Cognitive Daily

Archives for February, 2009

Selection bias and homosexuality

A couple hours ago I posted a quick poll, in what might be construed as an unbiased fashion. I simply asked respondents for their sexual orientation, offering a wide array of choices ranging from “straight” to “mostly gay” to “gay” to “other.” In fact, my poll was biased — not because the question itself was…

Are you homosexual?

I’m having a dispute with a reader in an online forum. Let’s settle it here with a quick, private poll: What is your sexual orientation? ( surveys) Trust me, this is related to psychology.

One of stand-up comic George Carlin’s most famous routines was the seven words you can’t say on TV (obviously, not safe for work). He repeated the words over and over, and it was hilarious — especially back in the days before most people had cable. These days we’ve become desensitized to those words, and it’s…

Last week’s Casual Fridays study started out innocently enough: A contact on Twitter asked if most women would prefer fresh fruit or chocolates as a romantic gift. That’s a fascinating question, I said — maybe even interesting enough to merit study on Casual Friday. With Valentine’s Day coming up, it might be a valuable service…

Sorry, this week’s Casual Friday results won’t be ready until tomorrow. There’s lots of interesting data, and I want to make sure I do it justice.

Have you seen this “illusion” before? The arrangement of the pacman shapes leads you to perceive rectangles, which are actually just empty spaces between the pacmen (that’s a technical term — it’s in a journal article, so it must science!). Technically the rectangles are called “Kanizsa-type subjective contours,” because while we perceive rectangles, there aren’t…

You may have heard of the Stroop effect, and you may have even seen it demonstrated. But can the Stroop effect itself be manipulated? This short demo may show that it can. In case you’re not familiar with the effect, it occurs when you try to say the color a word is printed in, while…