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All posts; Tags Include "Sensation and Perception"

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  • November 13, 2008
  • 03:02 PM
  • 1,937 views

How, exactly, do sad faces affect our ability to count?

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Remember this video?

A few weeks ago we used it to demonstrate that facial expressions can disrupt the perceptual system in fundamental ways. Actually, because we could only show a few short clips, we weren't able to duplicate the research results found by John Eastwood, Daniel Smilek, and Philip Merikle. But in their, more comprehensive study, although viewers were instructed only to count "upturned arcs" or "downturned arcs," when those arcs formed "faces" with negative expressions, people co........ Read more »

John Eastwood, Alexandra Frischen, Michael Reynolds, Cory Gerritsen, Matthew Dubins, & Daniel Smilek. (2008) Do emotionally expressive faces automatically capture attention? Evidence from global-local interference. Visual Cognition, 16(2), 248-261. DOI: 10.1080/13506280701434383  

  • November 11, 2008
  • 03:50 PM
  • 2,323 views

Can a blind person whose vision is restored understand what she sees?

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Philosophers have wondered for centuries whether someone who was blind from birth would "see" the world in the same way as people with normal vision. After all, there's much more to perceiving the world than properly functioning eyes. Think of it: otherwise all you'd need to do is strap a camcorder to a car and you'd never have to learn how to drive!

But there are surprisingly few cases of people who were born completely blind and then had their sight restored after many years of blindness. If ........ Read more »

Yuri Ostrovsky, Aaron Andalman, & Pawan Sinha. (2006) Vision Following Extended Congenital Blindness. Psychological Science, 17(12), 1009-1014. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01827.x  

  • November 5, 2008
  • 04:57 PM
  • 2,022 views

Being excluded from a social group makes you feel cold -- literally

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

I play soccer every week with an ever-changing group of people. We're all busy, and people get injured or lose interest, so every week the crowd is slightly different; it often feels like we need to re-acquaint ourselves before every game. The easiest way to do this is during warm-ups when small groups kick the ball around in a circle or take practice shots on goal.

If you arrive a little late, you might have to insinuate yourself into one of the groups by strolling up and hoping someone passes........ Read more »

Chen-Bo Zhong, & Geoffrey J. Leonardelli. (2008) Cold and Lonely: Does Social Exclusion Literally Feel Cold?. Psychological Science, 19(9), 838-842. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02165.x  

  • November 3, 2008
  • 07:05 PM
  • 2,082 views

Some people are more distractible than others ... sometimes, that is

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Take a look at this quick movie. You'll be shown a "ready" screen, followed by a quick flash of eight letters arranged in a circle. Your job is to spot either a "Z" or a "K" in that circle of letters, while ignoring other letters appearing outside of the circle.

You'll see two different circles of letters in the movie. Each circle will either contain a Z or a K. Again, ignore the letters appearing outside of the circle. Go ahead, give it a shot.

If things flashed by too fast the first time, gi........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2008
  • 12:16 PM
  • 2,011 views

Cognitive dissonance and ... Carmen Miranda?

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Carmen Miranda is probably best-known today as the former spokesperson for Chiquita bananas, but she was equally famous -- and outrageous -- as an actress, singer, and dancer in the 1940s and 1950s.

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when people's actions contradict strongly-held beliefs. It's such a distasteful feeling that people will often invent convoluted justifications to account for their actions. For example, if a white employer who believes herself not to be........ Read more »

  • October 27, 2008
  • 09:40 AM
  • 1,668 views

Monday Roundup - 27th October 2008

by Emma in That's F*c#ing Amazing

Choosing where to look next

Researchers in Switzerland have some of the features of a scene that might shift our attention,according to a paper in October’s issue of the journal Cortex [1].

The researchers studied healthy volunteers as well as a number of patients that had suffered damage to the right hemisphere of the brain. Of [...]... Read more »

  • October 22, 2008
  • 12:00 AM
  • 2,199 views

Lecture on the eye as a robust optical system

by Pablo Artal in Optics confidential

A lecture describing in detail the optical properties of the eye given at the international Visual Optics School in Crete last summer. Useful to better understand the article in "Nature Photonics" ... Read more »

Artal P. . (2008) The eye's aplanatic answer. Nature Photon., 2(10), 586.

