Cognitive Daily

Archives for August, 2005

More on video game violence

This is an image from the video game Asheron’s Call 2 (source: mmorpg.com). Does playing such a game, involving regular practicing (albeit in a virtual environment) of repetitive, violent acts, increase our general level of aggression? A recent article in New York Times says no, citing a study by “a researcher at the University of…

Steven Johnson is a writer who I very much admire. I’m particularly impressed by his defense of video games and other technologies in his book Everything Bad is Good For You. However, in defending the good aspects of video games, he has also felt compelled to downplay their negative effects. For example, a recent blog…

Reassessing the “Mozart Effect”

The “Mozart Effect” hit the mainstream media by storm in the mid 1990s, in the form of a bestselling book by the same name. A Google search for the topic still reveals a slew of products designed to exploit the effect—to increase IQ, or overall well-being, or even physical health. The psychological basis for the…

How does color tell us about motion?

The human brain is incredibly specialized. There are individual neurons for recognizing faces, edges of objects, and specific sounds. One fruitful area of research recently has been to determine precisely how specialized the brain really is. Here’s one example. The image below links to an animated movie. Click on it and see how quickly you…

Tangled Bank #35

Welcome to Tangled Bank—we’re thrilled to finally have the opportunity to host. For CogDaily readers who may not be aware of Tangled Bank, it’s a fortnightly “carnival” of the best science blog postings from the previous two weeks. There’s always an incredible variety of posts from all areas of the scientific world, and this week…

Perceiving motion creates a fascinating problem for psychologists. Physicists for centuries have devised a whole set of rules describing how objects actually move. These rules are so precise and accurate that it’s tempting to say that the human perceptual system simply integrates them into motion we see, so that our mental representation of what we…

This Wednesday, we’ll be hosting Tangled Bank, a nifty collection of the best science blog postings for the last two weeks. If you’ve got a science blog—or any kind of a blog, actually, consider yourself invited to submit! Just pick your best science-related post from the past two weeks (and we’re defining science very loosely),…

One of Jean Piaget’s most famous observations is the phenomenon of “object permanence”—the idea that babies younger than eight months old have no conception of an object once it’s hidden from view. It’s easy to see how he came to this conclusion. Click on the picture of my daughter Nora at six months of age…

What an ugly sweater!

It happens to everyone. You open a present and find a gift of so little personal interest that you wonder if you got the wrong package. The classic may be clothes presented to a preschooler; who can expect a 3 year-old to smile and say, “Thank you!” upon receiving a sweater? Somehow, we learn the…

“Boys are better at math” is a stereotype decades in the making, and it has in some cases been borne out by testing measures such as the SAT. The stereotype has been around so long that many wonder whether the stereotype is the effect or the cause of any actual differences in math ability. Many…