Cognitive Science RSS Feed

Cognitive Science

Cognitive science information and blogs.
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A powerful method has allowed McGovern researchers to discover how the brain represents the complex world in simple shapes.

Source Feed: MIT News - Brain and cognitive sciences



Whitehead Institute team finds drugs that activate a key brain gene; initial tests in cells and mice show promise for rare, untreatable neurodevelopmental disorder.

Source Feed: MIT News - Brain and cognitive sciences



Neuroscientists find brain activity patterns that encode our beliefs and affect how we interpret the world around us.

Source Feed: MIT News - Brain and cognitive sciences



Authors: Jacobs CL, Cho SJ, Watson DG Abstract Syntactic priming in language production is the increased likelihood of using a recently encountered syntactic structure. In this paper, we examine two theories of why speakers can be primed: error-driven learning accounts (Bock, Dell, Chang, & Onishi, 2007; Chang, Dell, & Bock, 2006) and activation-based accounts (Pickering & Branigan, 1999; Reitter, Keller, & Moore, 2011). Both theories predict that speakers should be primed by the...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

This study uses qualitative analyses of interview narratives and social media addressing individual decisions to develop a computational model tracing the cognitive decision-making process. The model builds on work by Abelson and Carroll (1965), Schank and Abelson ( a1977), and Axelrod (1976) to systematically trace the inferences connecting beliefs to decisions. The findings show that protest decisions were often based on positive emotions such as pride, hope, courage, and solidarity,...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Roettger TB, Franke M Abstract Intonation plays an integral role in comprehending spoken language. Listeners can rapidly integrate intonational information to predictively map a given pitch accent onto the speaker's likely referential intentions. We use mouse tracking to investigate two questions: (a) how listeners draw predictive inferences based on information from intonation? and (b) how listeners adapt their online interpretation of intonational cues when these are...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Afonso O, Suárez-Coalla P, Cuetos F, Ibáñez A, Sedeño L, García AM Abstract Several studies have illuminated how processing manual action verbs (MaVs) affects the programming or execution of concurrent hand movements. Here, to circumvent key confounds in extant designs, we conducted the first assessment of motor-language integration during handwriting-a task in which linguistic and motoric processes are co-substantiated. Participants copied MaVs, non-manual action verbs, and...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Barthel M, Sauppe S Abstract Speech planning is a sophisticated process. In dialog, it regularly starts in overlap with an incoming turn by a conversation partner. We show that planning spoken responses in overlap with incoming turns is associated with higher processing load than planning in silence. In a dialogic experiment, participants took turns with a confederate describing lists of objects. The confederate's utterances (to which participants responded) were pre-recorded...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

This study proposes an alternative analysis following a Structure-Mapping Theory approach (Gentner, 1983, inter alia), based on data from Diidxazá (Isthmus Zapotec, Otomanguean) obtained through elicitation and experimental tasks. The data show that structure mapping does not depend on a 1:1 match of attributes; frequency of use shed light on principles that constrain the semantic extension of most BPTs; a core set of six BPTs are extended by abstraction of the set of intersecting axes of the...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Schouwstra M, de Swart H, Thompson B Abstract Natural languages make prolific use of conventional constituent-ordering patterns to indicate "who did what to whom," yet the mechanisms through which these regularities arise are not well understood. A series of recent experiments demonstrates that, when prompted to express meanings through silent gesture, people bypass native language conventions, revealing apparent biases underpinning word order usage, based on the semantic...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

We present a formal framework for studying time allocation between these two types of activities, and we explore optimal behavior in both one-shot and dynamic versions of the problem. In the one-shot version, we illustrate striking discontinuities in the optimal time allocation policy as we gradually change the parameters of the decision-making problem. In the dynamic version, we formulate the optimal strategy-defined by a giving-up threshold-which adaptively dictates when people should stop...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Kangasrääsiö A, Jokinen JPP, Oulasvirta A, Howes A, Kaski S Abstract This paper addresses a common challenge with computational cognitive models: identifying parameter values that are both theoretically plausible and generate predictions that match well with empirical data. While computational models can offer deep explanations of cognition, they are computationally complex and often out of reach of traditional parameter fitting methods. Weak methodology may lead to premature...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

In this study, we investigated how expert knowledge and daily experience affect the ability to name odors in a group of experts that has not previously been investigated in this context-Iranian herbalists; also called attars-as well as cooks and laypeople. We assessed naming accuracy and consistency for 16 herb and spice odors, collected judgments of odor perception, and evaluated participants' odor meta-awareness. Participants' responses were overall more consistent and accurate for more...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology Entries Accepted Until June 15, 2019 Researchers 35 years and younger, the annual Eppendorf &Science Prize for Neurobiology, which is awarded for contributions to neurobiological research based on methods of molecular and cell biology, is now open for entries. Applying requires a 1,000-word essay and tell the prize committee about your work. The prize is $25,000 plus Science magazine will publish an essay about your work. You'll have...

