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Cognitive Science

Cognitive science information and blogs.
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A fascination with storytelling led K. Guadalupe Cruz to graduate studies in neuroscience and shapes her work to promote inclusivity at MIT.

Source Feed: MIT News - Brain and cognitive sciences



Authors: Kominsky JF, Phillips J Abstract Causal judgments are widely known to be sensitive to violations of both prescriptive norms (e.g., immoral events) and statistical norms (e.g., improbable events). There is ongoing discussion as to whether both effects are best explained in a unified way through changes in the relevance of counterfactual possibilities, or whether these two effects arise from unrelated cognitive mechanisms. Recent work has shown that moral norm violations affect...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Suffill E, Branigan H, Pickering M Abstract From infancy, we recognize that labels denote category membership and help us to identify the critical features that objects within a category share. Labels not only reflect how we categorize, but also allow us to communicate and share categories with others. Given the special status of labels as markers of category membership, do novel labels (i.e., non-words) affect the way in which adults select dimensions for categorization in...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Rubio-Fernandez P Abstract A pragmatic account of referential communication is developed which presents an alternative to traditional Gricean accounts by focusing on cooperativeness and efficiency, rather than informativity. The results of four language-production experiments support the view that speakers can be cooperative when producing redundant adjectives, doing so more often when color modification could facilitate the listener's search for the referent in the visual...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Tzeng CY, Namy LL, Nygaard LC Abstract The current study assessed the extent to which the use of referential prosody varies with communicative demand. Speaker-listener dyads completed a referential communication task during which speakers attempted to indicate one of two color swatches (one bright, one dark) to listeners. Speakers' bright sentences were reliably higher pitched than dark sentences for ambiguous (e.g., bright red versus dark red) but not unambiguous (e.g.,...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Hamburger K, Knauff M Abstract Scientists have shown that many non-human animals such as ants, dogs, or rats are very good at using smells to find their way through their environments. But are humans also capable of navigating through their environment based on olfactory cues? There is not much research on this topic, a gap that the present research seeks to bridge. We here provide one of the first empirical studies investigating the possibility of using olfactory cues as...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Casasanto D, Pitt B Abstract Do people represent space, time, number, and other conceptual domains using a generalized magnitude system (GMS)? To answer this question, numerous studies have used the spatial-numerical association of response codes (SNARC) task and its variants. Yet, for a combination of reasons, SNARC-like effects cannot provide evidence for a GMS, even in principle. Rather, these effects support a broader theory of how people use space metaphorically to...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Amon MJ, Vrzakova H, D'Mello SK Abstract We hypothesize that effective collaboration is facilitated when individuals and environmental components form a synergy where they work together and regulate one another to produce stable patterns of behavior, or regularity, as well as adaptively reorganize to form new behaviors, or irregularity. We tested this hypothesis in a study with 32 triads who collaboratively solved a challenging visual computer programming task for 20 min...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Children's (and Adults') Production Adjustments to Generic and Particular Listener Needs. Cogn Sci. 2019 Oct;43(10):e12790 Authors: Grigoroglou M, Papafragou A Abstract Adults design utterances to match listeners' informational needs by making both "generic" adjustments (e.g., mentioning atypical more often than typical information) and "particular" adjustments tailored to their specific interlocutor (e.g., including things that their addressee cannot see). For children,...

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

This article has been awarded Open Materials and Open Data badges. All materials and data are publicly accessible via the Open Science Framework at https://osf.io/8juyc/. Learn more about the Open Practices badges from the Center for Open Science: https://osf.io/tvyxz/wiki. PMID: 31621119 [PubMed - in process] (Source: Cognitive Science)

Source Feed: Cognitive Science via MedWorm.com

Authors: Simms NK, Richland LE Abstract Relational reasoning is a hallmark of human higher cognition and creativity, yet it is notoriously difficult to encourage in abstract tasks, even in adults. Generally, young children initially focus more on objects, but with age become more focused on relations. While prerequisite knowledge and cognitive resource maturation partially explains this pattern, here we propose a new facet important for children's relational reasoning development: a...

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

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

If you have just had knee, shoulder or hip surgery, you may want to take anti-inflammatories in the morning or at noon, but not at night. A new study shows, for the first time, that circadian clock genes are involved in healing from surgery. Indeed, the researchers demonstrated that anti-inflammatory medications are most effective in promoting post-operative healing and recovery when taken during the active periods of our biological clocks.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily


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Despite the protections in place to support breastfeeding for employees, the burden still falls on working mothers to advocate for the resources they need, according to a new study.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

A study has shown few differences in the profiles of genes that influence cognition between people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and the general population. This surprising finding could provide new insights into therapies designed to improve cognition.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

Researchers have identified blood-based biomarkers associated with both delirium duration and severity in critically ill patients. This finding opens the door to easy, early identification of individuals at risk for longer delirium duration and higher delirium severity and could potentially lead to new treatments of this brain failure for which drugs have been shown to be largely ineffective.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

Researchers say they have identified a previously unknown gene and associated protein (which they have named 'aggregatin') which could potentially be suppressed to slow the advance of Alzheimer's disease.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily


New research reveals the impact of smell loss. As many as one in 20 people live without smell. But until now there has been little research into the range of emotional and practical impacts it causes. The new study finds that almost every aspect of life is disrupted - from everyday concerns about personal hygiene to a loss of sexual intimacy and the break-down of personal relationships.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily


For decades, there's been a widespread assumption among people with an interest in sports-related injury that youth football players are more vulnerable to concussion and other head injuries than their older, bigger counterparts.

Source Feed: Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

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