repost: narrative tips from a grad school applicant

Since it’s grad school application season for undergraduates, I thought I’d repost some narrative tips about how to go about writing a personal statement for graduate programs in psychology. This is an old, old post from a long-deceased blog; it’s from way back in 2002 when I was applying to grad school. It’s kind of … Continue reading repost: narrative tips from a grad school applicant

babygate blues: a neuromarketing tale

Cory Doctorow has a new short story (“Ghosts in my Head“) about the undesirable consequences of neuromarketing run amok up on the Subterranean Press website.  I liked the story, but thought the premise was pretty unrealistic (and, yes, I do know it’s called science fiction for a reason–I’m just sayin’). So as a counterpoint, here’s … Continue reading babygate blues: a neuromarketing tale

the perils of digging too deep

Another in a series of posts supposedly at the intersection of fiction and research methods, but mostly just an excuse to write ridiculous stories and pretend they have some sort of moral. Dr. Rickles the postdoc looked a bit startled when I walked into his office. He was eating a cheese sandwich and watching a … Continue reading the perils of digging too deep

the capricious nature of p < .05, or why data peeking is evil

There’s a time-honored tradition in the social sciences–or at least psychology–that goes something like this. You decide on some provisional number of subjects you’d like to run in your study; usually it’s a nice round number like twenty or sixty, or some number that just happens to coincide with the sample size of the last … Continue reading the capricious nature of p < .05, or why data peeking is evil

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

the parable of zoltan and his twelve sheep, or why a little skepticism goes a long way

What follows is a fictional piece about sheep and statistics. I wrote it about two years ago, intending it to serve as a preface to an article on the dangers of inadvertent data fudging. But then I decided that no journal editor in his or her right mind would accept an article that started out … Continue reading the parable of zoltan and his twelve sheep, or why a little skepticism goes a long way