2010-01-26

RadioLab's Duo Demystifies " 'Slacker' Brain"


One of public radio's most aurally delicious programs, Radiolab, produced by local station WNYC, was again featured on Morning Edition today. Radiolab takes on the subject of willpower -- and its consistent failures.  The excerpt of a longer Radiolab story began by asking NPR host Steve Inskeep to perform the classic digit span task -- memorizing a series of numbers.  The reason was to illustrate the effects of cognitive load on decision-making processes, such as choosing between eating chocolate cake and fruit.  The latter task was part of an experiment by Stanford's Baba Shiv, related to the Radiolab team by Radiolab's sometime collaborator, science writer Jonah Lehrer. The 1956 study was front and center in the segment, which discussed how marketers might overpower the better intentions of prospective customers by taxing their brain function.

1 comment:

tom sheepandgoats said...

I also read of the cake-fruit experiment. It's not good news to those who would hope that reason can trump emotion. If only its consequences went no deeper than food choices.