For questions focusing on the interaction of many internal mental processes. If your question involves only one of memory, attention, language, decision-making, or perception then use the associated specialized tag instead of cognitive-psychology.

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40
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3answers
4k views

Does writing something down help memorize it?

This is a question inspired by this recent question on the Chinese Language & Usage website. Someone asked why they needed to learn how to write Chinese characters, since today we mostly use ...
34
votes
1answer
2k views

By learning to read and write upside down, what did I do to myself?

If you've ever read Encyclopedia Brown books, you'll be familiar with the backwards writing in the back of the book that explains the solution to the case. When I was in my mid-late teens (I don't ...
32
votes
3answers
2k views

What makes people easily subscribe to pseudoscientific theories?

There are many theories/disciplines that have been categorized as pseudoscience in the scientific community. The list includes many things that are regularly even quoted in media like graphology, ...
26
votes
5answers
5k views

Does evidence support Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs?

Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs (shown below) is a popular concept and is often taught in basic psychology courses, and often less objectively taught in Business and Marketing courses. A common problem ...
21
votes
1answer
149k views

How valid is Lumosity's Brain Performance Index and what normative information is available?

Background There is a test called Lumosity's Brain Performance Index. A sample profile of scores might be: ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the current “accepted” science behind dream interpretation?

I'm doing some casual reading about dream interpretation (meaning I'm reading the wikipedia entry) and the article mentions that there are several ways of thinking about dreams from a psychological ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do you sometimes write down one word while actually intending to write another?

I've caught myself writing (typing) "possible" instead of "possibly" a few times over the past few days, while I do intend to write "possibly". Only upon rereading the sentence I notice my mistake. ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Is extreme empathy and compassion considered a disorder?

Can extreme empathy and compassion get to a point where it is considered a disorder? For example, if someone is so empathetic, when feeling someones pain it negatively affects their life to the same ...
15
votes
2answers
892 views

Effect of words highlighting on reading comprehension

I'm interested if there are studies dealing with text understanding and POS (part of speech) coloring, or coloring syntactic/semantic information. The studies should solve the questions like: Which ...
15
votes
4answers
760 views

Why are people inclined to praise or fear the unknown?

Human beings are inclined to "praise" the unknown, and are often afraid of the unknown. This inclination has led to the creation of mythology and many gods. To this date we are still carrying this ...
14
votes
2answers
489 views

Does any evidence show that Smartphone users have poorer memory?

An ages old complaint is that new technology harms memory. Why remember something when you can look it up? In a course on Human Memory I distinctly recall an interesting discussion on phones and ...
14
votes
1answer
190 views

Do cultures differ in the perception of emotions from body expression?

In their classic study, Ekman and Friesen (1971) identified seven facial expressions recognised by people universally across all cultures as depicting certain emotions: happiness, sadness, surprise, ...
14
votes
1answer
318 views

Is there psychoactive music?

Listen to this music for X minutes to observe Y result. Is there something like that that has been demonstrated to work for general public? The only example of an experiment that is similar that ...
13
votes
3answers
274 views

Is multitasking a myth?

Often, the term 'multitasking' is applied to very busy and 'wired' people. There is an adage that women multitask better than men. My question is, do we actually multitask? If so, what are the ...
13
votes
1answer
804 views

How is a young child able to learn language so easily?

It's a well known fact that the earlier children are exposed to languages the better, as young children have a better ability to learn new languages than adults. Why is this? At what age does a ...
13
votes
2answers
904 views

What, if anything, sets humans apart from other species?

As I grew up, I was taught that the difference between humans and animals was that human being have free will and animals do not. The basis being animals will act accordingly to the nature of their ...
12
votes
2answers
261 views

What factors improve mood and increase cognitive functioning when people wake up?

I'm a software engineer doing some research in order to figure out if developing some applications are worth the effort. This work is applied to computational devices including mobile devices and even ...
11
votes
3answers
220 views

How can I find open access journals for cognitive science research?

