Automation is not a Glass Cage(3/24/2015)-Recap/review of "The Glass Cage" by Nicholas Carr, in which he argues that automation is poised to cognitively cripple us, and I explain why he's thinking about the brain totally wrong.
righteous and smug(12/16/2014)-Review & recap of Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind", a primer on the what morals are, why they exist, and how we make moral judgments.
the brain’s illusion(8/7/2014)-Review/recap of "Incognito" by David Eagleman, on how the brain fools us and we buy into it, and what that means.
Change blindness, movie magic, and vision(6/18/2014)-What does the phenomenon of "change blindness" say about the nature of visual memory, and how can it help explain why we can understand movies, even though the edits should make them seem nonsensical?
Why Slate’s Article on Testing is Wrong(4/29/2014)-Research psychologists Christopher Chabris and David Hambrick recently wrote an article at Slate touting the benefits of using SAT scores for better college admissions, and critiquing colleges that have gone testless. Unfortunately, their argument attacks a strawman of anti-test positions, conflates empirical evidence with policy interventions, and ignores the exact social, racial, and political questions that make standardized tests so contested. Here are four reasons to rethink their conclusions...
The Dishonesty of Creativity(4/5/2014)-Does creativity make us dishonest? Does dishonesty make us creative? And what is creativity, anyways?
Finding “Lost” Research(3/31/2014)-A recent study shows that many academic publications go unread. What does this mean for the future of academic research?
Six Million Dollar Sight?(3/4/2014)-Thoughts on the hopes for superior vision and better baseball through simple computer game vision training. Rob Deer even makes a brief appearance.
Emotions, Expressions, and Signals (2/25/2014)-A new study raises questions about the universality of emotions, and I discuss Franz Boas, empathy, and a network tv drama starring Tim Roth.
License to ill(2/10/2014)-At Medium: The mental gymnastics of moral suasion, risk-taking, and buying organic—how we deceive ourselves and rationalize it.
your brain on age(1/30/2014)-Link: your brain on age posted at Medium, thoughts on what happens to an aging brain, and whether those changes are all that bad.
hasselhoff, beanbag tossing, and testing(1/26/2014)-Thoughts on what it means that a recent study demonstrates how improving standardized test scores can happen even while not improving other cognitive skills.
insert FDR quote(9/18/2013)-Recap/review of "The Culture of Fear" by Barry Glassner. How the media propagates unfounded fear, luring us into fearing the wrong thing and ignoring the things that should worry us, and how human memory and judgment can explain why those fears stick.
unbelief(9/11/2013)-Review/recap of "Unbelievable" by Stacy Horn. The story of JB Rhine, a forgotten parapsychologist at a major university, who for a brief time, gave the world evidence that ESP and telepathy existed.
iguanas of gethsemane(8/26/2013)-Recap/review of "Dragons of Eden" by Carl Sagan, a decades-old foray into evolution and human intelligence; thoughts on how we "rank" intelligence across species, human intellectual egotism, and what spindle neurons might have to do with human-like intelligence.
now you see it(6/30/2013)-Recap/review of "Now You See It" by Cathy Davidson. ...How can brain science be used to improve education, schools, pedagogy, and workplaces? And how can't it?
on play(5/17/2013)-The importance of play for children and the brain...
hewing logs and lines(4/19/2013)-Thoughts on how critical periods in brain development, specifically how we think about numbers, may have played a role in the historical development of math and science.
an undersea mass sponge migration(1/9/2013)-Review/recap of "Ghost Hunters" by Deborah Blum. A story of spiritualism, con-men, scientists, seances, and mediums. And, possibly, communication with the ethereal plane.
i immediately regret this decision.(4/5/2012)-Review/recap of "The Paradox of Choice" by Barry Schwartz. How we decide, and how what we think we want for decisions often isn't...
cooking for forty humans(3/1/2012)-Review/recap of "Catching Fire" by Richard Wrangham, the story of how cooking may have given us big, beautiful brains.