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Observations

Observations

Opinion, arguments & analyses from guest experts and from the editors of Scientific American

Study Claiming That Internet Explorer Users Had Low IQs Was a Hoax

A consulting company named AptiQuant published an intriguing press release late last week. "Is Internet Explorer For The Dumb? A New Study Suggests Exactly That" inspired many legitimate news organizations to report the story just as the press release suggested, often decorated with comments along the lines of, "Is anyone really surprised?" The online community often perceives Internet Explorer users as less technologically adept than those who use more recently launched browsers, so Firefox and Chrome fans exchanged cyber high-fives about this apparent validation.But the joke turned out to be on those who repeated the story without first looking into AptiQuant...

August 4, 2011 — Sophie Bushwick

4 Things Most People Get Wrong About Memory

Human memory has been shown again and again to be far from perfect. We overlook big things, forget details, conflate events. One famous experiment even demonstrated that many people asked to watch a video of people playing basketball failed to notice a person wearing a gorilla suit walk right through the middle of the scene.So why does eyewitness testimony continue to hold water in courtrooms?...

August 4, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

Four Things Most People Get Wrong about Memory

Human memory has been shown again and again to be far from perfect. We overlook big things, forget details, conflate events. One famous experiment even demonstrated that many people asked to watch a video of people playing basketball failed to notice a person wearing a gorilla suit walk right through the middle of the scene.So why does eyewitness testimony continue to hold water in courtrooms?...

August 4, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

Chew on This: More Mastication Cuts Calorie Intake by 12 Percent

About a century ago, a new craze gripped the country's health conscious: mastication. Chewing each bite of food precisely 32 times would help people control how much food they consumed—turning them from gluttons to epicureans—according to the early 20th-century dietician Horace Fletcher...

August 3, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

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