Reblog / posted 5 days ago with 18 notes
"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 

Reblog / posted 1 year ago with 69 notes
The Idealized Research Process
The last ask prompted me to pull out an old article. For anyone interested in social science research, read this chapter by one of my favorite researchers Carol Sansone at the University of Utah.
The Research Process: Of Big Pictures, Little Details, and the Social Psychological Road in Between.





The figure shows a process of research that is relatively linear, stagewise, and iterative.The process starts with our identifying the phenomena that we want to understand. We then generate specific questions and hypo- theses, as well as decide if these questions or hypotheses should be universal. We next operationalize our hypothesized constructs in some more concrete way that invoke important measurement principles, select an appropriate research design, analyze the results, and decide to what extent our initial hypotheses were sup- ported. Depending on the evidence we gather and our conclusions about the patterns in our data, we hope that we gain some increased understanding of our phenomena of interest— and probably have even more questions than when we began. We then cycle through the process again with revised questions or questions that arose as consequences of our research findings. At some point, we may con- verge at some broader set of conclusions, and in some cases we may shift our emphasis on a given question. Thus, over time, with empirical studies, samples, and methodologies, we gradually build a knowledge base about the phenomena—perhaps broad enough so that we can apply this knowledge to treat, change, or alleviate important social problems. 

The Idealized Research Process

The last ask prompted me to pull out an old article. For anyone interested in social science research, read this chapter by one of my favorite researchers Carol Sansone at the University of Utah.

The Research Process: Of Big Pictures, Little Details, and the Social Psychological Road in Between.

The figure shows a process of research that is relatively linear, stagewise, and iterative.The process starts with our identifying the phenomena that we want to understand. We then generate specific questions and hypo- theses, as well as decide if these questions or hypotheses should be universal. We next operationalize our hypothesized constructs in some more concrete way that invoke important measurement principles, select an appropriate research design, analyze the results, and decide to what extent our initial hypotheses were sup- ported. Depending on the evidence we gather and our conclusions about the patterns in our data, we hope that we gain some increased understanding of our phenomena of interest— and probably have even more questions than when we began. We then cycle through the process again with revised questions or questions that arose as consequences of our research findings. At some point, we may con- verge at some broader set of conclusions, and in some cases we may shift our emphasis on a given question. Thus, over time, with empirical studies, samples, and methodologies, we gradually build a knowledge base about the phenomena—perhaps broad enough so that we can apply this knowledge to treat, change, or alleviate important social problems. 


Reblog / posted 1 year ago with 25 notes

This might be the best article I have stumbled upon today:

Kelley & Lemke (2013). Decision-making Under Uncertainty in the Cash Cab. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 27, 542-551.

Decision-making Under Uncertainty in the Cash Cab.

…IN THE CASH CAB.


Stand Your Ground Increases Racial Bias in “Justifiable Homicide” Trials

At MetroTrends, John Roman and Mitchell Downey report their analysis of  4,650 FBI records of homicides in which a person killed a stranger with a handgun. They conclude that stand your ground “tilts the odds in favor of the shooter.”  In SYG states, 13.6% of homicides were rules justifiable; in non-SYG states, only 7.2% were deemed such.  This is strong evidence that rulings of justifiable homicide are more likely under stand your ground.
But which homicides?

The very kind decided in the Zimmerman trial today.  A finding of “justifiable homicide” is much more common in the case of a white-on-black killing than any other kind including a white and a black person.  As PBS’s request, Roman compared the likelihood of a favorable finding for the defendant in SYG and non SYG cases, consider the races of the people involved.  The data is clear, compared to white-on-white crimes, stand your ground increases the likelihood of a not-guilty finding, but only when a person is accused of killing a black person.
It’s simple: stand your ground laws increase the chances that a homicide will be considered justifiable because it gives the jurors more leeway to give defendants the benefit of the doubt.  But, jurors will likely give that benefit of the doubt to certain kinds of defendants and not others. Stand your ground may or may not be a good law in theory but, in practice, it increases racial bias in legal outcomes.

Stand Your Ground Increases Racial Bias in “Justifiable Homicide” Trials

At MetroTrends, John Roman and Mitchell Downey report their analysis of  4,650 FBI records of homicides in which a person killed a stranger with a handgun. They conclude that stand your ground “tilts the odds in favor of the shooter.”  In SYG states, 13.6% of homicides were rules justifiable; in non-SYG states, only 7.2% were deemed such.  This is strong evidence that rulings of justifiable homicide are more likely under stand your ground.

But which homicides?

The very kind decided in the Zimmerman trial today.  A finding of “justifiable homicide” is much more common in the case of a white-on-black killing than any other kind including a white and a black person.  As PBS’s request, Roman compared the likelihood of a favorable finding for the defendant in SYG and non SYG cases, consider the races of the people involved.  The data is clear, compared to white-on-white crimes, stand your ground increases the likelihood of a not-guilty finding, but only when a person is accused of killing a black person.

