For questions about definitions, names, and terms used in the cognitive sciences literature.

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10
votes
2answers
291 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
8k views

Difference between Instinct and Intuition

Sometimes I've heard people using the term gut feeling rather than their 'intuition or instinct' and I'm not sure which one do they mean. So, can both the terms be used interchangeably and simply ...
4
votes
1answer
74 views

Term for incentives working without conscious awareness

Is there a term that captures the idea that incentives work even when people deny their choices have been swayed by them? For example, an individual amazon book reviewer may deny that a recent ...
5
votes
3answers
60 views

What is the field that studies community responses to incentives?

Having recently read Freakonomics I was particularly interested by the idea of the responses of a community to incentives - as an example, the tale of a school which tried to introduce a financial ...
2
votes
1answer
123 views

What is it called when a student tends to speak about what he knows?

Sometimes, a student who has a lack of knowledge, tries to change the topic of a question so that it will be about what he knows and can speak about. Is this a known phenomenon in psychology?
-1
votes
1answer
112 views

Is there a name for the tendency to use proper nouns often in conversation? [closed]

I think it may happen with people who have lack of confidence, for example shy people. So in conversation they often add proper nouns (eg. names of persons or countries) to give "evidence" and weight ...
4
votes
1answer
66 views

What is a test called that involves indicating whether a line has the same slope as a previous image?

I would like to know the name of the following test: Participants were asked to memorize the slope of a line of a target image. Then different images (lines with varying slopes) were presented ...
2
votes
1answer
75 views

Is there sub-conscious error correction in interpreting heard language?

My personal experience suggests there is a background process taking place when interpreting a partially heard utterance. The sound is taken in, the conscious part of my mind begins the process of ...
3
votes
1answer
266 views

What is the proper term for the synchronization of eye movements?

In humans and most two eyed species, eye movements synchronize so that both eyes are focused on the same point. This facilitates 3D vision significantly, allowing bifocal cues. I remember reading a ...
2
votes
1answer
304 views

What is the scientific term or concept for inner thought control? [closed]

Usually when a thought arises, it seems that we quickly scurry after it, unconsciously getting caught up with whatever everyday thoughts come up. These can be invoked internally or externally. (No ...
3
votes
1answer
113 views

What is the definition of pathology?

While trying to get more information for my previous question, I found several different definitions for the terms "pathology" and "pathological." While under normal circumstances I'd be inclined to ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

What's the difference between projecting and mirroring?

In Psychology 101, I learned about Projecting and Mirroring... I know one is where an individual sees his own problems in other people... I always forget the other concept and/or confuse the two. ...
4
votes
1answer
629 views

Is there a technical term for “fear of the unknown”?

I'm writing paper about climate change and its economic impacts on society. Is there a generally accepted technical term for "fear of the unknown" in psychology?
4
votes
1answer
66 views

What's the name of the quantifying preference for visual stimulus by varying size or distance as compared to a reference task?

Say that you enjoy looking at two beautiful paintings (A and B). But you really can't tell which one you like more, and you want to (quantitatively). So, you compare them both to your favorite ...
5
votes
2answers
132 views

Is there an actionable branch of cognitive science?

I'm not sure what is the name of a branch of cognitive science that deals with the application of cognitive science to the real world. I know that in Biology, there are fields like genetic ...
4
votes
1answer
110 views

A psychological theory that explains why people remember only the outcome?

I've read somewhere about a psychological theory that people often remember the end results or the outcome of a certain situation/discussion/conversation/etc, but not the details of it. In other ...
4
votes
1answer
79 views

Phenomenon causing people to change their opinion when they are asked to hypothetically defend an opposing viewpoint?

I remember reading a case study on this years ago and I am trying to track it down. The study involved asking people who held strong opinions on varied subjects to defend the opposite opinion in a ...
5
votes
1answer
623 views

Closure, an actual psychology term relating to filling in information?

I'm currently reading a book called "Understand Comics" and a term has come up called closure. I've understood this concept before and the book describes closure as the process the brain goes through ...
6
votes
2answers
47 views

What term describes the discrepancy in reported intention to vote and actual voting behaviour?

I am interested in prediction markets, where traders have a monetary incentive to bet on who they think would win in an election. I think that the financial incentive in prediction markets makes them ...
3
votes
0answers
70 views

What conditions are associated with more intense feelings and stronger reactions to stimuli? [closed]

What conditions are associated with more intense feelings and stronger reactions to stimuli? i.e., where someone may normally feel small amounts of happiness, pleasure, sadness, grief, etc., someone ...
10
votes
3answers
362 views

What is the term for a psychological effect which does not have a neurobiological/genetic basis?

When a psychological condition is the result of irregular brain structures or neurotransmitter imbalances we say the condition has a neurobiological basis; this is analogous to the classic Nature in ...
4
votes
0answers
94 views

When one activity makes you less distracted doing another activity? [closed]

Background: When I'm coding, I sometimes make tea, and as long as I'm drinking the tea, I find myself more focused. Drinking tea seems to make me focus more. Thus, it seems that while doing something ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a term for individuals who can “visualize” numbers and advanced mathematics?

I recently saw an episode of 60 Minutes about Jacob Barnett, a 13 year old boy who is currently attending advanced physics classes at a local university and was portrayed by the show as being a child ...
9
votes
1answer
132 views

Hearing first but understanding later?

