Who wants to be a cognitive neuroscientist millionaire

A graduate student – named Ogi – studying Cognitive Neuroscience of memory (that the exact description of what I did in graduate school as well) decides to use his understanding of memory to gain an edge in “Who wants to be a millionaire”. The article written in first person explains how memory works in an easy to understand manner. It is also an interesting example of a scientist using their research on themselves and observing themselves in the process.

For his $16,000 question – “Which country first published the inflammatory cartoons of the prophet Mohammed?”, Ogi used priming (to activate memories of a conversation he had with a friend about the issue) and successfully recalled that the country was Denmark.

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Asian or Brazilian: London Tube shooting

There is an interesting aspect to the tragic shooting of the Brazilian electrician on the London tube. All initial reports (including direct ones from bystanders) mention an Asian man. When you look at the picture of the man shot dead, he does not look Asian (at least to me) (I think the British conception of Asian is Pakistani/Indian, in contrast to the American conception of the word Asian which is more Chinese/Thai/Taiwanese…).

This nonrecognition highlights how difficult it is to identify someone’s ethnic origins, especially in an atmosphere of stress and suspicion. Another explanation – the expectancy was that someone acting suspicious on the Tube is likely to be an Asian man; the logic is reversed – anyone acting suspicious starts looking like an Asian man. There are many Social cognitive phenomenon you could use to understand this mistake.

Reminded me of the PBS test of sorting people.