Cognitive Daily

Archives for May, 2006

Courtney Martin makes an interesting argument about the phenomenon she calls The Paradox of the Perfect Girl. It’s the result of the recent upsurge of girls outperforming boys academically: The perfect girl is everywhere. She is your niece, your daughter, your friend’s genius kid. She is the girl who makes the valedictorian speech at your…

Gestalt, cubism, and camoflage

Roy Behrens has created a fascinating site analyzing the relationship between Gestalt psychology, cubism, and camoflage used on ships in World War I. In recent years, it has been verified that prominent French camoufleurs during World War I were consciously, willingly influenced by cubist methods (“In order to completely dissimulate things,” wrote French artist Lucien…

According to an article in the New York Times, names of companies that are easier to pronounce lead to higher stock prices. The researchers … tested name complexity and the performance of real initial public offerings listed on the New York and American Stock Exchanges. A $1,000 investment in a group of stocks with easy…

A recent study about violence and sex in TV advertising got a fair amount of press. “Violence and sex don’t sell,” the headlines proclaimed. If such a claim is true, it flies in the face of conventional wisdom and the blusterings of ad agencies worldwide. Advertisers have always used the idea that “sex sells” to…

When he was a toddler, our son Jim was entranced by Barney the Dinosaur. He’d watch the program for an uninterrupted 30 minutes each day, giving exhausted parents a much-needed chance for a rest, while Jimmy learned important skills such as counting and letters. While the rest was welcome, our belief that the programming was…

This week’s “Ask a Scienceblogger question” is: Since they’re funded by taxpayer dollars (through the NIH, NSF, and so on), should scientists have to justify their research agendas to the public, rather than just grant-making bodies? NO! The public isn’t qualified to determine whether research is worthwhile. Why do you think researchers spend nine-plus years…

Interesting article in the Washington Post about video game addiction in South Korea (via Slashdot). From the article: An estimated 2.4 percent of the population from 9 to 39 are believed to be suffering from game addiction, according to a government-funded survey. Another 10.2 percent were found to be “borderline cases” at risk of addiction…

Could all babies be synesthetes?

Take a look at the following movie. Your job is to identify which ball appeared to make the noise in the final frame. (click to play): If this seems confusing now, it should be cleared up by the end of this post. You can register your result in this poll: Synesthesia, as we’ve discussed before,…

Chris Chatham has an excellent summary of a talk by University of Chicago neurologist / mathematician Jack Cowan, who has come up with a mathematical explanation of a variety of common hallucinations. The development of orientation and spatial frequency maps in V1 [a region of the brain which maps images as they are transmitted from…

Japanese researchers have found a way to use a human brain image to control a robot. While this isn’t exactly “mind control” — the human still has to physically move his body in order to create the proper brain image, it’s a fascinating example of how things might work in the future. There are still…