When 5 fingers make a person: Generalization of expertise to coarser categories

One sip, and most of us can tell with near-perfect accuracy whether the wine is red or white. And suppose it’s red, it takes relatively little expertise to know whether it’s a shiraz or a merlot. But judging whether it’s an Australian shiraz or a Chilean shiraz may require considerable expertise. Finally, being able to […]

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How long till today’s cigarette will make me ill? Time estimation revisited

Today’s cigarette may yield considerable satisfaction to a smoker, although that satisfaction will likely pale in comparison to the disutility arising from that person’s lung cancer in the future. Likewise, today’s Big Mac and extra-large bag of potato chips may gratify the consumer but the long-term consequences—from obesity to diabetes to heart attacks—are unlikely to […]

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Open but not rugged: The awe-inspiring vastness of the Nullarbor

Have you ever experienced “vastness”? Have you driven across a vast expanse of space that stretches from horizon to horizon seemingly without limit? If not, then I can recommend the Australian Nullarbor (pronounced “null-ah-bore”), the treeless arid expanse of red soil and scrubs in between Eucla in Western Australia and Ceduna in South Australia. It […]

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Porcine aviators’ attire: The indestructible causal rationality of magical worlds

Suppose your task is to design a stylish aviator outfit for pigs. How would you go about doing that? You might find it helpful to know that the 1616 edition of John Withals’s English-Latin dictionary, A Shorte Dictionarie for Yonge Begynners, notes that “Pigs fly in the ayre with their tayles forward.” So you might […]

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Bob better had a round face and Kirk a square jaw: People are liked better if their names go with their faces

What does Bob look like? … Bob who? … No, just Bob, any Bob. And while you are at it, what does Kirk look like? At first glance those questions appear absurd. How could anyone infer an unknown person’s looks from their name? Why would the average Bob look any different from the average Kirk? […]

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Chunks amidst the ruins of Giuoco Pianissimo: Superior expert memory for random domain-relevant material

In 1974, philosopher Thomas Nagel famously asked, what’s it like to be a bat? I am not sure that this question has been answered satisfactorily, so maybe we should focus on a slightly more circumscribed variant of the same question: What’s it like to be a chess grand master? Cognitive scientists have been addressing this […]

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Nursing psychology: Welcome to Kimele Persaud

It gives me great pleasure to introduce our new Digital Associate Editor, Kimele Persaud, who joined our team a few weeks ago: Welcome, Kimele, great to have you. Kimele is currently a graduate student in Psychology at Rutgers University, where she works with Dr. Pernille Hemmer on computational models of memory. Kimele started out as […]

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Dobby did it!

Dobby. Dobby did it! We have a new and powerful platform for the Featured Content section of the Psychonomic webpage. The team of elves at TRG (a Hogwarts subsidiary) has worked tirelessly behind the scences to convert all our existing content to the new platform. The chief deputy elf, Ryan Stoeffler, deserves a particular “thank-you” for […]

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