Category Archives: shop talk

What’s it like to be a brain?

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I started reading Elizabeth Costello because the premise was irresistible to me: an academic who, when invited to give talks about her literary work, gives herself over to impassioned sermons on vegetarianism. I have often had the impulse, just before giving a talk, to just … Read More

Hearing with a foreign accent

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claimtoken-51656045da7eb Although I knew I wanted to do cognitive neuroscience from early on in my graduate training, it would be years before I actually started taking pictures of brains with a giant magnet. Part of this was the availability of the equipment. When I was … Read More

Implied audience in high-profile psychology papers: Beyond the “nice lady on the subway.”

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My dad emailed to say he didn’t quite follow last week’s post. I did a gut check and decided I was OK with this. Part of what I’m trying to do with this blog is learn to communicate with a broader audience about science. But … Read More

I’m all for replications and reporting of null results, but what about the bees?

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A bee at work

I may have seemed a bit hard on meta-analysis last week, but I should say that there’s really no way to mount a good scientific argument without some form of it. You have to consider results across multiple studies, and come up with some sort … Read More

If America’s Boyfriend were a Cognitive Neuroscientist…

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flat map of the US

Last week, America’s Boyfriend Nate Silver made meta-analysis cool beyond belief. The image of a lone geek, sitting at the end of a vast pipeline of data, and turning it into something everyone wants to hear about, is a certain breed of scientist’s deepest fantasy. … Read More

What if speech is just a gooey, eggy mess all the way down the line?

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Last week in discussing Daniel Everett’s latest book, I touched briefly on some controversial issues in speech perception. I claimed, a bit glibly, that approaches to the problem in which it is assumed that the goal of speech perception is to recover abstract symbolic units … Read More

A dog, two monkeys and “Foundations of Cognitive Neuro- psychology”

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I know some of you out there are in the midst of chaotic semesters, already starting to feel like the grasshopper who fiddled away the long days of summer without preparing enough lecture notes, and now must squeeze class preparation into days that feel too … Read More

Are cognitive psychology experiments just bad video games?

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the most boring video game ever?

¬†When I describe the experiments we ask people to participate in for our research, I sometimes just say that we ask people to “play very boring video games.” In the “lexical decision” game, for example, you watch the center of the screen, and when a … Read More

The stereotax and the tachistiscope (Reductionism, part II)

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There is something pleasantly upside-down about the fact that I have spent the first part of this summer flying around the world by invitation to various scientific conferences undermining the methodological assumptions I was so keen to defend before my career had even begun. The … Read More


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