Why is yawning contagious?

Why is it that we often have an uncontrollable urge to yawn when we see someone else yawning? It happens all the time, but most of us have no idea why we do it – it occurs completely automatically. Interestingly, this phenomenon doesn’t just occur in humans, it has been shown in primates too (Anderson … Read more

The McCollough Effect

It’s always a good feeling when I find out about a new illusion that I can share on here – this week’s Brainteaser is another about colour after-effects: The Mccullough Effect. What makes this different to other colour after-effects is that the stimuli used in adaptation is simpler than the final illusion. This effect was … Read more

Face Illusion

Hi everyone, I haven’t done a Brainteaser for a while, so I thought I’d share with you this clip from QI to see how you get on!   What you should notice, is that when the face is pointed towards you, it appears to be 3D and facing you, regardless of whether or not you … Read more

The Bouba/Kiki Effect

Another brainteaser this week, on a test which any psychology student would recognise. First, have a look at these shapes. Which one would you call ‘bouba’ and which one would you call ‘kiki’? Once you’ve done this, scroll down to see the answer.   In fact, these shapes have not been officially named, but 95% … Read more

The Stroop Test

This week’s brainteaser is about a psychometric test that you might have seen before as it was used in the Nintendo ‘Brain Training’ game a few years ago! You might not recognise the name though, but it is actually called the Stroop test. In this test, participants are told that they must “say aloud the … Read more

Colour After-Effects

Following on from the brainteaser I posted a couple of weeks ago (see here), this post is about another type of optical illusion – colour after effects. Take a look at the image below, taken from Thompson & Burr (2009). Focus your gaze at the black spot in the centre for at least 30 seconds. … Read more

Changing Colours?

Today’s Brainteaser is a quick into into an important topic in perceptual psychology – how we see colour. The light which reflects off objects into our eyes is made from a variety of different wavelengths, which are interpreted by cells in our eyes and brain. This is fine in daylight, but when the light fades, … Read more

Are we logical?

If I asked you if you were logical, you would probably say yes. But how rational actually are we? According to some studies.. most people are pretty irrational – let’s see how you get on. Wason Card Selection Test (Wason, 1966) Each of these cards has a letter on one side and a number on … Read more

Seeing is believing?

Another brainteaser for you! First of all, watch this video. Make sure you pay attention to the instructions at the beginning – you’ll be asked questions about it at the end.   What did you think?   And importantly – did you see the gorilla?! Selective attention tests like these show how focused our attention … Read more