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Archive for the ‘Pattern Recognition’ Category

“It’s an acquired taste”: Beer and the Mere-Exposure Effect

April 17th, 2017 8 comments

I remember when I had my first beer…

It was vile.

Whether you’re sneaking one from the fridge in high school, playing pong during your first college weekend, or (rarely the case) enjoying your inaugural brew on the night of your 21st birthday, there is nothing too remarkable about this adult soda striking our taste buds for the first time. In fact, there is a pretty generic response: it simply does not taste good. As we drink more beer we begin to appreciate this canned goodness. This is not the alcohol talking. That first Natty light, a beverage I remember initially resembling a nauseating blend of pinto beans and carbonated water, took every muscle in our bodies to choke down. Now it has become nothing less than a fine pilsner: the most Natural of Light, some would say. Why?

It is pretty common knowledge that most of us do not like our first taste of beer!

Where and when does the transformation occur? How do we go from having a negative opinion about something to having a beer every night at dinner? The classic saying is that beer is an acquired taste, but the real work behind this acquisition is the mere-exposure effect. This psychological phenomenon explains why we learn to like things (in this case, malt beverages) as we encounter them more. According to the findings of psychological studies in the sixties, the more we are exposed to something, the more “likable” it becomes (Zajonc 1968). Read more…

Everything has Feelings – Anthropomorphize with Me Now

April 17th, 2017 6 comments

Image result for pixar lamp

Do you often find yourself talking to things that can’t respond?  What about not wanting to throw things away because you’ll hurt their feelings?  Do you give inanimate objects personalities?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you anthropomorphize!  Also, your amygdala is probably fine and you probably aren’t autistic.

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Being Extremely Good-Looking Benefits You – the Halo Effect

April 17th, 2017 3 comments

Abercrombie & Fitch models

You must have seen these charming male models in front of some Abercrombie and Fitch stores, right? Did you stop for a picture with them? Did they successfully allure you to walk in the store and carry a huge shopping bag on your way out? Well, if these two scenarios sound familiar to you, then you probably should have known the power of looking good. It is not hard to find comparable examples besides Abercrombie and Fitch in the real life. The faces of attractive Hollywood celebrities have invaded everywhere such as on posters and televisions. Why? Because their pretty faces are worth millions of dollars and they can lead you to buy anything! One evidence from a report on Fashionista shows that Puma has successfully increased its sales by 7.6 percent just because it invited Rihanna to be its brand ambassador and women’s creative director. Although you might be immune to the commercials and argue that “a book should not be judged by its cover”, you cannot deny that these good-looking people can at least please your aesthetic taste. Therefore, let me remind you again – be extremely good-looking – because it is highly possible that your attractiveness gets rewarded.
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Why Do You See That Face that’s NOT There?

April 17th, 2017 2 comments

Have you ever thought about seeing things that are not there? At first glance, this might sound like a bizarre suggestion, unless, of course, you are a philosophically-minded person (if that’s the case, read Descartes!); it is, undoubtedly, a logical possibility, but it is a possibility that seems only able to realize itself in a movie, or in the cases of unfortunate people who suffer from mental disorders. But interestingly, this kind of phenomenon does exist in our life, and it is actually very prevalent, at least for seeing one particular object: faces.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

I guess you are now suspicious, but recall the last time that you or someone else saw a face in the cloud; or this image showing a cute, smiling “face” on the back of a chair. But obviously, there is no face. Still, we recognize them, with considerable ease. This tendency for us to see faces where there aren’t any is called face pareidolia. And this tendency can be very useful, and sometimes even profitable. Artists, such as Giuseppe Arcimboldo, have long exploited this tendency to create some of the most imaginative paintings (to read more about Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s work, click here); moreover, the ability to see Virgin Mary in toast is obviously worth 28,000 dollars on eBay (to see the news, click here). Given its prevalence and potential value, it’s natural to wonder how exactly do we recognize those non-existent faces? Saddly, I don’t know the answer for sure, but perhaps I could offer some possible explanation.

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Own-race Bias: Why Some People Might Look The Same to You

April 16th, 2017 4 comments

As someone who is a fan of true crime podcasts, I couldn’t help but to binge-listen to the episodes of Wrongful Convictions–a podcast by the Innocence Project detailing stories of people who were convicted for crimes they did not commit. In one of the stories, a person was convicted due to the misidentification by one of the victims of the crime. This eyewitness testimony was enough to carry a 30-year-old sentence in prison.

Pattern recognition of faces of other races can vary according to the cross-race bias.
PC: The Guardian

There are several cognitive errors that could make of this eyewitness testimony (and others) unreliable. Daniel Schacter described in the Seven Sins of Memory (2001) different cognitive errors that the memory is sensitive to, including memory biases. In the case of the person wrongfully convicted, a cross-race or own-race bias could have influenced the misidentification. An own-race bias refers to the tendency of being more accurate at recognizing faces of your own race than faces of another race (Malpass & Kravits, 1969).  The bias is not exclusive to the context of eyewitness testimonies and the criminal justice system, however; you can stumble upon the own-race bias during a trivial day. For example, have you ever had a feeling that people who don’t belong to your racial category look “all the same” to you? Or have you wondered why you are very good at recognizing faces of your own racial profile yet can’t make the same accurate distinctions cross-racially? Or maybe, have you ever confused two people from outside your race because you couldn’t distinguish certain individual characteristics to make them apart? Then you’re in the right place to learn about this cross-race phenomenon! In this blog, we discuss possible mechanisms behind the cross-race bias.

