# RPTU - Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern Landau

• Kaiserslautern, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Recent publications
Objective: Among basic personality traits, Honesty-Humility yields the most consistent, negative link with dishonest behavior. The theoretical conceptualization of Honesty-Humility, however, suggests a potential boundary condition of this relation, namely, when lying is prosocial. We therefore tested the hypothesis that the association between Honesty-Humility and dishonesty weakens once lying benefits someone else, particularly so if this other is needy. Methods: In two online studies (Study 1: N = 775 in Germany; Study 2: N = 737 in the UK, preregistered), we measured self-reported Honesty-Humility and dishonest behavior in incentivized cheating paradigms in which the beneficiary of participants’ dishonesty was either the participants themselves, a “non-needy” other (e.g., another participant), or a “needy” other (e.g., a charity). Results: We found support for the robustness of the negative association between Honesty-Humility and dishonesty, even if lying was prosocial. Conclusion: Individuals high in Honesty-Humility largely prioritize honesty, even if there is a strong moral imperative to lie; those low in Honesty-Humility, by contrast, tend to lie habitually and thus even if they themselves do not directly profit monetarily. This suggests that (un)truthfulness may be an absolute rather than a relative aspect of Honesty-Humility, although further systematic tests of this proposition are needed.
Populism and beliefs in conspiracy theories fuel societal division as both rely on a Manichean us-versus-them, good-versus-evil narrative. However, whether both constructs have the same dispositional roots is essentially unknown. Across three studies conducted in two different countries and using diverse samples (total N = 1,888), we show that populism and conspiracy mentality have a strong common core as evidenced using bifactor modeling. This common core was uniquely linked to (aversive) personality, namely the Dark Factor of Personality (D), beyond basic personality traits from the HEXACO Model of Personality Structure. The association between D and the common core was, in turn, fully accounted for by distrust-related beliefs as captured in cynicism, dangerous and competitive social worldviews, sensitivity to befallen injustice, and (low) trust propensity. Taken together, the results show that populism and conspiracy mentality have a shared psychological basis that is well described as a socio-politically flavored manifestation of generalized dispositional distrust. The findings thus underscore the value of generalized trust for societal functioning and suggest that increasing trust may simultaneously combat both populism and beliefs in conspiracy theories.
We describe algorithms to compute splitting fields and towers of radical extensions in which a polynomial splits, without using polynomial factorisation in towers or constructing any field properly containing the constructed field, instead extending Galois group computations for this task. We also describe the computation of geometric Galois groups (monodromy groups) and their use in computing absolute factorizations.
The biocide Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis (Bti) is applied to wetlands to control nuisance by mosquitoes. Amphibians inhabiting these wetlands can be exposed to Bti multiple times, potentially inducing oxidative stress in developing tadpoles. For biochemical stress responses, ambient water temperature plays a key role. Therefore, we exposed tadpoles of the European common frog (Rana temporaria) three times to field-relevant doses of Bti in outdoor floodplain pond mesocosms (FPM) under natural environmental conditions. We sampled tadpoles after each Bti application over the course of a 51-day experiment (April to June 2021) and investigated the activity of the glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and protein carbonyl content as a measure for detoxification activity and oxidative damage. GST activity increased over the course of the experiment likely due to a general increase of water temperature. We did not observe an effect of Bti on either of the investigated biomarkers under natural ambient temperatures. However, Bti-induced effects may be concealed by the generally low water temperatures in our FPMs, particularly at the first application in April, when we expected the highest effect on the most sensitive early stage tadpoles. In light of the global climate change, temperature-related effects of pesticides and biocides on tadpoles should be carefully monitored - in particular since they are known as one of the factors driving the worldwide decline of amphibian populations.
Background It is well known that older age is associated with losses in cognitive functioning. Less is known about the extent to which creativity is changing with age or dementia. Aim of the current study was to gain more insights into psychometric aspects of creativity in younger and older people as well as people with dementia. Method Our sample comprised three groups, (1) participants between age 18—30 years (n = 24), (2) participants 65 + years without cognitive impairment (n = 24), and (3) participants 65 + years with cognitive impairment / dementia (n = 23). Cognitive abilities were assessed via the Standard Progressive Matrices Test (SPM), Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test (MoCa), and Trail Making Test (TMT). Creativity was assessed via the Creative Reasoning Task (CRT), Test of Creative Thinking-Drawing Production (TCT-DP), and Alternate Uses Task (AUT). Results Compared to younger people, older people scored significantly lower in only two out of eleven creativity sub-scores (one in the CRT and one in the TCT-DP). Performance in the SPM was significantly associated with these two sub-scores and age. Cognitively impaired older people had significantly lower scores in the creativity task AUT compared to cognitively healthy older people and younger people. The associations between MoCa and AUT scores were also significant. Conclusion Creativity appears relatively stable in older age, with exception of those creativity skills that are affected by abstract reasoning (SPM), which appear susceptible to aging. As our findings suggest, cognitive impairment in older age might impair only some aspects of creativity with other creativity aspects being comparable to cognitively healthy people. The age-related and the cognitive status-related effects seem to be independent. The preserved creative abilities can be used in dementia care programs.
