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comment Why do humans prefer symmetrical arrangement of objects?
I worked in architectural and landscape design when I was younger. Symmetry isn't really the point, "order" or "evenness" is more important; symmetry is just one (relatively easy) way of achieving them. Smooth, clean curves, even wildly asymmetric ones, are actually much more effective in landscaping. And balanced, but asymmetric, forms in architecture. In many ways, asymmetric forms are more attractive than simple symmetries. The one place symmetry is extremely important for perception of beauty is in human faces and, to a somewhat lesser extent, bodies.
comment What are the key examples of the use of computational methods in the study of biological neural networks?
This is rather tangential, but you might find it helpful, or at least interesting, openworm -- A simulation platform to build digital in silico living systems -- starting with a c. elegans worm virtual organism simulation
comment Compared efficiency of different spaced-repetition memorisation techniques
From the abstract of the first paper: >> However, there was no evidence that a particular relative spacing schedule (expanding, equal, or contracting) was inherently superior to another. Although expanding schedules afforded a pattern of increasing retrieval difficulty across repeated tests, this did not translate into gains in long-term retention. Repeated spaced retrieval had powerful effects on retention, but the relative schedule of repeated tests had no discernible impact.
comment Why is it common for people to default to a single causal source to explain new phenomena?
I think it is mostly a result of "hyperactive agency detection"; this results in "single-cause" reasoning as part of the search for an "agent".
comment Any attempts at testing or modeling the 'cognitive conception' of language?
While language is not needed for all thinking, besides Dennett's serialization, you need language to think about abstractions and generalizations other than vaguely. Third, one of our major limitations is in working memory and language helps in "chunking" ideas so we can think about more things at one time.
comment Is it possible to create a false memory by trying to remember something that eludes you?
I don't know of any specific studies, but that was the take-away I had from Elizabeth Loftus's books, Witness for the Defense and The Myth of Repressed Memory. Apparently, when people try to remember things they "self-cue" similarly to how police, lawyers, and psychologists (from those books) can lead a witness to remember things that never happened by how they question them.
comment Is it easier for people to remember longer words than words mixed with symbols?
This answer is mostly right, but it doesn't adequately emphasize the importance of semantic meaning in the chunking for memory. Strawberryhouse is one or two meaningful words, "$tr@wb3rr!" is the word plus the changes which need to be registered and remembered separately.
comment Is there evidence that listening to music can aid/hinder concentration or performance?
From some off-and-on reading as well as self-experimentation, my answer is: "It depends." I don't have any references so I'll post this as a comment. Some people respond differently, but for most: 1) Vocal music tends to be distracting if you are doing any but routine work. 2) Instrumental music tends to be better than white noise to shut out distractions, because many people can "hear" things in white noise which is not a problem with the structured sounds of music. 3) For really intense concentration, even instrumental music is distracting.