Mixing Memory

Archives for February, 2007

Ghosts Make You Less Likely to Cheat

Here’s a nominee for strangest psychology experiment ever, or at least spookiest. Yesterday I talked about the theory that religion, or at least supernatural agent concepts, serve to activate representational concerns, and thus increase prosocial behavior, or decrease selfish behavior. The experiment I’m about to describe was designed to test part of that theory. But…

I Want One of These

For my aquarium: The picture’s from CNN. The caption reads: The Antarctic ice fish is one of many species documented during a 10-week expedition exploring the Antarctic sea floor. Researchers examined marine life and uncovered potentially new species below the surface of the cold Antarctic water. The ice fish has no red blood pigments or…

If you were hanging around ScienceBlogs yesterday, you probably came across this post at Pharyngula. In it, Dr. Myers links to an article on a study by Bushman et al.1 purporting to show that people are more aggressive after reading passages from the Bible in which God sanctions violence than after reading passages that don’t…

Chimps With Spears

In a comment to the last post, “Korax” mentions a paper published online in Current Biology this week on chimpanzee tool use. The tool use described in this paper is, as far as I can tell, as or more complex than any previously witnessed in chimps. Here’s the abstract: Although tool use is known to…

Chimpanzee Culture for 4000 Years

You’ve probably already come across this story, but just in case: Oldest chimp tools found in West Africa Apes could have passed down skills for thousands of years. In the West African rainforest, archaeologists have found ancient chimpanzee stone tools thousands of years older than the previous oldest finds in the same area. The discovery…

Here at Mixing Memory, Just Science week has turned into Mostly Wegner week. But the set of studies I’m going to talk about in this post has received so much attention that I just can’t resist. You may have encountered it in the New York Times (you can read it here without a subscription). Unfortunately…

Hesitation Helps

Here’s something I didn’t know1: Approximately 6 in every 100 words are affected by disfluency, including repetitions, corrections, and hesitations such as the fillers um and er. Moreover, the distribution of disfluency is not arbitrary. For example, fillers tend to occur before low frequency and unpredictable words, in circumstances where the speaker is faced with…

Money Is Umm… Food?

A while back, I linked to a paper analogically comparing money to drugs. Judging by the comments, those of you who read the paper weren’t particularly impressed by it. But if you thought the money-drug analogy was odd, I’ve got a better one for you. If you recall, the money as a drug paper by…

Just Science

This isn’t technically about science, but I wanted to remind everyone that the week of science challenge has begun (as of yesterday), and the Just Science webpage is aggregating the feeds of all the participating blogs. So if you’re interested in reading a bunch of science blogging, including some by science blogs you probably haven’t…

Have you ever had a meeting, or a brain storming session, that involved a lot of coffee and enthusiasm, with everyone throwing out ideas at a breakneck pace, and quickly becoming convinced of their brilliance? I had just such a meeting one morning not too long ago. Everything moved really, really fast, and we were…