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  • August 21, 2008
  • 12:11 AM

How Clinical is Non-Clinical?

by Neural Outlaw in Neural Interface

So far in my budding career I've been involved in three psychology studies, all of which required the recruitment of non-clinical participants. Even before that, my psych undergraduate final-year project on schizophrenia was carried out by surveying non-clinical participants. For the benefit of lay readers, non-clinical participants refers to "normal" people who are recruited to take part in the study and are different to results gleaned from sufferers of psychosis, anxiety or oth........ Read more »

Idia B. Thurston, Jessica Curley, Sherecce Fields, Dimitra Kamboukos, Ariz Rojas, & Vicky Phares. (2008) How nonclinical are community samples?. Journal of Community Psychology, 36(4), 411-420. DOI: 10.1002/jcop.20223  

  • August 18, 2008
  • 02:43 PM

Music and memory: How the songs we heard growing up shape the story of our lives

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

One of the first things I did after my 90-mile hike with Nora in the North Cascades was play some music on the car stereo. We'd been in the wilderness for seven days, and other than birdsong, we hadn't heard so much as a note for the entire time.

Matching our intuitions about music, researchers have found that music is an important influence on our memories. We associate songs with emotions, people, and places we've experienced in the past. This isn't to say that music is the only influence on ........ Read more »

  • August 15, 2008
  • 03:50 PM

Inside An Olympian's Brain

by Dan Peterson in Sports Are 80 Percent Mental

Michael Phelps, Nastia Liukin, Misty May-Treanor and Lin Dan are four Olympic athletes who have each spent most of their life learning the skills needed to reach the top of their respective sports, swimming, gymnastics, beach volleyball and badminton (you were wondering about Lin, weren't you...) Their physical skills are obvious and amazing to watch. For just a few minutes, instead of being a spectator, try to step inside the heads of each of them and try to imagine what their brains must acc........ Read more »

  • August 14, 2008
  • 12:19 PM

Testosterone and aggression, or what Frank's Red Hot Sauce has to do with handgun violence

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

[This article was originally published in December, 2006]

As parents of a 1516-year-old, Greta and I are very interested in what causes people to behave aggressively. We know a lot about specific causes of aggression -- violent media, testosterone, guns, and personal insults can all lead to aggressive behavior in certain circumstances. But kids and others exposed to one or more of these things don't necessarily become violent. Sometimes it seems that just the presence of his sister in the room ........ Read more »

Jennifer Klinesmith, Tim Kasser, & Francis T. McAndrew. (2006) Guns, Testosterone, and Aggression: An Experimental Test of a Mediational Hypothesis. Psychological Science, 17(7), 568-571.

  • August 11, 2008
  • 12:15 PM

Do you choke under pressure? Depends on what you're trying to accomplish

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

[This article was originally published in December, 2006]

Take a look at these two images. Do they belong in the same category or different categories?

You say the same? Wrong -- they're different! The one on the right is a little blurrier.

What about these two?

These are in the same category. Sure, the one on the right is still blurrier, but now it's rotated a bit, so that puts the two objects back in the same category. My rule for categorizing is complex, involving both blurriness and rota........ Read more »

Arthur B. Markman, W. Todd Maddox, & Darrell A. Worthy. (2006) Choking and Excelling Under Pressure. Psychological Science, 17(11), 944-948.

  • August 7, 2008
  • 12:21 PM

If you want to persuade a woman, look straight at her

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

[This article was originally published in April, 2007]

There is a considerable body of research showing that eye contact is a key component of social interaction. Not only are people more aroused when they are looked at directly, but if you consistently look at the person you speak to, you will have much more social influence over that person than you would if you averted your gaze.

The problem arises when you address a group of people. How do you pick who to engage visually? Most public speak........ Read more »

Jeremy N. Bailenson, Andrew C. Beall, Jack Loomis, Jim Blascovich, & Matthew Turk. (2005) Transformed Social Interaction, Augmented Gaze, and Social Influence in Immersive Virtual Environments. Human Communication Research, 31(4), 511-537.

  • August 4, 2008
  • 12:25 PM

When the color of your vehicle can mean life or death

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

[Originally posted in May, 2007]

"I just didn't see him" is a claim that's repeated over and over in accident reports. Drivers earnestly claim that they simply didn't notice the bicycle/pedestrian/motorcycle they crashed into. The claim is made so frequently that certainly there must be a grain of truth to it. Yet it certainly isn't the case that car drivers can't see such obstacles -- after all, they can see traffic signals that are much smaller than a bike or a motorcycle.

What they mean to ........ Read more »

Steven Most, & Robert Astur. (2007) Feature-based attentional set as a cause of traffic accidents. Visual Cognition, 15(2), 125-132.

  • July 31, 2008
  • 12:57 PM

Most researchers don't understand error bars

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

[This post was originally published in March 2007]

Earlier today I posted a poll [and I republished that poll yesterday] challenging Cognitive Daily readers to show me that they understand error bars -- those little I-shaped indicators of statistical power you sometimes see on graphs. I was quite confident that they wouldn't succeed. Why was I so sure? Because in 2005, a team led by Sarah Belia conducted a study of hundreds of researchers who had published articles in top psychology, neuroscie........ Read more »

Belia, S, Fidler, F, Williams, J, & Cumming, G. (2005) Researchers misunderstand confidence intervals and standard error bars. Psychological Methods, 10(4), 389-396.

