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 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

Models

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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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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Aug 14

Forgetting names

For some reason, I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately to explain why we are bad at remembering people’s names lately.  An email exchange on this with an Atlantic reporter got summarized online here: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/08/why-do-we-forget-names-as-soon-as-we-meet-people/375815/ Curiously, it then also got picked up on another site, Lifehacker: http://lifehacker.com/why-its-so-hard-to-remember-peoples-names-1620881563 And then I was contacted earlier this …

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Jul 29

Cognition at high speed

I’m a big fan of Jerry, who posts to YouTube as ChessNetwork his videos of playing chess online.  One of the things he does regularly is playing online speed chess — ultra-rapid, “bullet” chess where each player has ~1m for the whole game. Chess is a different game when you have 60 seconds to make …

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Nov 26

The Man Who Would Teach Machines to Think

Good article on Cognitive Science versus Artificial Intelligence in the Atlantic from a few weeks ago. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/11/the-man-who-would-teach-machines-to-think/309529/ Douglas Hofstadter, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, thinks we’ve lost sight of what artificial intelligence really means. His stubborn quest to replicate the human mind. This is the key point, in my opinion: “I don’t …

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