What open access journals that publish research in cognitive science/psychology exist? Apart from PLOS ONE, are there any other open access journals that publish research in cognitive ...
11
votes
1answer
296 views

Under what conditions does 60hz video produce visual artifacts?

There are some important thresholds of frame rate in video playback that effect whether or not animation appears fluid. This wikipedia page about Visible Frame Rate suggests that a framerate of 60 ...
11
votes
1answer
161 views

What does cognitive science say about whether to learn mathematics top-down from research papers?

There is currently a popular question on math.SE on whether it is effective to learn math top-down. By top-down I mean finding a paper that interests you which is obviously way over your head, ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is recognition easier than recall?

The main ways of memory retrieval are recognition and recall. Why has it been found that recognition is "easier" to perform, meaning it is usually faster or is more likely to yield an accurate ...
10
votes
4answers
322 views

Is the mathematician's activity psychologically healthy?

I am a professional mathematician, and I regularly meet other mathematicians. I have come to wonder if there is something like a slight neurosis, specific to this activity. To be more precise, let ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Why are most people not persuaded by rational arguments?

The sentence could look as a provocation for many people, but the thoughts are not always rational and linear. But why this happens? Is it possible to give a short answer? "Counter to what you might ...
10
votes
3answers
160 views

What neural mechanism explains the tendency to visually attend to the whole scene before attending to details?

I have the intuition that human vision first attends to large-scale objects and then small-scale details. Is there any mechanism in the visual cortex that will explain this phenomenon? Is there a ...
10
votes
1answer
240 views

Is Behaviorism incompatible with Cognitive Psychology?

Both disciplines have historically been at each other's throats, and Radical Behaviorists like B.F. Skinner often completely reject cognitive psychology at a philosophical level. It seems that today ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Motivation vs Goal Oriented Behavior

What's the difference between these two terms when used in the context of cognitive psychology? To the best of my knowledge, research on 'Goal Oriented Behavior' refers to the subset of motivation ...
10
votes
1answer
113 views

What happens when a person “imagines” how food could taste like just from looking at it?

What processes are triggered by imagining the taste of food (let's assume it's sealed so that its smell doesn't reach the test subject's nose) only by looking at it, based on memories of food with ...
10
votes
3answers
180 views

Is there any recent work on modeling how we rapidly acquire new knowledge?

I work with neural network models of human cognition a lot, and one thing that bugs me about them is the timescale: they learn over thousands of trials whereas humans seem to learn after a couple ...
10
votes
1answer
192 views

Can psychosomatic reactions be completely unconcious?

I had always considered that psychosomatic reactions, such as Psychogenic pain, while "real" to the person experiencing them, would be a concious reaction at some level. That is to say, if the person ...
10
votes
1answer
141 views

Predicting how long a task will take

As a software engineer I have always struggled with predicting how long a project would take by underestimating and I have noticed that all of my colleagues have the same problem. In this video at ...
10
votes
1answer
152 views

How does the brain calculate velocity?

How does the human brain calculate velocities? For example, when crossing a road and seeing a car coming towards you, how does the brain actually compute the rough velocity of the vehicle and your own ...
10
votes
0answers
152 views

Is the theory of Information Metabolism a reasonable scientific theory?

Background I have been checking out various personality typing assessments lately when I came across a Personality typing system known as Socionics which aims at explaining relationships between ...
9
votes
3answers
308 views

What psychological factors account for code readability?

Readability is often intuitively synthesized. If you see some piece of code, you just know whether it is readable or not. But what are actual psychological, scientific explanations for this? There ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there an accurate online IQ test for measuring 160+ IQs?

