Cognitive Daily

Archives for August, 2007

When Jim was a baby (back when we called him “Jimmy”), he was clearly a bright child, but he didn’t have a lot of words. This didn’t stop him from getting his point across. After his doctor recommended that we cut back on the bottle to encourage him eating solid foods, he’d repeatedly say one…

There’s a problem with most of the highway signs currently being used in the U.S.: Overglow. The signs are fairly legible in the daytime, but at night, when they’re illuminated solely by the reflected light from car headlights, reading becomes trickier. A New York Times article and accompanying slideshow (via Mike the Mad Biologist) demonstrates…

Last week’s post on a Peer-Reviewed Research icon has generated a tremendous amount of interest, including many very thoughtful comments and an incisive post over on Cabi Blogs. I’ll get to Philip’s comments in a moment, because they are at the core of what “peer reviewed” means, but first let me update you on the…

When you have a conversation with someone, you’re doing a lot more than just interpreting the meaning of the words they say. You’re also trying to figure out what they intend to say and integrating that in to your understanding. You’re working together with them to decide whose turn it is to speak. Your accents…

Most CogDaily readers are familiar with the little icon we developed to indicate when we were reporting on peer reviewed research. We created it when we began to offer links to news and blog posts, as a way of distinguishing those less “serious” posts from when we were talking about peer-reviewed journal articles. But Sister…

One of the amazing things the visual system does is to compensate for the motion of our bodies. Consider, for example, the difference between the apparently smooth view of the world you get when you’re talking a walk, and the shaky image you see if you record the same walk while holding a camcorder. Compensating…

It would be difficult to come up with a more frequently confused concept in psychology than reinforcement and punishment. In fact, “reinforcement” and “punishment” aren’t difficult to understand on their own: Reinforcement simply means any means of increasing or encouraging the designated behavior; punishment is any means of inhibiting or decreasing the designated behavior. It…

Like most parents, Greta and I were very excited about having our first baby (Greta, I imagine, might be somewhat less enthusiastic about me putting this vintage photo of her online…). We weren’t naive, though — we had heard from friends and family about the sleepless nights, the juggling of jobs and child care, the…

A new study of brain responses to music has found a striking difference in brain activity when a symphonic movement ends and the next one begins, compared to other parts of the musical work. A team led by Vinod Menon (and including This Is Your Brain on Music author Daniel Levitin) played excerpts from the…

Eric Schwitzgebel has been doing a lot of thinking about the relationship between thinking about ethical behavior and actually behaving ethically. In his most recent post, he takes on a meta-analysis claiming that religious belief correlates negatively with criminal activity: I found a 2001 “meta-analysis” (Baier & Wright) of the literature that shows all the…