Do not let a car drive you to distraction: In Vehicle Information Systems and attention

Maybe I’m a Luddite, but I was shocked to learn that my car can read me my text messages, switch to a song I want to hear, or navigate to my apartment. This is the natural progression of things—voice-based media systems in modern cars are becoming more and more common, especially in cars purchased by […]

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When EZ does it: Simpler models are sometimes better than their complex cousins

You are in the cognitive laboratory to participate in an experiment.  A tight cluster of 300 lines at various orientations is projected onto the screen in front of you. Are they predominantly tilted to the left or to the right? The experimenter has instructed you to respond as quickly as possible by pressing one of […]

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When Wednesday is yellow and a blinking cursor ticks loudly: Synesthesia and associative learning

What color is Wednesday? If the answer is obvious to you, you might have a form of synesthesia in which sequences such as numbers, days of the week, and months of the year are perceived as having colors (or else you might be from Thailand). Initially, one may well be skeptical on being told that […]

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#goCRPI: The perceptual expertise of soccer referees

26th of June 2006. Soccer World Cup. Italy-v-Australia is tied at 0-0 in the 95th minute. Fabio Grosso, Italy’s hero who ultimately secured the World Cup against France during a penalty shoot-out, dribbles his way into the penalty area and falls over an Australia defender. The referee awards a penalty to Italy, and the rest […]

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Happy Birthday AP&P!

One of the Psychonomic Society’s journals turned 50 this year: Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, more often affectionately known as AP&P, has been contributing to the scientific literature for half a century. The publisher of the journal, Springer, produced a little “happy-birthday” video:   The Editor’s birthday perspective To further explore this milestone, I interviewed the […]

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Don’t think about the pink elephant you are reaching for: automaticity of reading and arm movements

Imagine your daily commute. Think about 2+2. Don’t picture pink elephants. These examples illustrate the automaticity of cognition. On highly familiar routes, people habitually and automatically navigate, sometimes taking a familiar route absent-mindedly even when they needed to run an errand some place else. I’d be willing to bet that most people reading this couldn’t […]

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The theologian and the black cat in a dark room: ‘unconscious’ perception as a statistical artifact

A philosopher and a theologian are discussing their respective fields over coffee. The theologian dismisses philosophy: “You know what a philosopher is like?” he demands. “A philosopher is a man searching in a dark room for a black cat that isn’t there.” The philosopher nods. “Maybe so,” he concedes, “but it takes a theologian to […]

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