Cognitive Daily

Archives for August, 2006

Just by listening to music, we can learn a lot about its structures and conventions. For example, even you have no musical training, you can tell that something is wrong with this scale (it’s followed by a proper C-major scale): But we learn a lot more than just standard scales when we listen to music.…

I try to stay away from answering “Ask a Scienceblogger” when it strays too far from my areas of expertise. This week, the question is the following: I read this article in the NRO, and the author actually made some interesting arguments. ‘Basically,’ he said, ‘I am questioning the premise that [global warming] is a…

The local newspaper here in Charlotte was aghast that SAT scores (a test used to help determine college admissions in the US) fell in North Carolina this year, even though the article goes on to point out that nationwide the scores dropped even more. So what’s up? Are schools letting the kids down? Is the…

Listen to this short audio clip: Now listen to this one: Notice any difference? I didn’t think so. But if you were a 5-month-old infant named Caroline, the difference would be crystal clear. In the second clip, your name would be indistinguishable from background noise, but in the first clip, you’d be able to hear…

Is the Flynn Effect ending? Are kids getting dumber again? Could it be that after years of striking intelligence gains, we’re now actually losing ground? We are if you read this article in the Times Online: After studying 25,000 children across both state and private schools Philip Adey, a professor of education at King’s College…

A judge has ruled against a recent Louisiana law banning the sale of violent video games to children. Since we’ve been rather outspoken here about the influence of violent games, I did want to reiterate that we’ve never advocated the sort of sweeping legislation that Louisiana has attempted to foist on the public. That said,…

NPR on false confessions

NPR has a nice report on the motivations behind false confessions. Give it a listen–it’s just over two minutes long, and reporter Andy Bowers gives an excellent explanation of why people such as JonBenet Ramsey “killer” John Mark Karr might be motivated to voluntarily confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Bowers divides false confessions into…

Casual Fridays is back!

Have you missed Casual Fridays? Our travel schedule over the summer made it impossible for us to keep up with Casual Fridays, but for the 2006-07 school year, we’ll be back each Friday with either a new study or the results from the previous week. There’s no better time than the present to get started,…

Last year, my dad got his pilot’s license. He took me up with him a couple months later, and while the view was spectacular, the most surprising aspect of flying is how much of a pilot’s time is spent avoiding other aircraft. You might think there’s plenty of room up there, and you’d be right,…

Television sets and video monitors rely on tricking the visual system into believing it is seeing the full range of possible colors. In reality, they are only generating approximations of the light that would actually enter the eye if we were looking at a real object. The problem is this: the visible spectrum actually consists…