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Exposure of Mothers to Terror Attacks during Pregnancy Increases the Risk of Schizophrenia in Their Children

HERAIONThe children of mothers exposed to terror attacks during pregnancy are 2.5 times more likely to develop schizophrenia than mothers not to exposed to terror during pregnancy. This was the finding of a comprehensive study undertaken at the University of Haifa. “It is possible that the psychosocial stress of terror attacks in the mothers occurred during a critical period of fetal brain development. Insults during such a critical period of neurodevelopment were so potent that years later the risk of schizophrenia increased.” explained Prof. Stephen Levine, one of the authors of the study.
Previous studies have found that exposure to terror attacks through television – i.e. the media reporting of terror incidents in which the individual was not personally involved – cause the damage and loss of psychological resources. In the present study, the researchers sought to examine whether babies born to mothers exposed to terror attacks, but not involved in them, faced an elevated risk of schizophrenia.

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Serving Customers? Smile - but Not Too Much

COSTUMER SERVICEDo you smile at your customers? If so, make sure your smile isn’t too wide. A new study undertaken at the University of Haifa found that displaying emotions at high intensity when serving customers is perceived as inauthentic and is liable to impair the customers’ satisfaction with the product and its use. “Expressing emotions such as happiness or sadness isn’t enough. It’s important to pay attention to the magnitude in which the emotion is expressed by service staff,” explains Dr. Arik Cheshin of the University of Haifa, one of the authors of the study.

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The Special Role of Pigeons in Greening the Negev 1,500 Years Ago

SHIVTAPigeons played an important role in turning the Byzantine Negev into a flourishing region 1,500 years ago. This is the conclusion of a new study held at the Institute of Archeology at the University of Haifa that was published today in the prestigious journal PlosOne. The study, which concentrated on the ancient settlement of Shivta and Saadon, found archeological evidence showing that the Byzantines in the Negev raised pigeons not as a source of food, but in order to fertilize the loess soil and enhance its suitability for intensive agriculture. “Pigeon droppings are rich in phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen, which are vital for agricultural and are lacking in the loess soils of the Negev,” the researchers explained. “The pigeon bones we found are much smaller than those of pigeons bred for the meat industry. Together with the nesting materials we found in the compartments and their location in the middle of agricultural fields, the findings show that the pigeons were raised without significant intervention. The role of humans was mainly confined to providing protection for the birds.”

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Arab-Jewish Relations Index, Directed by Prof. Sammy Smooha of the University of Haifa: Attitudes of Jewish and Arab public concerning coexistence deteriorate, but foundation of relationships is still firm

SmoohaFor over four decades, Prof. Sammy Smooha of the University of Haifa has directed the Arab-Jewish- Relations Index. This year’s findings reflect a deterioration in Jewish-Arab relations. Over half of Arab citizens in 2017 do not accept that Israel will be a state with a Jewish majority and do not recognize Israel as a Jewish and democratic state – a significant fall by comparison to the 2015 figures. Among Jews, a decrease can be seen in willingness to live next to an Arab neighbor, to let one’s children study at a school with Arab students, or to enter an Arab village or town. Nevertheless, a majority of Israeli Arabs think that Israel as a good country to live in, while most Jews are willing to take steps to increase equality, as long as these do not impair Israel’s Jewish character. “There has been a sharp deterioration in Jewish-Arab relations over the past two years, but this does not amount to a ‘sea change,” Prof. Smooha explains. “The majority of Jews and Arabs in Israel believe in a shared society.”

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Rodent Bones Tell the Story of the Blooming Negev 1,500 Years Ago

RodensJawsResearchers have uncovered a large quantity of bones belonging to Tristram’s jird, a common rodent in Israel whose body length does not exceed 15 cm, providing the first biological evidence of the agriculture that flourished in the northern Negev region some 1,500 years ago. The bones were found near ancient fields tended by Byzantine farmers in the region, in an era when large parts of the Negev were colored green. “Today, Tristram’s jird is common in the Mediterranean areas of Israel. In recent years, with the expansion of agriculture in the Negev, its habitat has expanded to the south. Now we have found bones of this rodent dating back to the Byzantine period in areas that are currently arid and do not offer the habitat it requires. The findings show that Byzantine agriculture was so well-developed that it had an impact on species diversity in the Negev,” explained Prof. Gur Bar-Oz of the University of Haifa, who is heading a project that is researching the collapse of Byzantine cities of the Negev.

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University of Haifa Launches the Multiversity Revolution

LOGOMULTIThe University of Haifa is launching the multiversity revolution and will present the new approach at an Open Day to be held on March 8, 2018, from 4:00 PM, on the university campus. The multiversity approach is based on the belief that the future depends on academic combinations. Tomorrow’s professions require the combination of different fields in order to create holistic and multidisciplinary knowledge, accompanied by practical tools.

