Reasoning

Cognitive Daily

Category archives for Reasoning

It’s pretty obvious to most people that the two shoes in this picture are the same size: But if you actually took a ruler to your computer display it would show that the image of my right shoe is nearly twice as wide as the image of my left shoe. Young children will mistakenly say…

[This article was originally posted in December, 2006] I’m not bitter about this, honest I’m not, but it does often seem that people who know you very well end up buying really lousy gifts. What I really want to find out is this: why do they do that? It turns out, market researchers want to…

The SNARC effect is a fascinating phenomenon (and no, it has nothing to do with cheeky one-off blog posts). When asked to recognize numbers, people react faster with their left hand for low numbers, and faster with their right hand for high numbers. Take a look at this graph: This shows the results of an…

When you selected the college or university you planned to attend, how did you do it? Did you read narratives offered by college guides? Did you compare relevant statistics such as the student/teacher ratio and percent of students who went on to graduate school? Did you listen to the advice of older friends who had…

Imagine the following scenario: Matthew is playing with his new kitten late one night. He is wearing only his boxer shorts, and the kitten sometimes walks over his genitals. Eventually, this arouses him, and he begins to rub his bare genitals along the kitten’s body. The kitten purrs, and seems to enjoy the contact. How…

Several studies have confirmed this bizarre proposition: If you’re taking a test of rote memorization, like words from a list, move your eyes from side to side for about 30 seconds before you start. Really. Researchers have found, with relative consistency, that if you saccade from left to right and back several times before a…

Take a look at this astonishing (and adorable) video demonstrating how a baby acquires object permanence. At 6 months old, the baby can see and reach for an object, but as soon as it is hidden, she doesn’t seem to realize it’s there. The baby is interested and excited by the objects, but when they’re…

Take another look at this picture of the Rokeby Venus from last week’s post on mirrors in art: Now, imagine you’re actually in the room with Venus, as depicted in this painting. You suspend your astonishment long enough to conduct a quick test of the principle of how a flat mirror works. Consider what would…

The Rokeby Venus by Diego Velázquez is a good example of a very common illusion in many paintings: Most viewers would say this picture depicts a woman viewing her own reflection in a mirror. But based on the orientation of the mirror, it’s actually physically impossible for her to see her own reflection. Since we…

Last week I mentioned that Greta had been discussing a study with her class that was related to the fable of the Fox and the Grapes. When most of her students hadn’t heard the story, it provided the opportunity for a lengthy aside: our Casual Fridays study about which stories people had and hadn’t heard.…