  • October 14, 2008
  • 02:26 PM
  • 2,019 views

Science is hard

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Yesterday we tried to replicate the effect that John Eastwood, Daniel Smilek, and Philip Merikle observed -- that negative facial expressions distract us from even the simplest tasks more than positive facial expressions. Hundreds of our readers watched one of two videos and were charged with counting the number of "upturned arcs" or "downturned arcs." Here's a sample video:



In this video, the "faces" formed by the arcs are smiling, but in the other video they were frowning. Both clips sh........ Read more »

  • October 13, 2008
  • 04:47 PM
  • 1,973 views

A subtle change can affect your ability to count

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Here's a really interesting experiment that we may be able to replicate online. Take a look at this very short video. You'll be shown a set of 12 arcs. Some of the arcs will be upturned and some of them will be turned downward, as in the example below.

You'll have about 2.5 seconds to count the DOWNTURNED arcs -- just watch the video once!



How many did you see? Record your answer below.

How many downturned arcs did you see ( surveys)

After you've answered the poll, read on for a........ Read more »

  • October 8, 2008
  • 10:00 AM
  • 2,398 views

Yawn. Another worthless acupunct--I mean acupressure--study

by Orac in Respectful Insolence

Here we go again.

It seems just yesterday that I was casting a skeptical eye on yet another dubious acupuncture study. OK, it wasn't just yesterday, but it was less than two weeks ago when I discussed why a study that purported to show that acupuncture worked as well as drug therapy for hot flashes due to breast cancer therapy-induced menopause. Unfortunately, these days these sorts of dubious studies seem to be popping up fast and furious like Whac-A-Mole, so much so that I can't always keep u........ Read more »

Shu-Ming Wang, Sandra Escalera, Eric C. Lin, Inna Maranets, & Zeev N. Kain. (2008) Extra-1 Acupressure for Children Undergoing Anesthesia. Anesthesia , 107(3), 811-816. DOI: 10.1213/ane.0b013e3181804441  

  • October 7, 2008
  • 05:19 PM
  • 2,042 views

Face recognition: We use different methods to identify strangers

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

When Sarah Palin was introduced to the country, most Americans had never heard of her -- but many people noticed that she looked very similar to the then-more-famous actor Tina Fey. Can you tell which is which?

Let's make this a poll:

Which one is Sarah Palin? ( polls)

We're amazingly good at recognizing the faces of friends and family members. We can even recognize people we know well by viewing point-light displays of them walking. But what about strangers? If we see the same person tw........ Read more »

Kingsley I. Fletcher, Marcus A. Butavicius, & Michael D. Lee. (2008) Attention to internal face features in unfamiliar face matching. British Journal of Psychology, 99(3), 379-394. DOI: 10.1348/000712607X235872  

  • October 2, 2008
  • 03:00 PM
  • 2,019 views

Of Jock Straps and Conspiracy Theories

by Matthew Hutson in Brainstorm

Jim Ohms puts another penny in the pouch of his supporter after each win. Clanging against the hard plastic genital cup, the pennies made a noise as he ran the bases toward the end of a winning season. Glenn Davis would chew the same gum every day during hitting streaks, saving it under his cap. Infielder Julio Gotay always played with a cheese sandwich in his back pocket (he had a big appetite, so there might also have been a measure of practicality here). Wade Boggs ate chicken before every ga........ Read more »

  • September 29, 2008
  • 12:00 AM
  • 1,516 views

Monday Roundup

by Emma Byrne in That's F*c#ing Amazing

Review of three new vision science papers.... Read more »

  • September 24, 2008
  • 12:38 PM
  • 2,319 views

Toddlers play with impossibly small toys as if they're the real thing

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

When Jimmy and Nora were toddlers, we bought them great little plastic scooters to ride around the house. They were the perfect size for a small child. Yet Jimmy preferred to ride around on a plastic garbage truck instead, despite the fact that there was no steering wheel and the "seat" wasn't nearly as comfortable, at least to our adult eyes:

We figured this behavior was just one of Jimmy's unique quirks. It didn't really bother us, except for the knowledge that we could have saved 20 bucks on........ Read more »

  • September 8, 2008
  • 05:25 PM
  • 1,812 views

We don't always need to be paying attention to perceive shapes

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Take a look at these pictures.

