Cognitive Daily

Archives for April, 2008

The man behind the amazing Contrast Asynchrony illusion has started a blog! Arthur Shapiro tells me he has a backlog of literally thousands of illusions. He promises to offer a new illusion every week, along with an explanation of the science behind it. Here’s a preview of this week’s illusion: For an explanation of how…

Humans are exceptionally good at recognizing faces they’ve seen before. It doesn’t take much study to accurately recall whether or not you’ve seen a particular face. However, this pattern breaks down when faces come from unfamiliar races. A white person who lives primarily among other whites will have more difficulty recognizing Asian faces, and vice…

Thank you for “choosing” to read Encephalon #44 here at Cognitive Daily. Every two weeks, Encephalon “selects” the best psychology and neuroscience blog posts from around the blogosphere, giving readers the chance to “decide” which ones they’d like to investigate further. Unfortunately for all those involved, those “decisions” very likely weren’t carried out through the…

Encephalon tomorrow at CogDaily

CogDaily will be hosting Encephalon tomorrow. There’s still time to make your submissions — just send an email to encephalon.host — @ — gmail — . — com (remove dashes). We should be able to include any submissions received before 9 a.m. tomorrow.

Spot the fake smile

There’s a fun little test over at the BBC: Spot the fake smile (via Green Ideas). Try to spot the difference between fake smiles and real smiles! I got 17 out of 20. It helps to understand the research about authentic smiles. Update: Now I’m curious. I wonder if our readers are really that good,…

Last week’s Casual Friday study was all about money. The basic question was simply what it means to be rich — how much income and net worth does it take before you consider someone to be wealthy? We received over 1,000 responses. Perhaps our most interesting finding was simply the diversity of opinions about what…

Although not all games are equal, there’s plenty of evidence that playing some violent video games can cause aggressive real-world behavior. Sites like addictinggames.com offer popular games whose sole point is to play the role of a hit-man or even to torture animals. Over 85 percent of video games include violence. When these statistics are…

Eric Kandel Interview

ScienceBlogs.de, our German counterpart, is featuring an English-language interview with Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel: Pertinent to Tuesday’s post, he discusses free will, and also drug treatment for behavior disorders, the unification of the sciences, and Sigmund Freud.

Do we have free will? While some may see the question as trivial, it’s a challenging topic that has been actively debated for centuries. Whether or not you believe a god is involved, a case can be made that free will is simply an illusion, and that every “decision” we make is completely controlled by…

I know CogDaily is supposed to be a psychology web site, but sometimes, you have a question you simply must know the answer to. I frequently need to boil a mug of water, and I’ve often wondered what the most energy-efficient method is. Is it the microwave, or the good-old-fashioned teakettle on the cooktop? In…