Essential Reads

Applying Conversational Analysis to the Digital World

Digital interactions with customers as they progress linearly from touchpoint to touchpoint is, in a very real sense, a conversation.
Science Springs

Hypotheses Versus Predictions

The terms "hypotheses" and "predictions" are often used interchangeably. They are very different things, however. Distinguishing between them can lead to better science.

The Connection Between Writing and Sleep

By Lydia Denworth on January 12, 2018 in Brain Waves
Do you have trouble falling asleep? A new study reveals that writing for a few minutes is an easy and effective solution. But what you write about makes all the difference.

He’s Pavlov and We’re the Dogs: Learning and Human Behavior

The science of learning has more fully developed the nature and function of Pavlovian conditioning than is commonly believed. This form of learning is vital to adaptive behavior.

More Posts on Cognition

What do we mean by 'thinking'?

We don't think hard enough about what we mean by the term 'thinking'. And if we're not clear enough, the age-old question of how language is involved in cognition becomes very messy.

Speak to me

By Tricia Striano Ph.D. on August 15, 2010 in Smart Baby

Did You See the Gorilla? An Interview with Psychologist Daniel Simons

By David DiSalvo on August 15, 2010 in Neuronarrative
If you've spent any time on YouTube over the last few years, you've likely seen the video of the invisible gorilla experiment (if you've somehow missed it, catch yourself up here). The researchers who conducted that study, Dan Simons and Chris Chabris, didn't realize that they were about to create an instant classic-a psychology study mentioned alongside the greats, and known well outside the slim confines of psych wonks. Milgram taught us about our sheepish obedience to authority; Mischel used marshmallows to teach us about delayed gratification; and Simons and Chabris used a faux gorilla to teach us that we are not the masters of attention we think we are.

Blurring the Self-Other Boundary: The Rubber Hand Illusion and Mirror Failures

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on August 14, 2010 in Mental Mishaps
Distinguishing my hand from a fake rubber hand on a table should be easy. It also should be easy to see the difference between my face and someone else's face in a mirror. But sometimes, this can be tricky. Sometimes the boundary between self and other can blur and even vanish completely.

P, NP, And Is Academia Inhospitable to Big Discoveries?

By Mark Changizi on August 11, 2010 in Nature, Brain, and Culture
The Big Theoretical Breakthrough: How Does One Write a Grant Proposal For That?

Sex, Hormones and Identity

By Jory Goodman M.D. on August 11, 2010 in Attention, Please
Amidst the blather and bluster of gender politics too little has been said about very real biological determinants.

Why science is self-correcting

By Art Markman Ph.D. on August 10, 2010 in Ulterior Motives
According to the August 10, 2010 Boston Globe, Harvard University psychologist Marc Hauser has decided to take a year-long leave of absence after evidence of scientific misconduct was found in his lab. On the basis of an investigation by Harvard University, at least one scientific paper (from the journal Cognition) has been retracted, and others may be as well. Hauser is a prominent member of the scientific community. Much of his research has looked at non-human primates and has examined complex mental abilities such as communication and reasoning.I find cases like this both frustrating and reassuring at the same time.

Whole Person Healthcare Tool Kits

APA Convention San Diego: Whole Person Healthcare Tool Kits, CE

I Must Be Guilty – the Video Says So

By David DiSalvo on August 09, 2010 in Neuronarrative
A minor landslide of research from the past few years points to a dismaying fact about memory: it can be manipulated, far more often and extensively than previously thought. One implication of this realization is that eyewitness testimony, a stanchion of our criminal justice system, is no longer beyond reproach. Another is that in a world dominated by endlessly pliable electronic media, we can never be 100% sure that what we're seeing is what really happened.

Sneaky Commercials: The Unconscious Way TV Makes You Eat

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on August 07, 2010 in Mental Mishaps
TV makes you fat. No news in that statement. The usual culprit is a lack of exercise by couch potatoes. Recently, however, John Bargh and his colleagues found that TV commercials have a much more invidious influence on your behavior. Sneaky commercials make you eat without your awareness.

I (Don’t) Believe I Can Fly

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on August 06, 2010 in Insight Therapy
Why do some things which are relatively safe feel frightening, while others that are genuinely hazardous do not scare us much at all? Human culture has evolved faster than our biology, leaving our fear responses out of synch with the activities and predicaments of modern life.

The Problem with Thinking

By Ilana Donna Arazie on August 06, 2010 in Finding Zen in the City
Sometimes I feel like the chatter in my head can fill Yankee Stadium. Here is why we all think too much and how to snap out of it! 

The Expertise Bias

Here's an actual exchange between me and a DMV worker.Me: I filled out this form. DMV: YOU ARE AN IDIOT!Ok, that didn't happen. But expertise can make DMV employees--and all of us--lose our patience sometimes. Why? 

If you hear that I'm from Yorkshire, will you still speak to me?

By Kate Distin Ph.D. on July 31, 2010 in Cultural Evolution
Accents and attitudes: how language affects both cognition and relationships.

Embodied Thought

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on July 30, 2010 in Hot Thought
Embodiment is currently a hot topic in psychology and philosophy, for good reasons. Thinking is heavily influenced by physiological processes involved in perception and emotion. Embodiment is a useful extension to cognitive theories that explain thinking in terms of mental representations, but not an alternative theory.

On the Film Inception: Observations about Dreams and in Dreams

Inception brings the audience's attention to the mysterious underpinnings of the dreamworld, a magnificent creation of the brain. Even more startling is the observation that, scientifically, waking life is just as mysterious a 'creation.'

The Power of the Brain Through the Window of Savants

How powerful is your brain, really? The answer from autistic savants.

Matthew Hummel, 20, has Prader-Willi Syndrome, and they're talking jailtime because of it.

By Robbie Woliver on July 27, 2010 in Alphabet Kids
Matthew Hummel was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) at age 3. He still suffers from its devasating symptoms; the most characteristic being hyperphagia, the extreme need to eat, horde and forage for food. Adding to that the low muscle tone that accompanies the genetic disorder, PWS chilldren become morbidly obese. PWS children are also cognitively affected, usually having low IQs and demonstrating uncontrollable bad behaviors. Matthew, who is also autistic, has been foraging through his neighbors' homes for food. And now the police are talking about arresting him.

Is Face-Blindness Curable?

By Susan R Barry Ph.D. on July 27, 2010 in Eyes on the Brain
The ability to recognize another's face is thought to be an innate human skill. Yet, this ability varies from person to person, and a small but significant minority of the population suffer from varying degrees of "face-blindness" or, more technically, prosopagnosia. Is face-blindness curable with training and does this training resemble therapy used for improving other perceptual skills? 

People with Autism are Still Superb at Learning Things Implicitly

By Scott Barry Kaufman on July 26, 2010 in Beautiful Minds
Recent research is converging on the fascinating idea that the social, communicative, and motor impairments found in individuals with autism spectrum disorder are not a result of deficits in implicit learning.There are implications here for educational intervention and rehabilitation programs.

What Does Music Look Like to Our Brain?

Your brain's opinion of what music looks like suggests music sounds like people...moving.