Category Archive: Reber’s Randomness

Not so much news as random connections from things in the real world to the kinds of things we actively study in the lab.

May 16

Replicability advocate John Ioannidis might be a bad actor

When you publish a finding titled “Why most published research findings are false,” the impact of your report is likely to have two major effects. The first is to encourage scientists to perform their research carefully and rigorously to ensure robust, reliable conclusions. The second is to provide a touchpoint for a general anti-science agenda …

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Feb 20

Illinois Primary Day March 17

If you are attending the meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society in Boston this year, you will be out of town for the IL primary that Tuesday. If you are registered in Evanston, you can vote early at the Civic Center starting on March 2. If you are unfamiliar with voting in Evanston/Chicago, the election …

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Jan 06

Pushing the upper bound on cognitive performance

Over the holidays, I discovered a new chess competition variant being played and streamed by Puzzle Battle.  Chess puzzles are a well-known training device that also have something of a micro sub-community within the chess world for artistry in creating positions with a difficult to spot but winning move.  They are highly recommended to …

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Oct 25

Answers to some semi-frequently asked questions about memory

Hello, We are working on a group speech for a school project and need to reach out to an expert in the field of psychology. We have a few questions about the topic of brain capacity and we would greatly appreciate it if you would take a look at them and get back to us. …

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Mar 25

Recreational lockpicking

On the theme of demonstrations of exceptional skills via youtube, I recently ran across the channel of the LockPickingLawyer ( He posts videos of picking various kinds of locks together with evaluations on how effective the locks are as security devices. I found this to be highly interesting for a variety of reasons. First, this …

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Jan 04

Implicit Comics

Many people have emailed me the following comic: Yes, I appreciate it.  No, I didn’t have anything to do with the author/artist. Happy New Year! P.S. I wish I could embed it more directly here, but I don’t want to deprive the author of links/traffic. It’s about implicit memory.

Oct 11

Implicit/Machine learning gender bias

I ran across a headline recently “Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women” that I realized provides a nice example of a few points we’ve been discussing in the lab. First, I have found myself describing on a few recent occasions that it is reasonable to think of implicit learning (IL) …

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Jul 02

Expertise in Unusual Domains

It’s tempting to call this kind of thing ‘stupid human tricks’ but it’s really awesome human tricks.  I’m regularly fascinated by people who have pushed themselves to achieve extremely high levels of skill in offbeat areas.  The skill performance her is amazing, clearly thousands of hours of practice.   With a lot of the more …

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May 04

The “Dan Plan”

I mentioned the Dan Plan awhile ago as a fascinating real-world self experiment on the acquisition of expertise.  Dan, the eponyous experimenter and experimentee, quit his job to try to spend 10,000 hours playing golf to see if he could meet a standard of ‘internationally competitive’ defined by winning a PGA tour card — starting …

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Apr 05

Leela Chess

Courtesy of Jerry (ChessNetwork), I found out today about Leela and the LCzero chess project ( This appears to be a replication of the Google DeepMind AlphaZero project with open source and distributed computing contributing to the pattern learner. Among the cool aspects of the project is that you can play against the engine after …

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