Cognitive Daily

Archives for February, 2009

There’s a lot of advice online about what makes a good resume, and in these tough economic times, getting a job is tougher than ever. So this week, I thought we’d test some different resumes and see which factors are most important in picking a good candidate. You’ll be asked to read two resumes very…

What is a visual expert?

Last week, we presented research by Miranda Scolari’s team about visual expertise and visual short-term memory. Their conclusion: “experts” don’t have a larger visual memory capacity than non-experts, they just have the ability to process more details. Scolari’s team was working under the assumption that all humans (or at least all the students in their…

What is so mesmerizing about pointillist paintings like Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon at La Grande Jatte? At first, we’re impressed by the technical virtuosity of the work. It’s an immense painting that Greta and I visited many times when we were in college in Chicago (and now, whenever we return for a visit): As you can…

One of my most vivid memories from middle school was in English class. The class wasn’t paying attention to the teacher — we were chattering during “work time” and she wanted us to stop and return to a full-class lesson. So she shouted “SEX!” We all shut up immediately and stared at her in disbelief.…

Casual Fridays: How random are we?

This week’s Casual Fridays study was inspired by this comment on the Random Number thread: When a freshman at Penn State too many years ago to count, the intro psychology prof did an amazing demonstration. I wonder if anyone knows the answer to this which I have long forgotten. He said he had written the…

Take a look at this quick video. You’ll see a set of six small images, arranged in a circle, for 1 second. Then the screen will go blank for 1 second. Finally, one image will reappear in the place of one of the first six pictures. Your job: indicate whether the final image is the…

I had a newspaper route up until I was in the ninth grade, and what I dreaded about the job was going door-to-door collecting subscription fees. The worst part was probably the odors in some of the houses. One house emanated a toxic mixture of Lysol, alcohol, pet dander, and cigarette smoke. These people inevitably…

Are surveys art?

In honor of President’s Day in the U.S., I bring you this work of “art,” generated on the basis of a survey of 1,001 Americans’ preferences about art: The work was created to embody the survey responses. The respondents were asked questions like “what is your favorite color” and “would you prefer paintings of outdoor…

Casual Fridays: Just a random survey

Just a random Casual Friday survey this week. Click here to take survey. As usual, the survey is brief, and should take only a minute or two to complete. You have until Thursday, February 19 to respond. There is no limit on the number of responses. Don’t forget to come back next Friday for the…

Child molesters and attentional blink

How do you decide how dangerous a sex-offender is? Certainly all cases of sexual assault are appalling, but clearly some incidents are worse than others. In some places, teenagers who photograph themselves naked and send the pictures to their friends can be prosecuted as purveyors of child-pornography. While we may want to intervene in these…