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Cognitive Science

Cognitive science information and blogs.
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This piece is based on my talk to the UCL conference ‘The Role of Diagnosis in Clinical Psychology’. It was aimed at an audience of clinical psychologists but should be of interest more widely. I’ve been a long–term critic of psychiatric diagnoses but I’ve become increasingly frustrated by the myths and over-generalisations that get repeated … Continue reading "Why we need to get better at critiquing psychiatric diagnosis"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: theory, togetherness

Cognitive scientists find that people can more easily communicate warmer colors than cool ones.

Source Feed: MIT News - Brain and cognitive sciences


Authors: Brooks NB, Barner D, Frank M, Goldin-Meadow S Abstract People frequently gesture when problem-solving, particularly on tasks that require spatial transformation. Gesture often facilitates task performance by interacting with internal mental representations, but how this process works is not well understood. We investigated this question by exploring the case of mental abacus (MA), a technique in which users not only imagine moving beads on an abacus to compute sums, but also...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com




Authors: Rahaman J, Agrawal H, Srivastava N, Chandrasekharan S Abstract Manipulation of physical models such as tangrams and tiles is a popular approach to teaching early mathematics concepts. This pedagogical approach is extended by new computational media, where mathematical entities such as equations and vectors can be virtually manipulated. The cognitive and neural mechanisms supporting such manipulation-based learning-particularly how actions generate new internal structures that...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

We present three studies investigating how cross-linguistic differences in the grammaticalization of future-time reference (FTR) affect intertemporal choices. In a series of decision scenarios about finance and health issues, we let speakers of altogether five languages that represent FTR with increasing strength, that is, Chinese, German, Danish, Spanish, and English, choose between hypothetical sooner-smaller and later-larger reward options. While the LSH predicts a present-bias that...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Neuroscientists discover a brain circuit dedicated to retrieving memories.

Source Feed: MIT News - Brain and cognitive sciences

Five recipients honored for their fundamental and complementary accomplishments related to CRISPR-Cas9.

Source Feed: MIT News - Brain and cognitive sciences

There is a movement in mental health to avoid the phrase ‘commit suicide’. It is claimed that the word ‘commit’ refers to a crime and this increases the stigma for what’s often an act of desperation that deserves compassion, rather than condemnation. The Samaritans’ media guidelines discourage using the phrase, advising: “Avoid labelling a death … Continue reading "Should we stop saying ‘commit’ suicide?"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: togetherness


In this study, we contrasted a Chinese nominal classifier used with nouns denoting pinch grip objects with a classifier for nouns with big object referents in a pupil dilation experiment. Twenty Chinese native speakers read grammatical and ungrammatical classifier-noun combinations and made grammaticality judgment while their pupillary responses were measured. It was found that their pupils dilated significantly more to the pinch grip classifier than to the big object classifier, indicating...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

This article describes a left-corner parser implemented within a cognitively and neurologically motivated distributed model of memory. This parser's approach to syntactic ambiguity points toward a tidy account both of surprisal effects and of locality effects, such as the parsing breakdowns caused by center embedding. The model provides an algorithmic-level (Marr, 1982) account of these breakdowns: The structure of the parser's memory and the nature of incremental parsing produce a smooth...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

In this study, we present an extensive analysis of a corpus of peer dialogs that we collected in the domain of introductory Computer Science. We show that the notion of task initiative shifts correlates with both KCC and learning. Speakers take task initiative when they contribute new content that advances problem solving and that is not invited by their partner; if initiative shifts between the partners, it indicates they both contribute to problem solving. We found that task initiative...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

In The Guardian, Nick Davis makes a clear and timely case for affirming The Goldwater Rule. The Rule, which binds members of the American Psychiatric Association, forbids giving an opinion on the mental state of someone you have not examined. The US president’s behaviour has brought the rule back into the public eye, but Davis … Continue reading "Don’t speculate on others’ mental health from afar"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: other people

Authors: Janciauskas M, Chang F Abstract Language learning requires linguistic input, but several studies have found that knowledge of second language (L2) rules does not seem to improve with more language exposure (e.g., Johnson & Newport, 1989). One reason for this is that previous studies did not factor out variation due to the different rules tested. To examine this issue, we reanalyzed grammaticality judgment scores in Flege, Yeni-Komshian, and Liu's (1999) study of L2 learners...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

