Cognitive Daily

Archives for February, 2006

The TV movie Flight 93, which re-enacted the hijacking of a United Airlines flight on September 11, 2001, was criticized because it “humanized” the hijackers (despite this apparent humanity of their captors, the movie did portray the passengers and crew on that flight fighting back and eventually causing the plane to crash in a sparse…

Casual Fridays: Veiled illusion

This week’s Casual Friday study is the most complicated design we’ve done yet. However, in the spirit of Casual Fridays, it should still take only a minute or two of your time. It involves an incredibly clever visual illusion, and should be quite fun as well. As usual, you have until 11:59 Eastern time on…

Casual Fridays: What are you drinking?

Last week’s survey asked readers how their drinking habits changed when they were at work-related social events compared to with friends. Due to my own very casual Friday, I posted the survey rather late, after 10:00 p.m., so we received fewer responses than usual: just 137. Nonetheless, even with a relatively small sample, we were…

Take a look at this video (click on the image to play). It’s pretty clear what’s going on — the green dot bumps into the red dot, causing it to move: But what about this one? With this movie, it’s harder to say: some people would say the green dot passes through the red dot,…

One of the first questions our son Jim asks when a new movie comes out is “what’s it rated?” The more “adult” the rating, the more appealing the movie is to him: PG is the lowest rating he’ll even consider, PG-13 is better, and R is best. Since he’s only 14, we don’t take him…

In 1973, a massive study of almost 400,000 Dutch men appeared to confirm what anecdotal evidence and even some scientific research had led scholars to suspect: The first-born child in a family tends to be the most intelligent. The researchers, Lillian Belmont and Francis Marolla, found that within a given family size, earlier-born children tended…

Casual Fridays: Here’s to your job!

Sorry I’m posting this so late this week — I was having problems connecting to the Internet earlier today, and hey, it’s Friday, so I had plans for the evening. But it is still Friday, so you can’t complain too much. This week’s study is on a topic of particular interest on Fridays: drinking. Specifically,…

Casual Fridays: Driving like maniacs

Last week’s Casual Friday survey asked readers to describe how they expect other drivers to behave when merging onto the freeway. Now that the survey has been completed, I can let you in on a bit more of the observations that motivated the survey. I live in North Carolina, and I like to visit the…

Twelve years ago, Greta and I were awakened by a rattling on the door of our Bronx apartment. It was about three A.M.; our children were asleep in the next room. “What should I do?” Greta whispered to me. She had woken first and was holding the deadbolt on the door locked so the intruder…

My son Jim’s favorite game, World of Warcraft, only works on my computer, which usually resides in the kitchen. Inevitably, Jim’s often playing his game while Greta and I are making dinner, and I have to say, the most annoying thing about the game isn’t the violence or the sound effects — it’s the background…