Cognitive Daily

Archives for April, 2005

Drumbeats alone can convey emotion

We often think of music as expressing emotions, and research has backed this notion up. But typically the research has focused on melodic instruments: sweet, sorrowful violins; bright, happy guitars; melancholy, wailing oboes. So what about percussion instruments: drums, cymbals, tympani—can they express emotion too? Listen to the following short music clips. As you listen,…

I used to be a high school biology teacher, and I noticed that students often found it easier to learn irrelevant information than the information I was trying to teach. When learning the steps involved in the process of cell division, the students simply memorized the pictures in their textbook. If I tested them using…

How real is our memory?

Humans readily establish false memories. If you give adults a study list of words like hot, snow, warm, winter, ice, wet, chilly, weather, heat, freeze, shiver, frost, and then test them later, they will “remember” related words like cold that weren’t actually on the list. They will be as sure that cold was on the…

It’s impossible to pay attention to everything in the visual field at once. If we could, magicians would be out of business: most “magic” tricks work by distracting the viewers’ attention while the real trick is being done in plain sight. However, if a new object enters our field of view, we quickly direct our…

How is language acquired? We don’t have to teach our children to speak; instead they just seem to pick it up on their own. Because language is acquired so readily, the study of language acquisition can be a messy business. What portion of language ability is “hard wired” into the brain, and what portion of…

There has been a great deal of reporting about the harmful impact of video games, including here at Cognitive Daily. Yet the simple act of playing a video game can require learning a great deal of information. We have discussed studies showing impressive perceptual gains after just a short time playing a game. Children are…

September 11. The Challenger disaster. The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. If we were over the age of 10 when these events occurred, we all remember them vividly: where we were when we heard the news, the weather that day, how we felt. It’s as if these memories were imprinted on our minds with…

Yesterday we reported on the results of studies on the impact of media violence. Today we’ll discuss theoretical implications and responses to those studies, as reported by Craig Anderson et al. in their report “The Influence of Media Violence on Youth.” Given the fact that there is a significant correlation between media violence and aggression,…

Yesterday we reported on the general reactions to studies on the impact of media violence. Today we’ll get into the specifics of those studies, as reported by Craig Anderson et al. in their report “The Influence of Media Violence on Youth.” The history of research on media violence and its relationship to aggression (behavior intended…

In the summer of 2000, a committee of scholars was commissioned to write a chapter on the effects of media violence on youth for the Surgeon General’s Report on Youth Violence, published in January 2001. But their chapter was not included in the Surgeon General’s final report. The reason for the omission was unclear; however,…