Cognitive Daily

Archives for September, 2006

Last chance on the Blogger SAT Challenge

There are just over 24 hours remaining in the Blogger SAT Challenge. The challenge has gained substantial notice in the blogosphere, with dozens of blogs linking to it, including at least one top-20 blog. I expect that when we publish the results, there will be even more interest in it. So…. If you’ve been putting…

A week ago Friday we conducted a little survey about musical preferences. Readers were asked to listen to three different clips, then say which music they preferred. We promised you we’d be back to let you know what the preferences were, and whether they said anything about how preferences are formed. Our survey was inspired…

New blog on the origin of speech

Science writer Edmund Blair Bolles has begun a new blog on the origin of speech: Babel’s Dawn. If it lives up to the promise of its first post, it may prove to be a valuable resource. The blog aims to become the main source of news and information about the evolution of speech, from primate…

The Blogger SAT Challenge!

The New York Times recently published sample top-scoring essays from the new written component of the SAT test in order to show the type of work that was likely to score highly. Several bloggers, as well as the Times itself, have noted that the writing isn’t exactly compelling. In fact, I’ve been carrying on a…

Color categories, as we pointed out in this post, are remarkably consistent, even across different cultures and languages. “TLTB” pointed out in the comments that for people with color blindness, the color categories might not make much sense. He brought up an excellent point, one that becomes doubly perplexing when we realize that no two…

Can we edit our own memories?

So, researchers have found a way to “edit” the memories of rats. Rats can easily be trained to avoid an electrically charged region of their cages. Then researchers injected a chemical into the rats’ memory centers, and successfully “erased” the memory, so the rats no longer knew to avoid getting shocked. This brings up the…

A fascinating press release is starting to gain attention. Researcher Ian Walker equipped his bike with a precise sensor that measured exactly how much room British drivers gave him when they passed. After tracking thousands of motorists, he was able to make an astonishing claim: when he was wearing a helmet, drivers gave him significantly…

The blogosphere is abuzz with discussion of a new experiment purporting to show brain activity in a woman who was in a “persistent vegetative state.” For a good summary of the experiment, visit Mind Hacks. Then take a look at Brain Ethics’ analysis. I think the best analysis comes from ScienceBlogs’ own Jake at Pure…

The World Color Survey is a massive project which attempts to understand how colors are categorized in different languages. The researchers studied 110 different languages, none of which had a written component, which ensured that only spoken word categories would be used to describe the colors. Do the speakers all understand colors the same way?…

September 11 and memory

It’s no surprise that on the fifth anniversary of the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001, most newspapers and many blogs are offering reflections and analysis of what happened. This morning I asked my kids, who were in the third and fourth grade on the day of the attacks, if they remembered what happened that…