A political candidate running for regional public office asked a famous political psychologist what kind of television ads she should air in three heavily contested districts: positive ones emphasizing her own record, or negative ones attacking her opponent’s record. “You’re in luck,” said the psychologist. “I have a new theory of persuasion that addresses exactly … Continue reading The parable of the three districts: A projective test for psychologists
There are approximately 25 communities named Athens in North America. I say “approximately”, because it depends on how you count. Many of the American Athenses are unincorporated communities, and rely for their continued existence not on legal writ, but on social agreement or collective memory. Some no longer exist at all, having succumbed to the turbulence of … Continue reading The great European capitals of North America
The annual Association for Psychological Science meeting is coming up in San Francisco this week. One of the cross-cutting themes this year is “Big Data: Understanding Patterns of Human Behavior”. Since I’m giving two Big Data-related talks (1, 2), and serving as discussant on a related symposium, I’ve been spending some time recently trying to … Continue reading Big Data, n. A kind of black magic
Twitter is kind of a big deal. Not just out there in the world at large, but also in the research community, which loves the kind of structured metadata you can retrieve for every tweet. A lot of researchers rely heavily on twitter to model social networks, information propagation, persuasion, and all kinds of interesting … Continue reading estimating the influence of a tweet–now with 33% more causal inference!
This is fiction. The party is supposed to start at 7 pm, but of course, no one shows up before 8:45. When the guests finally do arrive, I randomly assign each of them to one of four groups–A through D–as they enter. Each assignment comes with an adhesive 2″ color patch, a nametag, and a … Continue reading Jirafas
Last year when I launched my lab (which, full disclosure, is really just me, plus some of my friends who were kind enough to let me plaster their names and faces on my website), I decided to call it the Psychoinformatics Lab (or PILab for short and pretentious), because, well, why not. It seemed to … Continue reading …and then there were two!
This is fiction. Science will return shortly. Cornelius Kipling doesn’t take No for an answer. He usually takes several of them–several No’s strung together in rapid sequence, each one louder and more adamant than the last one. “No,” I told him over dinner at the Rhubarb Club one foggy evening. “No, no, no. I won’t … Continue reading the seedy underbelly
Apparently time does a thing that is much like flying. Seems like just yesterday I was sitting here in this chair, sipping on martinis, and pleasantly humming old show tunes while cranking out several high-quality blog posts an hour a mediocre blog post every week or two. But then! Then I got distracted! And blinked! … Continue reading several half-truths, and one blatant, unrepenting lie about my recent whereabouts
Warning: what follows is a somewhat technical discussion of my love-hate relationship with the R statistical language, in which I somehow manage to waste 2,400 words talking about a single line of code. Reader discretion is advised. I’ve been using R to do most of my statistical analysis for about 7 or 8 years now–ever … Continue reading R, the master troll of statistical languages
I got back from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society meeting last week. I was planning to write a post-CNS wrap-up thing like I did last year and the year before that, but I seem to have misplaced the energy that’s supposed to fuel such an exercise. So instead I’ll just say I had a great time and … Continue reading in which I apologize for my laziness, but not really