Hungry Eyes See More Cookies: Food Deprivation and Perceptual Discrimination

Are you hungry, yet? How long has it been since you have eaten? Are you cranky and tired? I am as I write this piece.  I went on an unexpected food deprivation plan, thanks to a recent trip to Central America. I can’t wait to eat more than toast, applesauce, and bananas again. Food deprivation […]

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Racing Towards Another Race: Processing Faces One Feature at a Time

The own-race bias in face processing is a well-known effect that refers to the fact that people generally find it easier to identify faces of people of their own race. Although the general effect has been known for decades, the source of the bias is not well understood. There are a number of broad explanations […]

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Muslims, Gays, and Vowels: Psychophysics Explains Biases in Demographic Estimates

What percentage of Americans are Muslim? What percentage of Americans are LGBT individuals? What percentage of Americans are Christian? Think about it and take real guesses. If you are like the average person, your guesses were likely overestimates of the real numbers for the smaller percentages (for Muslims; for LGBT), and underestimates for the larger […]

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Preparing for Nate and Ophelia: How People Process Hurricane Forecasts

Harvey, Irma, Jose, … and now Maria. Hurricanes have been wreaking havoc in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic for much of the past few months. Their power and consequences fueled by climate change, we can expect more hurricanes that are followed by the retirement of their names: When a named storm was particularly destructive and […]

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Bringing a friend along for the ride: Why are we slower to respond when we’re talking to someone else while driving?

A computational model of mental processing speed in drivers who are holding a conversation suggests that having a passenger in the car is not a distraction, but it does make us more cautious and slower to make decisions. A reality of living in much of the United States and many other parts of the world […]

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Explaining how The Processes of Explanation Live On

Our digital event on the processes of explanation came to a conclusion on Friday. The series of 6 posts covered various aspects of the special issue of the Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, guest edited by Andrei Cimpian and Frank Keil, that was dedicated to the psychology of explanations. However, this does not mean that the […]

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It’s Tricky to Build an Explanation Machine – Let’s Fix That

What’s stopping scientists from building a machine that provides sensible explanations? Let’s be clear: what we need is a machine that explains simple matters, not free will or the plot of Inception. For instance, how would you respond if I asked you why apples don’t grow underground? Perhaps you’d say, “Because apples are a type […]

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Towards Understanding Real World Explanation: When Explanation meets Argumentation and the Death of Expertise

Explanation matters. Explanation is a central part of coming to an understanding of the world around us. So it is no surprise that the question of what makes “a good explanation” has been a long-standing interest of philosophers, in particular philosophers of science. Their work, in turn, has influenced and motivated psychologists interested in everyday […]

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