Memory and Perception Articles

Why We’re More Forgiving to Bad Singers than to Other Musicians

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Why We're More Forgiving to Bad Singers than to Other MusiciansIf you’ve ever watched a vocal talent show such as American Idol, you might have noticed: when a judge claims a contestant is “pitchy” or “out of tune,” the audience tends to disagree. Nothing will set off the boos faster than Randy Jackson claiming a performance was “a little pitchy.”

So what’s going on there? Is the judge simply wrong? Or is the audience giving the contestant more credit than she or he deserves?

How Sleep Helps Memories Form

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

How Sleep Helps Memories FormWhile researchers have long known that sleep is an important part of maintaining our overall health and mental health, they haven’t always known exactly how this happened.

But in an amazing new study published recently in Science, two researchers now have a better understanding of the process of how sleep helps memory forms.

At least in mice (for now).

Why Some Delusions Can Be So Persistent

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Why Some Delusions Can Be So Persistent A delusion is defined as a firmly held belief or impression which is contradicted by reality or rational argument.

As a person with schizophrenia, I’m more than familiar with delusional thinking. A major part of my experience living with the illness has taught me to be wary of any thought I have which doesn’t seem entirely real.

Getting to the Good Part in Therapy

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Getting to the Good PartWhen I was young, my mom would drive me to the airport for my return flight to California after a visit. The trip to the airport was about 20 minutes.

Inevitably we would get into an intensely personal conversation where I would share whatever fears and insecurities I felt. At that time in my life, I was troubled and confused.

Emotions Coming at the Speed of Light & the Ghosts of Relationships Past

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

when-dont-get-what-you-want-woman-sunlight-sun

While working with a relationship retreat guest recently, I had a funny realization. You know how astronomers tell us that the light we see coming from the stars above at night is really from a long, long time ago? And in fact, the starlight we are “seeing” is really a window to the past as the star may not even be in existence anymore by the time we see it.

I suddenly realized that our emotions are often the very same way.

Why Reading That Pop-Psychology Book is So Compelling

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

Why Reading That Pop-Psychology Book is So CompellingEveryone loves a good story. The series of TED videos demonstrates that a good story is at the crux of making some sort of point.

Countless fiction authors have made good on this idea for centuries. Taking a page from their playbook, social scientists started doing the same thing in pop-psychology books that quickly turned into best-sellers.

Which begets the question. If a story is such a fertile medium to share science in, shouldn’t the books mention they are contributing to the same irrationality they are trying to warn you against?

Taking Class Notes on Your Laptop? Think Again

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Taking Class Notes on Your Laptop? Think Again

Last year, I wrote about how certain study techniques are more effective than others. Surprising, a lot of study techniques that students routinely engage in aren’t all that helpful to memorizing and learning material (such as highlighting or underlining text, or re-reading it).

Two researchers recently expanded upon this research to answer the question — does taking class notes on your computer help or hinder the learning process?

The answer may surprise you.

The Masks of Trauma

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

The Masks of TraumaSometimes I receive emails from acquaintances I knew in my early years. They usually start by expressing their deep concern for me and what I went through.

Each message like this is healing because validation and concern for my situation was something I desperately needed as a child.

But their next questions are more challenging. “Should I have known?” “How did I miss the signs?” The answer has always eluded me. I really have no response.

Does Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) Exist?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Does Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) Exist?Sluggish cognitive tempo is a long-time component believed to either be a part of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or may be its own stand-alone concern.

Parts of what we now call sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) has been around since the 1960s, but it was in the late 1980s — long before any attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications existed — when researchers first demonstrated that SCT symptoms are probably a unique condition or sub-type of ADHD (Lahey et al., 1988; Neeper & Lahey, 1986).

In other words, the scientific foundation for sluggish cognitive tempo has been around for nearly 30 years. It’s not new. And it’s hardly news. Scientists regularly identify dozens of proposed syndromes or symptom constellations in their research. Only a tiny minority of them ever go on to become a recognized mental disorder or diagnosis.

But does SCT really exist? Is it its own condition or disorder?

Why Positive Affirmations Don’t Work

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Why Positive Affirmations Don't WorkControl your thoughts and you create your reality. A positive mindset begets positive end results.

These popular tenets are espoused by the likes of Louise Hay, Napoleon Hill, Anthony Robbins and countless other self-help gurus. The problem is, they don’t actually work.

Consider the last time you really wanted something to happen… It could be a dream job, an ideal relationship or even a parking space in the city.

Why Ray Kurzweil is Wrong: Computers Won’t Be Smarter Than Us Anytime Soon

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Why Ray Kurzweil is Wrong: Computers Won't Be Smarter Than Us Anytime Soon“When Kurzweil first started talking about the “singularity”, a conceit he borrowed from the science-fiction writer Vernor Vinge, he was dismissed as a fantasist. He has been saying for years that he believes that the Turing test – the moment at which a computer will exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human – will be passed in 2029.”

Sorry, but Ray Kurzweil is wrong. It’s easy to understand why computers are nowhere near close to surpassing humans… And here’s why.

The Surprising Truth about Stereotypes of Online Gamers

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

The Surprising Truth about Stereotypes of Online GamersYou know online gamers. They’re overweight, lazy, socially inept, awkward, and prefer the darkness of a blackened-out room with only the pixels of a monitor or TV lighting the way.

All they do in their spare hours — and some in their not-so-spare hours — is sit in front of a screen and play their video games. They are mostly young teenaged boys, too.

The surprising truth of these gamer stereotypes is only that they aren’t true. Not for most gamers anyway.

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