Cognitive Daily

Archives for October, 2008

With the U.S. presidential election just a few days away, many of us are in a frenzy to get information about the polls and who might be the winner. And everyone has an opinion about who’ll win. Today, you can test yourself against other CogDaily readers and see who’s the best. But we also want…

Carmen Miranda is probably best-known today as the former spokesperson for Chiquita bananas, but she was equally famous — and outrageous — as an actress, singer, and dancer in the 1940s and 1950s. Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when people’s actions contradict strongly-held beliefs. It’s such a distasteful feeling that people will…

Vote for Encephalon!

Encephalon is up at Mind Hacks! Go check it out! Greta and I are off to vote today, so you’ll have to get your psychology fix over there. Oh, and out of curiousity: Have you voted yet? ( surveys)

Should you let your toddler watch TV?

When Jimmy was around 18 months old, Greta and I were both in graduate school. I attended classes at night and Greta taught and worked in the lab during the day. In the late afternoon I’d drive into the city with Jimmy in the car seat, and we’d swap — she’d drive back home and…

Aren’t grandparents adorable? They’re sweet and kind, they’ve been married for decades, and they’ve got wonderful archaic 1920s names like Edward and Edwina. Last week, based on the anecdotal evidence of my own grandparents and a couple from an NPR report, we speculated that couples from that older generation were more likely to have similar…

Nora was an excellent talker, starting at a very young age, but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t express herself in other ways. Here, for example, she points to a the item she wants. It’s entirely possible that she didn’t yet know the word “stick,” but she was still quite able to express her desire.…

Yesterday Dan Ariely came to Davidson to give a few lectures and meet with faculty in the Economics, Philosophy, and Psychology departments. Greta attended two of the lectures and had dinner with him (along with the rest of the Davidson Psychology faculty). I went to his public lecture last night. If you’re not familiar with…

Emotion, risk, evolution, and gender

You’re given $15. Which of these bets would you gamble your $15 on? An 80 percent chance of winning $18.75 A 40 percent chance of winning $37.50 A 20 percent chance of winning $75 A 5 percent chance of $300 Or would you just keep the original $15? The answer, it turns out, depends on…

My grandfather’s name was Vern, and he married a woman named Verna. They were together for more than 30 years until she died. Then he married Elvira. That’s them (and great-granddaughter Nora) off to the right. They were together another 20 years. Yesterday we profiled a couple named Ben and Bernice. Is it a coincidence…

Ben and Bernice Finn have been married for 60 years. And they still remember their first date. “I was very nervous,” Ben said. “She was so pretty.” “I remember that day very well,” Bernice said. “And no, you weren’t pretty.” But when the couples all went out that night, there was a chill in the…