Casual Fridays

Cognitive Daily

Category archives for Casual Fridays

On Tuesday I got to see Greta and Nora performing with the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra. As usual, they did a fantastic job playing and the orchestra received a standing ovation. One of the pieces they played was BedÅ™ich Smetana’s tone poem “The Moldau,” which, as the conductor explained, took us on a journey across…

Last week I created a survey that was truly humbling. The goal was to find out if time and money invested in preparing for the SAT and other standardized college admission tests is worth it. The first thing I learned from the study was that Cognitive Daily readers are incredibly smart — much smarter than…

It’s test-taking season for high-school juniors in the U.S. Most students take the SAT test, which claims to assess mathematical, verbal, and writing ability to help the college/university admissions process. The pressure to succeed on this and other tests has led to the creation of a whole cottage industry, selling books, software, classes, and even…

Last week we asked our readers about their reasoning behind decisions they and others make about personal security. Are some of us just paranoid? Or do the decisions we make about security and safety reflect the real threats around us? Actually, since this is just a casual study, we’re not going to measure real threats…

Most of us believe that the things we do to stay safe make a lot of sense. But some other people clearly are being unreasonably careful. One might even call them “paranoid.” But is there a general consensus about how to stay safe in the modern world? Or does it depend — on your age,…

Here’s a bonus bit of analysis from last week’s Casual Fridays study. In addition to asking respondents how familiar they were with our selection of stories, we also asked them to describe some detail of the story that was independently verifiable, like how the story ended. The reason we did this was to double-check the…

Last week’s Casual Fridays study was inspired by an event in Greta’s classroom. She had assumed that most of her students would be familiar with the story of the Fox and the Grapes, which goes as follows: ONE hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of…

Last week Greta was telling her class about a study that related to a well-known story. She started off the discussion with a reference to the story, indicating that “of course you all have heard the story of _______” (I can’t tell you the name of the story now because it’s the subject of our…

Last week we asked readers to rate two hypothetical job candidates for a communications assistant position in a large neuroscience lab. The task seemed to pit education against experience. Everyone saw some version of these two resumes: (click for a larger image) Emily was Magna Cum Laude at Harvard, while Suzanne was an average student…

A very quick survey

After taking a first look at last week’s survey responses, I realize there’s one more question I should have asked. So if you have a couple minutes, whether or not you participated last week, could you respond quickly to this short survey? You’ll just be asked to look at two resumes and answer two quick…