Cognitive Daily

Archives for May, 2007

Are sports fans ignorant about the arts? Do opera buffs have trouble distinguishing a fastball from a slider? Greta has never been much of a sports fan, but she loves taking in the arts, cultural events, and Broadway shows. I know lots of sports fans who’ve never heard an opera. Are sports and fine art…

Much research has found that there are IQ differences based on socioeconomic background of children: poorer children have lower IQs. But it’s possible that these differences may be due to health problems in some groups: if poor kids are more likely to get sick, wouldn’t that have some impact on their mental abilities as well?…

Unbelievable visual illusion

Check this out: As you might guess, all these bands are actually horizontal, but the stripes cause each band to be perceived as sloping up or down. But take a closer look: the top pair of bands appears to be getting closer together as you move from left to right, while the bottom pair appears…

Lots of news outlets are buzzing about a new stand-up treadmill workstation. The idea is that you work standing up for part of the day, walking at a very slow pace, burning calories but still getting just as much done. Here’s a photo from the Cleveland Leader: My first thought is “how could I possibly…

When Greta earned her Ph.D. 13 years ago, Jim was two and a half years old, and Nora was just 10 months old. Jim knew a few words, and Nora couldn’t talk at all. You might think a baby as young as Nora wouldn’t have an appreciation for music or dance. If you can’t walk,…

How to smile in Japanese

The emoticon for “smile” in most western cultures is this :). One of the ScienceBloggers does it backwards (: (can you guess who?), but the symbol is essentially the same. In Japan, however, the smile is depicted like this: ^_^. You might think that’s just because the traditions evolved separately, but emotion researcher Masaki Yuki…

Our RSS experiment

For the past week, we’ve been conducting a little experiment with Cognitive Daily. In the past, we’ve had several readers complain that we don’t include the full post in the RSS feed for CogDaily, so last week we published every post in its entirety on RSS (if you don’t know what RSS is, I explain…

I’m a fast typist, but Greta types much faster than me. I’ve taken a few years of piano lessons, but Greta could read music before she could read, and she still plays oboe and English horn with the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra. Could her 30+ years of musical training be the reason she’s a faster…

A better way to calculate GPA?

In education school, I was taught that the purpose of grading was to rank-order students — to create a system whereby the highest-achieving students were ranked at the top and the lowest-achieving students were at the bottom. But recently there have been worries that grade inflation is making it difficult to use grades to rank…

“I just didn’t see him” is a claim that’s repeated over and over in accident reports. Drivers earnestly claim that they simply didn’t notice the bicycle/pedestrian/motorcycle they crashed into. The claim is made so frequently that certainly there must be a grain of truth to it. Yet it certainly isn’t the case that car drivers…