Cognition Essential Reads

How Minds Work: As Little As Possible

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 30, 2015 Ambigamy
Once we're familiar with the windy contours of a path it becomes to us a straightaway. We love straightaways. They free our attention and fill us with confidence that we can cruise forever more.

How to Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on November 27, 2015 Hot Thought
You can empathize with people in three ways: recognizing their situations as analogous to your own, perceiving their pain or emotions using mirror neurons, or simulating their experiences using unconscious embodied rules.

8 Secret Body Language Cues That Can Control Your Behavior

Subtle body language in others can trigger emotional, cognitive, and behavioral reactions in us -- and we may be completely unaware of them.

How Your Emotions Really Work

It can be the opposite of what you think.

Hearing With Our Eyes, Seeing With Our Ears

By David Ludden Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 Talking Apes
Consciousness is a virtual reality in the head, the brain’s best guess as to what’s out there in the world.

In the Age Of Emoji, What's in a Word?

By Vyv Evans Ph.D. on November 18, 2015 Language in the Mind
The Oxford Dictionaries 2015 word of the year isn't a word. In fact, it's an emoji. What does this mean for the changing status of language in the digital age?

The Clothes You Wear Can Affect a Dog's Emotional State

Data shows that if your clothing has stripes vs polka-dots or plain color, it can provoke an emotional response in dogs

6 Little Known Factors That Can Affect Depression

By Pamela D. Garcy Ph.D. on November 18, 2015 Fearless You
These 6 little known factors can affect depression.

Consciousness and Memory

The role of memory in consciousness is often taken for granted. Without the brain's various memory systems it would be unlikely that conscious experience would even occur. Consciousness not only relies on working memory to maintain perceptual and other information but also on long-term memory to enrich our present experience with information from the past.

The Assault on the American Mind

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on November 15, 2015 The Pacific Heart
A response to recent Atlantic articles about campus unrest and the supposed "coddling" of the American mind. We can't tell students they're "too sensitive" and that they should "lighten up and get over it." The moment calls for more than just free speech or intellectualizing. We need empathic inclusion.

10 Things Passive People Say

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on November 12, 2015 The Squeaky Wheel
When passivity becomes our default way of responding and interacting and determines our general approach to life, it hurts us in ways we might not realize: Here's what to look for:

The Art (and Science) of “Aping”

Human beings are smart. But, according to Joseph Henrich, the impact of the innate intelligence of individuals may be over-rated. Quite often, for example, European explorers who got lost did not survive. The takeaway, Henrich suggests, in an immensely ambitious new book, is that our species' uniqueness lies less in the power of individual minds than in collective brains.

Do Video Games Measure IQ?

Games like Big Brain Academy on the Wii are marketed to us as brain training tools to help us get sharper and have a good time doing it. We never really consider another option: That perhaps these games are actually measuring our IQ.

Keep Moving

How can our thinking/working spaces be made more creativity-friendly?

How Can Smart People Sometimes Be So Stupid?

If ignorance is bliss, we must be living on Planet Euphoria.

The Ineffability of Meaning

By Vyv Evans Ph.D. on November 03, 2015 Language in the Mind
Meaning is central to our lives, and what it means to be human. But the story of how we create meaning is one of the most fascinating, challenging, and perplexing, even, in the contemporary science of language and mind.

Beyond the "Selfie" Self: the Diametric View

Robert Trivers’ neo-Freudian view of the self-deceiving self is self-contradictory, but the diametric model suggests a more honest alternative.

Teach Your Children to Lie

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on October 30, 2015 Mental Mishaps
Lying is an incredibly important skill. But lying is pretty tricky and depends on a basic cognitive capability that young children lack and need to develop. You may have to teach your children how to lie effectively.

Nose to Nose Greeting With Puppies

Nose to nose touching with an adult dog may result in bites to a person's face, however this method of greeting may be a useful and safe technique to use when socializing puppies.

The Dangers of Uninformed Belief

By Peter A. Ubel M.D. on October 29, 2015 Critical Decisions
Russell Wilson’s pronouncements not only risk convincing his fans to waste money, but could cause some to delay necessary medical care, figuring those concussion symptoms will resolve with a gulp or two of miracle water.

Why are Some People Eager to Fight for the Islamic State?

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on October 28, 2015 Hot Thought
Foreigners and locals decide to go to fight with the Islamic State because it provides a good fit with their fundamental values and beliefs – emotional coherence. A value map shows some of the emotional structure of the Islamic State ideology.

The Several Meanings in a Meaningful Coincidence

By taking apart coincidences and examining their qualities, we can more fully appreciate them.

Physical Activity Is the No. 1 Way to Keep Your Brain Young

A growing body of evidence suggests that regular physical activity is the most effective way to optimize the structure and function of your brain throughout your lifespan.

Maximize Your Happiness by Turning on Your Microflow

With all the criticism we hear about multitasking, no one ever talks about the upside of engaging your brain in more than one activity at a time. Yet, multitasking might just be the best way to avoid being bored while you’re kept waiting or just stuck in a meeting. Turn your downtime into uptime by seeking the microflow experience.

Is Perspective-Taking a Skill?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on October 22, 2015 Ulterior Motives
When we study psychology, there is a tendency to think about the tasks that we do as if there were built-in modules in the brain dedicated to those tasks. So, we talk about memory and assume that there is a particular thing in the brain that helps us remember information.

The Age of Artificial Consciousness

With the increasing momentum in technological advances, it seems we have reached a turning point in our ability to create advanced artificial intelligence systems. Some would argue that soon we will have a form of human-like consciousness in robots. But is that really the case?

Stop Thinking Positively

By Alex Korb Ph.D. on October 19, 2015 PreFrontal Nudity
These days we're inundated with messages about the power of positive thinking, but sometimes positive thinking can actually interfere with success. Fortunately, there is another way.

What Is a Democracy?

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on October 10, 2015 Hidden Motives
Jimmy Carter's shocking statement about our democracy disappeared in the media

Why Do Brain Injuries Look Like ADHD?

What you should know about the similarities and differences between brain injury and ADHD.

Hallucinated Happiness

If only imagination could sustain our happiness! Alas, we remain shackled to reality. Examples of continued attempts to psych ourselves into happiness – or others into unhappiness – range from the entertaining to the disturbing.