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When Nora was born, Jim was just 19 months old, and still unable to communicate other than with the most basic words (ba-ba, da-da, na-na). But we could tell right away that while he liked his new sister, he was a little jealous when our attention was focused on her needs, instead of his, as…

[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…

When I was in elementary school, we had two recesses every day: 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon. Plus, we had a 30-minute lunch period, and as soon as we finished eating we were free to go outside and play until the bell rang. So I was a little surprised…

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…

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…

One of the most controversial topics here on Cognitive Daily is whether playing video games can lead to aggressive behavior or violence — and one of the most dramatic demonstrations of the impact of violent video games was a 2000 study by Craig Anderson and Karen Dill. In that study, participants played violent or non-violent…

A few years ago we discussed a fascinating study which appeared to show that the main reason we stop eating at the end of a meal isn’t because we “feel” full. Instead, we simply see that we’ve finished eating the food in front of us, so we stop. We don’t eat more an hour later…

I had a newspaper route up until I was in the ninth grade, and what I dreaded about the job was going door-to-door collecting subscription fees. The worst part was probably the odors in some of the houses. One house emanated a toxic mixture of Lysol, alcohol, pet dander, and cigarette smoke. These people inevitably…

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…

Two years ago, we linked to a post about an ABC news program that claimed to have replicated Stanley Milgram’s controversial experiments from the 1960s and 70s about obedience to authority. The original study tricked unwitting paid study participants into believing that they had administered potentially deadly shocks at the bidding of an experimenter. The…