This study focuses on statistical word segmentation in Arabic, a Semitic language in which words are built around consonantal roots. We hypothesize that segmentation in such languages is facilitated by tracking consonant distributions independently from intervening vowels. Previous studies have shown that human learners can track consonant probabilities across intervening vowels in artificial languages, but it is unknown to what extent this ability would be beneficial in the segmentation of...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Johnson EK, Bruggeman L, Cutler A Abstract Talkers are recognized more accurately if they are speaking the listeners' native language rather than an unfamiliar language. This "language familiarity effect" has been shown not to depend upon comprehension and must instead involve language sound patterns. We further examine the level of sound-pattern processing involved, by comparing talker recognition in foreign languages versus two varieties of English, by (a) English speakers...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Bretz S, Sun R Abstract This paper compares two theories and their two corresponding computational models of human moral judgment. In order to better address psychological realism and generality of theories of moral judgment, more detailed and more psychologically nuanced models are needed. In particular, a motivationally based theory of moral judgment (and its corresponding computational model) is developed in this paper that provides a more accurate account of human moral...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

The Enigma of Reason: A New Theory of Human Understanding, by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber was published in April, and I have a review in this week’s Times Higher Education. The books follows on and expands on their landmark ‘Why do humans reason? Arguments for an argumentative theory‘, published in 2011 in Behavioral and … Continue reading "The Enigma of Reason (review)"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: books

News reports have been covering a fascinating study on the moral reasoning of ‘terrorists’ published in Nature Human Behaviour but it’s worth being aware of the wider context to understand what it means. Firstly, it’s important to highlight how impressive this study is. The researchers, led by Sandra Baez, managed to complete the remarkably difficult … Continue reading "Not the psychology of Joe average terrorist"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: uncategorized

You feel somebody is looking at you, but you don’t know why. The explanation lies in some intriguing neuroscience and the study of a strange form of brain injury. Something makes you turn and see someone watching you. Perhaps on a busy train, or at night, or when you’re strolling through the park. How did … Continue reading "What triggers that feeling of being watched?"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: seeing

While lavender aromatherapy has been documented to reduce stress in humans, little is known about its potential for reducing stress in veterinary medicine. Horses can develop elevated heart rates and stress hormone levels when they are confined to horse trailers and transported to new competition venues. Therapies to reduce stress in competition horses are regulated…

Source Feed: Brain & Behavior – ScienceBlogs
Categories: uncategorized, biotecnologia, science, simulation

Researchers at the University of Cambridge in Britain recently studied ‘willpower’ in pet Labrador retrievers. After allowing each dog to smell a hot dog, the researchers placed the hot dog in a hamster cage and sealed it shut with duct tape. While some dogs showed only mild interest in the sealed-up hot dog, others were fixated on…

Source Feed: Brain & Behavior – ScienceBlogs
Categories: uncategorized, deus, diaspora, eel, jornalismo cientã­fico

Dr. Kenneth Catania from Vanderbilt University presented his work with star-nosed moles at the Experimental Biology meeting last month in Chicago. These animals are really cool. Here are some facts from Dr. Catania about these crazy-looking creatures you may not know: If participating in a bug-eating contest, they would win hands down every time because they are the…

Source Feed: Brain & Behavior – ScienceBlogs
Categories: uncategorized, alan ball

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This new map shows how easily white Europeans associate black faces with negative ideas. Since 2002, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have logged onto a website run by Harvard University called Project Implicit and taken an “implicit association test” (IAT), a rapid-response task which measures how easily you can pair items from … Continue reading "This map shows what white Europeans associate with race – and it makes for uncomfortable reading"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: other people

Protecting babies and children against dangerous — sometimes fatal — diseases is a core mission of public health. Everyday, in health departments across the nation, someone is working on maintaining and improving childhood vaccination rates and keeping diseases like measles and mumps from regaining a foothold in the U.S.

