in praise of (lab) rotation

I did my PhD in psychology, but in a department that had close ties and collaborations with neuroscience. One of the interesting things about psychology and neuroscience programs is that they seem to have quite different graduate training models, even in cases where the area of research substantively overlaps (e.g., in cognitive neuroscience). In psychology, … Continue reading in praise of (lab) rotation

what’s adaptive about depression?

Jonah Lehrer has an interesting article in the NYT magazine about a recent Psych Review article by Paul Andrews and J. Anderson Thomson. The basic claim Andrews and Thomson make in their paper is that depression is “an adaptation that evolved as a response to complex problems and whose function is to minimize disruption of … Continue reading what’s adaptive about depression?

if natural selection goes, so does most everything else

Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini have a new book out entitled What Darwin Got Wrong. The book has—to put it gently—not been very well received (well, the creationists love it). Its central thesis is that natural selection fails as a mechanism for explaining observable differences between species, because there’s ultimately no way to conclusively determine … Continue reading if natural selection goes, so does most everything else

what do personality psychology and social psychology actually have in common?

Is there a valid (i.e., non-historical) reason why personality psychology and social psychology are so often lumped together as one branch of psychology? There are PSP journals, PSP conferences, PSP brownbags… the list goes on. It all seems kind of odd considering that, in some ways, personality psychologists and social psychologists have completely opposite focuses … Continue reading what do personality psychology and social psychology actually have in common?

the OKCupid guide to dating older women

Continuing along on their guided tour of Data I Wish I Had Access To, the OKCupid folks have posted another set of interesting figures on their blog. This time, they make the case for dating older women, suggesting that men might get more bang for their buck (in a literal sense, I suppose) by trying … Continue reading the OKCupid guide to dating older women

Feynman’s first principle: on the virtue of changing one’s mind

As an undergraduate, I majored in philosophy. Actually, that’s not technically true: I came within one credit of double-majoring in philosophy and psychology, but I just couldn’t bring myself to take one more ancient philosophy course (a requirement for the major), so I ended up majoring in psychology and minoring in philosophy. But I still … Continue reading Feynman’s first principle: on the virtue of changing one’s mind

elsewhere on the internets…

Some stuff I’ve found interesting in the last week or two: Nicholas Felton released his annual report of… himself. It’s a personal annual report on Felton, as seen through the eyes of a bunch of friends, family, and strangers: Each day in 2009, I asked every person with whom I had a meaningful encounter to … Continue reading elsewhere on the internets…

the fifty percent sleeper

That’s the title of a short fiction piece I have up at lablit.com today; it’s about brain scanning and beef jerky, among other things. It starts like this: Day 1, 6 a.m. Ok, I’m locked into this place now. I’ve got ten pounds of beef jerky, fifty dollars for the vending machine, and a flash … Continue reading the fifty percent sleeper

internet use causes depression! or not.

I have a policy of not saying negative things about people (or places, or things) on this blog, and I think I’ve generally been pretty good about adhering to that policy. But I also think it’s important for scientists to speak up in cases where journalists or other scientists misrepresent scientific research in a way … Continue reading internet use causes depression! or not.