Cognitive Daily

Archives for January, 2008

Yesterday’s demonstration about perception of tempo simply didn’t work. If we had successfully replicated Schultze’s Vos et al.’s study, we would have seen a systematic bias in the results. I’d like to give this one more shot (I promise this will be my last attempt!). There are a couple reasons why the original might not…

Listen to the following three short audio samples. Your job is to say whether the tempo (the rate at which the notes are played) is speeding up or slowing down. Even if it sounds like it’s maintaining the same tempo, make your best guess as to whether it’s speeding up or slowing down. [Update: There’s…

The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis — stated in its strongest form — claims that language determines thoughts: if a language doesn’t have a means of expressing a particular idea, then people speaking that language can’t even conceive of that idea. This strong form has long since been rejected: There are plenty of thoughts we can have without…

This year Greta and I rang in the new year with a couple of good friends, some good wine, and not a lot of fuss or formality. We quietly noted when the clock struck midnight and went on with whatever we were talking about at the time. Our son Jim marked the occasion much more…

Does test-taking help students learn?

During my brief tenure as a high school teacher, one common suggestion I got from supportive colleagues was to “make your tests teaching tools.” “That’s often the only time you’ve really got your students’ attention,” they suggested, “so don’t neglect the opportunity to teach them something.” What they meant is that you shouldn’t use misleading…

You might think humans are equally good at estimating distances no matter which direction they’re looking. After all, we use the same visual tools to make those estimates — binocular disparity (the different views we see from each eye), occlusion (whether one object is in front of or behind another), and so on. But consider…