Cognitive Daily

Archives for November, 2006

The recent controversial shooting of an unarmed black man in New York has generated terrible grief and perhaps justifiable anger. But if officers honestly believed the man was armed and intended to harm them, weren’t they justified in shooting? Perhaps, but an important additional question is this: were they predisposed to believe he was armed…

Misleading headline of the week

An article in ScienceDaily proclaims Success A Family Affair? Willingness To Take Risks And Trust Others Are Inherited, Study Suggests. Actually, the study suggests the opposite: C only that children have similar risk profiles to their parents. This indicates that risk-taking behavior isn’t inherited, but learned. I This study can’t show whether the trait was…

One of the unanswered questions in Krista Hyde and Isabelle Peretz’s research on amusia (“tone-deafness”) is why amusics frequently say they are unable to clap to the rhythm of a song, or to dance well. In Hyde and Peretz’s study, amusics could detect rhythm changes as well as normal individuals, even while being unable to…

How to educate those who seem uneducable

Is it really possible for child in a destitute situation to rise above it and become not only a productive member of society, but to excel? Jonah Lehrer discusses an important New York Times article that I had skipped over the first time I saw the headline on the site. Jonah was most interested in…

What looks good — and what sounds bad?

Uber-geek David Pogue has completed a Casual-Friday-worthy study of the human perceptual system. He wanted to test the “megapixel myth” — the idea that buying a higher megapixel camera doesn’t necessarily mean that you will take better pictures. He made poster-size prints of the same photo at different pixel resolutions: 5, 8, and 13 megapixels,…

New research shows that Asian Americans have a very different understanding of consequences than European Americans: While European Americans say that a single pool shot has a bigger influence on the next shot, when asked about its influence several shots down the line, Asian Americans rate the first shot as more important compared to European…

Do you recognize the person depicted in this video? How about this one? The first video is actually a “chimera,” formed by fusing half-images of two well-known faces together, then animated using 3D projection software. The second video shows us just the top half of another famous person’s head, rendered in the same way. If…

What happens to the ball?

Watch this video and describe what you see (it’s a Windows Media file, so if you’ve got a Mac, you’ll need Flip4Mac):

Flash-lag demos galore!

The flash-lag effect is difficult to explain, but amazingly cool to see. Over at Mixing Memory, Chris has a great post where he links to two examples of the phenomenon and discusses what might be causing it. Cool, isn’t it? I can’t resist linking to one more example, created by none other than CogDaily’s own…

Do “Blink” methods really work?

Larry Moran thinks I have the wrong idea about teaching evaluations and “thin slicing”: Unfortunately, Dave Munger seems to draw the wrong conclusions from this study as he explains in an earlier posting [The six-second teacher evaluation]. In that article from last May he says … So we do appear to be quite effective at…