It’s simple: stand your ground laws increase the chances that a homicide will be considered justifiable because it gives the jurors more leeway to give defendants the benefit of the doubt.  But, jurors will likely give that benefit of the doubt to certain kinds of defendants and not others. Stand your ground may or may not be a good law in theory but, in practice, it increases racial bias in legal outcomes.

Reblog / posted 1 year ago with 10 notes

Temporal network of a twitter conversation from Esteban Moro on Vimeo.

Temporal network of a twitter conversation

Time dynamics of the twitter conversation about the general strike of March 29 in Spain. Each node is a twitter account and each link is a RT between accounts. The discussion is polarized into two groups obtained using community finding algorithms on the twitter RT graph. Those groups correspond to the two major opinions: in favor and against the strike.

I get really excited about nerdy things like this amazing visual representation of data. All the cool kids are learning R to take advantage of features like this.

If you are interested, I also saw this video showing you how to represent temporal networks using graph and R. 


Gotta love research.

Deep Inside: A Study of 10,000 Porn Stars and Their Careers

For the first time, a massive data set of 10,000 porn stars has been extracted from the world’s largest database of adult films and performers. I’ve spent the last six months analyzing it to discover the truth about what the average performer looks like, what they do on film, and how their role has evolved over the last forty years.

By Jon Millward


Reblog / posted 1 year ago with 26 notes
Patients, Prisoners, and Mass Shootings
Closure of mental hospitals and rise in prison rates, 1934-2010, US. From Bernard Harcourt

Patients, Prisoners, and Mass Shootings

Closure of mental hospitals and rise in prison rates, 1934-2010, US. From Bernard Harcourt



Reblog / posted 1 year ago with 11 notes
I’m thinking we change this to Social Science Student Sheep.
Sociological Student Sheep

I’m thinking we change this to Social Science Student Sheep.

Sociological Student Sheep


The Final Feast: Last Meals on Death Row
Researcher Brian Wansink of Cornell University compiled a catalog of final food requests from 247 Americans who were facing the death penalty. His findings were published in the journalAppetite:
The average last meal is calorically rich (2756 calories) and proportionately averages 2.5 times the daily recommended servings of protein and fat.
As far as starches and grains are considered, nearly all requests were for French fries (40.9 percent), other potato sides (20.7 percent) and bread (17.1 percent). Somewhat surprisingly, only 5.3 percent requested pizza.
Two-thirds of the meals included dessert, and many ordered more than one dessert food. The most popular dessert requests were ice cream (24.3 percent of meals) and pie (23.8 percent), followed by cake (16.1 percent).
Not one inmate requested tofu, but salad was requested 26.9 percent of the time.
And while 60 percent of inmates requested a sugar-sweetened beverage to accompany their meal, “surprisingly, Diet Coke was requested for three last meals.”
So, what would you order for your last meal?

The Final Feast: Last Meals on Death Row

Researcher Brian Wansink of Cornell University compiled a catalog of final food requests from 247 Americans who were facing the death penalty. His findings were published in the journalAppetite:

  • The average last meal is calorically rich (2756 calories) and proportionately averages 2.5 times the daily recommended servings of protein and fat.
  • As far as starches and grains are considered, nearly all requests were for French fries (40.9 percent), other potato sides (20.7 percent) and bread (17.1 percent). Somewhat surprisingly, only 5.3 percent requested pizza.
  • Two-thirds of the meals included dessert, and many ordered more than one dessert food. The most popular dessert requests were ice cream (24.3 percent of meals) and pie (23.8 percent), followed by cake (16.1 percent).
  • Not one inmate requested tofu, but salad was requested 26.9 percent of the time.
  • And while 60 percent of inmates requested a sugar-sweetened beverage to accompany their meal, “surprisingly, Diet Coke was requested for three last meals.”

So, what would you order for your last meal?


Reblog / posted 2 years ago with 8 notes

Psychological Science Is Important from Psych Science on Vimeo.

Psychological Science is Important

"Good reason to think that psychological research is now at the brink of a golden age…"


7 Quick Ways to Relieve Stress
Classes start on Monday for me, so I thought I’d share an article that gives some stress relieving tips.
Take Your Dog to WorkA study published this year found that employees who brought their dogs to work had reduced stress levels as the day wore on. On the other hand, those without pups became more stressed throughout the day, as did dog owners who left their pet at home.
Drink Chamomile TeaA study found that people who suffered from generalized anxiety disorder experienced a significant reduction in their stress levels after ingesting chamomile extract.
Eat Dark Chocolate—Every DayResults from a clinical trial published in the Journal of Proteome Research recommend eating 40 grams of dark chocolate for two weeks to reduce stress; the participants reported reduced cortisol levels after doing so.
Turn Up the MusicResearchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that when people listened to their favorite songs, their blood vessels opened wider, which is good for blood pressure, heart rate, and mental state. But note: Most people experienced more positive effects when listening to country music and felt anxiety when listening to heavy metal.
Play a (Violent) Video GameOne might associate violent video games with higher stress, but somewhat controversial research shows that playing them does the complete opposite. Turns out that young adults who play violent video games become less depressed and hostile, and deal with stress better than those who don’t play games at all.
Dab on Lavender OilA study found that moms who bathed their baby in lavender-scented bath oil were more relaxed and smiled more. Lavender also calmed the infants, who cried less and slept longer post-bath. The mothers’ and babies’ levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, were both shown to decrease, too.
Grin and Bear ItThere’s some truth to this common phrase. People who smile while performing a stressful task are more likely to have lower heart rates afterward, according to a recent study published in Psychological Science. That goes for fake smiles, too; those who were forced to smile (using chopsticks, of all things) also reported a positive effect afterward.

