Gender differences 390.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
The average person with a digital camera and a computer is used to cropping or
scaling down photos and clipping video segments.
But these processes can
result in the loss of important information; scaling down an image, for example,
sacrifices resolution. Now the YEDA Research and Development Company Ltd. – the
commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot – has entered
into a license agreement with the well-known Adobe Systems Inc. on a
“bidirectional similarity measure” to summarize visual data.
method produces a complete and coherent visual summary – a smaller or shorter
version of the original that retains the most relevant information. The
bidirectionality of the method ensures that the resulting image is visually
coherent, YEDA says. In addition to telling the same “story,” it is as visually
pleasing as the original. As opposed to cropping or clipping or scaling down,
the summarizing technique manages to maintain both relevant information and
resolution details, despite the decrease in size.
In addition to
summarizing images and videos, the method may have a number of other
applications, including completing missing parts in images and videos; creating
montages out of separate images; photo reshuffling (in which elements may be
moved around the image/video); automatic cropping; image synthesis (in which an
image might be expanded, rather than summarized); and image morphing (generating
a video sequence displaying a smooth transition from one image to another,
possibly unrelated image).
The bidirectional similarity method was
developed by Prof. Michal Irani and Drs. Denis Simakov, Yaron Caspi and Eli
Shechtman of the Rehovot institute’s computer science and applied mathematics
department. It is based on eliminating redundant information from the
Video summarization works in a similar way, only the program
exploits redundancy in space-time. Gradual resizing and rechecking ensures that
the final result is seamless and coherent, the Weizmann team
says.EFFECTS OF GENDER IMBALANCE
According to a University of Minnesota
study, sex ratios influence financial decisions. The study found that scarcity
of women leads men to be more impulsive, spend more and save less.
we see in the animal [world] is that when females are scarce, males become more
competitive. They compete more for access to mates,” says marketing Prof. Vladas
Griskevicius, who was the lead author of the study. “How do humans compete for
access to mates? What you find across cultures is that men often do it through
money, through status and through products.”
To test their theory that
the sex ratio affects economic decisions, the researchers asked participants to
read news articles that described their local population as having more men or
more women. They were then asked to indicate how much money they would save each
month from a paycheck, as well as how much they would borrow with credit cards
for immediate expenditures. When led to believe women were scarce, the savings
rates for men decreased by 42 percent. Men were also willing to borrow 84% more
money each month.
In another study, participants saw photo arrays of men
and women that had more men, more women or were neutral. After looking at the
photographs, participants were asked to choose between receiving some money
tomorrow or a larger amount in a month. When women were scarce in the photos,
men were much more likely to take an immediate $20 rather than wait for $30 in a
month. According to Griskevicius, participants were unaware that sex ratios were
having any effect on their behavior. Merely seeing more men than women
automatically led men to simply be more impulsive and want to save less while
borrowing more to spend on immediate purchases.
“Economics tells us that
humans make decisions by carefully thinking through our choices – that we’re not
like animals,” he says. “It turns out we have a lot in common with animals. Some
of our behaviors are much more reflexive and subconscious. We see that there are
more men than women in our environment, and it automatically changes our
desires, behaviors and entire psychology.”
While sex ratios do not
influence the financial choices women make, they do shape their expectations of
how men should spend their money when dating. After reading a news article
informing women that there are more men than women, women expected men to spend
more on dinner dates, gifts and engagement rings. When there’s a scarcity of
women, they felt men should go out of their way to court them, adds
Griskevicius. In a male-biased environment, men also expected they would need to
spend more in their mating efforts.
The researcher says the effects of
sex ratios go beyond marketing and influence all sorts of behavior. He cites
other studies showing the strong correlation between male-biased sex ratios and
“We’re just scratching the tip of the iceberg when
it comes to financial behavior. One of the troubling implications of sex ratios
for the world in general is that it’s about more than just money. It’s about
violence and survival,” says Griskevicius.