Perception

Cognitive Daily

Category archives for Perception

Take a listen to this brief audio clip of “Unforgettable.” Aside from the fact that it’s a computer-generated MIDI performance, do you hear anything unusual? If you’re a non-musician like me, you might not have noticed anything. It sounds basically like the familiar song, even though the synthesized sax isn’t nearly as pleasing as the…

Synesthesia and the McGurk effect

We’ve discussed synesthesia many times before on Cognitive Daily — it’s the seemingly bizarre phenomenon when one stimulus (e.g. a sight or a sound) is experienced in multiple modalities (e.g. taste, vision, or colors). For example, a person might experience a particular smell whenever a given word or letter is seen or heard. Sometimes particular…

It’s football season in America: The NFL playoffs are about to start, and tonight, the elected / computer-ranked top college team will be determined. What better time than now to think about … baseball! Baseball players, unlike most football players, must solve one of the most complicated perceptual puzzles in sports: how to predict the…

[Originally published in January, 2006] Clicking on the image below will take you to a short Quicktime movie. Make sure you have your sound turned up, because I’ve recorded a few sentences that play along with the movie. Your job is to determine, as quickly as possible, if each sentence is grammatically correct — while…

I attended an unusual middle school. It was designed on an “open concept,” with the idea that there should be no walls between classrooms. Social pressure would keep the noise levels down, because if kids got too loud, then their peers in other classes would encourage them to hush up. This actually worked most of…

Greta and I did our undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago, or as a commonly-sold T-shirt on campus put it, “where fun goes to die.” To say that Chicago didn’t emphasize academics over a social life is to deny that people literally lived in the library (a full-scale campsite was found behind one of…

Recently we took our hybrid car into the shop for its annual emissions test. In our state, the test is conducted while the car is idling. A hybrid doesn’t actually idle — it shuts the engine off completely. So our car’s emissions were tested at 0 RPM. It may be time to rethink our state’s…

The other day, our car wouldn’t start and Jim had to ask a neighbor over to help him jump-start it. There was much rushing in and out of the house looking for flashlights and other tools to help get the job done. After the neighbor left, Jim wanted to drive somewhere and couldn’t find the…

How did you decide to read this post? You might have seen the headline in an RSS reader or noticed it on the ScienceBlogs home page. Maybe someone emailed or tweeted the link to you. But you still had to make the decision to actually read it. How do you know when you made that…

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…