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Every year about this time, we start thinking about an exciting television event: the Super Bowl. I’m excited because it’s the biggest football game of the year. The rest of the family just likes to watch the commercials. No doubt, some of those commercials are hilarious, and there’s often more conversation about the commercials than…

[This article was originally posted in February, 2007] The setting was an integrated suburban middle school: nearly evenly divided between black and white students. As is the case in many schools, white students outperformed black students both in grades and test scores. But how much of this difference is attributable to real differences in ability?…

(This entry was originally posted in May, 2006) We’ve discussed implicit attitudes on Cognitive Daily before, but never in the context of food. The standard implicit attitude task asks you to identify items belonging to two different categories. Consider the following lists. Use your mouse to click on items which are either pleasant or related…

Remember this video? A few weeks ago we used it to demonstrate that facial expressions can disrupt the perceptual system in fundamental ways. Actually, because we could only show a few short clips, we weren’t able to duplicate the research results found by John Eastwood, Daniel Smilek, and Philip Merikle. But in their, more comprehensive…

When Jim and Nora were toddlers, they were huge fans of everything Disney. Here they’re wearing their Disney pajamas as they play next to their Seven Dwarves figurines, underneath their TV, which was frequently used to watch Disney videos. We even took them to Disney World, where they had an absolute blast, but turned out…

I play soccer every week with an ever-changing group of people. We’re all busy, and people get injured or lose interest, so every week the crowd is slightly different; it often feels like we need to re-acquaint ourselves before every game. The easiest way to do this is during warm-ups when small groups kick the…

Ben and Bernice Finn have been married for 60 years. And they still remember their first date. “I was very nervous,” Ben said. “She was so pretty.” “I remember that day very well,” Bernice said. “And no, you weren’t pretty.” But when the couples all went out that night, there was a chill in the…

Science is hard

Yesterday we tried to replicate the effect that John Eastwood, Daniel Smilek, and Philip Merikle observed — that negative facial expressions distract us from even the simplest tasks more than positive facial expressions. Hundreds of our readers watched one of two videos and were charged with counting the number of “upturned arcs” or “downturned arcs.”…

Here’s a really interesting experiment that we may be able to replicate online. Take a look at this very short video. You’ll be shown a set of 12 arcs. Some of the arcs will be upturned and some of them will be turned downward, as in the example below. You’ll have about 2.5 seconds to…

You’re at a bar, club, or church social and you’ve just met an absolutely stunning member of the opposite sex. You’re single and available, and you detect no signs of romantic commitment in your new conversation-partner. Could he/she be interested in you too? Or you’re walking down a poorly-lit street in an unfamiliar city. It’s…