Attention

Cognitive Daily

Category archives for Attention

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…

Joe and Michelle are having dinner at a romantic restaurant. It’s their first anniversary, and everything is perfect — until an attractive woman walks past the table. Michelle notices that Joe casts a quick glance at the woman. Michelle flashes an annoyed glare at Joe, who knows he’s in trouble. “I didn’t mean to look…

Attentional blink is a fascinating phenomenon that occurs when we see images, words, or numbers presented in a rapid sequence. As images flash by at about one every tenth of a second, you’re asked to look for two in particular. If you were looking for numbers in a sequence of letters, the sequence might be…

When I’m writing a post for Cognitive Daily (or doing almost any kind of writing, for that matter), I try to keep outside distractions to an absolute minimum. I even have an application on my computer that shuts off all access to the internet for a specified period of time. I find most music distracting,…

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…

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…

Some of the things psychologists ask their research subjects to do are really rather annoying. I’m not talking about Milgram-esque studies where people confront their inner demons, I’m talking about much more pedestrian stuff. This movie, for example, gives you a small taste of the Sustained Attention to Response Test (SART). A series of numbers…

Take a look at this graph showing population distribution by county in a fictional U.S. state: How do you read such a graph? Is this the ideal way to depict this sort of information? If you wanted to know which part of the state was most populous, how would you go about figuring it out?…

Every year about this time, we start thinking about an exciting television event: the Super Bowl. I’m excited because it’s the biggest football game of the year. The rest of the family just likes to watch the commercials. No doubt, some of those commercials are hilarious, and there’s often more conversation about the commercials than…