in people with cancer than in the general population, said Kelly Trevino, PhD, from the Center for Research on End-of-Life Care at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.

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Eating fruits and vegetables can make you more attractive

Carotenoids are yellow, orange, and red pigments synthesized by plants and algae. They are responsible for the colours in fruits and vegetables, like the redness in tomatoes. When consumed, these pigments are used by many animals to produce brightly coloured displays. Examples range from the orange patches on guppies, the pink feathers of flamingos, the yellow-orange underside of common lizards, to the orange exterior of ladybird beetles.

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Journal of International Dispute Settlement (JIDS)

Brexit, Shakespeare, and International Law

How to make sense of the Brexit vote and its aftermath? To where can we look if we are to learn more, and to learn more deeply, of the agonistic parts played by principle and pragmatism in human decision-making where self, sovereignty and economic well-being are concerned? King John – Shakespeare’s English history play with the earliest setting of all – casts the longest and, perhaps the strongest, light.

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British Medical Bulletin

The critical role of China in global tobacco control

Many might think that the best way to reduce the global tobacco epidemic is by health education and banning sales to minors – policies well-liked by teachers, parents, and governments. But these are ineffective means of reducing smoking prevalence. Surprisingly, it is a fiscal measure that is the critical and easily the most important means of improving public health, as by raising the price, cigarettes become less affordable, especially to the young.

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German History journal cover

Why queer history?

Fifteen years ago, as a junior scholar, I was advised not to publish my first book on the persecution of gay men in Germany. And now, one of the major journals in the field has devoted an entire special issue to the theme of queering German history. We have come a long way in recognising the merits of the history of sexuality–and same-sex sexuality by extension–as integral to the study of family, community, citizenship, and human rights.

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Brain 0217

Can hypnosis improve the functioning of injured brains?

Think about a situation in the past few years where your mind was at its very best. A situation where you felt immune to distractions, thinking was easy and non-strenuous, and you did not feel information-overloaded. If you take a moment, you can probably recall one such situation. As you think about it, you may even experience it actively right now and get a sense that you could be in that state again.

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Brain 0217

Conscious unity, split perception

We take it for granted that our entire brain only produces one conscious agent, despite the fact that the brain actually consists of many different, more or less independent modules. But how is this possible? The classic answer to this riddle is cortical connectivity. Separate brain regions only give rise to one conscious agent because the different parts continuously exchange massive amounts of information.

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ISP cover

Research interview approaches in International Relations

‘You do realise that they’ll talk differently to you because you’re British?’ I thought about this advice a lot. It came from a Zimbabwean who I met as I began research for my book about Zimbabwe’s International Relations. I planned to interview Zimbabweans to find out how they saw the world, and how they understood themselves in relation to it. There are many ways to conduct research interviews.

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Foreign Policy Analysis

Economic statecraft and the Donald

How will the Trump administration utilize economic statecraft and how will his approach be distinct from previous presidents? To answer these questions, we look to what we know about Trump’s stances and early actions on trade policy, sanctions, and foreign aid. For much of the early history of the republic, economic statecraft was the primary bargaining tool employed.

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