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How Well do You Really Know Your Acquaintances? The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight

April 16th, 2017 1 comment

Have you ever found yourself questioning the decisions of those around you, perhaps as if you had better insight into the thoughts and emotions of a person than they did themselves? Or do you ever catch yourself making internal judgments towards others in a way that pushes aside the legitimacy of one’s own self-understanding? “Why is she doing that? She should know herself better!” These are behaviors that can be understood through a phenomenon commonly referred to as the illusion of asymmetrical insight, a cognitive bias that describes our tendency to think we understand other people better than they understand themselves and us. To put it into other words, Kathy (person #1) would be experiencing the illusion of asymmetric insight if she thinks she knows Kathy (herself) better than Jake (person #2) knows Jake (himself) or Kathy (person #1).

The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight in Action

This bias can be seen in individuals throughout varying contexts, and is also very common among social, political, and religious groups. Multiple studies have explored the manifestations of the illusion of asymmetric insight, many of which attribute the bias to reasons outside our level of consciousness. In other words, we do not have full awareness of when this phenomenon is occurring due to the fact that it is an automatic processes (a process that is quick, easy, requires little cognitive resources, and has the ability to occur without full attention, as opposed to controlled processes, which are slow, difficult, and require cognitive resources and full attention).

So why do we experience this phenomenon so frequently without even realizing it?

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The Halo Effect: Swiping Right For the Wrong Reasons

April 14th, 2017 No comments

www.akns-images.eonline.com The Tinder logo

 

Have you ever used the incredibly popular dating app called Tinder? The app presents users with pictures of singles in the area, prompting the user to make a snap decision to either swipe right “to approve” in hopes of matching with the individual or left “to decline”(more information about how tinder works is available here if you’re so inclined). Very little personal information, if any, is listed about the individuals, so most of the time judgments are made based off pictures alone. You could swipe through hundreds of different people in a short amount of time, because the information is so limited, and the basic principles behind the app are so simple and user friendly. If you’ve ever used Tinder, you might have swiped right on a person that you find to be incredibly attractive, because if they’re hot they must have other great personality traits right?

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Squad Goals! Why Attractiveness is a Team Sport

April 14th, 2017 No comments

 

From time to time, science puts its nerdy inquiries on hold and answers pressing questions. One such universal concern is attractiveness. Recent research in psychology is looking at how being part of a group affects how others see you. Can walking around in a group make you more attractive? Can you figure out how attractive a group is by averaging the attractiveness scores of each member? Thankfully, cognitive psychology is here to shed light on these mysteries.

The namesake: http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/cheerleader-news.html

The Biases

 

The Cheerleader Effect is the tendency for individuals in groups to be rated as more attractive than if their photo were seen by itself (Walker and Vul, 2013). Let’s say that when people see Benjamin by himself, he is typically a 6 out of 10 on the attractiveness scale. The Cheerleader Effect is the tendency for Benjamin to be a 6.20 when he is seen next to three other people. In the Cheerleader Effect, the size of the group is not important. The benefit of being in a group of 4 people is similar to that of being in a group of 16 people. If you want more information on how Walker and Vul went about finding this bias, check out  this blog post on the CogBlog. 

 

The Group-Attractiveness Effect has two meanings. The GA Effect could refer to the Cheerleader Effect, or it could refer to the tendency for people’s assessment of the average attractiveness of a group to be higher than the average attractiveness of each member when they are by themselves (van Osch, et al., 2015). If you’re not a math professor, this means that when Aisha (8), Eduardo (8), Aiko (8) and Sam (8) go out to town, people may rate the average attractiveness of their squad as higher than an 8.

 

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The Cheerleader Effect: How You Can Actually Seem More Attractive With a Little Help From Your Friends

April 12th, 2017 No comments

Imagine you’re sitting in a restaurant, walking through the mall, or even scrolling through social media, and you notice a really good looking group of guys or girls. Maybe you admire them, maybe you’re attracted to them, maybe you’re envious of them, or maybe you even resent them. Regardless of exactly how you react to their attractiveness, you may want to reassess their looks. Research suggests that people are perceived as more attractive when they’re seen in a group than they are when they’re seen individually (Walker and Vul, 2104). So, that glorified group of guys or gals I asked you to imagine before? They might not be just as attractive as they appear. 

http://splitshot.com

If you’ve ever seen the show “How I Met Your Mother,” you might be familiar with this phenomena that is commonly referred to as “the Cheerleader Effect.” In season four, episode seven, main character Barney Stinson coined the term. He explains the phenomenon when he encounters a group of seemingly attractive women at a bar. He explains, quite discourteously, that, just like cheerleaders that look stunningly gorgeous as a squad, but like the average girl next door individually, “They seem hot, but only as a group. Take each individually? Sled dogs.” This phenomenon has also been referred to as the Bridesmaid Paradox, Sorority Girl Syndrome, or even the Spice Girls Conspiracy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDzkMXpDZfc). Regardless of how superficial and shallow some of these phrases are, there is, in fact, psychological research backing the “How I Met Your Mother” hypothesis.

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Deaf Individuals Read More Efficiently

December 9th, 2015 4 comments

Have you ever wondered if when one sensory module is impaired, other sensory systems learn to develop other means to counteract that deficiency? Past studies have shown that deaf individuals have a larger capability to focus on simple visual stimuli in the parafovea. The parafovea is a region in the eye that surrounds your fovea, the central pit of the eye that is responsible for sharp, central vision. Large rates of Macula_lutea.svgilliteracy in the deaf population have caused people to question whether deaf individuals wide range of focus in the parafovea, causes reduced processing in the fovea. A recent study done at the University of California San Diego has shown that deaf people’s parafoveal vision does not cause reduced vision on the fovea and they actually have a wider range of sharp vision which researchers found and can actually aid them in complex visual tasks such as reading (Bélanger et al. 2012).

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