Cognitive Daily

New Cognitive Daily podcast!

Starting today, each week’s CogDaily Research articles will be available in podcast form! We’re working on making them available directly from iTunes, but for now, you can download them from the CogDaily blog.

Click here to download the December 2 Cognitive Daily podcast (AAC format)

Click here to download the December 2 Cognitive Daily podcast (MP3 format)

We’re committed to podcasting the reports on peer reviewed research we’ve covered each week (they’ll appear here each Saturday), so if you don’t have time to read them online, you can listen while you exercise or commute to work.

In the future, if there’s sufficient interest, we’ll add interviews with the experts who conducted the studies themselves, so make sure to let us know if you like this new feature. We’d also like to hear your other ideas on how to improve the podcast, so we’ll keep the comments open. As always, feel free to email us (remove dashes) with suggestions or comments, too.


  1. #1 Aerik Knapp-Loomis
    December 2, 2006

    Research articles in a podcast?! This should be good. I’ve subscribed to the ScienceDaily feed and the feed for the New England Journal of Medicine online, but I still have to coach myself into reading the articles. “Yeah, sounds boring but this is science and you’re into science, aren’t you? Come on, you can do it, read an article, click on a source, see what’s up. At least one a day, come on!” I hope the podcast makes things easy and fun to digest.

  2. #2 Rod Spake
    December 2, 2006

    Why a podcast?

    I suspect anyone who is interested in Cognitive Daily content is able to read much faster than the speaker on the podcast is speaking. I don’t want to give up the time it takes to listen when someone is speaking slowly enough to qualify himself as an NPR announcer.

    Besides, I can’t hear what you are saying while I type this comment. Therefore the podcast is just another source of background noise.

    I may be the odd man out in our current universe of “constant sound plugged into ear” life style. I have used the Internet since its inception and have never yet downloaded one piece of music.

    I almost never listen to music when I want to think. (never owned a Walkman or an IPod) Sound tends to vanish from my consciousness when thinking, and I think a lot. So why bother with music or a podcast when sight performs so much better?

    Your written content is great. Odd that the content is about the ability to hear and here I am not wanting to listen.

  3. #3 Dave Munger
    December 3, 2006

    (never owned a Walkman or an IPod)

    Hmmm… Something tells me you’re not in the target demographic for a podcast. But don’t worry, the podcasts won’t supplant the regular CogDaily content, so you can always come here and read your blog posts the “old-fashioned” way.

    Seriously, though, I think that the podcast may allow us to reach an untapped audience — folks who are in some sense the opposite of you, Rod, who couldn’t live without their iPods, but who never got into the whole “blogosphere” thing.

  4. #4 Vaughan
    December 3, 2006

    Excellent idea. Why not trusty mp3 format though? Many mp3 players can’t play m4a format.

  5. #5 john fossella
    December 3, 2006

    I really enjoy your blog and will enjoy it even more with the podcasts !

  6. #6 Dave Munger
    December 3, 2006

    Vaughan — that’s a good point. We’ll probably offer both formats soon, unless people with more experience than I have can offer a good reason to provide just one or the other.

  7. #7 Zak
    December 4, 2006

    I just found the site, and I was interested by the articles. Now I’m excited to listen to them on my way to work.

  8. #8 Dan Philpott
    December 5, 2006

    I recently discovered your site through the Mind Hacks blog. It’s delightful to find the combination of two of my favorite things, cognitive science and a podcast. It’s like mental peanut butter and chocolate. BUT (I bet you saw that coming) two things:

    1. Why M4A? M4A doesn’t play nice with most media players. Besides, MP3 has half the calories and tastes just as good.

    2. How do you subscribe to it? Usually a podcast is an RSS feed with audio enclosures. I looked and can only find the blog RSS feed but not the podcast RSS feed.

  9. #9 Dave Munger
    December 5, 2006

    Thanks for the comments, Dan. We’re just learning about podcasts, so we’re relying on your feedback to figure out the best way to do it. Based on the feedback we’ve gotten so far, we’re certainly going to consider supplying MP3 podcasts.

    We definitely plan on having a separate RSS feed for the podcast, but since we’re the first ScienceBlog to offer a podcast, we thought we’d get some audio out there first, then work on the best way to deliver it.

  10. #10 BW
    December 6, 2006

    MP4? Why not publish this site in a language most of your readers can’t read while you’re at it. Maybe in a couple of years when personal players start supporting MP4 everybody can catch up on their listening.

  11. #11 Kathy
    December 6, 2006

    Nobel Minds? Cognitive science? Then a podcast in MP4? You guys remind me of that Larson cartoon where the kid is trying to get into the school for the gifted by pushing hard on the door clearly labeled “Pull”.

  12. #12 Dave Munger
    December 6, 2006

    Okay, clearly there’s significant demand for the MP3 format, so I’ve added an MP3 version. My understanding was that the AAC format allowed users to have more flexibility in terms of saving a listening session and returning later, but compatibility seems to be a larger issue.

    You won’t need to in the case of CogDaily, but in case you’re having difficulty listening to other podcasts in the AAC format, you should know that you can easily convert them to MP3 using Apple’s free iTunes software.

    That said, given the aversion to AAC shown here, a question for users: should we even bother with AAC format? iTunes users could also convert to AAC if they prefer.

  13. #13 Jason
    December 6, 2006


    Cool Podcast! Thanks!

    My one suggestion would be to use a slightly higher bitrate on your MP3. 32kbps seems to produce a lot of noticable (and annoying) “swishing”. I understand that you are trying to save bandwidth, but a 125% increase in bitrate might improve the sound quality noticably. Or maybe the MP3 encoder you are using is of low quality. Just a thought.

    PS – I wouldn’t miss AAC.

  14. #14 Stephen
    December 7, 2006

    I suspect anyone who is interested in Cognitive Daily content is able to read much faster than the speaker on the podcast is speaking.

    While it is true that people can read about three times faster than someone speaking, it turns out that i have two hours of driving every day, just in my commute. It’s nearly 15 hours a week. In the old days, this time was essentially wasted. Now, i get through alot of podcasts. With an mp3 player, i keep up with subjects i know, and have learned alot on subject i don’t know. A little pure entertainment is sprinkled in.

    In the early days, i’d download text, turn it into speach by computer. In one year, i “read” about 50 books. A Tarzan book, for example, turns out to be about 8 hours.

  15. #15 Ettsem
    December 9, 2006

    I recently came up with a technique for describing consciousness that had sufficient power to take me through the perspective change that Buddhists refer to as “enlightenment”. Everything I have ever read suggests that what I have done is not possible. Until now the necessary conceptual tools (most particularly fractal self-similarity) were not known to me.

    The question to which I am currently seeking an answer is as follows.

    Preamble: I have defined two entities, as follows:

    Self-similar definition (SSD): one or many levels of X, described as X

    Fuzzy SSD (FSSD): boundaries assumed only for convenience of description

    Question: Does this concept already exist in mathematics (set theory?), linguistics, neurology, or some other field of endeavour?


    I am a self-trained amateur, not a scholar.

    I find that at least one other person has used the term “Fuzzy SSD”. I am not laying claim to that term.

    Thank you.

  16. #16 Kim
    December 12, 2006

    Just leaving a comment to say I love this new feature. Interviews with experts would be a welcome addition.

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