Monthly Archives: December 2011

Best Of PsySociety: 2011’s Most Popular Posts

Although I began my science blogging experience at IonPsych back in January (for a course on science writing for a general audience taught by Dan Simons), I didn’t start blogging at PsySociety until May. As a result, I don’t even have an entire year’s worth of posts on this blog! However, in the spirit of the year’s end, I thought I would list the 10 most popular posts from 2011 anyway (as determined by total pageviews).

I had a few guest posts on other blogs (like the SciAm guest blog and The Thoughtful Animal), for which I don’t know the pageview stats, and I’m not counting any of my 8 posts from IonPsych on this list (2 have been re-posted here, and the rest will be re-posted eventually). That all being said, here are the 10 “most viewed” posts from 2011, in descending order.

10. New York and Same-Sex Marriage: When Politics, Personalities, and Persuasion Tricks Collide.
9. Sex, Lies, and Power = Lies about Power and Sex.
8. Envying Evolution: What Can The X-Men Teach Us About Stereotypes?
7. If I Were A Well-Off White Man… I Might Not Understand Other People Very Well.
6. Weiner’s Wiener? Too Perfect To Be A Coincidence.
5. Beautiful People, Beautiful Products.
4. Who Runs The World? Not Girls.
3. Casey’s Case: What Psychology Says About Anthony’s Acquittal.
2. Why Jersey Shore Won’t Make You Dumber: The Importance of Responsible Science Journalism

And finally, the most popular post on PsySociety in 2011…

1. Sex and the Married Neurotic (which made it into Open Lab 2012!)

Thank you all for reading PsySociety and for supporting my blog during its first year of existence!

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The making of a Tough Mudder.

Exactly one month ago today, I participated in my first Tough Mudder.

Officially billed as a “hardcore, 10-12 mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie” (and unofficially billed as “probably the toughest event on the planet”), you can imagine that it was hard to stand there, jumping up and down to keep warm (did I mention that this took place in November…in Indiana?!) without thinking about all of the social psychology going on around me.

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A Very PsySociety Gift Guide

The holidays are almost upon us (and sneaking up even sooner for me and my family — we’re Jewish, and Hanukkah’s in just one week!) If you’re at all like me, you have left most of your shopping to the last minute and are looking for some good, quick suggestions. Well, never fear, PsySociety readers! Here I am with a little gift guide, crafted especially with your favorite science writers, science photographers, and plain ol’ scientists in mind. Or, if your shopping is all done for the season, why not celebrate by treating yourself to a nice sci-themed gift?

[NOTE: Each image has a click-through link to the webpage where you can purchase the featured item. Many of the websites note that the deadline for Christmas delivery is December 16th, hence the rushed post tonight, so if you like anything you see here…get on it!]

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If I were a well-off White man… I might not understand other people very well.

“I thought this was The Onion at first, too. Nope.”

“This is a joke, right?”

“Speaking of ignorance…”

This is just a sampling of comments that I saw on Facebook as people linked to an article that appeared in Forbes on Monday, titled (in a rather inflammatory manner, if I do say so myself), “If I Were A Poor Black Kid.

My immediate reaction was to hate the article. I found it insulting, ignorant, and just plain short-sighted. As I commented in my own link on Facebook, “[To summarize], ‘This is what I would do if I were born into a completely different set of circumstances, a completely different family, a completely different social support system, a completely different school district, a completely different body with a completely different skin tone and a completely different way that people in public respond to me, yet I somehow still retained all of the benefits, knowledge, and access to resources as a middle-aged, middle-class white man.'”

However, upon re-reading the article and giving it a little more thought, I’ve come to realize that the real issue with the article isn’t that the author, Gene Marks, is necessarily racist, or even really ignorant. After all, he acknowledges right off the bat that the system is unfair, and that children from other areas of town have it much harder than his own, privileged children do. Marks clearly has some knowledge of the unfairness of “the system.” So the real question is, how could he then go on to write such a short-sighted article, completely missing any sort of perspective on what it means to actually be a member of the community to which he is proselytizing?1

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What Would You Like To See From PsySociety?

Hi everyone,

In the past 6 months that I’ve been blogging for PsySociety, my posts have seemed to fall into two different categories:

A. Research –> Pop Culture, where I start with a psychological research topic (or specific article) and then use pop culture/current events to illustrate the research. Examples: Sex and the Married Neurotic, With Pets Like These, Who Needs People?

B. Pop Culture –> Research, where I start with a pop culture phenomenon, current events topic, or news event, and then use psychological research to explain it. Examples: Casey’s Case: What Psychology Says about Anthony’s Acquittal, New York and Same-Sex Marriage.

I enjoy writing both types of posts, but I’d also like to make sure that my blog is doing the best job that it can of reaching out and writing about psychology in an interesting, accessible way (which is, really, my ultimate goal in this whole thing). So my question to you all is simple: Which type would you like to see more on PsySociety? Do you like them both equally? Is there another format you would rather see more often (weekly links, more short-form posts, more guest posts, etc.)? Please let me know in the poll below, on Twitter, or here in the comments! I’m open to any and all feedback.

 

Why Jersey Shore won’t make you dumber: The importance of responsible science journalism

I was browsing my Facebook news feed yesterday when I saw that someone I know from college had linked to this article on the MSNBC website: “Watching ‘Jersey Shore’ might make you dumber, study suggests.” The description underneath the link read, “Take note, fans of mindless reality shows like ‘Jersey Shore’: New research suggests watching something dumb might make you dumber.”

At that point, I should have thought to myself, “I have a lot of work that I need to get done today. I probably should not read this article and risk getting very worked up over what will likely be a really painful misrepresentation of psychological research.”

Oh, if only I ever actually thought that way. But alas, I do not. So I clicked on the link.

My bad.
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OK, I’ll trust you…if you think God is watching.

When this year’s Miss USA contestants responded to a question about the value of teaching evolution in public schools, one thing was clear: There is a raging debate between Religion and Evolution, and these women had firmly planted themselves on the Bible’s side.

However, the snag in this debate that the contestants didn’t quite seem to realize is that religion itself may actually owe quite a bit to evolution.

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