Cognitive Daily

Archives for February, 2008

Casual Fridays: Driving like maniacs

[I've been sick the past couple days, so I'm not going to be able to post a new Casual Friday today. But here's an old one that many of our readers probably haven't seen.] Last week’s Casual Friday survey asked readers to describe how they expect other drivers to behave when merging onto the freeway.…

It’s hard to resist flirting with babies. Even if a baby has been screaming her head off for hours on end in the seat behind you on a transatlantic flight, if she giggles and smiles when you’re deplaning, you’ll probably smile back. What is it about babies that makes our hearts melt almost instantaneously when…

When adults are asked if they remember pictures of faces, they’re more accurate when the faces are the same race as they are. It makes some sense — people are likely to spend more time with and have more same-race friends, so they may become better attuned to the differences in individuals in their own…

Casual Fridays: Calendar Quirks

Last week we asked readers how they used their calendars: we were curious if the way people used their calendars said anything about how busy their lives were. We found out an awful lot about how readers use calendars, but we also found that there may not be much of a pattern to how calendars…

One of the most common “icebreaker” conversation topics is music preferences. We ask friends what they’re listening to on their iPods, bloggers post playlists on their sidebars, and one of the most popular websites on the planet (MySpace) is built around sharing music. The assumption is that musical preferences can tell us something beyond what…

Take a look at this amazing illusion created by Arthur Shapiro (you’ll need the latest version of Flash Player to see it): You’re looking at two donut-shaped figures whose “holes” are gradually changing color from black to white and back again. It appears that the holes are changing in an opposite pattern — when one…

Encephalon is back at SharpBrains

The Encephalon blog carnival is up and running at SharpBrains after a short hiatus. Check it out for the latest great posts in psychology and neuroscience.

Just a few months ago, I finally convinced Greta to convert her old paper appointment calendar to an electronic version. Now instead of writing her appointments down in a little book, she enters it in her computer or her PDA. It’s now possible for me to see her schedule on my computer, and vice versa.…

I don’t need words to think about the shape of a car, or how to throw a football, or the taste of a chocolate chip cookie. In fact, things like that are probably easier to think about without using language. That’s why the strong form of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis — that language is necessary for…

Which of these two pictures is more memorable? The shot on the left is interesting primarily because Nora’s in it — if it was just a picture of a muddy trail, it wouldn’t be notable at all to most people. The shot on the right is a dramatic mountain scene that you might remember even…