Cognitive Daily

Archives for April, 2007

Scare off bank robbers with a smile

A good friend of mine was a bank manager for many years. He told me that robberies are much more common than you might think: bank employees are trained to comply with robbers’ demands, minimizing losses by keeping relatively small amounts of cash in their drawers. Typical training also suggests that employees don’t confront or…

Cognitive decline as we age is all over the news lately. “Brain fitness” products are available for cell phones, Game Boys, and Xboxes, all designed to prevent the natural decline in cognitive ability as we age. There’s even a significant body of work suggesting that this sort of product really can work. But some of…

Yesterday, we conducted a poll asking how often our readers would give money to truly talented street performers. The poll was in response to a Washington Post experiment where world-famous violinist Joshua Bell performed in a subway station for 45 minutes and only earned $32, an amount that would pay for less than a third…

This story in the Washington Post has been getting a lot of attention. The reporter convinced world-famous violin virtuoso Joshua Bell to play for 45 minutes in a busy Washington subway station, as an experiment to see if passersby would recognize his amazing talents and reward him appropriately. His take was a lowly $32, not…

Jim just started playing this year for his school’s junior varsity lacrosse team. As a beginner, he doesn’t see a lot of action, but it’s nonetheless exciting to watch the games — they are fast-paced, with plenty of scoring and a few hard hits. Most junior varsity teams don’t have the equipment budget of a…

How NOT to write a science book

These days, it seems like everyone’s got a science book. Not a small number of them end up on my desk — apparently Cognitive Daily is “important” enough that publicists feel a review from us is worth the cost of printing and mailing me a book. But just because they send me the book doesn’t…

The debate about Chris Mooney and Matthew Nisbet’s recent Science article has gotten quite contentious. Nisbet and Mooney contend that if scientists hope to persuade the public to value science, they must take heed of recent research on “framing.” In other words, they claim, scientists are failing at presenting their message effectively. So what exactly…

This week’s Casual Fridays study plays off a post written by Mike Dunford. The question is, how are political attitudes affected by legal knowledge? Do you let the law get in the way of a political position, or do political goals trump legal ones? In fact, you might what to read Mike’s post before you…

Even though most of us aren’t concerned with physical survival on a day-to-day basis, the concept of “survival” remains a potent one — just think of the persistent success of TV shows like Survivor and Lost. Perhaps this popularity has to do with more than just good advertising and an interesting plot twist. Perhaps it…

In a recent opinion piece appearing in the Washington Post, Jason Johnson argues that in today’s cut-and-paste world, the term paper is becoming irrelevant: Today I plagiarized multiple documents at work. I took the writing of others and presented it to my supervisor as if it were my own. It was an open secret that…