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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Eating dinner or grandma? Patterns of intonation are crucial to comprehension

Your tone of voice can tell others a lot about what you mean. Which intonation you use in a sentence matters and your intonation can help listeners figure out the critical difference between “Let’s eat, Grandma!” and “Let’s eat Grandma!” This is only one of a number of examples showing just how the same words […]

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You heard that right: accent judgment but not accent perception is influenced by expectations

Everyone “has an accent”—even if you think you don’t. Most likely, your accent is influenced by both your cultural identity, socioeconomic status, and other social processes, as well as more cognitive processes like emulating another person’s style in a conversation. Accents are such a strong indicator of social factors that they get associated to stereotypes, […]

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Absolutely not absolute pitch perception: but even people without perfect pitch can hear off notes

Most of us can’t tell one musical note from another – but is it because we can’t really hear the difference, or because our knowledge of musical structure is implicit? Recent evidence suggests that we can take advantage of a lifetime of experience with musical categories to identify whether a musical note sounds wrong. Being […]

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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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She’ll eat the red … ladybug: Exploiting constraints during language processing

For a long period of time in language research, people made the assumption that language processing and other aspects of cognition were distinct from each other. For example, most people have the impression that talking while driving is easy, even though talking on the phone can make driving more dangerous. In addition to the idea […]

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Lifelong experience with video gaming confers enhanced cognitive benefits

Video games have gotten a bad rap. When googling “do video games”, the first results Google suggests are “rot your brain”, “make you dumber”, and then finally “make you smarter.” As far as the last option is concerned, evidence seems to be accumulating that shows that gaming does enhance visual processing and cognitive control skills. […]

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Signing a Swedish sound beats catching a ball

Signing a Swedish sound beats catching a ball: linguistic processing in sign language and working memory performance Imagine that you are discussing a familiar topic with a friend in a quiet room. If you are a neurotypical individual, understanding them and knowing what to say next may seem effortless. Now imagine that you are having […]

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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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