Cognitive Daily

Archives for September, 2006

We are nearly finished grading the 109 entries for the Blogger SAT Challenge. Chad Orzel has designed a way for our readers to view and rate the essays themselves, but it’s not quite ready yet. We’re going to take the weekend to make everything perfect (well, nearly perfect), and then we’ll unveil the rating system…

Smells Like Clean Spirit

Occasionally you read a journal article so well-titled, you have to steal it for your blog post title. “Smells Like Clean Spirit” is a report by Rob Holland, Merel Hendricks, and Henk Aarts, in which they use smells to unconsciously modify their victims’ participants’ behavior. In some ways, this research is nothing new. As the…

Thousands of police departments use face composite software to help create a picture of crime suspects. You’ve probably seen one of the systems in use on TV: witnesses build a picture of the suspect by choosing each individual facial feature — hair, eyes, nose, and so on. But what happens when the suspect is captured…

Two new blogs

I’ve just learned about what so far look to be two great new blogs. In the order I heard about them: Sound and Mind Written by two cognitive musicologists, “Sound and Mind will primarily provide links to articles in journals and blogs on music and cognitive science, commentary on those articles, and a forum for…

Cortical blindness: A potential cure?

My aunt Jeannie died of brain cancer when she was just in her 30s. Though her death was tragic, her illness did allow me to witness firsthand a most curious vision impairment. A few months after her cancer was diagnosed, she suffered a stroke in her right visual cortex. Since the visual cortex in some…

Musical complexity is bafflingly difficult to define. Is it just a lot of notes? Would a 100-note trill (the same two notes alternating over and over again) be more complex than 50 completely random notes? Most people would probably say “no.” But what about the same trill versus just 3 random notes? Now maybe the…

The data-collection phase of the SAT Challenge is complete. By any measure, this was the most successful Casual Friday ever. We maxed out the generous 500 responses I allotted for the challenge, the most ever responses to a Casual Friday study — despite the fact that participants were warned the task would take up to…

Reminder: Submit posts to Encephalon

Encephalon, the biweekly neuroscience carnival, will be hosted at Omnibrain this week. Send in links to your favorite neuroscience posts, pronto! Don’t wait, or you’ll forget, like I usually do!

In 2001, Mark Orr and Stellan Ohlsson found that experts preferred more complex bluegrass music compared to non-experts, but there was no difference in preferences with jazz music. The model they were using to describe music preferences did not appear to describe all types of music. But what if the problem wasn’t the model, but…

Simon Owens has posted the results of his survey of diversity in the blogosphere at his site Bloggasm. Here are the results for the blogosphere as a whole: Male: 69% Female: 31% *** White/Caucasian/European: 73% Black/African: 9% Asian: 10% Middle Eastern/Arab: 1% Latino/Hispanic: 6% Native American: 1% This seems about right to me, based on…