Cognitive Daily

Archives for December, 2007

How “gut feelings” influence memory

[Originally posted on November 7, 2005] What does it mean to have a gut feeling that you remember something? You see someone you recognize in a coffee shop. Do you remember her from high school? Or maybe you saw her on television. Could she be the manager of your local bank? Perhaps you don’t know…

What is peer review, anyway?

Over at BPR3, a reader brought up an interesting question about the nature of peer-reviewed research, which I thought was relevant to our readers here as well. I’m reposting my entire response below. The system of peer review, the bulwark of academic publishing, has served scholars for centuries. The principle behind the system is simple:…

Earlier this week we discussed the relationship between life satisfaction and other measures of well-being, finding that for measures such as relative income, the happiest people weren’t always the best-off. For relationships, however, the happiest individuals also seem to do better. But these measures were only taken at an instant in time. What about over…

How babies build a picture of the world

[Originally posted on February 20, 2006] Here’s a picture of our daughter Nora at about 3 months of age. She looks like she’s fairly aware of the events going on around her (arguably more aware than she sometimes appears now, at age 12). However, as our knowledge of how infants begin to perceive the world…

Is it possible to be too happy?

Happiness is associated with a lot of good things in life. People who are happier tend to get better job ratings, make more money, be more likely to get married, and be more satisfied with their marriages than people who are less happy, even years after the original happiness assessment. People around the world rate…

I just finished reading Jonah Lehrer’s book Proust was a Neuroscientist. Quick review: good book, very fun read, and I’m happy to recommend it to almost everyone. I just have one small quibble. For the quibble to make any sense, you need to know something about my teaching. Students in all my psychology classes have…

Last year, a friend of Greta’s died tragically young. He was a pillar of the community, and Greta was honored to learn that he wanted her to play the oboe at his memorial service, which would be attended by hundreds of people. Greta has performed in countless concerts, with audiences just as large, but the…

Do smells have an impact on how we judge people? Certainly if someone smells bad, we may have a negative impression of the person. But what if the smell is so subtle we don’t consciously notice it? Research results have been mixed, with some studies actually reporting that we like people more when in the…

This past weekend, I went to two different holiday parties. While many of the people at the parties were friends, I was also introduced to a couple dozen new people — out of town guests of the hosts, friends of friends, or people from our small town that I somehow had never met. If I…

A few weeks ago, I was excited to learn that a project I’m working on got written up on NPR’s News Blog. However, I was less excited when I saw the way my own status was described: Dave Munger, a science blogger and stay-at-home dad in Davidson, N.C., wanted to find a way to show…