January 2010 Archives

Divided Attention

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Distracted Driving Laws Don't Stop Crashes (STUDY)

"WASHINGTON -- A new insurance industry study has found that state laws banning the use of handheld devices to make calls or send text messages while driving have not resulted in fewer vehicle crashes."


How does this make sense knowing what we know about attentional resources?

How can we reconcile these findings when we see numerous examples a driving accidents while texting...

"In 1922, Matthew Luckiesh wrote an optical illusions book titled - Visual Illusions: Their Causes, Characteristics and Applications. It was probably the first book to comprehensively cover the topic of Optical Illusions, or Visual Illusions, as they were called then.

On this optical illusion web site, we present this book to you, chock full of optical illusion information. It will be of interest to both the person who is fascinated by optical illusions and asks, "How do optical illusions work?" and also to the person doing serious research on the science of optical illusions. Some editing of the book has been done."


No Such Thing as a Bad Pie?

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Now THAT don't add up!

This is why we make you learn statistics! The pie chart is bad enough, check out the video of newscaster reading off the numbers. Doh!


Robot Maid Combats Unclean Households

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"Korean scientists have created a domestic robot that cleans up, dumps clothes in the washing machine and even heats food in the microwave."


Narrative Essay Response

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Here is the link to the powerpoints I used for the narrative essay response.



Science Daily

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ScienceDaily is one of the Internet's most popular science news web sites. Since starting in 1995, the award-winning site has earned the loyalty of students, researchers, healthcare professionals, government agencies, educators and the general public around the world. Now with more than 3 million monthly visitors, ScienceDaily generates nearly 15 million page views a month and is steadily growing in its global audience.



Cognitive Daily

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Cognitive Daily reports nearly every day on fascinating peer-reviewed developments in cognition from the most respected scientists in the field.

The research isn't dumbed down, but it's explained in language that everyone can understand, with clear illustrations and references to the original research.

Cognitive Daily is maintained by Dave Munger and Margaret P. Munger.


How Do You Amputate A Phantom Limb?

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In one breakthrough example, Ramachandran, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego, devised a seemingly simple experiment to explore a puzzle that has confounded doctors since at least the 16th century: the sensation that a ghostly limb remains after the amputation of a body part.


What is a phantom limb? Why is it a problem? How did Ramachandran help to 'cure' this problem?

Smart Elevator

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Over the weekend, 14 people were trapped in an elevator in the tallest building in the world. They were safely returned to solid ground within 15 minutes, according to Otis, the company that designed the lift for the new Burj Khalifa complex in Dubai. But the incident undeniably tarnished the unveiling of what had been called the most perfect elevator system in the world.


Savant for a Day - Article

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In a concrete basement at the University of Sydney, I sat in a chair waiting to have my brain altered by an electromagnetic pulse. My forehead was connected, by a series of electrodes, to a machine that looked something like an old-fashioned beauty-salon hair dryer and was sunnily described to me as a ''Danish-made transcranial magnetic stimulator.'' This was not just any old Danish-made transcranial magnetic stimulator, however; this was the Medtronic Mag Pro, and it was being operated by Allan Snyder, one of the world's most remarkable scientists of human cognition.


Turing Test

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This is an interesting site about a bet between two very bright people. The bet is based on the Turing Test.

It relates to my classes becasue I have often used the example of the turing test when evaluation student work.

Background on the "Long Now Turing Test Wager."
Ray Kurzweil maintains that a computer (i.e., a machine intelligence) will pass the Turing test by 2029. Mitchell Kapor believes this will not happen.

This wager is intended to be the inaugural long term bet to be administered by the Long Now Foundation. The proceeds of the wager are to be donated to a charitable organization designated by the winner.



Welcome to Serendip's Exchange

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Looking for "the answer" to a question? There are plenty of websites out there which will tell you what to think. Serendip instead aims at helping you to think for yourself, and in the process of discovery to formulate new questions and new explorations.


There is quite a lot of good material here - I used a lot in my SP blog 


Discover Magazine - Mind & Brain

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This site has a number of interesting articles.

There is also a section on Technology, Human origins,


Time to Think - History of Reaction Time

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The Dutch physiologist, Franciscus Cornelis Donders, was the first person to conceive of a way to measure "thinking time", and did so in studies performed in the middle part of the 1860's. The continuation of these studies became a central part of the program of the German physiologist, Wilhelm Wundt, whose laboratory in Leipzig was a major breeding ground of the new discipline of "physiological psychology".


Cognitive Daily - Blog

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A new cognitive psychology article nearly every day.


Also see:

Cognitive Monthly

Cognitive Monthly is an in-depth mini e-book that you can download and read on your computer, iPod, iPhone, e-reader, or any device that can handle a PDF. Each month we cover a different cognitive psychology issue.

Although based on posts that have appeared in Cognitive Daily, it goes beyond what's in the blog, synthesizing and incorporating interviews and other insights.




Amazing Brain - Memory

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Welcome to Your memory!

There are many types of memory...

... The picture in your mind when you think of your first school, the knowledge that London is the capital of England, the ability to ride a bike or knowing the face of the person you love.

So stretch your brain and test all your different types of memory.


Reading the Mind of a Terrorist?

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The aim of one company that blends high technology and behavioral psychology is hinted at in its name, WeCU - as in "We See You."

The system that Israeli-based WeCU Technologies has devised and is testing in Israel projects images onto airport screens, such as symbols associated with a certain terrorist group or some other image only a would-be terrorist would recognize, company CEO Ehud Givon said.

Is this possible given what we know about brain scanning? How would you go about testing the accuracy of this device? What do we know about the accuracy lie detectors, hypnosis, and vioce stress analysis? How might this be different?