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Gary Marcus
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Entries by Gary Marcus

Figuring Out the Most Efficient Way to Practice, One Molecule at a Time

(12) Comments | Posted February 12, 2012 | 6:24 PM

The old cliche has it that practice makes perfect, but what makes for perfect practice?

One of the first scientific bits of insight came over a century ago, when one of psychology's great pioneers -- the insanely patient cognitive psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus -- pulled...

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What Makes People Want to Play Rock Band and Guitar Hero?

(130) Comments | Posted September 14, 2009 | 5:42 PM

In some ways, Guitar Hero and Rock Band seem like the stupidest games on earth. Colored discs scroll down a TV screen, and eager participants mash colored buttons in time with what they see. You press a red button when you see a red disc, a blue button when you...

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The Gambler

(10) Comments | Posted September 29, 2008 | 3:27 PM

John McCain's been a gambler since the day he was born, and not just at the $100-a-chip craps tables (as the New York Times reported yesterday). At the Naval Academy he gambled on bucking upperclassmen, harming his reputation, and on not studying for math exams, ending up...

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Could a Quirk in Human Brain Wind Up Costing Taxpayers $700 Billion Dollars?

(55) Comments | Posted September 23, 2008 | 10:02 PM

By all accounts, Paulson's bailout plan is a stinker: no oversight, no fairness, and no serious analysis of whether it will actually work. You don't have to be an economist to see it as a welfare program for the greedy people who got us into this mess in the first...

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Unintelligent Design

(318) Comments | Posted June 30, 2008 | 6:08 PM

Lost amid all the recent discussions of intelligent design -- including Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's decision this past Friday to sign a bill that allows teachers in his state to "supplement" classes on evolution with talk of creationism -- is one simple basic fact. The human species isn't intelligently...

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Procrastination: Adaptation or Kluge?

(4) Comments | Posted May 14, 2008 | 7:22 PM

By one recent estimate, 80-95% of college students engage in procrastination, with a full 3/4 of all students considering themselves to be (habitual) procrastinators. Another estimate says that 15-20% of all adults are chronically affected -- and I can't help but wonder whether the rest are simply lying....
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Does Brain Imaging Make You Dumb?

(18) Comments | Posted March 22, 2008 | 7:51 PM

I'm not talking about sticking your head in fMRI scanner, which, so far as anybody can tell, is perfectly safe. (Unless you happen to have a pacemaker or pieces of shrapnel in your head, in which case you might want to give the whole procedure a miss).

No,...

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Hillary, Don't be a Nader

(12) Comments | Posted March 17, 2008 | 12:04 AM

Dear Senator Clinton,

I like you. A lot. I admire your efforts for children and in health care, and I think you might well be better than Senator Obama in making day-to-day policy decisions. Honestly, I think you'd make a great president.

But this is not your year. Obama's got...

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Client 9: What was he Thinking?

(60) Comments | Posted March 11, 2008 | 11:12 AM

How could a man with seemingly unlimited career prospects squander so much for so little?

I'm not of course talking about the $4,300, which, at the time, may have seem liked a good deal. Powerful men, as the saying goes, don't pay prostitutes for sex, they pay them to go...

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The Truth About Antidepressants?

(23) Comments | Posted February 27, 2008 | 11:49 AM

Dashing by Google News before bed, I noticed that the usually careful Washington Post had ran a headline saying, "Only Severely Depressed Benefit From Antidepressants: Study", which I, can only imagine, will lead hundreds, if not thousands of people to get off their anti-depressants -- and probably for the...

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