  • July 28, 2008
  • 11:42 AM

Joint Attention and Social Compentence, or what a baby pointing at a toy says about well-behaved toddlers

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

One of the key components of "normal" child development is social competence. We expect kids to become gradually better at behaving respectfully towards peers, to comply with requests made by others, to understand the thoughts of others, to play together with kids and adults, to sustain attention, and to be motivated to learn. But what makes the difference between a child who becomes socially competent and one who doesn't? Obviously there are some risk factors, such as whether they have autism, ........ Read more »

Amy Vaughan Van Hecke, Peter C. Mundy, C. Françoise. Acra, Jessica J. Block, Christine E. F. Delgado, Meaghan V. Parlade, Jessica A. Meyer, A. Rebecca Neal, & Yuly B. Pomares. (2007) Infant Joint Attention, Temperament, and Social Competence in Preschool Children. Child Development, 78(1), 53-69.

  • July 24, 2008
  • 05:47 PM

Why do more Asians have perfect pitch?

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Several recent large-scale studies have confirmed a curious finding: Asians are much more likely to have "perfect pitch" than non-Asians. Perfect pitch, more properly called "Absolute pitch," is an extremely rare phenomenon, but it's several times more likely to occur in Asians than in others.

Studies have found that only 1 in 1,500 to 10,000 individuals possess absolute pitch. Part of the ability's rarity is due to the fact that it's really a combination of two abilities: pitch-memory -- the a........ Read more »

E. Glenn Schellenberg, & Sandra E. Trehub. (2008) Is There an Asian Advantage for Pitch Memory?. Music Perception, 25(3), 241-252.

  • May 18, 2008
  • 12:19 AM

Free will ain't what it used to be

by Colin Clark in Mens Rea

Perceptions of free will can affect how people act.... Read more »

  • February 8, 2008
  • 01:00 PM

You've got a friend in Jesus

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

It's well known that one of the attractions of religion is that it gives you a lifelong and infinitely understanding invisible friend. So you would expect that people who are inclined to feel lonely might be more attracted to religion. But another important question is this: can you make people more religious simply by making them feel lonely?

This was the subject of a new study from a team lead by Nicholas Epley at the University of Chicago. They took groups of the psychologist's f........ Read more »

  • December 5, 2007
  • 01:00 PM

Marmosets are altruistic too!

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

A study out today has shown that marmosets, like humans, can and do act truly altruistically (see refs). Altruism is a hot topic in evolution. True altruism would, on the face of it, reduce an individual's reproductive fitness, and so you might expect that natural selection would weed out any altruists.

As the Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy puts it:

... by behaving altruistically an animal reduces its own fitness, so should be at a selective disadvantage vis-à-vis one which behave........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2005
  • 03:49 PM

Troxler — and YOU!

by dave in Word Munger

Today’s reading delves deep into the visual system, so hold your breath and get ready to dive in. It’s “Sound-aided Recover from and Persistence Against Visual Filling-in” by Bhavin Sheth and Shinsuke Shimojo of Caltech (Vision Research, 2004). I even found a PDF link for this one.

Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler (1780–1866) was a Swiss physician [...]... Read more »

  • December 4, 2001
  • 08:00 PM

Romantic Songs Make Women More Open To Dates…

by Maria P. in noustuff

Many studies have showed that that media with violent or aggressive content (such as violent videogames) may increase aggressive behaviour and thoughts (Bushman & Huesmann, 2006). Moreover, music and lyrics can influence people’s behaviour; prosocial songs were found to be associated with a significant increase in tipping behaviour (Jacob, Guéguen & Boulbry, 2010), male customers [...]... Read more »

Gueguen, N., Jacob, C., & Lamy, L. (2010) 'Love is in the air': Effects of songs with romantic lyrics on compliance with a courtship request. Psychology of Music, 38(3), 303-307. info:/

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

Rethinking Circadian Clock Machinery

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Chronobiologists at Cambridge have discovered circadian rhythms in peroxide oxidation in HUMAN blood cells. That sounds cool, right? But what if I told you that this research will forever make us rethink the innerworkings of the circadian clock because this is the first documentation of non-transcriptionally driven circadian rhythms... Read more »

O'Neill JS, & Reddy AB. (2011) Circadian clocks in human red blood cells. Nature, 469(7331), 498-503. PMID: 21270888  

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

Sticks And Stones (Coda) – How Names Work Against Women

by Michael Ramscar in The Importance of Being Wrong

Mothers tell your daughters

From 2011 to December 2015, five women fought the Japanese Government all the way to the country’s Supreme Court. They were seeking to change a law that compels couples to adopt the same surname in order to legally register their marriage. Although the law does not specify whose name it should be, in practice, 96% of couples take the husband’s name, and the women argued that this made the law unconstitutional, since it violated their basic civil rights........ Read more »

Colman, A., Sluckin, W., & Hargreaves, D. (1981) The effect of familiarity on preferences for surnames. British Journal of Psychology, 72(3), 363-369. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.1981.tb02195.x  

A. Crook. (2012) Personal Names in 18th-Century Scotland: a case study of the parish of Beith (North Ayrshire). Journal of Scottish Name Studies, 1-10. info:/

Shannon, C. (1948) A Mathematical Theory of Communication. Bell System Technical Journal, 27(3), 379-423. DOI: 10.1002/j.1538-7305.1948.tb01338.x  

Shannon, C. (1951) Prediction and Entropy of Printed English. Bell System Technical Journal, 30(1), 50-64. DOI: 10.1002/j.1538-7305.1951.tb01366.x  

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