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All posts; Tags Include "Sensation and Perception"

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  • October 8, 2008
  • 10:00 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 »

  • January 26, 2005
  • 02:49 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 »

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM

“Survival of the funkiest”, or how to evolve a hit song?

by Michael Czaplinski in Inside the Black Box

Evolving "loops", which are short musical pieces become more attractive under selective pressure from listeners. Some interesting phenomena occur!... Read more »

Robert M. MacCallum, Matthias Mauch, Austin Burt, & Armand M. Leroi. (2012) Evolution of Music by Public Choice. PNAS. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1203182109  

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM

To Bee Or Not To Bee: How Bees Avoid Difficult Choices

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Humans who are faced with difficult choices are often tempted to simply opt out of making a choice, especially when they realize that they cannot easily resolve their uncertainty as to which choice is the better choice. Some researchers consider this ability to opt out as an indicator of “meta-cognition”, a term used to describe “thinking about thinking”. Instead of plowing ahead with a random choice, humans can recognize that they lack adequate information and choose not........ Read more »

Clint J. Perry, & Andrew B. Barron. (2013) Honey bees selectively avoid difficult choices. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1314571110  

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