Think video games make you smarter? Not so fast...

Wouldn’t it be great if you could improve your attention and perception abilities by playing video games? Over the past decade, many papers have made just that claim. Expert gamers often outperform novices on some cognitive tasks, and gaming novices who spend many hours practicing a game tend to perform better as well. Although the accumulated evidence seems strong, the literature is fraught with methodological shortcomings. In fact, some of the limitations are sufficiently severe that it’s not clear there is any benefit at [...]

Harry Potter and the Illusion of Potential

Why is the story of Harry Potter so appealing? The success of the series depends on engaging characters and compelling storytelling-it’s a classic tale of good vs. evil and a coming of age story. That’s true, but many stories have those qualities. I think there’s a deeper magic at work here, one that capitalizes on a pervasive cognitive [...]

Science or Sciencey [afterward]

An examination of sciencey marketing, using cognitive driver training as a case [...]

Science or Sciencey [part 4]

The final part of a 4-part series examining what happens when science is used for marketing (using brain-training software as the central example). [...]

Science or Sciencey [part 3]

The third of a 4-part series examining what happens when science is used for marketing (using brain-training software as the central example). [...]

Science or Sciencey [part 2]

The second of a 4-part series examining what happens when science is used for marketing (using brain-training software as the central example). [...]

Science or sciencey [part 1]

The first of a 4-part series examining what happens when science is used for marketing (using brain-training software as the central example). [...]

the limits of cognitive training

A new study published today in Nature by Adrian Owen and colleagues reports the results of a large-scale study done in conjunction with the BBC of the effects of video game playing on cognitive performance. The core result: The cognitive training tasks had little benefit for other aspects of [...]

Estimating a renowned man's character

A recent study suggests that an end-of-life change can dramatically influence how people judge your moral [...]

x-ray glasses

As a kid, I loved reading Boy’s Life Magazine, particularly the advertisements at the back of the magazine that promised amazing new abilities. My favorite ad, other than the promise of Sea Monkeys of course, was the advertisement for x-ray glasses. It looked something like this:

I knew, at some level, that these couldn’t work. [...]