Memory

Cognitive Daily

Category archives for Memory

Yesterday’s post showed that our memory for objects depends on the background information available when we first see the object: If you see a toy in a room, you remember it better later if you see it again in the room. Being in the same position in a blank picture of the room doesn’t help.…

Change blindness is a truly remarkable phenomenon. There are so many ways that the human perceptual system can be tricked into missing a change that appears right before our eyes, that it’s sometimes astonishing that we aren’t constantly running into walls or misplacing the basics of life — our car keys, wallet, our what were…

Can you hear colors? Can you see sounds? Do words have colors or images associated with them? It may sound impossible, but there are many documented cases of people who experience all these things. We’ve discussed it before on Cognitive Daily, and even found some limited evidence of similar phenomena among the general population. Collectively,…

Boundary extension is a phenomenon we’ve discussed a lot on Cognitive Daily. It’s typically described as a memory error: We remember scenes as having bigger boundaries than what we originally saw. Take a look at these two pictures of Jim: If you only saw picture A by itself, then later you’d remember seeing a picture…

You may have heard of the idea that people can only remember seven things at a time — a seven-digit phone number, a license-plate, etc. While the size of working memory actually varies from person to person (it usually ranges from 6 to 8 items), and while people can use strategies like “chunking” to remember…

I’ve always been a fan of literary studies — I was an English major in college and I continue to blog about literature on my personal blog. But when I first learned about the concept of alliteration (I must have been in middle school), I was unimpressed. Obviously making a poem rhyme requires some serious…

Take a look at this short video — it’s a list of animals. Try to remember as many animals as you can. If you’re like me, you’re pretty confident that you will remember the entire list, even after ten minutes or so. In my case, that’s not so much because the list names animals that…

One of the first things I did after my 90-mile hike with Nora in the North Cascades was play some music on the car stereo. We’d been in the wilderness for seven days, and other than birdsong, we hadn’t heard so much as a note for the entire time. Matching our intuitions about music, researchers…

Several recent large-scale studies have confirmed a curious finding: Asians are much more likely to have “perfect pitch” than non-Asians. Perfect pitch, more properly called “Absolute pitch,” is an extremely rare phenomenon, but it’s several times more likely to occur in Asians than in others. Studies have found that only 1 in 1,500 to 10,000…

Boundary extension — misremembering the boundaries of a scene as wider than they really are — has been observed in adults as old as 84 and children as young as 6. But for kids much younger than 6, the phenomenon becomes quite difficult to study. How do you ask a 6-month-old whether the picture they’re…