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New Study: Our Handwriting Reveals Our Mood

תמונה תומכת תוכןFeeling angry, happy, or irritated? A new study at the University of Haifa has found that our handwriting reveals our mood. “There’s a problem measuring emotions using objective indexes that are completely free of what the subject tells us,” explains Clara Rispler, one of the authors of the study. “An ability to identify the subject’s emotions easily and non-invasively could lead to a breakthrough in research and in emotional therapy.”

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University of Haifa Researchers Decipher One of the Last Two Remaining Unpublished Qumran Scrolls

QUMERANDr. Eshbal Ratson and Prof. Jonathan Ben-Dov of the Department of Bible Studies at the University of Haifa have managed to decipher and restore one of the last two Qumran Scrolls that remain unpublished, out of some 900 scrolls uncovered at the site. The researchers spent over a year painstakingly reassembling more than 60 tiny sections written in a secret code. The reward for their hard work is fresh insight into the unique 364-day calendar used by the members of the Judean Desert sect, including the discovery for the first time of the name given by the sect to the special days marking the transitions between the four seasons.
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New Archeological Exhibition Tells the Story of Hippos during the Transition from Paganism to Christianity in the Land of Israel

HIPPOSA pagan amulet used by a senior clergyman at the church in Hippos (Sussita), a fresco depicting the Greek goddess Tyche on a wall by the church; and a figurine of one of the regular participants in the alcohol-soaked processions devoted to the god of wine Dionysus all tell the story of ancient Hippos during the transition from the pagan Roman period to the Christian-Byzantine era. These and other findings are on display in a new exhibition in the University of Haifa’s Hecht Museum entitled Before the Earth Shook: the Ancient City of Hippos-Sussita Emerges.
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Saving the Planet One Dollar at A Time

TIMEContinuing its campaign to save endangered ecosystems through a worldwide crowd-funding strategy, This is My Earth (TiME) has closed out 2017 with enough funds to purchase a 7,000 dunam track of wild jungle lands in the Peruvian Amazon. The lands are home to such remarkable species as the Spectacled Bear, White Fronted Monkey and Jaguars. These animals, along with several other species face high levels of vulnerability to extinction.  With the purchase, the lands will become part of a local nature reserve that is being managed by the local communities.

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Emotions: Not for the Powerful

תמונה תומכת תוכןDo we believe apologies by people who have committed a transgression? It depends on their power status. A new international study including the University of Haifa found that people with high social status are perceived as insincere when they apologize for a transgression, relative to people of lower status. “The high-status person is perceived as someone who can control their emotions more effectively and use them strategically, and accordingly they are perceived as less sincere. This perception applies to the world of business and work, and it’s reasonable to assume it applies to politicians, too. The more senior they are, the less authentic their emotions are perceived as being,” says Dr. Arik Cheshin of the University of Haifa, one of the authors of the study.
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Innovation at the University of Haifa: Students Learn about Fake News

תמונה תומכת תוכןFake news is a euphemism for psychological warfare. After the elites recognized the danger presented by social networks, they developed tools and techniques for exploiting the new reality to their own advantage. Their efforts have already far surpassed Orwell’s dystopian vision in his novel 1984. These are just some of the insights that will feature in a new course opened this year at the University of Haifa.

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Conflicts at Work Increase the Risk of Unsafe Driving by Professional Drivers

תמונה תומכת תוכןThe more a professional driver is involved in conflicts with their colleagues, the greater the risk that they will drive unsafely. This is the finding of a new study undertaken at the University of Haifa. “Drivers who develop negative relationships may suffer from various covert and overt reactions, communications obstacles, limited access to information, and a lack of social influence promoting safety. Accordingly, they will find it harder to model safe behaviors,” the researchers explain.

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The Connection between an Unusual Pottery vessel and the Development of the Elites

תמונה תומכת תוכןThe oldest evidence of food storage rituals has been found by researchers from the University and the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Berlin during excavations at the prehistoric site of Tel Tsaf: an unusual pottery vessel. The vessel, which is over 7,000 years old, reveals for the first time the ritual and political significance of large scale food storage in the Ancient Near East. “Until now, discussions of the early transition to complex societies in this area have focused mainly on later periods and on the connection between the development of socioeconomic elites and the ability of certain individuals or families to store large quantities of food, beyond their own needs for survival. In this context, the findings at Tel Tsaf provide first hand evidence of the early connection between food storage on a large scale and the observance of a ritual associated with the successful storage and preservation of agricultural yields,” explains Prof. Danny Rosenberg of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology, who heads the research project at Tel Tsaf together with Dr. Florian Klimscha from the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin for the last five years.

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Smileys? Not at Work

תמונה תומכת תוכןDo you assume that adding a smiley to work-related emails can help you make a positive first impression? A new study has found that a smiley is not regarded the same way as a smile, and can actually have a negative impact on the initial impression created in formal work-related emails. “While an actual smile has a positive impact on creating an initial impression, adding a smiley can harm the person who included it in their email,” explains Dr. Arik Cheshin, one of the authors of the study.

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