Cognition Essential Reads

Another Flashbulb Memory Bites the Dust

Guest post by a student who has a memory of September 11th, 2001, that is vivid, clear, and wrong.

A Simple Tip to Stop Relationship Arguments From Spiraling

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on May 20, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
The most common forms of miscommunication that lead to heated arguments are also the ones we least expect.

Why Anticipatory Nostalgia Promotes Gratitude

By Jaime Kurtz Ph.D. on May 19, 2015 in Happy Trails
Think ahead—what might you miss as you embark on your summer travels?

Are You in Cognitive Decline?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on May 19, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
I speak to a lot of corporate audiences. Regardless of the topic I am speaking about, I get a lot of general psychology questions from the crowd. The most popular question is about cognitive performance and aging. People in their 50s and 60s begin to worry that they are not going to be able to keep up mentally with their younger colleagues.

How Technical Devices Influence Children's Brains

Guest blog by Dan Riseman, president of Riseman Educational Counseling, covers children's brain development. Here are some dos and don'ts regarding devices.

How to Be Empathetic

“All you ever wants to do is try to fix things.” “You just don't get it.” Judgments like these and countless others verbalized or thought in the context of interpersonal relationships point to one popular problem: the lack of empathy for the other. This blog provides nine guidelines for addressing this block to successful relationships.

A Lesson From Junior High Exile

By Kaja Perina on May 14, 2015 in Brainstorm
The inner voice is both symptom and salve, partly indicating what you believe about yourself and partly indoctrinating you into a way of thinking, as I discovered in a middle school library long ago.

Spring Forward or Fall Back?

The biggest unsolved problem of neuroscience can't be solved by neuroscience alone. Neuroscience needs embodied cognitive science. The brain doesn't generate the mind; it facilitates it.

Diametric Differences in Seeing the Other’s Point of View

Both tendencies to autism and proneness to psychosis induce perspective-taking errors, but their interaction reduces these errors: a finding only explicable by the diametric model.

How do Bilingual Infants Separate their Languages?

Infants who acquire two or more languages from birth have to distinguish and differentiate the spoken input they receive into distinct languages. Professor Janet Werker who has been at the forefront of research on this topic tells us how they do it.

Mathematics Fluency Training - It Works!

By Michael Hogan Ph.D on May 12, 2015 in In One Lifespan
Numeracy – our everyday play with numbers – is essential to the rhythm of life and our adaptive success as a species. There is a wonderful beauty in numbers that infants and toddlers intuitively appreciate as those around them play with numbers in song, story, dance, and life drama. But why is it that we so often hear an emerging negative attitude in relation to maths?

Can God Be Its Own Cause?

Many humans find First Cause arguments for the existence of God compelling. Why? There are two collaborating reasons: Our confusion over infinity, and our lack of confusion over the strange notion of being self-caused -- a property often attributed to God. Both of these implicate our amazing and puzzling ability to conceive.

Is Life Just a Sequence of Random Events?

By Po Chi Wu Ph.D. on May 12, 2015 in Jacob's Staff
How do we understand the role of luck in our lives? If value and meaning can only be achieved by a sequence of events, does that sequence reflect a pre-determined pattern? Whose pattern? Where does this line of thinking take us in terms of planning? How are artists and entrepreneurs different from the rest of us? How do we find meaning in life?

The Cheap Feels of Emotion-Sensing Technology

By Colin Ellard Ph.D. on May 08, 2015 in Mind Wandering
We are being bombarded by accounts of new technology that can read our feelings by measuring facial expressions, voice qualities, and more. Not only do accounts of such tools seem to oversimplify one of the most complex aspects of human behavior, but to the extent that we buy into them, they run the risk of allowing us to cheapen our idea of what it means to be human.

Does Video Game-Playing Sharpen Mental Skills and Speed?

By David Myers on May 08, 2015 in Talk Psych
Although new research suggests that video-game playing and "brain training" have limited cognitive benefits, some simple interventions can increase academic achievement.

Does the Heart Want What It Wants?

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on May 08, 2015 in Hot Thought
It is only partly true that the heart wants what the heart wants, because minds have some limited capacity for cognitive reappraisal that contributes to emotional change.

How Dreams Help Us Transcend Time and Place

Can we benefit from thinking about our dreams? Will attending to our dreams waste our time or, even worse, mislead us into inferences of false meaning?

Imagining an Authentic Life

Stop trying to be true to yourself, because there's no self to be true to. You are a character in a fiction of your own making, constantly revising your narrative to adapt to your circumstances. If you don't like your life, change your story.

How We Really Decide Who's to Blame

By Art Markman Ph.D. on May 01, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
Human beings love to give explanations for things. If you have ever spent any time with a 5-year-old, you know that a child that age just loves to ask, “Why?” This desire to understand why things happen continues throughout our lives. Understanding why things happen affects many aspects of our lives, including our ability to assign blame for an action.

Music's Effects on Cognitive Function of the Elderly

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on April 30, 2015 in Memory Medic
Music can be therapy for old age.

Why We Hate It When Someone Steals Our Life Story

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on April 28, 2015 in Mental Mishaps
Have you, or anyone you know, ever been the victim of memory theft? Has someone ever stolen one of your memories and told the story as his or her own? You might be surprised by how frequently this crime happens—you aren’t alone if your memories have been stolen.

The Contradictions of Cliches

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on April 28, 2015 in The Prime of Life
What common clichés reveal about the popular psychology of our time.

Writing by Hand Makes It Easier to Think

By Temma Ehrenfeld on April 23, 2015 in Open Gently
Remember pens and paper? They help us think.

Your Categories Drive What You See

By Art Markman Ph.D. on April 21, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
When you open your eyes, you see a picture of the world around you. Psychologists have explored many factors that influence what you point your eyes at when looking at a scene. People tend to look at information that will help them achieve their goals, for example. They also look at items in the environment that are important to them like human faces.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

By Vyv Evans Ph.D. on April 20, 2015 in Language in the Mind
What accounts for the hullabaloo surrounding the publication of The Language Myth. Is Chomskyan linguistics a form of intellectual fundamentalism? And is language science in the throes of a paradigm shift? It's certainly beginning to look that way!

Meaningfully Salient Parenting

Meaningfully salient parenting can be spoken about, but, in essence, it is a deeply heartfelt and intimate engagement between parent and child, mother and father, and all within the family system.

Getting Existential with Josh Rouse

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on April 17, 2015 in Brick by Brick
Josh Rouse shares how he has been able to conquer anxiety through mindfulness.

The Brain Is Wider Than the Sky

Neuroscientists often quote Emily Dickinson's poem that begins, "The brain is wider than the sky," in support of their view that the mind is nothing but the brain. But they interpret the poem too narrowly, and miss its deeper meaning. Her poetry can teach us about the brain and mind, in ways that neuroscience can't.

Hillary Clinton's Social Media Challenge

Obama was the classic Underdog archetype. Social media wasn’t his communications vehicle, it was part of his story. Don’t ask if Hillary Clinton will have a social media advantage because Obama did or if the Republicans will ever get it right. Ask if Hillary can adapt her archetype to social.

Why Does Game of Thrones' Hodor Only Say "Hodor"?

By Jordan Gaines Lewis on April 10, 2015 in Brain Babble
There's a neurological explanation behind why Hodor only says one word: expressive aphasia.