perception

What we see isn’t always what’s happening (OR why demos don’t always work)

January 18, 2011

Consider this quote: “We don’t know what we see; we see what we know.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe I’ve often wished I’d gone into cognitive science — it’s just so interesting.  (Sciencegeekgirl factoid: My undergrad degree is in social psychology.)  Instead I earn my daily (gluten-free) bread by teaching physics and can throw only […]

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The Exploratorium discovers anti-gravity

February 15, 2010

The Exploratorium museum houses many wonderful science and perception exhibits, one of which is the anti-gravity mirror — a simple perception exhibit consisting of a big mirror with a platform hidden on the back side.  The explainers (the high school kids employed by the Exploratorium to do a lot of the demos and help visitors […]

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Crazy color illusion

July 21, 2009

As usual, geekgirl is a little groggy on the uptake, so I’m posting this after all the cool kids already had their fun with it (ie, The Bad Astronomer, Richard Wiseman, Blog of Phyz and Buzzhunt). The trick?  There is no blue in this pattern.  It’s green.  The same color as you see next to […]

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Self-refilling soup bowls: An idea whose time should never come

July 6, 2009

One of my favorite blogs, when I get a chance to actually read it, is Cognitive Daily.  They give you all sorts of wonderfully written tidbits and tests from the world of cognitive science.  Fascinating stuff. A recent study highlighted on the blog — self-refilling soup bowls — concerned what happened to how much people […]

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Why motion sickness makes us nauseous

March 20, 2009

If you spin around and around, why is it that you can feel a little sick? The answer lies in how we sense our balance, and an ancient disease of the gut. We get our sense of balance in large part from the vestibular system of the inner ear. A delicate little set of organs […]

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The science of attractiveness

February 27, 2009

A recent volume of Science News had a feature article about attraction and the evolutionary basis of our conception of what makes someone beautiful.  As writer Elizabeth Quill says (I love this quote) — “For humans, there is osmething captivating and unforgettable about the arrangement of two balls, a point and a horizontal slide on […]

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New study on synthesia

December 16, 2008

I got a lot of comments on my previous post on synthesia, so it seems there’s some interest there.  Check out this post on Cognitive Daily about a study of the rarest form of synthesia – tasting words. For more common (or rather, less uncommon) forms of synesthesia, the most convincing evidence that it’s real […]

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Find that sound!

December 12, 2008

This week’s episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast actually features, well, me! Yay. It’s nice to record myself, not always other people, though the folks at the Exploratorium are so darned clever and fun, I feel it’s my mission to document every last scrap of their wisdom and energy. I’m trying… So, this time […]

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What a beautiful moon last night…

June 19, 2008

Photo credit: The full moon rising over Manchester, Maryland. Credit: Edmund E. Kasaitis. I went hiking under the full moon last night, without even knowing that it was something special (other than a beautiful big pink full moon over the lights of Boulder). Last night was the solstice moon, as one of my fellow hikers […]

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Synthesia

May 23, 2008

I’ve always been sort of fascinated by synthesia. A brain with a predilection to mix colors and letters and days and feelings and smells sounds kinda trippy. I’ve always thought (and I think I may have read somewhere) that it seems like a very rich way to experience life. I mean, confusion is orange? I […]

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