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17

Yes and No By the standards of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (or DSM-IV in its current form), perhaps the most prominent all-in-one manual to assist physicians in accurately defining a patient's disorder, has specific criteria for a disorder, including: is associated with present distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability ...


14

You may be thinking of the Backfire Effect. When presented with logical and rational evidence disputing a strongly-held belief, most people's natural tendency is to hold on even tighter to those beliefs rather than to reassess their position. As for why it happens... that's a matter of some debate (surprise, surprise), but the general thinking seems to be ...


13

Scientists studying the matter generally believe multitasking, and women's superiority at it, to be a myth. Men come out slightly better multitaskers than women but there's not really any meaningful difference. The way it's defined is critical though; it's being able to do two things that typically require focal attention at the exact same time. For ...


12

There are at least two problems with measuring high intelligence: (1) Any IQ test has a maximum difficulty. That means that all subjects above a certain intelligence answer all questions correctly and get the same maximum score. This is called the "ceiling effect". Now you might say, that we simply need to construct a test that is difficult enough for even ...


10

The ability to enumerate objects without counting is known as subitizing. Most studies suggest that we can subitize up to about 3 or 4 items (e.g. Starkey & Cooper, 1995). Enumeration of a small number of objects (i.e. subitizing) yields consistent response times regardless of the quantity of objects. Enumeration of larger quantities (i.e. counting) ...


8

I would go with Physics. Physicists study the world using mathematics, while mathematicians study mathematics itself which is a construct that does not necessarily exist in the real world (Albert Einstein once said: "as far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."). ...


8

Well that looks like the behavior of any person with a strong passion and focus for his work. There are plenty of these around! I guess it would be more common in any field of work were people already have dedicated a significant part of their life to it, and where it is almost a prerequisite. Being a mathematician selects and cultivates people able to ...


8

This is called semantic saturation, or semantic satiation; studies of event-related potentials (brain waves) suggest that it is negatively correlated with N400 amplitude (the subject experience of satiation increases as the N400 amplitude decreases) without any change to upstream sensory components. As N400 amplitude indexes initial lexical ...


8

Here is a study that creates and manipulates the "song stuck in your head" phenomenon. In particular, it is a myth that only "bad" songs are stuck in your head. These songs can be categorized as intrusive thoughts. Also the obvious finding was that recently heard music was more likely to be stuck in your head. The authors comes up with a term called the ...


8

According to Hal Herzog, humans are the only animals that keep pets. Other animals have also kept pets however it was not under natural settings. These other "pet" relationships were observed in zoos, controlled experiments. etc. One the main reasons Herzog notes that humans are the only animals to keep pets is the idea of culture. Humans have evolved to ...


8

What you describe is an illusion. (a) The human field of view is almost 180° when staring straight ahead and 270° with eyeball rotation (looking to the side without turning your head). If you look at someone from slightly behind and to the side, they will appear to be gazing forward, and you may feel unnoticed, but in fact you are within their field of ...


7

It is possible for some people to think in a second language. And given that you are asking about possibility, to some extent anecdotes are evidence. Many children who change linguistic communities at a young age lose the ability to talk in their first language. This is particularly the case where the first language is different to the language in which ...


7

Electrodermal activity is an index of sympathetic activation and a skin conductance response can occur in many situations. It is therefore a very general response and can arise as a result of stimulus novelty or “significance” (whether you want to call this an affective response is up to you but it seems very different from common sense notions of what an ...


7

As often in this area, the problem seems to be entirely created by confusions about definitions and terminology and the difficulties resulting from the use of common-sense concepts like “surprise” in scientific theories. One answer would be “Why not?” Basically you seem to object to the definition of surprise used by some theorists but definitions are ...


7

It is not that we are just generally smarter then animals, but we posses cognitive tools of a different kind that they don't. Two of them are language and the ability to simulate the future. Regarding language, there is a wide consensus today that human language has some unique complexities that no animal form of communication has (see Pinker's "The ...


7

Your question is very vague, and on a subject where a lot more research needs to be done, so forgive me but my answer is also going to probably be more vague and less definitive than you were hoping for. Provigil, as far as I can tell is just another brand name of modafinil, which has some very clear advantages when it comes to increasing your concentration ...


6

Perhaps people are attracted to these theories in part because of the inability for mainstream science to answer anomalies. The occasion of governmental lying, hiding of technology, and corruption, helps reinforce the idea that there exists real Science that is not known to the mainstream. In the absence of trust, people contemplate the ...


6

Humans actually exhibit both slow and fast learning and they have somewhat different properties. One distinction is between "declarative" memory (for example, facts like "tigers have stripes" or "Paris is the capital of France") and "procedural" learning (such as perceptuo-motor skills like riding a bike or playing a musical instrument). Declarative memory ...


6

I believe these questions are dealt with by "support theory," the seminal publications being: Tversky, A., & Koehler, D. J. (1994). Support theory: A nonextensional representation of subjective probability. Psychological Review, 101(4), 547-566. Rottenstreich, Y., & Tversky, A. (1997). Unpacking, repacking, and anchoring: advances in support ...


6

Is it possible to stop the conscious act of translating your native language to your second language or vice versa? Many people have already commented that they certainly experience thinking in several languages. While this sort of phenomenal insight is interesting in itself, one key idea from cognitive science research is that introspection is not ...


6

There's a very small percent of people who enjoy the adrenaline of mental exhaustion. While that signals most people to stop, there are people who will continue exhausting themselves. This isn't physiologically healthy. You need to recognize when you're worn out and rest. Don't get hyper-focused on your problem.


6

Technically it can go either way, and both situations would be conceptually and statistically equivalent. But it is conventional to fix the mean of the noise distribution at 0, so that increased discriminability corresponds graphically with the signal+noise distribution moving rightward along the latent axis.


6

Pseudoscience based on false premises and misuse of statistics, I'd say at first glance...but let's take a closer look at this article. First, I'm seeing among the references a lot of articles from journals with "alternative" in their titles, and other sources that strike me as either vaguely fishy or otherwise somewhat tangential. Not what I'd hope to get ...


6

Rather than discuss limits of the human field of view, or extrasensory perception (I don't know anything about the first, and the second is a myth), I think we can look at this as a simple case of illusory correlation (wikipedia), which is both a psychological phenomenon, and something psychologists need to overcome to investigate other phenomena. In a ...


5

You are asking two different questions in your title and the text. I will answer the text question, explain why you are asking two different questions, and comment on the title question. The human mind seems to have some sort of relational structure for how it works with ideas. This is usually study in the domain of memory via free recall. In a free recall ...


5

The probability of conjunctive events (all six tosses are heads) are overestimated, relative to a single event of similar overall probability. This result has been shown by Paul Slovic, in an experiment that is described in its abstract as follows: This study examined the effects on the attractiveness of a gamble, of manipulating the number and ...


5

Now that @ofri has presented a good argument for physics, I'll give a few arguments for the benefits of a course in maths, and particularly a math course that focuses heavily on statistics. There are many areas of psychology where a good understanding of statistics is very helpful. Statistics is particularly useful in psychometrics, mathematical ...



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