Cognitive Daily

Archives for August, 2009

Greta and I are back from a busy summer, the school year has started, and today’s high temperature here in North Carolina will only be in the 70s! I can actually wear long pants again. You know what that means: It’s time to ramp up Survey Monkey for another season of Casual Fridays studies. This…

One of the most exciting moments of my junior-high-school career was stepping into my first-ever foreign-language classroom. While foreign language studies had a reputation for being tedious, I was nonetheless thrilled at the idea of being able to communicate with people from a different, seemingly more exotic part of the world. We were allowed to…

Fake videos lead to real confessions

In case you missed them, here are my selections from the psychology and neuroscience posts on ResearchBlogging.org for the past week: Confronted with fake video evidence, nearly everyone confesses. In a simulated “crime,” researchers were able to induce false confessions — but fewer people were willing to rat out others. Second language changes the way…

Take a look at the following picture: Your job is to look for the one line that’s either perfectly horizontal or perfectly vertical. It took me about 25 seconds to find it. Can you do better? How about now? A little easier, right? But the task can be made difficult again by randomly changing the…

We’ve discussed attentional blink several times on CogDaily. It’s a fascinating phenomenon: if you see a series of images flashing by rapidly, you can normally pick out one of the images (for example, a banana in series of pictures of familiar objects). But if a second such image (another piece of fruit, like an apple)…

My picks from ResearchBlogging.org

In case you missed them, these are my picks from ResearchBlogging.org’s psychology and neuroscience categories. Neat stuff! Neurological basis for desire for amputation. This post explains why some people have a seemingly rational desire for a healthy limb to be removed. Are humans genetically predisposed to cheat on their mates? An anthropologist examines the evidence,…

[This post was originally published in September, 2007] Here’s a task that four-year-olds can do but three-year-olds have some trouble with. Imagine Sally in the picture below is playing with a ball. She puts the ball in the box and goes to the kitchen to get a drink. While she’s gone, Bill takes the ball…

Take a look at these photos of Jim and Nora: They’ve clearly been distorted (using the “spherize” filter in Photoshop), but in opposite directions. Jim’s been “expanded” to make more spherical, while Nora has been “contracted” to look more concave. If you look at these photos for a while, you might have difficulty recognizing how…

Why do only *some* adults drink milk?

Over at Seedmagazine.com, my new column “Research Blogging” debuted today. Every Wednesday I’ll be discussing what’s new in the research blogosphere, and this week I cover a fascinating post by Jeremy Yoder about lactose tolerance in adults. Here’s a sample: The researchers say the lactase gene evolved in Europe because Europeans don’t get enough sun…

Last year Nora and I went on a hike in the remote Pasayten Wilderness in northern Washington state. Parts of the hike were extremely grueling, while other parts were quite easy and fun. I made this short video to try to capture the differences: The music was added as an afterthought, but in the end…