"The human animal is an attentive animal, and his attention may be given to stimuli that are relatively faint. One can pick out sounds at a distance… Not only do we open the door to certain stimuli and close it to others, but out attention is an organizing process… Our attention enables us to organize the field in which we are going to act. Here we have the organism as acting and determining its environment. It is not simply a set of passive senses played upon by the stimuli that come from without. The organism goes out and determines what it is going to respond to and organizes that world."
— George Herbert Mead, 1964

Victim Blaming

I’m writing a paper of the attribution of blame in crimes and would like to know some of your opinions. 

Why do we blame victims of sexual assault?

No need to include any thoughts or comments about how victim blaming affects victims, that isn’t the focus of the paper and that topic could fill up an entire paper itself. Try to be as specific as you can (for example, sexism or patriarchy replies do not produce causal mechanisms in blame attribution).

Feel free to reply here, or if you wish to remain anonymous you can send me a private message. There are no right or wrong answers, I am genuinely curious about your opinions. I won’t post any answers, so have at it. 

Personally, why do you think we blame victims of sexual assault? What are the causal mechanisms that drive the attribution of blame?


"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. 


Sociologist Sam Richards: A Radical Experiment in Empathy

It all begins with empathy.

Love this guy. He puts on great lectures and is a fantastic professor. He was named one of the 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.

This Ted Talk hit as high as the 3rd most viewed talk in the world.


The Story Behind the First Ransom Note in American History

“You wil have to pay us before you git him from us, and pay us a big cent to,” the note reads. “if you put the cops hunting for him you is only defeegin yu own end.”

Credit: Freeman’s Auctioneers and Appraisers


"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places."
— Ernest Hemingway


Most of the time people are just trying to show off.
Should you ask a question during seminar? By PhD

Most of the time people are just trying to show off.

Should you ask a question during seminar? By PhD


"There is nothing that teaches you more than regrouping
after failure and moving on. Yet most people are stricken with
fear. They fear failure so much that they fail. They are too
conditioned, too used to being told what to do. It begins with
the family, runs through school and goes into the business
world."
Charles BukowskiThe Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship

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.


Many state and federal prisons run above the capacity they were built to hold.
(via)

Many state and federal prisons run above the capacity they were built to hold.

(via)


Share what you see.
Google’s homepage yesterday. 

Share what you see.

Google’s homepage yesterday. 



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

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?