Cognitive Daily

Archives for February, 2007

Mind Hacks has an intriguing post suggesting that databases used for identification might also track personality differences. Could, for instance, a retinal scan identify an alcoholic? Yet another neuroscientist tackles consciousness. Does a flock of birds have consciousness? How smart are chickens? They’re definitely tasty!

I’ve been accumulating “in other news” items all weekend and only just now had the time to post them all. Enjoy! Scientific American covers the stereotype threat (discussed on CogDaily last week). Is “reform” math responsible for declining math performance? This is more convincing than the last video, but someone should tell this guy to…

Video gamers make better surgeons

When Greta and I met with her surgeon a few years back in preparation for a minor surgery, he offered an unusual qualification for the job: he was an avid video game player. He believed that playing video games improved his ability to perform surgery. Many surgeries are now performed remotely, with a very small…

Mystery photos revealed!

Last week, we asked readers if they could tell which of these two photos, offering only 12 × 14 pixels of information apiece, represented a face: Nearly three-quarters of respondents accurately identified the photo on the right as a face. But what face? It only took 6 guesses for readers to guess that it’s a…

If you didn’t participate in last week’s Casual Friday study, you should definitely see what it’s like to experience the flash-lag effect: When the blue rectangle flashes, it’s always precisely aligned with the gray bar, yet it appears to be behind the bar. Cool, isn’t it? You can stop the movie and check for yourself…

Anyone who has tried to capture a fly or other insect can’t help but marvel at their aeronautic prowess. Their reflexes are lightning-fast, and they seem to avoid obstacles before they are even perceptible. The brain of a fly or a honey bee is as little as a millionth the size of a human brain,…

A day late for Valentines’

The Washington Post on the neurological basis of love. Chris Chatham shows why dopamine is more than just the neurotransmitter of love. Can praising kids’ intelligence backfire? Can vasectomies backfire? Do chimps pass down skills? Not like humans do. Finally, for P.Z.: I don’t think squid are beautiful, but they are mighty tasty! Thank God…

The setting was an integrated suburban middle school: nearly evenly divided between black and white students. As is the case in many schools, white students outperformed black students both in grades and test scores. But how much of this difference is attributable to real differences in ability? After all, black kids grow up “knowing” that…

This photo of the World Trade Center burning on September 11 attracted a lot of attention for a curious pattern in the smoke. Was it the face of God? Satan? Of course it was just a random pattern in the smoke that briefly seemed to look like a face, but many people were not convinced…

When is it all right to cry?

For children younger than three, most of us agree that crying is acceptable, especially if they are in physical pain. But even for adults, crying is acceptable during periods of grief. Indeed, we often look askance at a person who does not to cry at a funeral or memorial service of a close friend, loved…