Reblog / posted 1 week ago with 62 notes
Ecological Fallacy

The ecological fallacy occurs when you make conclusions about individuals based only on analyses of group data.

For instance, assume that you measured the math scores of a particular classroom and found that they had the highest average score in the district. Later, you run into one of the kids from that class and you think to yourself “she must be a math whiz.”

This is an effect which occurs when people use statistical data and apply it incorrectly. It is often used by people who are seeking factual support for their arguments.

It is sometimes also used by researchers who are a bit too keen on proving something.


"Social research differs fundamentally from advocacy research. Advocacy research refers to research that sifts though evidence to argue a predetermined position. Lawyers engage in advocacy research in attempting to prove the guilt or innocence of defendants. Special interest groups engage in advocacy research when trying to influence the vote of lawmakers on a particular bill. The aim of advocacy research is to convince others to think or act in a given way. Hence advocacy research presents evidence selectively, focusing on supporting evidence and suppressing contrary or inconvenient evidence."
— Glenn Firebaugh, Seven Rules for Social Research 

"First, it must be understood that, despite claims to objectivity, science is a human endeavor and subject to human failings. Theory in science is necessary to guide science. However, once theories are proposed there is a risk that their proponents become emotionally attached to them and unable to consider them objectively. This is, in essence, the process Kuhn (1970) refers to in paradigm change, in which proponents of a preexisting theoretical paradigm defend the paradigm vigorously, even in the face of disconfirmatory data. Or put another way, scholars begin to invest their energy into proving true a particular theory rather than falsifying it, which would be the proper conduct of science. Once scholars have become invested (whether emotionally, financially or through their reputations) in a particular theory, they risk slipping into functioning as advocates for their position rather than as objective scientists. Particularly when some scientists have actually taken research funding from advocacy groups, this risk is considerable."

Ferguson and Dyck (2012)

Preach!


"For every one female killer, about nine men are murderers. For every one woman who kills another unrelated women, about 30 men kill an unrelated man. The gender imbalance in the killing of same-sex acquaintances or strangers is one of the most extreme behavioral differences known between the sexes."
— David Rowe, Biology and Crime

"It is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of facts."
— Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Second Stain

The intended victim, a 43-year-old man who has not been named, says his wife tried to lure him into bed and encouraged him to perform oral sex on her. His suspicions were aroused when he noticed an unusual odour emanating from her private parts and, fearing she was unwell, took her to hospital, Brazil’s Tvi24 reports. Medical tests revealed she had doused her vagina with enough of the unspecified toxin to kill both her husband and herself.

Confronted with the test results the woman reportedly confessed to her crime. It is believed she hatched the bizarre plot after asking her husband for a divorce, a request he now seems rather more likely to acquiesce to. Tvi24 says the woman has received medical treatment and sources claim her husband plans to sue her for attempted murder.

I can’t. 

Why was she not charged with attempted murder?


Portrait of an artist, who transforms neurons into ‘butterflies’

After completing a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, artist Rebecca Kamen has transformed her discussions with neuroscientists into abstract sculptures.

See more of her work: Rebecca Kamen


"Ideology is the science of idiots."

John Adams

Be skeptical of “data,” “evidence,” or “scientific proof” from individuals or organizations that put ideology ahead of what the research actually concludes. No matter how well-intentioned these groups are, they end up causing more damage to their cause and creating a larger mistrust of the social sciences in the public’s mind. 


Hugh Turvey: Inside the Life of an X-Ray Artist

Hugh Turvey is a British artist and photographer who uses x-ray technology to create what he calls Xograms, a fusion of visible light and x-ray imagery.

  1. X-ray image of an elephant skull and tusks.
  2. Turvey experimented by photographing his wife’s foot in a high-heeled shoe.
  3. An x-ray image of a Dachshund wearing a protective cone.
  4. X-ray of a goldfish in a bowl.

