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Posts Tagged "cognitive psychology"

Talking back

2 Hydrogens and 1 Oxygen–a Recipe for Cognitive Enhancement?

Bioethicists have engaged in endless hand wringing in recent years about whether substances that purportedly allow us to remember and process information more efficiently should be available to everyone, not just kids with ADHD. If you can make your brain work better in some way that doesn’t entail poring over a pre-calculus text for hours, [...]

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Talking back

Will “Call of Duty” Be Assigned for 10th Grade (Gaming) Homework?

Two prominent neuroscientists have published a commentary in the Feb. 28th Nature suggesting that video games might be crafted to improve brain function and enhance personal well-being. In “Games To Do You Good,” they cite prospects for bettering performance on behavioral measures ranging from visual perception to altruism. Daphne Bavelier of the University of Rochester [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

What Is Classical Conditioning? (And Why Does It Matter?)

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Classical conditioning is one of those introductory psychology terms that gets thrown around. Many people have a general idea that it is one of the most basic forms of associative learning, and people often know that Ivan Pavlov’s 1927 experiment with dogs has something to do with it, but that is often where it ends. [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

On Capsaicin: Why Do We Love to Eat Hot Peppers?

Stories of pepper spray have been all over the news lately. On Fox News, Megyn Kelly wondered what all the fuss about this “food product” was, and while pepper spray is no vegetable, the compound that makes pepper spray into a weapon at 2-5.3 million Scoville units, is indeed the same compound that many humans [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Office Parties Are Just Like Four Loko (Which Is Just Like The Copenhagen Philharmonic)

When this headline from The Telegraph flashed across Google Reader, I couldn’t help but be amused: Scientists explain why the office party so often ends in embarrassment. From the article: Now scientists have come up with an explanation for why the office party is so often the cause of embarrassing and inappropriate behaviour. Researchers have [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Animal Imagination: The Dog That Pretended to Feed a Frog (and Other Tales)

Can dogs pretend? This is the question I asked yesterday, prompted by Sheril’s story: …this afternoon Happy did something unusual. She carried a toy frog over to her water bowl, and gently put it down as pictured. Given its orientation, I’m skeptical that her placement was an accident. The frog continues to sit like this [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Can Dogs Pretend?

Earlier today, friend-of-the-blog Sheril Kirshenbaum (blog, twitter) asked a question on her blog, Culture of Science: Do Dogs Play “Make Believe?”: …this afternoon Happy did something unusual. She carried a toy frog over to her water bowl, and gently put it down as pictured. Given its orientation, I’m skeptical that her placement was an accident. [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

How Do You Figure Out How Chimps Learn? Peanuts.

What is culture? One simple definition might be: a distinctive behavior shared by two or more individuals, which persists over time, and that ignorant individuals acquire through socially-aided learning. There are at least four different ways to learn a particular behavior or problem-solving strategy. That is to say, there are four different ways to learn. [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Four Loko Is Just Like The Copenhagen Philharmonic

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It’s an ordinary afternoon at Copenhagen Central Station. At 2:32pm, a man who appears to be a run-of-the-mill street performer sets up a drum in the center of a large hall. A cellist joins him. A woman approaches with her flute. The melody is sort of recognizable… It sounds sort of like Ravel’s Bolero. Pretty [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Mathematics, Cities, and Brains: What Can A Highway Engineer Learn From A Neuroscientist?

At their most fundamental level, brains are made up of neurons. And those neurons collectively comprise the two main types of brain tissue: white matter is made up primarily of axons, and grey matter is made up of synapses, or the connections between neurons. (Want a primer on the neuron? Check out this explainer post [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Guest Post! It’s About Time: Delving Into Animals’ Memories

Editor’s Note: Today’s post, coming appropriately after yesterday’s post on human intuitions about memory, comes from Felicity Muth who blogs at Not Bad Science, and tweets as @FelicityMuth. This post, while it can certainly stand alone, is meant to be read after reading Felicity’s contribution to The Guest Blog. We have known for a number [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Memory: I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means. An Interview with Dan Simons.

Do you believe that memory works sort of like a video camera, faithfully recording your experiences so that you can go back later and revisit those memories, captured in pristine condition? Do you believe that if something unexpected walked into your field of vision you’d notice? Can forgotten memories be recalled through hypnosis? If you’re [...]

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