ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 16 (UPI) -- Text messaging can reveal more truthful responses to sensitive questions as people are more candid in them than in voice interviews, U.S. researchers say.
That is the conclusion of a study to be presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.
"The preliminary results of our study suggest that people are more likely to disclose sensitive information via text messages than in voice interviews," said Fred Conrad, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.
"This is sort of surprising," Conrad said, "since many people thought that texting would decrease the likelihood of disclosing sensitive information because it creates a persistent, visual record of questions and answers that others might see on your phone and in the cloud."
Researchers conducted the study to see whether responses to the same questions varied depending on whether the questions were asked via text or voice, whether a human or a computer asked the questions, and whether the environment, including the presence of other people and the likelihood of multitasking, affected the answers.
"We're in the early stages of analyzing our findings," psychology Professor Michael Schober said.
"But so far it seems that texting may reduce some respondents' tendency to shade the truth or to present themselves in the best possible light in an interview -- even when they know it's a human interviewer they are communicating with via text."
Most detailed image of galaxy captured
MUNICH, Germany, May 16 (UPI) -- European astronomers say they've captured the deepest, most detailed images ever of a massive elliptical galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its heart.
Centaurus A lies about 12 million light-years from Earth in the southern hemisphere constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur) and has the distinction of being the most prominent radio galaxy in the sky.
Astronomers with the European Southern Observatory say they believe the galaxy's bright nucleus, strong radio emissions and jet features are evidence of a central black hole with a mass of about 100 million times that of our sun.
The new images of Centaurus A were taken with the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, the ESO reported Wednesday from its headquarters in Munich, German.
With a total exposure time of more than 50 hours this is probably the deepest view of this galaxy ever created, astronomers said.
Centaurus A has been extensively studied at wavelengths ranging from radio all the way to gamma-rays, they said.
First documented by British astronomer James Dunlop in 1826, the galaxy is often called Centaurus A because it was the first major source of radio waves discovered in the constellation of Centaurus in the 1950s.
Smartphones can help visually impaired
CHICAGO, May 16 (UPI) -- While smartphones can be of great assistance help to the visually impaired, few vision doctors are recommending them to patients, a U.S. study says.
Researchers at Loyola University of Chicago's Stritch School of Medicine said a survey of 46 low-vision adults, with best-corrected vision ranging from 20/70 to complete blindness, found only 15 percent had a vision doctor recommend a smartphone for the devices' accessibility features.
Twenty-four of the patients, with an average age of 36, used smartphones while 30 patients, average age 67, had basic cellphones.
"Young, visually impaired patients are getting ahead of their doctors," Walter M. Jay, an ophthalmologist and senior author of the study, said in a Loyola release Wednesday.
"Low-vision specialists should be getting out in front on this rather than being behind the curve," he said.
Smartphones offer a number of accessibility features for the visually impaired, researchers said, including the ability to increase font sizes to large as 56 point, enabling users with very poor vision to read texts and e-mails, screens whose brightness can be increased significantly, and global positioning system and voice features that can help the visually impaired to navigate.
"Smartphones can dramatically improve the quality of life of people with poor vision," Jay said.
Renewable energy could come from space
GLASGOW, Scotland, May 16 (UPI) -- Solar power gathered in space and sent back to Earth through microwaves or lasers could provide the renewable energy of the future, Scottish engineers say.
Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow have already tested equipment in space that would provide a platform for solar panels to collect energy and allow it to be transferred back to Earth, the university reported Wednesday.
"Space provides a fantastic source for collecting solar power and we have the advantage of being able to gather it regardless of the time of the day or indeed the weather conditions," Massimiliano Vasile, of the university's department of mechanical and aerospace engineering, said.
In April, an innovative "space web" experiment developed by Strathclyde researchers was carried on a rocket from the Arctic Circle to the edge of space.
The experiment, known as Suaineadh or "twisting" in Scots Gaelic, was a step forward in space construction design and demonstrated that larger structures could be built on top of a light-weight spinning "web," paving the way for the next stage in the solar power project, researchers said.
"The success of Suaineadh allows us to move forward with the next stage of our project which involves looking at the reflectors needed to collect the solar power," Vasile said.
Solar power from space could allow valuable energy to be sent to remote areas in the world, providing power to disaster areas or outlying areas that are difficult to reach by traditional means, the researchers said.
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