Month: February 2011

  • Background Noise and Taste Perception

    It has been suggested that the physiological effects of pressurisation are responsible for the blandness of in-flight airline meals. However the real reason behind “diminishing gustatory food properties” (food tasting rubbish) while 32,000 feet above sea level could be a lot simpler: the background noise. A study conducted by Unilever R&D and the University of…

  • Timed Exposure Can Be As Good As Practice

    We know that deliberate practice is an important part of learning (and mastering) new skills–but what role, if any, does mere passive exposure play? Can relevant background stimulation help us to┬áreduce the amount of effort and practice necessary to master┬áa skill? To answer these questions Jonah Lehrer contacted┬áthe authors of a recent paper studying exactly…

  • The Numbers in Our Words: Words of Estimative Probability

    Toward the end of this month I will almost certainly post the traditional Lone Gunman Year in Review post. Exactly how likely am I to do this? Am I able to quantify the probability that I’ll do this? By using the phrase “almost certainly”, I already have. To provide unambiguous, quantitative odds of an event…