Telling apart Santas, stockings, and sneaky Waldos: Ho-Ho-How similar is similar?

It is Christmas time and everything these days seems to be covered with singing Santas and stuffed stockings, shining brightly in red, white and green. Now imagine that sneaky red and white striped Waldo is hiding among the Christmas decorations. Telling him apart from the rest will be tedious. Needless to say, the similarity between […]

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Conducting an orchestra is not all hand-waving! The cognitive expertise of conductors

The tuxedo, the baton, the gestures – conducting an orchestra is, in part, about appearances. But beneath the facade, conductors have extraordinary cognitive abilities, which allow them to do their jobs. Conductors must maintain a constant tempo for a piece – which requires long term memory – and they must be able to listen to both […]

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Tweeting while reading this post might weaken the cognitive benefits of your Fallout4 addiction

Did you find this link from Twitter, or from your email? And if you found this link on Twitter, are you returning to it periodically in case you feel like quipping about the content? Do you text others pictures of cats while you read those same articles? We are constantly dealing with attention capture (potentially from […]

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Confidence intervals? More like confusion intervals

In his influential book, Understanding the New Statistics, Geoff Cumming makes the case that psychologists should change the way they report their statistics. Psychologists, he argues, would be far better off if they stopped reporting p-values and started reporting confidence intervals. When I read his book I was struck by the information presented about p-value misconceptions based on a survey in […]

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When you could be sure that the submarine is yellow, it’ll frequentistly appear red, blue, or green

In yesterday’s post, I showed that conventional frequentist confidence intervals are far from straightforward and often do not permit the inference one wants to make. Typically, we would like to use confidence intervals to infer something about a population parameter: if we have a 95% confidence interval, we would like to conclude that there is a […]

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The 95% Stepford Interval: Confidently not what it appears to be

What could be more straightforward than the confidence interval? I compute the mean shoe size of a random sample of first-graders and surround it by whiskers that are roughly twice the standard error of that mean. Presumably I can now have 95% confidence that the “true” value of first-graders’ shoe size, in the population at […]

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#Psynom15: The next generation

The annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society in Chicago drew to a close on Sunday. Our Twitter feed provides a record of the meeting with the hashtag#Psynom15. As always, the meeting included a number of poster sessions, and on the Saturday evening Cassie Jacobs and I approached a number of student authors at their posters at random (technically it […]

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When eyes lock onto venomous cucumbers: Attentional dwelling on threat-related stimuli

Traces of our evolutionary history linger within us and can be detected in many circumstances. For example, some time ago we noted on this website that processing information with respect to its survival value—that is, whether a knife or a sofa might be of greater use when you are stranded on an island—provides you with a memorial […]

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Gorillas defying the mist: Semantic impairments in people with Alzheimer’s disease

We have no difficulty picking “rat” as the odd one out from the set “goat – deer – rat”. This ready access to semantic structure in our memories supports many essential cognitive capabilities. It allows us to be guided in our current understanding and behavior by prior knowledge and experience. For example, if we learned […]

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