Cognitive Daily

Archives for March, 2008

Psychologists often complain that neuroscientists get a disproportionate share of the glory when the mainstream media reports on their studies. It seems to some that an important new psychology study is often neglected or ignored entirely, while neuroscience studies of similar importance are hailed as “groundbreaking.” What is it about pictures of brains that are…

It shouldn’t take you long to notice what’s wrong with this picture: Obviously Nora is defying gravity in this shot — you can’t help but notice it. But in your first glance at the photo, how quickly do you notice what’s wrong? Do you spot the oddity faster than you’d notice Nora in the original,…

What makes children so cute? Is it their adorably soft skin? Their innocently mischievous smiles? Their oversized eyes and tiny little mouths? Why is it that some kids are singled out for TV commercials and child beauty pageants, while others don’t seem to be noteworthy in any way? Attractiveness in children isn’t trivial — teachers…

A couple weeks back we discussed a study examining stereotypes about music fans and how they related to actual fans’ real preferences. Unfortunately, the researchers couldn’t test one of the most intriguing stereotypes about music fans: the types of drugs and alcohol preferred by fans of particular genres. So while we know the stereotype of…

When I write an article for Cognitive Daily, I follow a similar pattern nearly every time. First I carefully read the journal article I’ll be discussing. Next I take a break and work on something else. Then I get myself a caffeinated beverage and some kind of sweet treat (usually it’s chocolate-covered raisins but today…

Can anyone learn to taste wine?

Any serious wine drinker will tell you she can distinguish between inexpensive, low-quality wine and the fancy premium-priced stuff. She may also claim the ability to discern the difference between wine made from different grapes, or produced in different regions of the world. Yet some studies have found that even so-called experts are unable to…

Take a look at this amazing video (via slashdot) showing how traffic jams can occur even when all the drivers are attempting to drive the identical speed. As you can see, at first everything works fine — the drivers have all been instructed to try to drive about 30 KPH. But almost inevitably everything goes…

You might expect someone’s cultural background to influence their speech, their appearance, their musical tastes, and the foods they like. You’d probably also expect culture to have an impact on values and beliefs, on stories and traditions. But what about their bodies — not just physical features like skin color or hair texture, but attitude…

New blogs, new Encephalon

Of Two Minds, the much-anticipated merger of Steve Higgins’ Omni Brain and Shelley Batts’ Retrospectacle, makes its debut today. Not Exactly Rocket Science is also up and running here on ScienceBlogs.com. If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at the relatively new blog Translating Autism, you should definitely check it out too.…