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Dan Weiss is an associate professor of cognitive psychology and linguistics at the Pennsylvania State University. He completed his graduate training at Harvard University along with a postdoc at the University of Rochester. His published work focuses on how infants and adults acquire language and also compares how humans and animals think. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

Dan lives with his wife, his son, two dogs, and a demanding cat in Central Pennsylvania. Dan’s hobbies include photography, writing, running, and whitewater kayaking. Generally, Dan maintains reasonably good hygiene and tries not to rely on spell checker.

Entries by Dan Weiss

The Silent Majority

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 12:16 AM

Back in May, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) published the results of a comprehensive global study of anti-Semitism. They polled 53,100 people from countries spanning the globe asking whether they endorse 11 common stereotypes about Jews. According to their findings, 26 percent of respondents endorsed six or more items, reaching the...

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Skins, Take a Page From Pollin

(0) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 2:39 PM

There is no flimsier justification for maintaining a blatantly offensive tradition than to predicate it on "But that's the way it has always been." Yet, that is the primary justification for the Washington Redskins to keep a name that is clearly offensive to many Native Americans. Roger Goodell, the commissioner...

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6 'Easy' Steps to Solving the Israeli-Arab Conflict

(4) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 11:33 AM

With the Syrian chemical weapons crisis seemingly behind us, it is high time to tackle the most central issue in the Middle East, namely the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These adversaries have been stuck in an endless cycle of violence and failed negotiations. Every time there is progress toward peace, it is...

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Divorcing Dallas: Our Strange Relationship With Professional Sports

(26) Comments | Posted August 25, 2013 | 4:54 PM

In graduate school, I had the privilege of auditing a class taught by the distinguished anthropologist, Irv Devore. At the end of his final lecture, he closed with this observation: the one thing he has never comprehended about human nature is our obsession with sports. This revelation was startling. For...

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Runaway Selection and the Cellophane Rabbi

(50) Comments | Posted May 1, 2013 | 10:46 AM

Male widowbirds have an unusually large tail, making flight harder than it ought to be. But why evolve a tail that gets in the way? The answer is older than Methuselah: because chicks dig it. Yes, apparently for female widowbirds, at least, size matters. Back in the 1930s, a statistician...

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Ten Commandments for Starting Your Own Religion

(9) Comments | Posted February 25, 2013 | 12:50 PM

When Pope Gregory XII abdicated some 600 years ago, it was in the service of ending a period of deep turmoil. By contrast, the current pope's decision to turn in his satin slippers has stunned many parishioners. If ever there was a window to start your own religion, this may...

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An 18th Century Constitution in a 21st Century World

(143) Comments | Posted January 3, 2013 | 1:22 PM

I am fascinated by our veneration for the legal acumen of our predecessors. Growing up within a traditional Jewish background, I was taught that we should revere the legal debates of the Talmud, as its protagonists lived closer in time to when the Torah was delivered at Mt. Sinai. That...

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When It Comes to Religious Beliefs, Less Is More

(37) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 2:28 PM

As Hanukkah rolls around once more, I'm again thankful that Jews don't celebrate Christmas. While the lighting ceremony for Hanukkah candles looks fairly innocuous, at least in orthodox Judaism, it is predictably governed by many rules. The candles must be placed in a certain location, must burn for a prescribed...

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164 Years of Tebow, a Case for Campaign Reform

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2012 | 10:02 AM

The news this past year has been filled with some decadent expenditures. In April, we learned that an anonymous couple spent $100,000 dollars to spend a day with Tim Tebow, a backup quarterback with the New York Jets. Around the same time, the General Services Administration was embroiled in a...

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Heaven Is Real -- and It's a Schlep

(72) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 1:21 PM

When I opened the latest issue of Newsweek I was delighted to see that there was an article devoted to the out-of-body experience reported by Dr. Eben Alexander in his new book. Dr. Alexander and I are in many ways kindred spirits. As scientists interested in the brain, we both...

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Toward a New Olympic Games: Anything Goes in Rio

(0) Comments | Posted August 22, 2012 | 12:40 PM

Ben Johnson, Marion Jones, Tyler Hamilton... a few names drawn from an extensive list of Olympic winners who doped their way to the top of the medal stand. The latest scandal may be imported from China. Swimmer Ye Shiwen swam the last lap of her 400m IM in 28.93 seconds,...

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