When your own mother might be an invisible gorilla: long-term memory and change blindness

Cognition is so interesting that we might never realize it. Most of the time we don’t think about our cognition, although we are constantly thinking, seeing, attending, memorizing, and deciding during our waking hours. When teaching my first-year student “Intro to Cognitive Psychology”, the greatest joy for me stems from seeing their faces when they […]

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When South Butt makes you think of buying North Face

Imagine standing in an isle of cereals and you want to find THE cereal that has been advertised to you as exceptionally yummy and at the same time, exceptionally healthy—and all that for a great price! What will influence your decision regarding what cereal box you’ll eventually place into your cart, and how could companies […]

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Processing Gefühle in your second language

Currently the EU is officially working and speaking in 24 different languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish. Growing up in such an environment by necessity leads to a great number of people speaking more than just […]

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Opening the black box within the black box: What the brain tells the brain

When we teach our first-year Psychology students about the “history of Psychology”, they usually get to see at least one slide that shows a “black box”. “This black box” – we tend to say – “is what Behaviorists like Watson and Skinner wanted to keep unopened, since all they were interested in was the relationship […]

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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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Objects here, objects there, objects everywhere.

Most objects that surround us seem familiar and are easily identifiable even when viewed from the corner of our eyes. We are so quick to identify objects that it almost seems trivial, but just like speech production, object recognition is quite complex. How is object recognition actually achieved? Of course knowing what objects tend to be […]

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Need to find a needle? Make the haystack disappear by perceptual adaptation

If you have ever taken an intro class to sensation and perception, chances are that you have experienced the “waterfall illusion” as an example of motion aftereffects. You can try this yourself: Next time you stumble upon a waterfall, stare at it without moving your eyes for about a minute. When you then look at some […]

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Wide awake and seeing nothing: Men In Black or Multiple Inattentional Blindness?

If it weren’t for the “Men in Black” (M.I.B.), your life might be at constant risk from extraterrestrial activity on earth. The M.I.B. are best known for using “neuralizers” to erase witnesses’ memories of alien sightings. One might therefore wonder whether the M.I.B. considered Dan Simons and Chris Chabris famous gorilla as sufficiently extraterrestrial to neutralize him […]

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