Source Feed: Brain & Behavior – ScienceBlogs
Categories: conference chatter, drugs, geekalicious, the loony bin called academia, web 2.0, new media, and gadgets, what did they say about "balance," again?, open science, parents, regulamentacao, science festival, subdisciplines

Here are the highlights from the final day of the meeting: Carbon monoxide (CO) is not all that bad: Michael Tift, graduate student at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, described how the body naturally produces CO when red blood cells are broken down and CO can actually be protective against inflammation at low doses. His research was…

Source Feed: Brain & Behavior – ScienceBlogs
Categories: uncategorized, 42, douglas adams, estrelas, italy, ke$hia, mouse ova

The August Krogh Distinguished lecture was awarded to Dr. Warren Burggren, who gave a fantastic lecture on epigenetics, or modifications to gene expression. He discussed how epigenetic changes to our genes are reversible. So when a stimulus like hypoxia changes our genes, these epigenetic changes to the genes go away rather quickly when the hypoxic insult…

Source Feed: Brain & Behavior – ScienceBlogs
Categories: uncategorized, beauty, blog behavior

Vela has an amazing essay by a mother of a child with a rare chromosomal deletion. Put aside all your expectations about what this article will be like: it is about the hopes and reality of having a child, but it’s also about so much more. It’s an insightful commentary on the social expectations foisted … Continue reading "An alternative beauty in parenthood"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: uncategorized

Dopamine is an important hormone released from neurons involved in reward pathways. Researchers at Cornell University wanted to know if dopamine signaling was involved in how birds learn songs. Their findings, recently published in Science, present evidence that neurons in the brain of zebra finches do in fact decrease dopamine signals when the birds hear an…

Source Feed: Brain & Behavior – ScienceBlogs
Categories: uncategorized, medicina baseada em evidãªncias, science popularization, tel aviv

A new article published in Physiological Reviews compared some remarkable similarities and differences between naked mole rats and humans. Both are relatively long-lived, highly social and have low natural selection pressures. But, this is about all they have in common. While humans are prone to developing age-related cancer, diabetes, heart disease and dementias, naked mole rats…

Source Feed: Brain & Behavior – ScienceBlogs
Categories: uncategorized, adipocytes, epidemic intelligence service, science in college

Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind is a new book on cultural evolution in humans from a biological perspective. This is an interesting book and a good book, and I recommend it, but I need to add a strong caveat. The author could have made a more compelling argument had he more…

Source Feed: Brain & Behavior – ScienceBlogs
Categories: in other news, baldwin effect, brain evolution, evolution of culture

A graph of scientific articles published per year which mention four major neurotransmitters in their title: What I take from this is Dopamine is king! And with great popularity, comes great misrepresentation. What happened to glutamate research in the mid 1990s? The recent hype about oxytocin doesn’t seem to be driven by a spike in … Continue reading "neurotransmitter fashion"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: inside the brain

via GIPHY A new article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences presents the discovery of a species of frog with fluorescence. The South American polka dot tree frog, aka Hypsiboas punctatus is already rather cute under normal light. But when exposed to UV light, this frog really shines. It gets its glowing personality from…

Source Feed: Brain & Behavior – ScienceBlogs
Categories: uncategorized, tents in unusual places

There’s a simple story about sex differences in cognition, which traces these back to sex differences in early brain development, which are in turn due to hormone differences. Diagrammatically, it looks something like this: Cordelia Fine’s “Delusions of Gender” (2010) accuses both scientists and popularisers of science with being too ready to believe overly simple, … Continue reading "hormones, brain and behaviour, a not-so-simple story"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: gender


Professionally active doctors increasingly hesitate to take on the task of tutoring students from undergraduate medical education. Stress and pressure from higher up, and sometimes also from colleagues, contributes to this ambivalence.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

The first rule of advocating for climate change-related legislation is: You do not talk about 'climate change.' The term has become so polarizing that its mere mention can cause reasonable people to draw seemingly immutable lines in the political sand.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

"Sport is too much like hard work." For many, that is reason enough to pass when it comes to exercise. But does sport really have to make you break into a sweat? Psychologists have discovered that one's own expectations have a major influence on just how strenuous one perceives a unit of sport to be.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

While publishers look to produce ever more colourful and exciting texts to entice buyers, University of Sussex psychologists have shown that having more than one illustration per page results in poorer word learning among pre-schoolers.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

You may have experienced sleepless nights when you were anxious, stressed or too excited. Such emotions are well-known to affect wakefulness and can even cause insomnia, though the underlying mechanisms in our brain have still been unclear. Scientists have spotted neurons that play crucial roles in connecting emotions and sleep, shedding light on the future discovery of drug targets for anxiety disorder and/or sleep disorders.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease are different. But at the biochemical level, these two neurodegenerative diseases start to look similar. This is how Emory scientists landed on a potential drug target for Parkinson's.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

How do we learn to write? A Japanese study looked at the development of writing skills in Japanese first-grade students, and revealed aspects of handwriting development that have been largely neglected in research carried out in Latin alphabet communities.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily



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