EXPERIMENTS & DEMONSTRATIONS: Links to demonstrations and experiments that you may find interesting to explore, as well links to various other cognitive-related resources. Some of the experiments can be run right over the web through your browser. Others you need to download or to obtain a plugin for your browser before running the experiment. In general, if you need something to run the experiments or demonstrations, I've indicated so after the link description.


Blind Spot. This is a particularly compelling demonstration of the visual blind spot.

Broca's Aphasia. A video about Broca's aphasia with Norman Geschwind and a male patient suffering from Broca's Aphasia. Don't believe all the explanations--some are out of date. However, the video is interesting for showing a patient who exhibits the classic symptoms of an expressive aphasia--his speech is halting and labored. However Geschwind in carefully interviewing the patient shows that the problem is more subtle--the patient also has difficulty comprehending when comprehension depends upon syntactic processing. Here's another video of a female patient exhibiting classic symptoms of Broca's Aphasia.

Cognition Laboratory Experiments. A number of online experiments from Hanover College, including the Stroop experiment, mental rotation, attentional blink, and several other studies, including a partial report experiment similar to Sperling's original experiment.

Eye Tracking Technology -- Demonstrations of eye-tracking hardware and software. Eye-trackers enable the researcher to track the sequence of eye movements and fixations an individual makes while reading or looking at stimuli--e.g. reading a page of text or looking at a painting or a face:

Eye Tracking Demo 1 - Looking for a gift on amazon.com
Eye Tracking Demo 2 - Scanning a web page and looking at a photograph
Eye Tracking Demo 3 - Reading some text; searching and reading a web page.

ePsych: Website for Java-based online experiments and demonstrations that you can explore. Developed by Gary Bradshaw

Invisible Gorilla. Demonstrations of attention-related phenomena, including Change Blindness and Inattention Blindness

The McGurk Effect reveals how speech perception is heavily influenced by visual as well as auditory input in determining what speech sound is uttered (e.g. /ba/ versus /da/). Here's another demonstration of the McGurk Effect 2 that I recently found--check it out. And here's a third example of the McGurk Effect 3 that is particularly interesting to watch after you understand the effect and have watched the other two.

Mental Rotation Experiment. One of many experiments written by John Kranz at Hanover College. These experiments are very nice because you can change several of the parameters when you run the experiment.

Phoneme Restoration Effect - [Sorry this has disappeared from the web—when if I find a new demonstration of it, I will post, 08-17-2020] When a phoneme is deleted from a spoken utterance there is a noticeable gap; however, when this gap is filled with white noise, you hear the missing phoneme. Your brain fills in the gap or restores the phoneme, a clear example of Top-Down Processing. The demonstration you want to listen to is Temporal Induction of Speech: Single Phonemic Restoration, which is recordings #9 thru #12.

Rapid Visual Serial Presentation. Rapid visual serial presentation is a method of presenting text to the eyes, one word at a time. Instead of having to read the text by moving the eyes across the screen, making saccades, each word is presented in the same place, sequentially. The technique is used in cognitive reading research as a way to control various factors as someone reads a text. Some reading research shows that a reader can read more rapidly when they don't have to make a series of saccadic movements while reading. The link here is to a company that sells this technology to various apps for the iPhone and iPad to allow users to read texts using the RSVP technology. Fun to explore. Don't take too seriously.

Stroop Experiment 1: A nice online version of the Stroop.

Stroop Experiment 2. Another online demonstration of the Stroop effect.

Stroop Experiment 3: A very nice online version of the Stroop . Try it for yourself and bring your data to class.

Tower of Hanoi: A nice online version of the puzzle. Lots of others posted on the internet.

Dictionaries & Guides

Visionary. A dictionary for the study of vision.

Whole Brain Atlas. Need to identify a brain structure. This is an excellent

Perception & Visual Illusions

Filling-in Illusion. Sometimes, if you stare at something long enough, it disappears. The visual system no longer infers that it sees anything!

Motion-induced Blindness. Again, under special circumstances the visual system will not 'see' what is out there. In effect, we are always blind.

86 Optical Illusions & Visual Phenomena - Michale Bach's wonderful collection of visual illusions. The best on the web.

The Motion After Effect - This a compelling illusion. After staring at a moving scene (e.g. a waterfall) for 30 seconds or so, when you look at a stationary scene, it appears to be moving in the opposite direction of the movement you just observed. The illusion clearly shows the mind does not passively react to a stimulus but actively interprets the stimulus. In this case, there is NO motion yet the brain infers that there is. Here are two additional motion after effect demonstrations: the Buddha of Kamakura and a Spiral Motion After Effect demonstration.

Papers, Tutorials, Books

ACT Web. John Anderson's ACT research group. The ACT-R unified theory of cognition attempts to develop a cognitive architecture that can perform in detail a full range of cognitive tasks. The theory is implemented as a computer simulation that can perform and learn from the same tasks worked on by human subjects in the lab.

