57 votes
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If babies were isolated, would they develop their own language?

This question would require an experiment that cannot ethically be conducted, but it is interesting. Wikipedia has an article on historical attempts at language deprivation experiments: An ...
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12 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to master two different typing keyboard layouts?

Observational points: It would be straightforward to point to a person who has mastered more than one keyboard layout (e.g., some of the people here). So, yes, it is possible. From my own personal ...
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11 votes
Accepted

Cognitive Science podcasts to follow

Here are the ones I know about; there's much more about neuroscience than, say, theoretical or computational cognitive science, but a lot of the neuroscience podcasts cover cognitive science ...
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  • 2,903
10 votes

Does chess enhance cognitive abilities?

Giovanni Sala was concerned by this same question, so he did a meta-analysis of 24 studies in "Beyond the 64 Squares: Does Chess Instruction Enhance Children’s Academic and Cognitive Skills? A Meta-...
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  • 8,783
10 votes
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Can One Have a Temporary Manifestation of Dyslexia?

The jury is still out on temporary dyslexia, but apparently astronauts can experience it on a temporary basis on return to earth. However, mixing up (anagramming) digits or letters is not dyslexia. ...
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  • 9,905
9 votes

How is epigenetic memory expressed in neurons?

There are (at least) two ways epigenetic traits are inherited. The important background in both cases is gene expression: there is a misconception that genes are for this or that, where the reality ...
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9 votes

Can I teach my brain to understand binary?

Quite a bit of foundational research on skill acquisition is on how people learn to send and receive morse code. I'm no expert at morse code but it seems like it shares quite a bit with binary. For ...
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8 votes
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Do 10.000 hours of practice make you an expert?

The answer is more involved than it seems. Expertise research programmes, including Ericsson's line, has tended to blend quantitative and qualitative research methods (e.g., case studies, talk-aloud ...
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8 votes
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What is the name of the scientific study of hypothesis formation?

One umbrella term is causal reasoning, though this is a bit broader since there are theories of causal reasoning that are not about hypothesis testing. A Google Scholar search for "causal reasoning ...
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8 votes

How do neurons decide how to alter their output signals?

This will be a long post. FYI. To my knowledge, there is no evidence for back propagation in the brain. If you're interested specifically in that topic, Geoffrey Hinton (Dept. of CS @ UofT) has ...
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  • 233
8 votes
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What is the ACT-R model of learning?

ACT-R can best be summarized with this (tiny but more recent) graph: ACT-R is a cognitive architecture that tries to explain as much of human behavior as possible with as little rules as possible. It ...
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  • 3,132
8 votes

If babies were isolated, would they develop their own language?

While no cases of complete isolation of a group of children seem to exist, idioglossia (language invented and spoken by only one person or very few people) in twins is well documented and appears to ...
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  • 9,905
7 votes

What are the main theories that account for why some people like X and others not?

In psychology, we call people's attitudes towards things "preferences", and the emotional experience associated with preference is referred to as "affect", or more specifically, "valence", which is ...
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7 votes
Accepted

What is the name of the "Things are more visible once you learn about them" phenomenon?

The scenario you describe is sometimes called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one stumbles upon some obscure piece of information—often an unfamiliar word or ...
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  • 3,461
6 votes

Is "brain training" effective?

What is the effect of completing "brain training"? Is there any evidence for domain general benefits to cognitive functioning that extend beyond the specific task practiced? Brain training at ...
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6 votes

Are association, conditioning, and symbolic learning the same thing?

Conditioning is considered an example (type) of association by associationism, a school of philosophy in psychology that suggests that all mental processes may be based on similar or proximal mental ...
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6 votes
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'Model-free' learning in humans

As per the comments to the question, human research observing this distinction does exist. CHCH possibly alludes to an article by Gläscher, Daw, Dayan and O'Doherty (2010) which concisely defines the ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Why do people get "too old to learn"?

Firstly, the matter of lifestyle is probably a significant factor. Someone who is an alcoholic their whole life and never tries or learns new things is going to have a different outcome that somebody ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Where does instinctual knowledge come from?

In my mind there are two main explanations of this kind of instinct behaviours. The first one is rooted in evolution. There are many examples of human innate behaviours which we can't explain e.g. ...
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6 votes

Cognitive Science podcasts to follow

I actually think this is a bit tougher than it sounds because of how broad cogsci is as a field. Not too long ago, I asked a similar question on twitter; to this end, here are the podcasts that I now ...
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6 votes

Are there any ways to increase dopamine and serotonin levels when working or learning something complex?

I'm guessing you don't want to generally increase the level of those chemicals in the brain, just in the reward-motivation area. In order to do so, you need to be rewarded and motivated, obviously. ...
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  • 141
6 votes
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Are there any ways to increase dopamine and serotonin levels when working or learning something complex?

When one is either learning or working with a new concept that is - complex, untangle, counter-intuitive, tedious, multi-dimensional, boring and difficult, it appears mood is altered to a lower ...
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6 votes
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Does language learning improve or worsen the ability to remember and process information?

What I do not quite understand is: What is (according to Syka) "useless information" and how should we "avoid" this kind of information? Let me try and answer this as follows: During our lifetime, ...
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  • 296
6 votes
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How do congenitally deaf and mute people think?

Short answer The inner voice of congenitally (pre-lingually) deaf people who have not received treatment like cochlear implantation, is not sound-based. Instead, it is mainly based on visual images, ...
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  • 19.6k
6 votes
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Is there research to prove that humans achieve more when challenging ourselves or when we challenge others?

Generally, being observed raises performance on simple tasks and can hinder performance on complex tasks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_facilitation For trivia, notice that the experiment ...
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5 votes
Accepted

does getting top marks and ranks in school or college make one intelligent?

I think you have three core questions: What is true intelligence and how can it be measured? To what extent does school performance correlate with true intelligence? To what extent does school ...
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5 votes

How do people estimate smoking's impact on their mortality?

"How accurate are people in estimating their mortality risk?" "How well can people estimate smoking's impact on their mortality?" (I grouped these.) Not accurate at all. One problem with your ...
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