Introducing a new in-depth feature: Cognitive Monthly

i-80bf6eba4b80691fc1bf165da2db5ae8-cogmonthlythumb.gifToday we're introducing a new feature on Cognitive Daily. Every month, in addition to our regular blog posts, we're going to create a downloadable mini-book (or maxi-article, take your pick) about an issue related to cognitive psychology. Surprise, surprise, it's called Cognitive Monthly.

Although based on posts that have appeared in CogDaily, it goes beyond what's in the blog, synthesizing and incorporating interviews and other insights. The first issue (May 2009) comes out today!

This month's report, "The Illusion of Theater," covers the remarkable science behind what theatrical professionals seem, to laypeople, to do intuitively: create an environment that encourages us to believe that what we see on stage is a true representation of reality. We interviewed a director with the Royal Shakespeare Company, along with several other key participants in the production of a play, and applied their explanation of the process of theater production to the science of perception. We think you'll find our report surprising and engaging.

You may have noticed a new tab on our site to access the feature, which offers links to all the downloads.

The price is $2 per download, available now from in PDF format (compatible with nearly all computers, plus the Sony e-reader and iPhone), and from in Kindle format. The Kindle version also works on an iPhone, but it's black-and-white, so you may prefer the full-color Lulu version.

If you're not sure whether you'd like to buy this issue of Cognitive Monthly, just wait a few days. We've sent copies to most of the major psychology bloggers on the net, and several have assured us that they'll have reviews up shortly. We'll add links to the reviews here as soon as we see them.

We hope you enjoy Cognitive Monthly. While the topics for the first few months are set, we'd love to hear your ideas about topics to cover in the future, so let us know either here in the comments or via email.

Update: As promised, reviews are starting to come in:

I'll update the list of reviews here as they come in. I hope they'll make your purchasing decision a little easier.

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Passion, Culture and Education (& John Seely Brown and Phil Zimbardo) and Cognitive Psych

John Seely Brown and Richard Adler write about âpassion-basedâ learning. These authors argue that understanding is socially constructed and that meaning is created âby what one person produces and others build on â a remixâ e.g. (2008) Minds on Fire.

I know that passion is related to Zimbardoâs concept of heroes. And to peace & conflict resolution - creativity over destructiveness - culture, civic responsibility & resisting unwanted influences.

In my perfect world, Iâd like John Seely Brown take his (passionate learning through technology/innovation) focus and work with Phil Zimbardoâs expert ideas about how we acquire and manifest our values and then put this into a perspective of Cogntive Psych.

Can it be done?

Elizabeth -- that's an intriguing idea. We've written about studies showing that self-discipline is more important than "intelligence" in predicting academic success. It's entirely possible that passion is part of what drives self-discipline.