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Seeing Isn’t Believing

Pay attention! It’s a universal warning, which implies that keeping close watch helps us perceive the world more accurately. But a new study by Yale University cognitive psychologists Brandon Liverence and Brian Scholl finds that intense focus on objects can have the opposite effect: It distorts perception of where things are in relation to one another. The findings will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.... More>

What Do We Pay Attention To?

Once we learn the relationship between a cue and its consequences—say, the sound of a bell and the appearance of the white ice cream truck bearing our favorite chocolate cone—do we turn our attention to that bell whenever we hear it? Or do we tuck the information away and marshal our resources to learning other, novel cues—a recorded jingle, a blue truck?... More>

You can pay attention without actually doing so

Want to Ace That Test? Cheer Up!

Studying for a stressful exam can sometimes put us in a bad mood. The last thing we want to do is put on a happy face, but research suggests cheerfulness may help us perform better.   A study published in Psychological Science found that being in a positive mood can improve performance on certain cognitive tasks.... More>