I have experienced this phenomenon several times and checked with other people as well. It goes like this: you hear something, but it's just a sound with no meaning. Some seconds later, you ...
2
votes
3answers
622 views

Is this optical illusion the visual equivalent of binaural beats?

The optical motional illusion shown below, makes your brain see some motion, where there is none. In my opinion it's fascinating, although after a while you get a headache. It reminds me of ...
3
votes
1answer
202 views

The feeling a person gets when they finish a series

Take for example, a person reading a good book series that they enjoy. While they are reading it, they typically look forward to finishing each volume, as well as the whole series. However, when they ...
7
votes
2answers
223 views

Study on commitment and follow-through

I'm faced with a UX problem of looking for ways to position a website to increase attendance at future "real world" events, and I'm remembering a study once conducted along these lines (details a bit ...
6
votes
1answer
226 views

Face-Blindness: Have I seen you before?

Sometimes when I meet new people, I feel like I have seen them before. Their faces might look similar to people's faces, I have really have met before. The wiki article on Difficulties with Facial ...
19
votes
1answer
674 views

Subconscious vs Unconscious

From what I know, we use the term 'subconscious' to refer to the things that we can bring into our conscious. and, we use the term 'unconscious' for things that we can't know, they come automatically ...
13
votes
4answers
561 views

Do people have a tendency to stick to one opinion after they formed it?

Scytale's assessment, from the science fiction novel "Dune Messiah" (1969) When a creature has developed into one thing, he will choose death rather than change into his opposite. While ...
7
votes
2answers
328 views

What's the name of this visual search task?

I recall a visual search task where participants would search for a single item with either one or two distinct features. For example one would look for an X in a set of Os as "one feature" or instead ...
4
votes
1answer
115 views

What is the term for judging based on a simulation of the same parameters on oneself

Allow me to outline the observed process and three hypothetical examples below. For the sake of keeping the samples simple, I will ignore prior moral or religious convictions that a regular person ...
6
votes
1answer
94 views

What type of behaviour is showing, but withholding, a reward?

A specific example of what I mean is: when you go shopping at a supermarket with a loyalty card system, and you do not participate, the receipt say something along the lines of If you had a ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What does “veridicality” mean in terms of psychology?

I'm reading the paper "Visual Space Perception and Visually Directed Action" by Loomis, Da Silva, Fujita and Fukusima (1992; pdf). In this paper, the word 'veridicality' is used in several sentences. ...
6
votes
1answer
140 views

Phenomenon that causes music to sound like it's being played at a different tempo than remembered?

Something I've noticed now and then is that I'll be listening to a song off my music player and it sounds like it's being played in a tempo faster or slower than I remember the song being. Is this a ...
4
votes
2answers
269 views

Defining shyness towards strangers in confrontational situations

First of all, I would like to stress that I am not a cogsci person and I have almost no background in those areas of science. The question is whether there exists a definition of a phenomenon I ...
4
votes
1answer
451 views

Difference between “Social Roles” and “Social Groups”

The two terms "Social Roles" and "Social Groups" sound similar and I don't know if these terms are often just used interchangeably. Is there a specific difference between "Social Roles" and "Social ...
4
votes
1answer
917 views

Is learning to do a task automatically an example of intuition?

I'm looking for some examples to understand what people call their intuition at work when making their decisions. For example: We learn to type and then after some time we begin to type by ...
7
votes
2answers
610 views

What is the term for “What has been seen cannot be unseen” in cognitive sciences?

During a discussion with my officemate I told him that I read somewhere that the gas pillar in Carina nebula looks like a cat punching the dog; ever since then, every time my wallpaper slideshow ...
2
votes
2answers
402 views

Encoding of abstract concepts in memory

When you read a book and you want to remember it you can encode the information into mental pictures with associations. This is a technique for remembering the content. The problem is when you ...
11
votes
1answer
496 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the difference between IQ and Executive Function?

I was reading an article today that stated that people with high IQ's that have trouble with social skills, memory, being punctual (on time), emotional control, and "growing up" are likely to have ...
4
votes
2answers
235 views

Is there a psychological model or theory that describes strangers in the vicinity unknowingly causing discomfort?

The closest thing I found to this is social anxiety or agoraphobia, which is a fear of socializing or a fear of public places, respectively. However, I think the idea that strangers can cause ...
2
votes
1answer
137 views

What is the relationship between language and the level of comprehension of consciousness?

I asked a similar/related question a couple days ago about how language and/or culture affect an individual's cognitive capacity. I'm looking for materials, if any, on the subject of a language's ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the term for when too many choices results in inability to decide?

A common problem is that when offered too many choices, consumers give up and make no choice. Too many options results in no sale where fewer options might have resulted in more sales. It's like the ...
3
votes
2answers
209 views

What is Asperger's Syndrome? [closed]

I have read through the Wikipedia article on and looked at the diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (AS) and am still not sure how it is connected with autism. It seems like compared with autism it is ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What is a “delayed match-to-sample task”?

This question talked about how a "delayed match-to-sample task" can be used to measure an animal's working memory. What is a delayed match-to-sample task and how can it be used to measure working ...
8
votes
2answers
436 views

What is the difference between solving a problem and acquiring a skill?

Within the confines of cognitive psychology, what is the difference between these two tasks? In the literature, playing chess is generally seen as the exemplar of problem solving. But recently (thanks ...