The Process of Explanations: Context For This Week’s Digital Event

Explanations are crucial to our cognitive lives because they inform our understanding of the world, structure our concepts, and guide our actions. Yet, the processes that underlie explanation remain largely unknown: How do people generate, evaluate, and use explanations? Answering this question is a major challenge, since even a rough specification of the processes involved […]

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The NIH Clinical Trials Issue (continued): A good try but we still have a problem

The NIH has posted a new version of Case 18. If that sentence means nothing to you, you might want to visit my post from last week, “Basic research can be open and transparent without being a clinical trial” in which I summarized the problem with the NIH’s plan to label much of human behavioral […]

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Grandma, where’s Waldo? Comparing Goal-directed and Habit-based Attention in Older Adults

Visual search can be a very daunting task, whether it’s looking for keys among a pile of office supplies on a desk, or looking for a dime among a bunch of coins in your purse. It seems like no matter how many times you have checked and re-checked certain locations, the object of your affection […]

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Asking questions like an Italian: Get quick answers with your hands

What’s the first thing that comes to mind in response to “Italian”? Lots of things probably, from Lamborghini to cannelloni and Bertolucci. Perhaps you also thought of how Italians talk. Even if we don’t speak Italian, we probably know that Italians do a lot of talking with their hands: in case you have any doubt, […]

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Basic research can be open and transparent without being a clinical trial

I would not classify most of my experiments as clinical trials, but now, under NIH rules that become effective in 2018, much of my work along with a significant portion of basic human behavioral research will be classified as clinical trials. This change is motivated by worthy goals but, in its current form, it has […]

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Sigmund Freud, Kevin Bacon, and Adolescent Attachments

Attachments to other people – you can’t live with them, you can’t live without them. Kevin Bacon in his classic role as Ren McCormack in “Footloose” is a bad boy teenager who reminds the straight-laced minister (played by John Lithgow) and his quiet town that dancing is also important in leading a fulfilling life. A social […]

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When actions have consequences you’ll know right from left more readily

When a person “doesn’t know right from left”, they are metaphorically confused, or unable to navigate the world. In the non-metaphorical meaning of the phrase, we’re talking about a person whose concepts of right and left are somehow undeveloped – and telling left from right is an ability that we definitely need in order to […]

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Are the times a-changin’? Reporting before and after the 2015 statistical guidelines

“Progress is not possible without deviation.” — Frank Zappa The ways by which psychological science deals with methodological problems are many. There are bottom-up approaches such as peer-reviewed papers and workshops given by methodologists who advocate particular types of changes. There are also top-down approaches, such as funding agencies requiring data sharing or journals requiring […]

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