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
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
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 »
J. A. Whitson, & A. D. Galinsky. (2008) Lacking Control Increases Illusory Pattern Perception. Science, 322(5898), 115-117. DOI: 10.1126/science.1159845
Review of three new vision science papers.... Read more »
S VESER, R OSHEA, E SCHROGER, N TRUJILLOBARRETO, & U ROEBER. (2008) Early correlates of visual awareness following orientation and colour rivalry. Vision Research, 48(22), 2359-2369. DOI: 10.1016/j.visres.2008.07.024
M SHYONG, F LEE, W HEN, P KUO, A WU, H CHENG, S CHEN, T TUNG, & Y TSAO. (2008) Viral delivery of heme oxygenase-1 attenuates photoreceptor apoptosis in an experimental model of retinal detachment. Vision Research, 48(22), 2394-2402. DOI: 10.1016/j.visres.2008.07.017
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 »
J. S. DeLoache, D. H. Uttal, & K. S. Rosengren. (2004) Scale Errors Offer Evidence for a Perception-Action Dissociation Early in Life. Science, 304(5673), 1027-1029. DOI: 10.1126/science.1093567
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 »
Ruth Kimchi, & Mary A. Peterson. (2008) Figure-Ground Segmentation Can Occur Without Attention. Psychological Science, 19(7), 660-668. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02140.x
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, Günther, & Zimmer, Hubert D. (2006) Auditory and visual spatial working memory. Memory , 34(5), 1080-1090.
"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
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 »
Geoff Luck, & John Sloboda. (2008) Exploring the Spatio-Temporal Properties of Simple Conducting Gestures using a Synchronization Task. Music Perception, 25(3), 225-239. DOI: 10.1525/mp.2008.25.3.225
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 »
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:/
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 . ... Read more »
S HIGGS, A WILLIAMSON, & A ATTWOOD. (2008) Recall of recent lunch and its effect on subsequent snack intake. Physiology . DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2008.02.011
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 »
SHETH, B., & SHIMOJO, S. (2004) Sound-aided recovery from and persistence against visual filling-in. Vision Research, 44(16), 1907-1917. DOI: 10.1016/j.visres.2004.03.009
Evolving "loops", which are short musical pieces become more attractive under selective pressure from listeners. Some interesting phenomena occur!... Read more »
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 »
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