Agnosia. An agnosia is the loss of the ability to recognize objects, people, sounds, shapes or smells. Sensory and perceptual processing are usually intact as is memory. The patient suffers from difficulty recognizing patterns (e.g. visual objects such as faces or auditory patterns such as melodies or chords. Agnosias are generally the result of brain injuries or damage. The link here is to a Wikipedia entry that lists the various types of Agnosias as well as external links.

Creating False Memories. Scientific American article by a leading memory researcher, Elizabeth Loftus, on the false memory controversy.

How Psychological Science Informs the Teaching of Reading. An excellent monograph by Keith Rayner and colleagues on the latest cognitive research about how reading should be taught--published by the Association for Psychological Science . There is also another link at the APS site to an article from Scientific American entitled How Should Reading Be Taught that discusses similar material. Both make the case that phonological mediation plays a critical role in learning to read.

Multitasking to Distraction - Contrary to popular opinion, multitasking is not a positive asset that increases learning or performance. Rather it prevents learners from selectively attending to stimuli and performing well. (Link broken—will update)

The Pen is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note-Taking. Considerable research suggests that taking notes longhand results in greater learning than taking notes with a computer, even when a computer is used soley for taking notes. This occurs despite that taking notes with a computer results in more detailed notes—even then notes taken longhand produce greater learning. Part of the explanation is that taking notes with a notebook computer lead to shallower processing of the material being learned.

Pi, Anyone? The Secret to Memorizing Tens of Thousands of Digits - An article in LiveScience that talks about individuals who have memorized the number PI to many thousands of digits. Extraordinary as this might seem the secret is using memory strategies similar to those we’ve discussed in class (e.g. the Method of Loci and Interactive Visual Imagery) and plenty of practice.

Secrets of a Mind-Gamer: This article from a New York Times Sunday Magazine article talks about training the memory to compete in memory tournaments and argues that super memories are the result of practice and hard work.

The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Classic paper by George Miller on processing limits. Miller has one of the most beautiful prose styles of any psychologist I've read.

William James was very interested in consciousness and proposed a distinction between primary memory and second memory--what today we would call short-term (or working) memory and long-term memory. However, James was interested in a wide range of psychological topics. This site is devoted to material about William James.

Study & Learning Aids, Strategies for Improving Learning and Memory

Research finds practicing retrieval is best tool for learning - Jeffrey Karpicke, a Purdue assistant professor, who studies learning and memory has published research showing that practicing or testing yourself on material is one of the most effective ways to study and learn.

To Really Learn, Stop Studying and Take a Test - NY Times article about Karpicke's work, with a reference to the Science article that he published on the research.

Joshua Foer, recent winner of the US Memory Championship (2006)

Sexy Ruses to Stop Forgetting to Remember - 03-09-2011 NYT article by Maureen Dowd about Joshua Foer's new book on memory, “Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything”. Foer won the 2006 United States Memory Championship. Dowd's comments show little knowledge or understanding of how memory works. It's more of a opinion piece about a bestseller with much opinion but little scientific substance.

A Deep Dive to Retrieve and Fortify Memories - NYT, March 09, 2011 article on a experiments with rats describing a drug that apparently that can strengthen memories - in rats. The original research was published in Science magazine.

Remember How Important It Is Not to Forget - Michiko Kakutani's NYT review of Foer's book, "Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Secrets of a Mind-Gamer: How I trained my Brain and Became a World-Class Memory Athlete -- A piece published in the NYT Sunday magazine in anticipation of Joshua Foer's new book "Moonwalking with Einstein."

Total Recall - Article from The Guardian, by Ed Cooke, the person who coached Foer on improving memory.

Wikipedia article on Ed Cooke, who trained Foer. Cooke graduated with a degree in psychology and philosophy from Oxford University. He's published a book, Remember, Remember that unfortunately doesn't seem to be available in the US.

Forget Me Not - Article in Slate magazine by Foer on winning the US Memory Championship. There a link to an NPR interview with Foer here as well.

An Ancient and Proven Way to Improve Memorization - Article in the New York Times (2016) on mnemonic strategies (like. the Method of Loci) that use visual imagery and spatial location.

Other Links

Hispanic Population Grows Dramatically in California - This short NPR interview touches on the topic of the fluency of Hispanic children in English. Guess what. As discussed in this course, these kids learn and speak English with little problem, and Spanish as well. Given the benefits of bilingualism for cognition, this is good news for California.

PI World Ranking List - In 1981, Rajan Mahadevan accurately recited 31,811 digits of pi from memory. In 1989, Japan's Hideaki Tomoyori recited 40,000 digits. In 2005, Lu Chao of China recited pi to 67,890 digits. By the time you read this the record will have fallen again. Check this link to see what the current world record is.

Excerpt from Solace by Scott Joplin - Me playing the piece on piano. 12-11-21