Cognitive Daily

Archives for April, 2006

The average 3- to 10-year-old girl in the U.S. owns eight Barbies. Only one percent of this group owns no Barbies. And every girl seems to go through similar stages with her Barbies — first, adoration, next, ambivalence, and finally, rejection. By the time they’re in middle school, most girls have either thrown out their…

Take a look at these two faces. One of these women can’t recognize that the other is afraid, but when asked to express fear, is still able to produce a fearful expression. Can you tell which is which? We know the amygdala is associated with identifying scary music; we know the amygdala helps us generate…

When I was in college, I put off everything until the last possible instant: I got out of bed just moments before class started; I finished papers minutes before they were due. But I rarely actually missed a deadline for a paper. Now most of my deadlines aren’t nearly as firm as they were in…

Last week’s Casual Friday study seemed like a great idea. Playing off the study we recently analyzed which revealed that the orientation of shapes could convey emotion, we thought we might be able to demonstrate a similar phenomenon with scenes. Respondents were divided into three groups. Everyone saw the same three pictures, but each group…

If you have normal hearing and an amygdala, you can probably tell which of these two songs is “happy,” and which is “scary.” Song 1 Song 2 However, for extreme cases of epilepsy, one treatment is to surgically remove the amygdala, the area of the brain which processes, among other things, the sensation of fear.…

Yesterday’s post brings up an interesting question: How can you be unaware of having even seen an image, and yet be able to make reliable judgments about that image? That article is just one example of a variety of situations in which people can be unaware of seeing something, even immediately after being given a…

How long does it take to decide if someone’s attractive? It might be before you even know you looked. Researchers can use a masking technique to show an image of a human face subliminally — without the observer being aware of seeing it. To do it, they first show a scrambled face (39 milliseconds). Next,…

Do pictures evoke similar emotions for you as they do for others? Now’s your chance to find out. This week’s Casual Fridays study is designed to determine whether the same pictures evoke the same emotions in different people. You’ll first be asked your birth month, which is just a way to divide participants into roughly…

This week’s Casual Friday study was about the hearing loss problem associated with headphone use, and whether readers would adopt a technological solution to the problem. Eighty-one percent of our 133 respondents said that they own a portable music device (though the relatively low response rate suggests that perhaps some people who don’t own such…

Standup comics have long made vice president Dick Cheney the butt of their jokes, suggesting that he’s never seen in public with the President because he inhabits some fortified underground bunker so as to avoid terrorists or some other unidentified threat, or that he’s actually a cyborg, secretly controlling the government from his dark, hidden…