Category Archive: News

General announcements

Jul 27

Surgical skill

One potential application for our basic studies of skill learning is understanding the development of skill in performing surgery.  So I was intrigued when happening to stumble across the following report of factors predicting successful surgical outcomes: Surgeon specialization and operative mortality in United States: retrospective analysis BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 21 July …

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Jul 15

Dark side of intuition — unconscious bias

The occasion is tragic, but I am happy to see some more public discussion of ‘unconscious bias’ in the context of recent events related to the police shootings of minority ‘suspects.’  I particularly like the title of this piece: “A former officer explains why racist police violence occurs even when cops ‘aren’t racist’” I …

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May 10

10,000 hours

I ran into a few references/mentions recently of The Dan Plan, a guy who is dedicating a few years of his life to “testing the 10,000 hours hypothesis”.  Specifically, he quit his job and is playing golf full-time trying to reach a professional level of play from a starting point of never having played before …

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Mar 29

Replicability and Ego (depletion)?

I’ve written/stated in a few places that the main problem with replicability in psychology and social science is simply that we don’t replicate enough.  Participants are a precious resource that are time-consuming (and therefore expensive) to recruit and test.  Any decision to replicate a study reflects a huge opportunity cost — you spend resources on …

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Mar 14

It is difficult to get a man to intuit p-values when his h-index depends upon his not intuiting them

More cleverness from John Holbo at Crooked Timber, especially the title.  There’s a lot to like in this piece and a few things that could be quibbled with.  Probably unsurprisingly, I’m not fond of the accusation that psychologists in general are ‘omnicausal’ as in we are all too vulnerable to crazy ideas about causal structure …

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Feb 03

Implicit sequence learning in ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta)

I think I’m not even going to explain why this is interesting to me beyond the obvious title and the fact that the senior author, Liz Brannon is a childhood friend and now distinguished researcher and Professor at Duke. Abstract Implicit learning involves picking up information from the environment without explicit instruction or conscious awareness …

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Jan 05


I ran across this link to Paul Krugman being insightful and thoughtful about the general question of ‘What is a Model” and “What do we use them for in Science?” It’s about economics and specifically models of development economics, but the general questions of methodology apply to social sciences more broadly. It is in a …

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Dec 30

Job Openings

The following ad should appear in the Cognitive Neuroscience Newsletter soon: Postdoctoral Positions at Northwestern University Memory Systems, Intuition and Modeling Department of Psychology Laboratories of Paul Reber & Ken Paller Multiple postdoctoral openings currently available on two new projects aimed at accelerating expertise development from training using memory systems theory. One project will develop …

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Oct 12

Does technology make you smarter or dumber?

I got another request to comment on yet another media claim that technology is bad for our brains.  It’s actually also a good example of really poor science reporting in the media, so I won’t link it, but the topic seems generally of interest and it appears to be based on a curious underlying (folk) …

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Jan 29

Questions from a middle schooler about videogames

I was asked to answer some questions from a middle school student doing a research project on video games.  Since I am interested in the topic generally, I should probably figure out how to answer these kinds of questions at an age-appropriate level.  My attempt: Jose asks: 1. Do video games affect the human brain? …

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