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Friday, October 28, 2011

My Sister, the Neuroscientist

Posted by on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 4:43 PM

My little sister—the brains in the family—sent an email just now about some recent articles in an online neuro journal that she described as "bizarro," but diverting for a Friday afternoon. (She also questioned the science behind some of them, but said these were a "fun diversion from the usual stuff I see.") And so I bequeath them to you, Friday-afternoon Sloggers.

Why some people like dance more than others:

In the present study, we address how observers’ esthetic evaluation of dance is related to their perceived physical ability to reproduce the movements they watch.

A new theory of contagious yawning:

Across conditions yawning occurred at lower ambient temperatures, and the tendency to yawn during each season was associated with the length of time spent outside prior to being tested. Participants were more likely to yawn in the milder climate after spending long periods of time outside, while prolonged exposure to ambient temperatures at or above body temperature was associated with reduced yawning.

And magic! (The neuroscientist writes: "This is becoming kind of a hot field in neuro research—tackles attention, eye movements, reasoning, etc.")

We investigated a magic effect consisting of a coin “vanish” (i.e., the perceptual disappearance of a coin after a simulated toss from hand to hand). Previous research has shown that magicians can use joint attention cues such as their own gaze direction to strengthen the observers’ perception of magic... [but] ...we conclude that social misdirection is redundant and possibly detracting to this very robust sleight-of-hand illusion.


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onion 1
wait...its this one, right?
Posted by onion on October 28, 2011 at 5:02 PM · Report this

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