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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…

It would be difficult to come up with a more frequently confused concept in psychology than reinforcement and punishment. In fact, “reinforcement” and “punishment” aren’t difficult to understand on their own: Reinforcement simply means any means of increasing or encouraging the designated behavior; punishment is any means of inhibiting or decreasing the designated behavior. It…

Euro-update 4: Sperm whale perception Tuscany is about the last place you might think to go to speculate about the visual system of a whale, but when you’re spending three weeks relaxing in a secluded villa, you have a lot of reading time. I’ve been reading Moby-Dick. Herman Melville describes the sperm whale with almost…

When Shelley Batts wrote up a report on an article about antioxidants in fruits, she never expected to get contacted by the copyright police, but that’s exactly what happened. She had reproduced a table and a figure from the article, and got this notice from an editorial assistant at the publisher: The above article contains…

Earlier today I wrote a post about optical illusions. I was hoping it would distract me from thinking about the Virginia Tech shootings. It didn’t. I began to see connections between the illusions and the tragedy: That sinking feeling that somebody was being shot, that spiral like a gun sight. The problem is that human…

Last week’s post on how sound affects perception of visual events was the most popular post ever on Cognitive Daily, with over 15,000 visits. This was thanks to links from both Fark’s technology page and digg.com. Yet commenters on both sites expressed disappointment with the demo. I wasn’t especially happy with it either, but then…

There was plenty of interest in yesterday’s audio-visual illusion. In case you missed it, I’ll post it again here: Play the movie with the sound turned up. If the illusion works, then you’ll see a dot flash twice, accompanied by two beeps. But actually the dot only flashes once. Unfortunately, we’ve had a hard time…