Author Archives: Lascap

How to expect the unexpected: Fast motion overrides inattentional blindness

Imagine you are looking at a screen – much like you are doing now. On this screen are moving dots and you count how often they collide with each other. While you are doing that – unbeknownst to you – … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Introducing a Visual Illusion – the Scintillating Starburst

This post consists of two parts. The first part is aimed at introducing this new illusion to a general audience. The second part is intended to supplement technical details for specialist readers. Click here to navigate to the technical section … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 2 Comments

Flexing: A maladaptive coping strategy of insecure narcissists?

Existence has long been associated with the pain of living. Everyday life inherently poses many challenges to physical and mental integrity. Modern life in particular is characterized by frequent assaults on self-esteem in the form of unceasing comparisons to others … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 5 Comments

With great power comes great confidence – statistically

Appeal for a higher power Grant me the strength to accept that I cannot change the p-value, the power to distinguish between absence of evidence and evidence of absence and the wisdom to know the difference.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why it is important to take the virus seriously – or why this isn’t just like the flu

People could be forgiven for initially believing that COVID19 is just like the flu, as many have personal experience with the flu and gotten used to the risk posed by the flu. This tendency towards complacency was reinforced by bad … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“The dress”, 5 years on

Today, 5 years ago, “the dress” broke online, and we have come a long way since then. If nothing else, this is a scary reminder of how fast time passes while one is busy doing other things. There were lots … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Explaining why some people see “the sneaker” as pink, even though its pixels are grey

This has nothing to do with being left or right brained. People love brain based explanations, and this phenomenon has one, but a different one – see below. “This thing, yet again” seems to unsettle some people, but it is … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Exploring the roots of disagreement with crocs and socks

Pascal Wallisch & Michael Karlovich The degree of polarized disagreement about current events is at an all-time high, and rising. So we need to understand disagreement better in order to avoid disagreeable results. A key problem when studying discord in … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Psychology, Science | 5 Comments

How effective is cultural transmission?

In order to learn from history, one has to know about it first. Even then, it is hard to do – arguably, human nature is constant, but how it manifests is ever changing, as the circumstances change, mostly due to … Continue reading

Posted in Psychology | Leave a comment

Pascal’s Wager 2.0

Obviously, you can believe whatever you want about metaphysics, as there is no observable reality to constrain you. That said, I believe the usual debates about theism vs. atheism miss the point. The real issue is not whether the world … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | 1 Comment

Is the overuse of low memory data types to blame for much of tribalism and overall nonsense one encounters online and offline?

The notion of “data types” is probably the most underrated concept outside of computer science that I can think of right now. Briefly, computers use “typed variables” to represent numbers internally. All numbers are internally represented as a collection of … Continue reading

Posted in Pet peeve, Philosophy | Leave a comment

This is what is *really* going on with Laurel and Yanny – why your brain has to guess (without telling you)

At this point, we’re all *well* beyond peak #Yannygate. There have been comprehensive takes, there have been fun ones and there have been somber and downright ominous ones. But there have not been short ones that account for what we … Continue reading

Posted in Psychology, Science | Leave a comment

#Yannygate highlights the underrated benefits of keeping foxes around

In May 2018, a phenomenon surfaced that lends itself of differential interpretation – some people hear “Laurel” whereas others hear “Yanny” when listening to the same clip. As far as I’m concerned, this is a direct audio analogue of #thedress … Continue reading

Posted in In eigener Sache, Neuroscience, Pet peeve, Psychology, Science, Social commentary | 1 Comment

Social media and the challenge of managing disagreement positively

Technological change often entails social change. Historically, many of these changes were unintended and could not be foreseen at the time of making the technological advances. For instance, the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1400s. One … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My policy on quote review

I understand the need of journalists to simplify quotes and make them more palatable to their audience. Academics have a tendency to hedge every statement. In fact, they would have to be an octopus to account for all the hands … Continue reading

Posted in In eigener Sache | Leave a comment

Retro-viral phenomena: The dress over and over again

It is happening again. Another “dress”-like image just surfaced. As far as I can tell, more or less the same thing is going on. Ill defined lighting conditions in the images are being filled in by lighting assumptions, and they differ … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Social commentary | Leave a comment

Of psychopaths, musical tastes, media relations and games of telephone

Usually, I publicly comment on our work once it is published, like here, here or here. So I was quite surprised when I was approached by the Guardian to comment on an unpublished abstract. Neuroscientists typically present these as “work in progress” … Continue reading

Posted in In eigener Sache, Science, Social commentary | 2 Comments

Vector projections

Hopefully, this will clear up some confusions regarding vector projections onto basis vectors.   Via Matlab, powered by @pascallisch          

Posted in Matlab | Leave a comment

What should we call science?

The term for science – scientia (knowledge) is terrible. Science is not knowledge. It is simply not (just) a bunch of facts. The German term “Wissenschaft” is slightly better, as it implies a knowledge creation engine. Something that creates knowledge, … Continue reading

Posted in Pet peeve, Science | 1 Comment

Predicting movie taste

There is a fundamental tension between how movie critics conceive of their role and how their reviews are utilized by the moviegoing public. Movie critics by and large see their job as educating the public as to what is a good movie and explaining … Continue reading

Posted in In eigener Sache, Journal club, Psychology, Science | 1 Comment