Cognitive Daily

Archives for September, 2007

The U.S. Department of Immigration unveiled its new U.S. citizenship test today. Whenever these tests come out, news organizations inevitably send reporters out to find out if actual U.S. citizens know the answers we expect immigrants to know. The results, as you might expect, are generally not impressive. But these reporters generally aren’t tackling the…

Artificial networks see illusions, too

You’ve seen this illusion before, right? The “grid” defining the light gray squares on the left side of this figure seems to get lighter where the lines intersect. The graph on the right shows that the actual reflectance (or brightness when depicted on a computer screen) of the figure does not change along the path…

Yesterday, we discussed sex differences at the highest levels of achievement and found that there are some significant differences between males and females. But despite these observations, it’s still unclear why the disparity exists, and what can or should be done about it. Sex differences in brain structure One possibility is that the physical structure…

Men happier than women?

A New York Times article makes the claim that men are now happier than women: Since the 1960s, men have gradually cut back on activities they find unpleasant. They now work less and relax more. Over the same span, women have replaced housework with paid work — and, as a result, are spending almost as…

In yesterday’s post, we discussed sex differences in achievement and ability. Few were identified. For the most part, however, this research discussed average differences. The problem with only discussing averages is that people engaged in science and math careers are far from “average” when it comes to math and science ability. Math and science professors…

When Lawrence Summers suggested that the reason there aren’t more women in the top academic positions in math and science is that they don’t have the aptitude for it, a firestorm was created that may have cost him his job as president of Harvard University. Sometimes lost in the hullabaloo surrounding the incident is the…

Tripod robots that don’t prey on humans

The robots in H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds may have been terrifying, but they also had a feature notably lacking in a lot of today’s robots: the inherent stability of a tripod. But film realizations of the tripod robots have always suggested they moved in a sort of inefficient shuffle: if you were a…

Pain ratings aren’t always effective

Pain is an extremely difficult subject to study, because individuals experience pain differently — some people have a much greater tolerance for pain than others, and some people just seem to complain more. Doctors typically handle the problem with assessing pain by asking patients to rate the pain they are feeling on a scale of…

There’s a short interview with me at the Scranton Times-Tribune — it’s their Saturday “Five Questions” feature so it’s supposed to be funny rather than serious.

Just a quick reminder: The voting on the BPR3 icon contest closes on Monday, September 24. If you haven’t voted yet, head on over to BPR3 or this CogDaily post and make sure your voice is heard.