The Neuroscience of Intelligence

If you want to strengthen intelligence, it makes good sense to first try and define what we mean by intelligence. How do you measure it and what precisely is it? As it happens, the official answer at this moment is ‘no one knows’. Intelligence is a highly abstract concept and effectively might not even be […]

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Picturing language: Does it help or hinder?

[Originally published in January, 2006] Clicking on the image below will take you to a short Quicktime movie. Make sure you have your sound turned up, because I’ve recorded a few sentences that play along with the movie. Your job is to determine, as quickly as possible, if each sentence is grammatically correct — while […]

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TV’s unintended consequences — good and bad

Television can have a huge influence on our lives. But the most important influences may be the ones we don’t even notice. I discuss several fascinating studies about television in my latest column on Seedmagazine.com. Here’s a snippet: Travis Saunders, a PhD student at the University of Ottawa who studies the impact of sedentary lifestyles, […]

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Wine and taste: Wine labels also affect our opinions of the food we eat

[Originally published in November 2007] Both Greta and I are big wine fans. Despite Jonah’s recent extremely popular post, I, at least, believe that I can tell the difference between good and bad wines. I’m still convinced that a good wine is more than just an attractive label (though I’m a sucker for labels with […]

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Does watching TV really kill you?

Today I had to put off my normal morning run in order to make time to be interviewed on a radio show at 7:30 a.m. As I waited on hold for the interview to start, I could hear the hosts joking back-and-forth about what the “latest TV controversy” is. “Is it the Jay Leno / […]

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The outfielder problem: The psychology behind catching fly balls

It’s football season in America: The NFL playoffs are about to start, and tonight, the elected / computer-ranked top college team will be determined. What better time than now to think about … baseball! Baseball players, unlike most football players, must solve one of the most complicated perceptual puzzles in sports: how to predict the […]

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Picks and interviews from ResearchBlogging.org

Here’s this week’s list of notable posts from Psychology and Neuroscience at ResearchBlogging.org. Is autism really surging? Michelle Dawson wonders whether the recent rise in autism rates can be traced to methodological differences in studies tracking autism rates. We know many men are attracted to younger women, but what does it mean to look younger? […]

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Is there an easier way to detect lies than what you see on TV?

The TV show Lie To Me focuses on the exploits of an expert in lie-detection as he solves perplexing crimes in his high-tech Washington laboratory. It’s actually fun to watch, especially since it appears to make some effort to get the science right (a real-life expert on lie-detection, Paul Ekman, serves as a science adviser […]

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Synesthesia and the McGurk effect

We’ve discussed synesthesia many times before on Cognitive Daily — it’s the seemingly bizarre phenomenon when one stimulus (e.g. a sight or a sound) is experienced in multiple modalities (e.g. taste, vision, or colors). For example, a person might experience a particular smell whenever a given word or letter is seen or heard. Sometimes particular […]

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Both musicians and non-musicians can perceive bitonality

Take a listen to this brief audio clip of “Unforgettable.” Aside from the fact that it’s a computer-generated MIDI performance, do you hear anything unusual? If you’re a non-musician like me, you might not have noticed anything. It sounds basically like the familiar song, even though the synthesized sax isn’t nearly as pleasing as the […]

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