7 Quick Ways to Relieve Stress

Classes start on Monday for me, so I thought I’d share an article that gives some stress relieving tips.

  1. Take Your Dog to Work
    A study published this year found that employees who brought their dogs to work had reduced stress levels as the day wore on. On the other hand, those without pups became more stressed throughout the day, as did dog owners who left their pet at home.
  2. Drink Chamomile Tea
    A study found that people who suffered from generalized anxiety disorder experienced a significant reduction in their stress levels after ingesting chamomile extract.
  3. Eat Dark Chocolate—Every Day
    Results from a clinical trial published in the Journal of Proteome Research recommend eating 40 grams of dark chocolate for two weeks to reduce stress; the participants reported reduced cortisol levels after doing so.
  4. Turn Up the Music
    Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that when people listened to their favorite songs, their blood vessels opened wider, which is good for blood pressure, heart rate, and mental state. But note: Most people experienced more positive effects when listening to country music and felt anxiety when listening to heavy metal.
  5. Play a (Violent) Video Game
    One might associate violent video games with higher stress, but somewhat controversial research shows that playing them does the complete opposite. Turns out that young adults who play violent video games become less depressed and hostile, and deal with stress better than those who don’t play games at all.
  6. Dab on Lavender Oil
    A study found that moms who bathed their baby in lavender-scented bath oil were more relaxed and smiled more. Lavender also calmed the infants, who cried less and slept longer post-bath. The mothers’ and babies’ levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, were both shown to decrease, too.
  7. Grin and Bear It
    There’s some truth to this common phrase. People who smile while performing a stressful task are more likely to have lower heart rates afterward, according to a recent study published in Psychological Science. That goes for fake smiles, too; those who were forced to smile (using chopsticks, of all things) also reported a positive effect afterward.

Impostor Syndrome

approachingsignificance:

The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. The term was coined by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978.

Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

The impostor syndrome, in which competent people find it impossible to believe in their own competence, can be viewed as complementary to the Dunning–Kruger effect, in which incompetent people find it impossible to believe in their own incompetence.

Feel like you might suffer from Impostor Syndrome? Take this test to see! Here are a few example questions. All of the questions are rated on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being “not at all true” and 5 being “very true.”

  1. I have often succeeded on a test or task even though I was afraid that I would not do well before I undertook the task.
  2. I can give the impression that I’m more competent than I really am.
  3. When people praise me for something I’ve accomplished, I’m afraid I won’t be able to live up to their expectations of me in the future.
  4. I rarely do a project or task as well as I’d like to do it.
  5. It’s hard for me to accept compliments or praise about my intelligence or accomplishments.
Read more here and here.

Reblog / posted 2 years ago with 7 notes
""The Literature" was actually pretty smart when taken as a system, but that we individual puny brains just weren’t bright enough to integrate all that information. I went on to claim that, if there was some way to automatically integrate information from the peer-review literature, we could probably glean a lot of new insights."

Neuroscientist Bradley Voytek's response when challenged at a conference by panelists suggesting that his research was “data rich, but theory poor.”

Not only is this a very clever response, but it highlights the major crux of neuroscience at the moment. This is probably the best response that I have seen on the issue.


This happened. 

Dr. Robert Spitzer was a pretty prominent advocate for removing homosexuality from the DSM decades ago. He began studying reparative therapy and published his controversial study, which claimed that reparative therapy could be successful for “highly motivated” individuals that wanted to covert from homosexuality to heterosexuality. Years later, he know regrets his actions and is now aplogizing.

I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy. I also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some “highly motivated” individuals.

It is interesting to note that the original article was only published on the grounds that the publisher was going to print commentaries from other psychologists that opposed his “study.” The original study was full of experimental flaws and Dr. Spitzer made some curious assumptions and conclusions from his study.

One note: the NYTimes article linked above claims that “Dr. Spitzer could not control how his study was interpreted by everyone,” and while this is inherently true, all researchers have and obligation to ensure that their study is interpreted appropriately and have a duty to publicly correct any misinterpretations that may arise from their work. He declined to do so.

Read the draft of apology here.