We examine spin excitation or polarization transfer via spin chains with long-range exchange interactions in the presence of diagonal and off-diagonal disorder. To this end, we determine the mean localization length of the single-excitation eigenstates of the chain for various strengths of the disorder. We then identify the energy eigenstates of the system with large localization length and sufficient support at the chain boundaries that are suitable to transfer an excitation between the sender and receiver spins connected to the opposite ends of the chain. We quantify the performance of two transfer schemes involving weak static couplings of the sender and receiver spins to the chain, and time-dependent couplings realizing stimulated adiabatic passage of the excitation via the intermediate eigenstates of the chain which exhibits improved performance.
Objective: There is an ongoing debate in personality research whether the common core of aversive ("dark") traits can be approximated by or even considered equivalent to one of the constructs that have been labeled "Agreeableness". In particular, it has been suggested that the low pole of (what we term) AG+, a broad blend of Big Five Agreeableness and the HEXACO factors Honesty-Humility, Agreeableness, and Altruism, is essentially equivalent to the Dark Factor of Personality (D). Based on theoretical differences, we herein test empirically whether D and AG+ are isomorphic. Methods: Self-report data on D, AG+, and eight criterion measures reflecting justifying beliefs, inflicting disutility on others, and affiliative tendencies were collected in a pre-registered study (N = 1156) and analyzed via confirmatory factor modeling. Results: Results speak against unity of D and AG+ (35% shared variance) and support the notion that D subsumes a broader range of aversive content (i.e., justifying beliefs and inflicting disutility on others) than AG+, which, in turn, subsumes a slightly broader range of non-aversive, affiliative tendencies. Conclusion: We conclude that AG+ is non-equivalent to the common core of aversive traits, D.
The InSight lander carried an Instrument Deployment System (IDS) that included an Instrument Deployment Arm (IDA), scoop, five finger “claw” grapple, forearm-mounted Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC) requiring arm motion to image a target, and lander-mounted Instrument Context Camera (ICC), designed to image the workspace, and to place the instruments onto the surface. As originally proposed, the IDS included a previously built arm and flight spare black and white cameras and had no science objectives or requirements, or expectation to be used after instrument deployment (90 sols). During project development the detectors were upgraded to color, and it was recognized that the arm could be used to carry out a wide variety of activities that would enable both geology and physical properties investigations. During surface operations for two martian years, the IDA was used during major campaigns to image the surface around the lander, to deploy the instruments, to assist the mole in penetrating beneath the surface, to bury a portion of the seismometer tether, to clean dust from the solar arrays to increase power, and to conduct a surface geology investigation including soil mechanics and physical properties experiments. No other surface mission has engaged in such a sustained and varied campaign of arm and scoop activities directed at such a diverse suite of objectives. Images close to the surface and continuous meteorology measurements provided important constraints on the threshold friction wind speed needed to initiate aeolian saltation and surface creep. The IDA was used extensively for almost 22 months to assist the mole in penetrating into the subsurface. Soil was scraped into piles and dumped onto the seismometer tether six times in an attempt to bury the tether and ∼30%\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$\sim30\%$\end{document} was entrained in the wind and dispersed downwind 1-2 m, darkening the surface. Seven solar array cleaning experiments were conducted by dumping scoops of soil from 35 cm above the lander deck during periods of high wind that dispersed the sand onto the panels that kicked dust off of the panels into suspension in the atmosphere, thereby increasing the power by ∼15% during this period. Final IDA activities included an indentation experiment that used the IDA scoop to push on the ground to measure the plastic deformation of the soil that complemented soil mechanics measurements from scoop interactions with the surface, and two experiments in which SEIS measured the tilt from the arm pressing on the ground to derive near surface elastic properties.
Soils contain significantly more carbon than the atmosphere, hence we should understand how best to stabilize it. Unfortunately, the role of human interventions on soil organic carbon (SOC) persistence in the Anthropocene remains vague, lacking adequate sites that allow unbiased direct comparisons of pristine and human influenced soils. Here we present data from a unique study system in the High Andes that guarantees pristineness of the reference sites by physical inaccessibility through vertical cliffs. By comparing the isotopic signatures of SOC, mineral related carbon stabilization, and soil nutrient status across grazed versus pristine soils, we provide counterintuitive evidence that thousands of years of pastoralism increased soil C persistence. Mineral associated organic carbon (MAOC) was significantly higher in pastures. Land use increased poorly crystalline minerals (PCM’s), of which aluminum correlated best with MAOC. On the other hand, human’s acceleration of weathering led to acidification and higher losses of cations. This highlights a dilemma of lower soil quality but higher persistence of SOC due to millennia of pastoralism. The dynamics of soil genesis in the Anthropocene needs better understanding, but if human-induced weathering proves generally to promote soil carbon persistence it will need to be included in climate—soil feedback projections.