Each picture depicts four shapes -- irregular vertical columns spanning the height of the picture. It's easy to tell which letter is on a column and which is not, right? If our readers are typical, over 90 percent would agree that a is on a column and b is not. But why? The space defined by the irregular vertical lines is equal in both cases. The only difference between the two figures is which direction the "pointy" curves face and which direction the convex, "sm........ Read more »

  • September 3, 2008
  • 04:08 PM
  • 2,416 views

Is there a separate memory region for location of sound?

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

You may have heard of the idea that people can only remember seven things at a time -- a seven-digit phone number, a license-plate, etc. While the size of working memory actually varies from person to person (it usually ranges from 6 to 8 items), and while people can use strategies like "chunking" to remember more, this observation is basically true.

Except when it's not true. In the 1970s, researchers found that there are actually at least two different and distinct areas of working memory, ea........ Read more »

Lehnert, G√ľnther, & Zimmer, Hubert D. (2006) Auditory and visual spatial working memory. Memory , 34(5), 1080-1090.

  • August 27, 2008
  • 03:30 PM
  • 2,649 views

Escher-themed nurseries? Even four-month-olds can recognize impossible objects

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

"Impossible objects" like the etchings of M.C. Escher have fascinated adults for centuries. You can't help but stare and wonder at a drawing like this, which seems to defy the laws of nature:

The drawing seems strange to us because our visual system tells us that when an object or part of an object occludes another, it's in front. Since the parts of the cube are all connected, it's clear that the vertical bar in the "back" of the cube shouldn't be in front of any other bars.

Some research has ........ Read more »

Sarah M. Shuwairi, Marc K. Albert, & Scott P. Johnson. (2007) Discrimination of Possible and Impossible Objects in Infancy. Psychological Science, 18(4), 303-307. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01893.x  

  • August 21, 2008
  • 02:32 PM
  • 2,206 views

What conductors are doing when they wave their hands around -- and what we get out of it

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

As a child (and like most children, I imagine) I used to think conducting an orchestra entailed something like what Bugs Bunny does in this video:

Waving the hands, as conductors frequently do, seemed largely for show. The conductor appeared to me to be more dancing along with the music than actually leading the musicians in any meaningful way. It wasn't until I married an amateur musician that I actually learned that the conductor could have an important influence on the way an orchestra sound........ Read more »

  • June 1, 2008
  • 12:00 AM
  • 2,363 views

Anomalous Cognition: Myth or solid fact?

by Vahid Motlagh in Ideas for a deeper sense of life

I was born and bred into a largely tacit knowledge culture and a (native) language that is rich in symbolic contemplation. One of the instances of "deep immersion" that I got familiar with is indeed a highly controversial topic known as precognition or "anomalous cognition" in our modern world. I believe that most serious knowledge workers (including myself) who usually associate themselves with foresight or futures studies discipline would probably reject the reliability and validity of such me........ Read more »

LEE, J. (2008) Remote viewing as applied to futures studies. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 75(1), 142-153. DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2006.09.001  

Henshel, R. L. (1982) The Boundary of the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and the Dilemma of Social Prediction. The British Journal of Sociology, 511-528. info:/

  • May 15, 2008
  • 12:00 AM
  • 1,628 views

Remembering Lunch Can Help Reduce the Desire to Snack

by Walter Jessen in Highlight HEALTH

Mind over matter may really work when it comes to managing appetite. Researchers at the University of Birmingham, U.K. have found that recalling foods eaten at lunch has an inhibitory effect on subsequent snacking later the same day. The study is currently in press and will be published in the journal Physiology & Behavior [1]. ... Read more »

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