More over at National Geographic



An Example of the Many Things that Annoy Me:

Tumblr post: “A recent study conducted by the University of Southern California found that during an emergency evacuation these people are more likely to survive compared to these people.”

Why are you linking to Wikipedia pages for these things? Link the freaking study, or don’t discuss it. It really isn’t that complicated. Do not try to make your post look more legit than it is. Do not do it. Links do not help your post if they are shitty links


America Has More Prisoners Than High School Teachers

If sitting in a prison cell was a job, it would be one of the most common jobs in the United States. In 2012, there were some1,570,000 inmates in state and federal prisons in the U.S., according to data from the Justice Department.
By contrast, there were about 1,530,000 engineers in America last year, 815,000 construction workers, and 1 million high school teachers, according to theBureau of Labor Statistics.

This does not even include the amount of inmates incarcerated in jails, and is missing 3 states because they didn’t get their numbers in on time. 
Something that is missing from this chart: This is the 3rd consecutive year that the prison population is decreasing. We are starting to see inmate populations level-off and decrease for the first time in decades.  
Which states are in the extremes?

In 2012, states with the highest imprisonment rates included Louisiana (893 per 100,000 state residents), Mississippi (717 per 100,000 state residents), Alabama (650 per 100,000 state residents), Oklahoma (648 per 100,000 state residents), and Texas (601 per 100,000 state residents).
Maine had the lowest imprisonment rate among states (145 per 100,000 state residents), followed by Minnesota (184 per 100,000 state residents), and Rhode Island (190 per 100,000 state residents).

Who are the offenders? First and foremost, men. After that it gets complicated.

In 2011 (the most recent data available), the majority (53 percent) of sentenced state prisoners were serving time for a violent offense, including robbery (14 percent), murder or nonnegligent manslaughter (12 percent), rape or sexual assault (12 percent) and aggravated or simple assault (10 percent). About 18 percent were serving time for property offenses, 17 percent for drug crimes and 11 percent for public order offenses, such as weapon violations, drunk driving, commercialized vice and court offenses.
White prisoners comprised 35 percent of the 2011 state prison population, while black prisoners were 38 percent and Hispanics were 21 percent.  The percentage of Hispanic inmates sentenced for violent offenses (58 percent) during 2011 exceeded that of non-Hispanic black (56 percent) and non-Hispanic white (49 percent) inmates, while the number of black inmates imprisoned for violent crimes (284,631) surpassed that of white (228,782) or Hispanic (162,489) inmates.

Probably not intentional, but there is a lot of new strong empirical research coming out that indicates a school-to-prison pipeline.

America Has More Prisoners Than High School Teachers

If sitting in a prison cell was a job, it would be one of the most common jobs in the United States. In 2012, there were some1,570,000 inmates in state and federal prisons in the U.S., according to data from the Justice Department.

By contrast, there were about 1,530,000 engineers in America last year, 815,000 construction workers, and 1 million high school teachers, according to theBureau of Labor Statistics.

This does not even include the amount of inmates incarcerated in jails, and is missing 3 states because they didn’t get their numbers in on time.

Something that is missing from this chart: This is the 3rd consecutive year that the prison population is decreasing. We are starting to see inmate populations level-off and decrease for the first time in decades.

Which states are in the extremes?

In 2012, states with the highest imprisonment rates included Louisiana (893 per 100,000 state residents), Mississippi (717 per 100,000 state residents), Alabama (650 per 100,000 state residents), Oklahoma (648 per 100,000 state residents), and Texas (601 per 100,000 state residents).

Maine had the lowest imprisonment rate among states (145 per 100,000 state residents), followed by Minnesota (184 per 100,000 state residents), and Rhode Island (190 per 100,000 state residents).

Who are the offenders? First and foremost, men. After that it gets complicated.

