Cognitive Daily

Archives for December, 2006

Here’s the Cognitive Daily weekly podcast for December 16. Don’t forget that you can subscribe to the podcast using the special RSS feed: http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/rss-podcasts.xml To subscribe using iTunes, select Subscribe to Podcast from the Advanced menu, then paste or type in the URL. To access the podcast directly, click on the links below: Cognitive Daily’s…

Casual Fridays: Holiday edition

Yesterday’s report on gift preferences was the inspiration for this week’s study. Are some types of gifts simply inappropriate? If it seems clear that not much thought went into a particular gift, does that make it less “special”? Or does the simple fact that a gift was given make up for any faux pas on…

The psychology of criminals

Psychology Today has a trio of articles relating to crime and justice. The first article is possibly the most interesting. It offers some compelling data on the frequency of false confessions: Although it is difficult, if not impossible, to estimate the number of false confessions nationwide, a review of one decade’s worth of murder cases…

I’m not bitter about this, honest I’m not, but it does often seem that people who know you very well end up buying really lousy gifts. What I really want to find out is this: why do they do that? It turns out, market researchers want to know, too. How can they have a prayer…

Clinician Dr. Louann Brizendine is quoted in the New York Times as saying that she doesn’t do research because “I don’t want to give patients a placebo. It’s cruel.” The interviewer pushes her on the issue, pointing out that in the long term, controlled studies are necessary in order to determine the efficacy of treatments.…

Keith Payne’s work on racial stereotyping brings up an intriguing possibility. During the weapons identification task, viewers are more likely to erroneously identify a harmless object as a weapon if it was preceded by a black face compared to a white face. They are also more accurate identifying weapons after seeing black faces compared with…

How often do you see a face that you know you’ve seen before, but you simply can’t connect a name to? If you’re like me, it happens nearly every day. Face recognition experts know this is because our brains are hard-wired to recall specific faces. The semantic information about those faces is stored separately. But…

The red oval on the right represents a known eBay fraudster. How can we use that information to locate others? Follow the interactions. Fraudulent eBay users typically build up their online “reputation” by conducting transactions with accomplices who give them phony “positive” feedback. These accomplices, a research team at Carnegie Mellon has found, typically interact…

Memory and swearing

I have a vague memory of having written something about curse words on Cognitive Daily before. However, I’m almost certain I’ve never written about false memories in children. Maybe something about eyewitness testimony, but not false memories. You probably know the punch line: I’ve written about all those things. So why do I remember the…

Half-marathon update

I promised on Friday that I’d post an update on the half-marathon. First of all, I finished! Here’s a picture of me about 100 yards from the finish with my running partner (and co-author) Shireen Campbell: I finished the race in 1 hour, 51 minutes, and 59 seconds. That works out to a pace of…