Monthly Archives: November 2015

Amazed, not in a good way

The 2013 journal paper that ripped-off my excellent and original idea linking synaesthesia with specific elements of the immune system (published in this blog in 2012) has been reprinted as a chapter in a book that was published just a few months ago. One of the book’s authors is also one of the two authors of that paper, and another one of the book’s authors was an editor of that paper. Have these people no shame?

The offending paper has also been cited in a 2015 paper by two of the book’s authors

Also not nice to know that recent work of those researchers was scheduled to be presented by one of them at the Eleventh Annual National Conference of the American Synesthesia Association at the University of Miami, Florida, held last month. This year’s conference was organized by the same academic who was the reviewer of the offending 2013 journal paper.

And one of those researchers will be the supervisor of a PhD studentship beginning January 2016

I’d like to invite those involved (so many of them) to individually or collectively go and dip their left eyes in hot cocky cack, to quote an Australian cinema classic



This week’s New Scientist has cover story about super-recognizers

The more important posts in this blog

Endless hours of winter-time reading for blog readers in the northern hemisphere, or hours of sitting-under-an-air-conditioner reading for readers south of the equator:


Influence of cross-race effect and anxiety on face recognition in Australian study

A pity this science news article does not include a link to the study, as the results sound interesting.

I wonder how a super-recognizer might have fared as a study subject in this study? Would supers have the self-confidence to avoid the impairment in performance that comes with anxiety, while not being so over-confident that they fail to take the extra care to see through racial bias while memorizing and recalling foreign faces? Are metacognitive skills an element of super-recognition? Could this be a clue to why face memory is a cognitive ability that peaks in performance at a remarkably late age in human development? (Please remember, readers in academia, that if you use without acknowledgement original ideas that you have read at this blog, I will not be pleased at all.)

Payne, Rob Anxiety increases error, but not bias, in facial recognition. Science Network. November 20th 2015.


Colour-blindness a variation in visual perception ability possibly endowing advantages relevant to work performance, rather than simply a disability

Payne, Rob Colour-blindness may aid in search and rescue effort. Science Network. November 11th 2015.

The idea that colour-blindness can be advantagous is not new to me, as last year I watched with great interest a story on ABC24’s News Breakfast in which the colour-blind presenter Michael Rowland explained his advantage over people with normal colour vision in visually detecting camouflaged items. Unfortunately the clip of this story is no longer available to view.

Vision scientist explains colour blindness. ABC News Breakfast. 7 Apr 2014.


Eagleman always working on very interesting research

This article in the October 10th 2015 issue of New Scientist about David Eagleman by Helen Thomson is well worth a look, but unfortunately behind a paywall. Dr Eagleman is known to me as a leading synaesthesia researcher whose team developed the world’s best test of synaesthesia, which anyone can do online at no cost, and get the full results. The recent article is not about synaesthesia at all, but the research theme is very similar to synaesthesia in that it is about a device created by Eagleman and his team that can use one sensory modality to sense input that is completely different to what is normally sensed through that sense. The versatile extrasensory transducer (VEST) can convert non-sensory data streams or sensory information into touch sensory input, and apparently Eagleman’s team are trying to find out if it can be used to help the deaf to hear through the sensory mode of touch, which would be a clever feat on a par with blind people who can echolocate. Some of the other ideas about using the device to sense data streams fascinate me with the wide-open potential for this technology, but the idea of using this kind of technology to monitor one’s own blood glucose level seems redundant. Surely a more efficient way to acquire this skill would be through feedback training to boost a latent natural ability to sense this biological state? I am certain that I can sense my own blood pressure levels, and probably many other states.

Dr Eagleman has a new TV series airing in the USA and a book out that is a companion to the series. How long until we will see them here in Australia? I can only guess, and wait.

Eagleman Laboratory

The Brain with David Eagleman