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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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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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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Alpha, Beta, Blink: Synchronicity between brain oscillations and the attentional blink

We are constantly bombarded with a lot more information than we can process at once. We use our attentional abilities to filter out unwanted information and to focus on those things that appear particularly relevant—for example, right now I am trying to ignore all the buzz around me in a Star Alliance lounge at Heathrow […]

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Finding the Waldolance among sedans: Verbal cues can guide search for societally important vehicles

Quick! Find the image on the left among the images on the right in the figure below. This basic task—visual search—has been a staple of the vision scientist’s toolkit for decades. Even if one has no interest in visual search itself, the basic paradigm of searching for a target among an array of images is […]

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Vladimir Putin and the empty chair: Can people spot #Fakepictures?

Hamburg, Germany, July 2017. The leaders of the 20 most powerful countries in the world gather at the G20 summit to discuss the issues facing our global society. The meeting was hosted by Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, and among the guests were President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The New Statesman reported the excitement […]

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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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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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2 eyes, 4 targets, and 8 moving disks: Lagging gazes in object tracking

We keep track of multiple objects every day. When we drive, we need to keep track of the cyclist near the curb, the dump truck bearing down on us from behind, and the lost tourist in front of us who is signaling turns at random. When we are on the beach on a family outing, […]

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