In 2011 (the most recent data available), the majority (53 percent) of sentenced state prisoners were serving time for a violent offense, including robbery (14 percent), murder or nonnegligent manslaughter (12 percent), rape or sexual assault (12 percent) and aggravated or simple assault (10 percent). About 18 percent were serving time for property offenses, 17 percent for drug crimes and 11 percent for public order offenses, such as weapon violations, drunk driving, commercialized vice and court offenses.

White prisoners comprised 35 percent of the 2011 state prison population, while black prisoners were 38 percent and Hispanics were 21 percent. The percentage of Hispanic inmates sentenced for violent offenses (58 percent) during 2011 exceeded that of non-Hispanic black (56 percent) and non-Hispanic white (49 percent) inmates, while the number of black inmates imprisoned for violent crimes (284,631) surpassed that of white (228,782) or Hispanic (162,489) inmates.

Probably not intentional, but there is a lot of new strong empirical research coming out that indicates a school-to-prison pipeline.



"Education is not just the filling of a pail, it is the lighting of a fire."
B. F. Skinner

Reblog / posted 1 year ago with 60 notes
U.S. Regions Exhibit Distinct Personalities, Research Reveals

“This analysis challenges the standard methods of dividing up the country on the basis of economic factors, voting patterns, cultural stereotypes or geography that appear to have become ingrained in the way people think about the United States,” said lead author Peter J. Rentfrow, PhD, of the University of Cambridge. “At the same time, it reinforces some of the traditional beliefs that some areas of the country are friendlier than others, while some are more creative.”  
The researchers analyzed the personality traits of more than 1.5 million people. Through various online forums/media (e.g., Facebook and survey panels), participants answered questions about their psychological traits and demographics, including their state of residence. The researchers identified three psychological profiles based on five broad dimensions of personality — openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism — also known as the “Big Five” personality traits. When the researchers overlaid the findings on a national map, they found certain psychological profiles were predominant in three distinct geographic areas. The data were collected over 12 years in five samples with participants from the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. Overall, the samples were nationally representative in terms of gender and ethnicity, with the exception of a larger proportion of young people. 

While I think this is is pretty interesting, I disagree with the statement I bolded in the first paragraph. It doesn’t challenge standard methods so much as it adds another dimension that researchers should account for in their models. Some caveats: 1) causality is not accounted for in their model, so the researchers are not able to distinguish whether the pre-established environment causes personality differences between regions or if personality creates the environment; 2) There is a large selection issue. People move, and frequently. Are people self-selecting into these regions? None of those issues are accounted for in the research. 
Interesting nonetheless. 
So how accurate is this map?

U.S. Regions Exhibit Distinct Personalities, Research Reveals

“This analysis challenges the standard methods of dividing up the country on the basis of economic factors, voting patterns, cultural stereotypes or geography that appear to have become ingrained in the way people think about the United States,” said lead author Peter J. Rentfrow, PhD, of the University of Cambridge. “At the same time, it reinforces some of the traditional beliefs that some areas of the country are friendlier than others, while some are more creative.”  

The researchers analyzed the personality traits of more than 1.5 million people. Through various online forums/media (e.g., Facebook and survey panels), participants answered questions about their psychological traits and demographics, including their state of residence. The researchers identified three psychological profiles based on five broad dimensions of personality — openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism — also known as the “Big Five” personality traits. When the researchers overlaid the findings on a national map, they found certain psychological profiles were predominant in three distinct geographic areas. The data were collected over 12 years in five samples with participants from the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. Overall, the samples were nationally representative in terms of gender and ethnicity, with the exception of a larger proportion of young people. 

While I think this is is pretty interesting, I disagree with the statement I bolded in the first paragraph. It doesn’t challenge standard methods so much as it adds another dimension that researchers should account for in their models. Some caveats: 1) causality is not accounted for in their model, so the researchers are not able to distinguish whether the pre-established environment causes personality differences between regions or if personality creates the environment; 2) There is a large selection issue. People move, and frequently. Are people self-selecting into these regions? None of those issues are accounted for in the research. 

Interesting nonetheless. 

So how accurate is this map?