A new model has arisen over the past decade, in which visual cognition is understood not as a camera but something more like a flashlight beam sweeping a twilit landscape. At any particular instant, we can only see detail and color in the small patch we are concentrating on. The rest we fill in through a combination of memory, prediction and a crude peripheral sight. We don't take in our surroundings so much as actively and constantly construct them.
On the visual trials, nonsynesthetes judgments fell to nearly chance levels, a result that corroborates other research showing that most people are better at judging auditory patterns than assessing visual patterns.
As researchers continue to investigate storytelling's power and pervasiveness, they are also looking for ways to harness that power. Some such as Green are studying how stories can have applications in promoting positive health messages. "A lot of problems are behaviorally based," Green says, pointing to research documenting the influence of Hollywood films on smoking habits among teens. And Mar and Oatley want to further examine how stories can enhance social skills by acting as simulators for the brain, which may turn the idea of the socially crippled bookworm on its head.
An elegant, focused PowerPoint deck is good, but hardly sufficient, webinars would benefit from some instructional design principles. Webinar disasters can be prevented by applying basic instructional design: selecting content by taking into account the purpose of the presentation, attending to time/space constraints and audience, matching content with delivery strategies, applying document design, storytelling, characterization, worked examples and so on and so forth. It boils down to "telling a story and not lecturing or reading."
For the purposes of their experiment, two people were considered to be acquaintances if they had sent one another a text message. The researchers looked at the minimum chain lengths it would take to connect 180 billion different pairs of users in the database. They found that the average length was 6.6 steps and that 78 percent of the pairs could be connected in seven hops or less. Some pairs, however, were separated by as many as 29 hops.