An increased frequency of chromosome segregation errors, known as chromosomal instability (CIN), leads to accumulation of aneuploid cells with abnormal chromosomal numbers, which impairs viability through negative effects on survival and proliferation under most conditions. Two recent papers find by independent approaches that the key to surviving high levels of CIN is reducing the instability itself, showcasing the remarkable adaptability of the chromosome segregation machinery, in particular the microtubule-kinetochore interface, and highlighting the crucial role that maintaining chromosomal stability plays in cell proliferation.
The antiferromagnetic order in heterostructures of NiO/Pt thin films can be modified by optical pulses. After the irradiation with laser light, the optically induced creation of antiferromagnetic domains can be observed by imaging the created domain structure utilizing the X‐ray magnetic linear dichroism effect. The effect of different laser polarizations on the domain formation can be studied and used to identify a polarization‐independent creation of 180° domain walls and domains with 180° different Néel vector orientation. By varying the irradiation parameters, the switching mechanism can be determined to be thermally induced. This study demonstrates experimentally the possibility to optically create antiferromagnetic domains, an important step towards future functionalization of all optical switching mechanisms in antiferromagnets.
Fallopia japonica and Impatiens glandulifera are major plant invaders on a global scale that often become dominant in riparian areas. However, little is known about how these species affect interactions in soil–plant systems. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of both species on abiotic and biotic soil properties, with a special focus on fungi. We investigated eight sites along small streams invaded by F. japonica and I. glandulifera, respectively, and compared each with nearby sites dominated by the native species Urtica dioica. Three different types of samples were collected: bulk soil, rhizosphere soil and roots from invasive and native stands at each site. Bulk soil samples were analysed for soil physicochemical, microbial properties (soil microbial respiration and ergosterol) and soil arthropod abundance (Acari and Collembola). Soil respiration was also evaluated in rhizosphere samples. The fungal community composition of both bulk soil and roots were analysed using a metabarcoding approach. Soil physicochemical properties as well as soil microbial activity, fungal biomass and soil fungal operational unit taxonomic unit (OTU) richness did not differ between invaded and native riparian habitats, indicating only minor belowground impacts of the two invasive plant species. Soil microbial activity, fungal biomass and soil fungal OTU richness were rather related to the soil physicochemical properties. In contrast, Acari abundance decreased by 68% in the presence of F. japonica, while Collembola abundance increased by 11% in I. glandulifera sites. Moreover, root-associated fungal communities differed between the invasive and native plants. In F. japonica roots, fungal OTU richness of all investigated ecological groups (mycorrhiza, endophytes, parasites, saprobes) were lower compared to U. dioica. However, in I. glandulifera roots only the OTU richness of mycorrhiza and saprobic fungi was lower. Overall, our findings show that F. japonica and I. glandulifera can influence the abundance of soil arthropods and are characterized by lower OTU richness of root-associated fungi.
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) occur as contaminants in plant-based foods and herbal medicines. Following metabolic activation by cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, PAs induce DNA damage, hepatotoxicity and can cause liver cancer in rodents. There is ample evidence that the chemical structure of PAs determines their toxicity. However, more quantitative genotoxicity data are required, particularly in primary human hepatocytes (PHH). Here, the genotoxicity of eleven structurally different PAs was investigated in human HepG2 liver cells with CYP3A4 overexpression and PHH using an in vitro test battery. Furthermore, the data were subject to benchmark dose (BMD) modeling to derive the genotoxic potency of individual PAs. The cytotoxicity was initially determined in HepG2-CYP3A4 cells, revealing a clear structure–toxicity relationship for the PAs. Importantly, experiments in PHH confirmed the structure-dependent toxicity and cytotoxic potency ranking of the tested PAs. The genotoxicity markers γH2AX and p53 as well as the alkaline Comet assay consistently demonstrated a structure-dependent genotoxicity of PAs in HepG2-CYP3A4 cells, correlating well with their cytotoxic potency. BMD modeling yielded BMD values in the range of 0.1–10 µM for most cyclic and open diesters, followed by the monoesters. While retrorsine showed the highest genotoxic potency, monocrotaline and lycopsamine displayed the lowest genotoxicity. Finally, experiments in PHH corroborated the genotoxic potency ranking, and revealed genotoxic effects even in the absence of detectable cytotoxicity. In conclusion, our findings strongly support the concept of grouping PAs into potency classes and help to pave the way for a broader acceptance of relative potency factors in risk assessment.
In the context of district heating networks we consider a model for the distribution of energy through water (for heating or cooling) from a central power station to the consumers. We prove the well posedness of the system, by using the Banach Fixed Point Theorem together with stability estimates for reduced systems. Eventually we consider optimal control problems motivated by applications and we provide the existence of optimal controls in special situations.
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• Department of Computer Science
• Center for Cognitive Science: Experimental Psychology Unit
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