Shalizi on the confounding of contagion and homophily in social network studies

Cosma Shalizi has a post up today discussing a new paper he wrote with Andrew C. Thomas arguing that it’s pretty much impossible to distinguish the effects of social contagion from homophily in observational studies. That’s probably pretty cryptic without context, so here’s the background. A number of high-profile studies have been published in the … Continue reading Shalizi on the confounding of contagion and homophily in social network studies

undergraduates are WEIRD

This month’s issue of Nature Neuroscience contains an editorial lambasting the excessive reliance of psychologists on undergraduate college samples, which, it turns out, are pretty unrepresentative of humanity at large. The impetus for the editorial is a mammoth in-press review of cross-cultural studies by Joseph Henrich and colleagues, which, the authors suggest, collectively indicate that … Continue reading undergraduates are WEIRD

cognitive training doesn’t work (much, if at all)

There’s a beautiful paper in Nature this week by Adrian Owen and colleagues that provides what’s probably as close to definitive evidence as you can get in any single study that “brain training” programs don’t work. Or at least, to the extent that they do work, the effects are so weak they’re probably not worth … Continue reading cognitive training doesn’t work (much, if at all)

links and slides from the CNS symposium

After the CNS symposium on building a cumulative cognitive neuroscience, several people I talked to said it was a pity there wasn’t an online repository where all the sites that the speakers discussed could be accessed. I should have thought of that ahead of time, because even if we made one now, no one would … Continue reading links and slides from the CNS symposium

CNS wrap-up

I’m back from CNS in Montreal (actually, I’m not quite back; I’m in Ottawa for a few days–but close enough). Some thoughts about the experience, in no particular order, and with very little sense: A huge number of registered attendees (basically, everyone from Europe who didn’t leave for Montreal early) couldn’t make it to the … Continue reading CNS wrap-up

the grand canada tour, 2010 edition

Blogging will be slow(er than normal) for the next couple of weeks. On Wednesday I’m off on a long-awaited Grand Tour of Canada, 2010 edition. The official purpose of the trip is the CNS meeting in Montreal, but seeing as I’m from Canada and most of my family is in Toronto and Ottawa, I’ll be … Continue reading the grand canada tour, 2010 edition

correlograms are correlicious

In the last year or so, I’ve been experimenting with different ways of displaying correlation matrices, and have gotten very fond of color-coded correlograms. Here’s one from a paper I wrote investigating the relationship between personality and word use among bloggers (click to enlarge): The rows reflect language categories from Jamie Pennebaker’s Linguistic Inquiry and … Continue reading correlograms are correlicious

some thoughtful comments on automatic measure abbreviation

In the comments on my last post, Sanjay Srivastava had some excellent thoughts/concerns about the general approach of automating measure abbreviation using a genetic algorithm. They’re valid concerns that might come up for other people too, so I thought I’d discuss them here in more detail. Here’s Sanjay: Lew Goldberg emailed me a copy of … Continue reading some thoughtful comments on automatic measure abbreviation