Cognitive Daily

Archives for August, 2007

Memory is a curious thing, and visual memory is even more curious. In some ways, we don’t remember much about the scene that’s right in front of us. As countless change blindness studies have shown, we often don’t notice even obvious changes taking place in a scene. Other studies have concluded that visual short term…

The shape of HIV denial

What motivates someone to deny that a disease — one which kills millions of people — exists? Why would someone claim that the scientifically-established cause of that disease is actually the product of a vast conspiracy? Why would anyone believe them? This is a question for psychologists, but also for epidemiologists and public health professionals…

This video (QuickTime required), captured last week by fellow ScienceBlogger Tara Smith, demonstrates a rarely seen visual and auditory effect: When you watch this video of me singing the Men Without Hats one-hit-wonder “Safety Dance,” it appears as though can I neither dance nor carry a tune. I wonder if any of our commenters can…

When you look at a scene: a building, a park, a mountain, your visual system processes the information differently from when you look at a single object: a face, a pen, or a coffee mug. For example, this first image is from our trip to Prague this past summer: When you look at this picture,…

Lab Aesthetics (Send us pictures!)

One cool thing about running a lab is that there aren’t really many restrictions about decor. As long as the immediate area around the equipment is clear of visual distractions, anything goes. That’s why we’re inviting readers to send us examples of crazy lab art. Here’s a great example of what can happen working too…

I go for a run nearly every day. I wouldn’t consider myself a fitness buff; mainly I run so that I don’t gain weight. But according to an article in the New York Times, running might have another benefit — improving my brain’s health: Scott Small at Columbia, for instance , likes nothing better than…

Take a look at the following two circles. At the center, they’re both the identical bright white. But which one seems brighter? Let’s make this a poll: I’m not sure if this illusion will work when respondents know the objects are the same brightness, but naive viewers will reliably rate the circle on the left…

Discover’s got a very nice article about 10 unsolved mysteries of the brain. They’re actually careful not to call these the “top 10″ — after all, who’s to say that these are the 10 most important? Nonetheless, it’s an impressive list: 1. How is information coded in neural activity? 2. How are memories stored and…

BPR3.org goes live

If you haven’t checked out the BPR3 initative (Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting), now’s your chance to see everything that’s going on with BPR3 in one place: The new web site has just gone live. Set your bookmarks to researchblogging.org for the latest news on our efforts to identify promote blogging about peer-reviewed research. I’ll…

On our recent trip to Europe, we had a hard time getting the kids to smile for pictures. Most of our pictures of Nora ended up looking something like this (actually this one’s a self portrait, but you get the idea): Here her expression is basically neutral, and if it wasn’t such a dramatic shot,…