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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Two languages and two worlds in America: Psycholinguistics and Donald Trump’s resonance with “common people”

You may have heard that the United States had a presidential election last year. You may have also heard that the winner of that election was an outsider, a “straight-talker,” and an anti-establishment candidate. Enough material to fill the Library of Congress has been written on the content of what (first candidate, and now) President […]

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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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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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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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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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Putting p’s into lmer: mixed-model regression and statistical significance

Since Herb Clark published his famous “Language as a fixed effect fallacy” in 1973, there has been a slow realization that standard techniques, such as ANOVA, are the wrong tools for the jobs that most psychologists tackle. The basic problem is that most psychological questions involve generalization beyond a sample of people and beyond a […]

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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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