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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From “Rush Hour” to a tidy room: effective conversations find common ground

Have you ever had a conversation with someone, maybe with your spouse, your co-worker, or a student, and based on their response (or lack thereof) you ask yourself, “Did they even hear a word I said?” In the famous American movie, Rush Hour, the actor Chris Tucker posed the question a different way: In these […]

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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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“Fuhgeddaboudit” if you can: When remembering may help you forget about a bad date

Have you ever had a day where nothing seemed to go according to plan? Maybe you had a flat tire, were caught in the rain, or maybe even a bad date? The type of day that feels like a page out of Judith Viorst’s, “Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good very bad day”. Click […]

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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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Call your first witness (and again and again…): Multiple trial viewings have no effect on eyewitness outcomes

Have you ever watched one of your favorite procedural crime shows (there are plenty, so pick your poison) and wondered who designs the techniques used to elicit eyewitness accounts of the crime? Certainly shouting in the face of the witness is likely to influence the quality of recall, but what other factors play a role […]

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When HOOK lets you remember the voice of BOOK: generation effects for context

Get ready to think of some antonyms. Ready? Now fill in the blanks: HOT-C____, SHORT-T_____, and LEFT-R____. Decades of memory research have converged on the strong conclusion that your memory for cold, tall, and right will be better after you generate them in response to the antonym cues than if you had merely read those […]

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Ir nugalėtojas yra: from 0 to a little Lithuanian in an hour

And the winner is….. in 2014, cognitive scientists from University College London launched an international competition, with a $10,000 prize, to find the best way of tackling a challenge faced by millions every day, namely how best to acquire the vocabulary of a new language. Prof David Shanks and Dr Rosalind Potts from UCL teamed […]

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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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