Source Feed: Brain and Behavior

A project I’ve been working on a for a long time has just launched: The Choice Engine is an interactive essay about the psychology, neuroscience and philosophy of free will. To begin, follow and reply START — ChoiceEngine (@ChoiceEngine) September 20, 2018 By talking to the @ChoiceEngine twitter-bot you can navigate an essay about choice, … Continue reading "The Choice Engine"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: nonsense

This thread started by Ekaterina Damer has prompted many recommendations from psychologists on twitter. Can anyone recommend an (ideally brief) introductory paper or post or book explaining what makes for a good theory? For example, how to construct a good psychological theory, what are key things to consider?@psforscher @lakens @talyarkoni @chrisdc77 @tomstafford @kurtjgray — Ekaterina … Continue reading "After the methods crisis, the theory crisis"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: theory

Open science essentials in 2 minutes, part 4 Before a research article is published in a journal you can make it freely available for anyone to read. You could do this on your own website, but you can also do it on a preprint server, such as psyarxiv.com, where other researchers also share their preprints, … Continue reading "Open Science Essentials: Preprints"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: theory

I have a guest post for the Research Digest, snappily titled ‘People who think their opinions are superior to others are most prone to overestimating their relevant knowledge and ignoring chances to learn more‘. The paper I review is about the so-called “belief superiority” effect, which is defined by thinking that your views are better … Continue reading "Believing everyone else is wrong is a danger sign"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: reasoning

I have a review of John Bargh’s new book “Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do” in this month’s Psychologist magazine. You can read the review in print (or online here) but the magazine could only fit in 250 words, and I originally wrote closer to 700. I’ll put the … Continue reading "Review: John Bargh’s “Before You Know It”"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: books

Psychologists have been measuring reaction times since before psychology existed, and they are still a staple of cognitive psychology experiments today. Typically psychologists look for a difference in the time it takes participants to respond to stimuli under different conditions as evidence of differences in how cognitive processing occurs in those conditions. Galton, the famous … Continue reading "Did the Victorians have faster reactions?"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: nonsense

Spaced repetition is a memory hack. We know that spacing out your study is more effective than cramming, but using an app you can tailor your own spaced repetition schedule, allowing you to efficiently create reliable memories for any material you like. Michael Nielsen, has a nice thread on his use of spaced repetition on … Continue reading "spaced repetition & Darwin’s golden rule"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: learning

The contrast sensitivity function shows how our sensitivity to contrasts is affected by spatial frequency. You can test it using gratings of alternating light and darker shade. Ian Goodfellow has this neat observation: By looking at this image, you can see how sensitive your own eyes are to contrast at different frequencies (taller apparent peaks=more … Continue reading "A graph that is made by perceiving it"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: seeing

Nicky Case (of Explorable Explanations and Parable of the Polygons internet fame) has a fantastic essay which picks up on the theme of my last Cyberselves post – technology as companion, not competitor. In How To Become A Centaur Case gives blitz history of AI, and of its lesser known cousin IA – Intelligence Augmentation. … Continue reading "How To Become A Centaur"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: reasoning

A talk I gave titled “Debating Sex Differences in Cognition: We Can Do Better” now has a home on the web. The pages align a rough transcript of the talk with the slides, for your browsing pleasure. Mindhacks.com readers will recognise many of the slides, which started their lives as blog posts. The full series … Continue reading "Debating Sex Differences: Talk transcript"

Source Feed: Mind Hacks
Categories: gender

#5: Competition horses calmed by lavender In looking back over the history of the blog, I thought it would be fun to take another glimpse at the top 5 most popular posts in 2017 thus far... Image of lavender from GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=322384 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...

Source Feed: Brain and Behavior

Cheap Science Books Two science books cheap (Kindle version, two bucks): The Male Brain: A Breakthrough Understanding of How Men and Boys Think Dr. Louann Brizendine, the founder of the first clinic in the country to study gender differences in brain, behavior, and hormones, turns her attention to the male brain, showing how, through every phase of life, the "male reality" is fundamentally different from the female one. Exploring the latest breakthroughs in male psychology and...