Is there some (preferably free) online and accurate IQ test? One which does not give me an genius IQ and then tries to sell me a diploma. I need one which measures upto 160 sd15 (or higher). Such a ...
9
votes
2answers
219 views

Bias by which we tend to accept vague descriptions of ourselves

There's an effective strategy employed by horoscopes and "psychics" where they say vague statements like "You like being with friends but you value your time alone"; statements that basically "cover ...
9
votes
2answers
255 views

How does the brain act on the information gained via eye saccades?

I've often heard that the process of saccading can be described as a statistical sampling technique. Specifically, the standard textbook definition of the function of saccades seems to be that the ...
9
votes
3answers
401 views

Is it possible to run multiple thought processes concurrently?

For example, let's say I have a friend sprinting a 50m distance and that friend wants me to time the race, but I don't have a stopwatch so I have to count "manually". Can I count while simultaneously ...
9
votes
2answers
220 views

Do people estimate combined probabilities differently to uncombined ones?

Suppose, somebody has to estimate the likelihood of one of the following events (or has to estimate which event is more likely): A coin is tossed six times and each time the result is heads. ...
9
votes
1answer
98 views

Are there any studies that examine the phenomenon of songs stuck in the head?

Frequently I hear people say (and myself included) "darn it, I can't get that song out of my head!". Are there any studies that examine this phenomenon of songs getting stuck in people's heads? ...
9
votes
1answer
302 views

What are biological primary mathematical skills?

In doing a bit of background reading for this question I came across a section in the book Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the Mind on page 602 stating: There are no sex-related differences ...
9
votes
1answer
160 views

When is higher confidence predictive of less accuracy?

Normally, when an individual is more confident in a particular response (e.g., memory decision, general knowledge answer), he or she is also more likely to be accurate. There are also studies in which ...
9
votes
1answer
100 views

What forms of the travelling salesman problem are difficult for humans to solve?

In the traveling salesman problem (TSP) we are given a set of nodes, where one node is the starting node. The task is to find the shortest tour starting at the start node visiting every node exactly ...
9
votes
1answer
224 views

What is the effect of studying logic or mathematics on general thinking skills?

I frequently hear comments from people to the effect that "Studies have shown that students who take (intro) logic courses don't show any signs of improvement in logical/rational/critical thinking." ...
9
votes
1answer
376 views

How well can a human-generated “random number” be predicted?

For example, if i ask an individual to write a 20-number-long sequence of random numbers from 0 to 10. How well can I predict the 20th number from the initial 19? More generally, How well can ...
9
votes
1answer
498 views

Why people choose “boring” colors for new cars?

I've been interested in this question for a few years, sorry if this is not the right place to ask it. As I've been driving around the US for the last few years, I noticed that some community parking ...
9
votes
1answer
271 views

Cognitive explanation of why beta blockers are effective for anxiety

Beta blockers essentially reduce physical effects of anxiety and panic disorder, but there is no proof that there is a direct effect on anxiety. Some scientists believe there is an indirect effect. ...
9
votes
1answer
179 views

Are intelligence scores correlated with detection of second stimulus in an Attentional Blink test?

Definitions Attentional Blink: An attentional blink is a phenomenon where when presented with rapid visual stimuli if you are asked to track two particular stimuli you will fail to notice the second ...
8
votes
2answers
502 views

What term describes people that cannot feel pain?

I remember a case study about a girl who could not feel pain due to lacking certain somatosensory receptors; she went on to burn herself on a radiator because she could not feel her flesh burning and ...
8
votes
3answers
451 views

Math or Physics: Which is the more relevant background to enter Cognitive Sciences and Psychology? [closed]

What would be a more suitable background to enter cognitive sciences, mathematical psychology, and study of emotions? I have the option of taking a Integrated Masters Degree in Mathematical Sciences, ...
8
votes
4answers
620 views

Is there a psychological condition which promotes literal and overly complicated thinking?

Quote from Sheldon Cooper, Big Bang Theory IMDB Leonard: You convinced me. Maybe tonight we should sneak in and shampoo her carpet. Sheldon: You don't think that crosses the line? Leonard: ...