Cognitive Daily

Archives for April, 2007

Context. It can make all the difference in the world. The word “suck” can describe the action of a vacuum cleaner or a sex act that was illegal in the state of North Carolina until 2003. Following our analysis of last Friday’s curse word study, several of the commenters pointed out that without the context…

Who reads RSS feeds offline?

The post on showing only part of the RSS feeds has attracted quite a lot of attention, including some rather strident comments, such as this one from “Aurora”: How lazy are some people? What kind of society do we live in where people are too f**ing annoyed to click a mouse button to read an…

A diversion

I know, I know, I promised more analysis of the results from last Friday’s curse word study, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. Busy, busy, busy. In the meantime, you can head over to Word Munger and read about my hike in Mount Rogers Wilderness last week (click on the photo!): I should have…

Last week’s Casual Fridays study was the most popular ever: Despite its grueling 58-question length, over 750 respondents completed the entire thing. We got so much data on foul language that I probably won’t finish writing all of it up today. As you might suspect, in reporting these results it’s really impossible to avoid using…

Very young children learn better from photos. When they are read to from a picture book describing how to make a rattle, 18-months-old do better at trying to make the rattle when the book had realistic photos compared to line drawings. I’ve always found instructions that use photos very difficult to follow because it’s hard…

There is a considerable body of research showing that eye contact is a key component of social interaction. Not only are people more aroused when they are looked at directly, but if you consistently look at the person you speak to, you will have much more social influence over that person than you would if…

When Shelley Batts wrote up a report on an article about antioxidants in fruits, she never expected to get contacted by the copyright police, but that’s exactly what happened. She had reproduced a table and a figure from the article, and got this notice from an editorial assistant at the publisher: The above article contains…

Last week’s Casual Fridays study filled up so quickly that many of those who wanted to participate weren’t able to. This was due to our survey provider’s limits on the number of responses. After a preliminary look at the data, it does look like it would be helpful if we could get more respondents. Now…

The Beck effect is difficult to replicate online, because it involves testing reaction times. However, I think I’ve figured out a way to approximate the effect. This movie (Quicktime required) will show you how it works. Just follow the directions on the opening screen: Now, which letter did you see first? Let’s make this a…

Penalty kicks are nearly universally reviled among soccer fans, yet they remain an important part of the game. The sport is so exhausting that extending it beyond 30 minutes of extra time in a playoff game could be dangerous for the players. Typically in playoff or championship matches, tie games get decided by a penalty…