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When it comes to rewards and punishments, which is more effective — the carrot or the stick? Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have devised a simple experiment to test the effects of rewards and punishments on behavior and have found that punishments seem to be more effective at influencing behavior.MORE

​Recalling long lists of random words, numbers and playing cards will be the challenge this weekend as two dozen of the world's top memory athletes square off in San Diego for the 2015 Extreme Memory Tournament, an annual competition sponsored by Washington University in St. Louis and Dart NeuroScience.

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Sediment cores from two lakes in the Mississippi floodplain show that Cahokia, the largest prehistoric settlement in the Americas north of Mexico, emerged during a period when there were few severe floods on the river and that its decline and abandonment coincided with the return of large floods.

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A demographic study of two endangered plants at Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco shows that they favor  recently disturbed open areas over areas that have established plant cover. The study strengthens the case for removing the beachgrass originally planted to stabilize the dunes and allowing the sand to move in response to storm surges and strong tides. MORE
By training a type of grasshopper to recognize odors, a team of biomedical engineers at Washington University in St. Louis is learning more about the brain and how it processes information from its senses.MORE

The Department of Mathematics has announced that a Washington University team, consisting of junior Anthony Grebe, senior Alan Talmage and sophomore Jongwhan Park, placed 16th out of 431 teams in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition, the most difficult mathematics competition for undergraduates in the country. Washington University teams also took first and second place in the Missouri Collegiate Mathematics Competition.

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An inaugural exhibit of images by scientists, titled "Research as Art," held April 3, included eerie landscapes created by vortices in superfluids, smeared false-color data from satellite-borne instruments, three-dimensional images of grains that exploded out of supernovas and many more enigmatic and colorful images.MORE
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Susan Killenberg McGinn
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smcginn@wustl.edu
Diana Lutz
Senior Science Editor
(314) 935-5272
dlutz@wustl.edu