Source Feed: Brain and Behavior

Pigeons outperform humans when it comes to multitasking Sara Letzner had humans compete against pigeons in a behavioural experiment. Photo from: Ruhr-Universitat at Bochum A new study conducted by Drs. Sara Letzner and Onur Gunturkun (Ruhr-Universitat at Bochum) as well as Dr. Christian Beste (Technische Univeritat at Dresden) shows that pigeons are better than humans when it comes to multitasking. Their findings were published in Current Biology. The findings from...

Source Feed: Brain and Behavior

Torturing more mice in the name of antivaccine pseudoscience: PubPeer versus antivaxers Last week, an antivaxer "challenged" me to look over a paper purporting to show that aluminum adjuvants in vaccines cause inflammation of the brain and therefore contribute to autism, a paper that she would be "citing frequently." Being someone who lives by the motto, "be careful what you wish for," I looked it over in detail. Not surprisingly, my conclusion was that the experiments were poorly...

Source Feed: Brain and Behavior

Torturing more mice in the name of antivaccine pseudoscience, 2017 aluminum edition   "Why, oh, why do I have to die in the cause of such crappy science?" For antivaxers, aluminum is the new mercury. Let me explain, for the benefit of those not familiar with the antivaccine movement. For antivaxers, it is, first and foremost, always about the vaccines. Always. Whatever the chronic health issue in children, vaccines must have done it. Autism? It’s the vaccines. Sudden infant death...

Source Feed: Brain and Behavior

Comments of the Week #173: From quantum uncertainty to Earth's final total solar eclipse “It will shine still brighter when night is about you. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” ―Galadriel, LOTR, J.R.R. Tolkien The scientific stories we've covered this week have been out-of-this-world here at Starts With A Bang! But the greatest show is still to come. Right now, I'm on my way down to the path of totality in Oregon, along with millions of...

Source Feed: Brain and Behavior

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Trump touts racial segregation, antisemitism, lewd behavior, at Boy Scout rally If you give your children over to the Boy Scouts for a day or two, they may do something to them akin to abuse. This happened. The Boy Scouts knew what they were getting into when they invited Donald Trump to speak at their national event. They even posted warnings for the troop leaders and scouts, on their blog. As a unit leader or staff member, you can help make the president’s visit a success by...

Source Feed: Brain and Behavior

An antivaxer starts a WhiteHouse.gov petition for a five year moratorium on childhood vaccines. Hilarity ensues. I've been writing about antivaccine loons for a long time, and during that time I've seen them propose some crazy ideas. The other day, I came across one proposing what might well be the craziest, most irresponsible idea I've ever seen from an antivaccine activist. It comes from our old friend Kent Heckenlively. Heckenlively, as you might recall, started out over at the...

Source Feed: Brain and Behavior

Yawn. Another study tries to convince us that mind-body interventions can "reprogram our DNA." It fails. One of the most persistent narratives latched on to by advocates of "integrative medicine" is that the "mind" can somehow "heal" the body. Sometimes, the claim is that such interventions work through "powerful placebo" effects. Sometimes it involves the abuse of emerging science, such overblown claims about what can be accomplished through epigenetic modifications of DNA and...

Source Feed: Brain and Behavior


Neuroscientists have created interactive maps that can predict where different categories of words activate the brain. Their latest map is focused on what happens in the brain when you read stories.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

A new study examined whether people can acquire attitudes toward other individuals from the nonverbal signals that are directed toward them.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

Satisfaction with your home can depend on its size compared to your neighbors' homes, according to new research. Researchers found that people are more likely to be dissatisfied with their house if it is smaller than their neighbors'.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

A new study has found that online brain game exercises can enable people in their 70s and even 80s to multitask cognitively as well as individuals 50 years their junior. This is an increasingly valuable skill, given today's daily information onslaught, which can divide attention and be particularly taxing for older adults.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

Scientists report that halting production of synaptotagmin 17 (syt-17) blocks growth of axons. Equally significant, when cells made more syt-17, axon growth accelerated. A wide range of neurological conditions could benefit from the growth of axons, including spinal cord injuries and some neurodegenerative diseases.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily


Three decades of research on Alzheimer's disease have not produced major treatment advances for patients. Researchers now report new insights that may lead to progress in fighting the devastating disease. They discovered beta amyloid has a specific amino acid that can form a kink, like a kink in a garden hose, creating a harmful molecular zipper and leading to the death of neurons.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

Using a cellphone to take a break during mentally challenging tasks does not allow the brain to recharge effectively and may result in poorer performance, researchers found.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily


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