Cognitive Daily

Archives for June, 2009

New parents can come up with a seemingly endless array of vexing questions about their infants, from the best brand of stroller to the ideal song to sing them to sleep. The questions begin well before the child is born: what type of clothing should you purchase? What kind of crib? One question Greta and…

Jemsite, a website, forum and blog about guitars, has posted a fairly extensive interview with me about the psychology of music, Cognitive Daily, and other projects I’m working on. Plus, you can find out the name of Jim’s Southern rock band, so head on over and check it out!

There’s an interesting article in the Washington Post today exploring one line of reasoning suggesting that the Iranian election is fraudulent. Basically, it comes down to this: the results aren’t random enough. In a fair election, you’d expect that each digit, from 0 to 9, would be the final digit the results in each region…

Take a look at the following pictures of U.S. dimes. As you can see, they are slightly different from one another — the date is in the incorrect spot on one of them. Can you tell which one is “wrong”? Let’s make this a poll: Which dime has the date in the correct spot?(polls) Is…

I’ve always been amazed by people who are truly bilingual. While I’ve studied languages in school, I’ve never been able to seamlessly switch between languages, and even my best non-English language, French, is choppy at best. Compare this to the people I see in restaurants or on the subway, who can have conversations in two…

[Originally posted January, 2007] Nearly all video games that offer a first-person perspective — where the view on-screen simulates what a real person would see as she navigates through the virtual environment — also include a virtual map to help in navigation. Even my favorite golf game has one. Such maps can be indispensable, but…

[Originally posted in April 2007] One “trick” dieters often use is to put their food on a smaller plate. The idea is to fool yourself into thinking you’re eating more food than you really are. But doesn’t our stomach tell us how full we are? Actually, it doesn’t. Brian Wansink has devoted his career to…

[Originally posted in February, 2007] When you look out the window and then look away, how do you remember what you saw? Do you hold a picture of the window in your head, frame and all? What about a photo? Do you remember the physical photo, or do you imagine the real scene it represents?…

There’s lots of research suggesting that we may have something like a “number line” in our head: The SNARC effect says that if you normally read numbers from left to right, you’re faster to react to small numbers with your left hand, and big numbers with your right hand. Similar research has also found a…

When Nora was born, Jim was just 19 months old, and still unable to communicate other than with the most basic words (ba-ba, da-da, na-na). But we could tell right away that while he liked his new sister, he was a little jealous when our attention was focused on her needs, instead of his, as…