Cognitive Daily

Archives for October, 2007

With hundreds of seemingly worthy charities out there, how do we decide which ones to donate to? Even if we eliminate charities that aren’t effective, there are still too many choices, and too little money, to donate to all of them. In the Donors Choose campaign, bloggers are going to impressive lengths to coax their…

Is there really wisdom in crowds?

Here’s an interesting article about the wisdom of crowds. It starts by discussing the surprising accuracy of Wikipedia. The reason that Wikipedia is as good as it is (and the reason that living organisms are as sophisticated as they are), is not due to the average quality of the edits (or mutations). Instead, it is…

links for 2007-10-18

60 percent of Neuroscience conference authors only present one paper in five years Book Review – On Killing: The Psychological Costs of Learning to Kill in War and Society Is it possible that most soldiers only rarely use their weapons, even in pitched battle? Why There Aren’t Right-Handed Apes, Or: Handedness and The Evolution of…

According to a report in the New York Times, frequently-used words evolve more slowly than rarely used ones: Some words evolve rapidly, with a result that there are many different word forms, what linguists call cognates, for meanings across languages. “Bird,” for example, takes many disparate forms across other Indo-European languages: oiseau in French, vogel…

John Mashey made a comment over at Deltoid that was so incisive, Tim Lambert decided to turn it into a post of its own. In the comment/post, Mashey outlines several steps scientists can take to pressure reporters to do a better job reporting science. Indeed, the list is a little daunting. Among other things, he…

Does religion increase “virtuous” behavior? So far the research on the topic has been inconclusive. A big problem with most studies is that they tend to be correlational. For example, religious people are more likely to say they are willing to help others. But are they willing to help others because they are religious, or…

links for 2007-10-16

Proust Was A Neuroscientist Fellow ScienceBlogger Jonah Lehrer’s long-awaited book Proust Was a Neuroscientist is now shipping. Any chance you’ll send a copy CogDaily’s way, Jonah? Should scientists communicate more like hackers do? Aaron Rowe suggests that scientists could profit by emulating the high-speed communications methods used by programmers and hackers. Anyone know of a…

The economic value of gossip

You don’t have to go far to hear someone say something bad about gossip. People even gossip about gossip. One good thing about gossip: it may have had some role in the origin of human speech, as John Tierney reminds us: Language, according to the anthropologist Robin Dunbar, evolved because gossip is a more efficient…

links for 2007-10-15

Stores make customer testing for their products too easy The result: Customers overestimate their ability and buy fancier stuff than they need Audiophiles and the limitations of human hearing Can we *really* hear the difference $7,000 speaker cables make? What about $100 cables? Radiohead lets fans decide how much to pay for their album Notes…

Will humans marry robots in 50 years?

The idea of a human falling in love with a creation made of steel and silicon seems rather far-fetched today — even the most “realistic” robots seem more creepy than endearing. But people already do form attachments to their robots. People treat Roombas like pets, and soldiers form strong bonds with their minesweeping robots. Men…