Cognitive Daily

Archives for April, 2005

(source of original images: Wikipedia. See license) When my daughter Nora was 15 months old, she had started to pick up a few words. She could say “Mommy,” and “Daddy,” and “JimmyNO,” which is what she called her brother. However, she had only two words for animals: all animals were called either “duck” or “dog.”…

Why we can’t all be divas

Listen to these two musical excerpts and note any differences you discern: Ave Maria, version 1 Ave Maria, version 2 (Source: courtesy of Mayumi Hamamoto and Kyota Ko) If you’re a typical nonmusician, you will probably notice some sort of difference between the two excerpts. Maybe one seems to be played at a different tempo,…

It is well known that humans and other animals can recognize biological motion when shown only a point-light display. Other research has shown that social cues are deeply embedded in our perceptual system. We can also perceive emotions and intentions in simple geometric displays. So what is going on in our brains while we watch…

What makes a wine expert?

Wine expert Robert Parker claims to be able to distinguish every wine he has ever tasted—10,000 different wines a year—by taste alone. Winemakers can use their sense of smell to detect slight imbalances early in the wine production process that might lead to a spoiled batch. Meanwhile, novices walk the aisles of the typical wine…

One of the most difficult things for small children to learn is how to take someone else’s perspective. If a typical three year old hides a toy when her brother is out of the room, she believes he will know where it is when he returns. By the time they are five, most children will…