August 25th, 2012

the ‘feel’ of being in Paris or London

Mind-boggling image research allows us to create time and site specific portraits of city architecture and make comparisons. Very impressive! via ScienceDump

August 24th, 2012

the sky-as-limit exam

[Economy professor Tyler Cowen] once walked into class the day of the final exam and said, “Here is the exam. Write your own questions. Write your own answers. Harder questions and better answers get more points.” Then he walked out. The funniest thing was when a student came in late and I had to explain to him what the exam was and he didn’t believe me!

This sounds like an excellent way to challenge individuals and let them express their interests and potential, guiding education in a more healthy direction… Probably a little too challenging/individualistic to be used below university level.

Seth Roberts via kottke.org

August 24th, 2012

they have plastic pieces that will pop into there

Reuben Margolin‘s wave inspired mechanical sculptures.

August 3rd, 2012

doubting your doubt

Some interesting psychological observations around doubt and hestitation.

For their research Wichman et al. (2010) recruited people who were chronically uncertain. They were then given a test which unconsciously encouraged them to be uncertain about their uncertainty. This was done by getting them to unscramble sentences which were related to uncertainty, like: “her speaker doubt I explanations” (you’re allowed to drop one word, in this case ‘speaker’).

Ironically it didn’t increase their uncertainty further but reduced it. This suggests that doubting your doubt can be useful. Of course this wasn’t a permanent solution, but it did momentarily reduce their levels of uncertainty.

Just the same effect could be seen when participants in a second study shook, rather than nodded their heads. The physical action of shaking their head while thinking about their uncertainty caused one to cancel out the other. Through this they temporarily reduced their doubts.

The second study suggests to me that being made aware of your hesitation encourages you to consciously shake it off.

More at psyblog






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