Friday, March 27, 2015

The Benefits of Capturing your Everyday Experiences

What would you rather do right now, write down the last conversation you had or watch a funny video guaranteed to make you laugh? What about a month from now – do you think you’d rather read about a random conversation you had last month or watch another funny video? These are some of the questions researchers asked in a recent set of studies exploring our tendency to underestimate how much pleasure we get out of rediscovering mundane experiences. Participants in these studies consistently expected that they would not be very interested in rereading a log of an ordinary event in their everyday lives. But a couple of months down the road when the time came to reread that log, they found themselves much more interested and experienced more pleasure than they had expected. This was partly because they had forgotten a lot more of the event than they had expected they would! In the moment, we think why record our everyday experiences, we will remember them in the future and they aren’t that memorable anyway. Even just a month later though, our memories of the event begin to dim, the details fall away, and what once seemed ordinary feels a bit more extraordinary.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gender Imbalance in Discussions of Best Research Practices

Over the last couple of weeks there have been some really excellent blog posts about gender representation in discussions of best research practices. The first was a shared Email correspondence between Simine Vazire and Lee Jussim. The second was a report of gender imbalance in discussions of best research practices by Alison Ledgerwood, Elizabeth Haines, and Kate Ratliff. Before then (May 2014), Sanjay Srivastava wrote about a probable diversity problem in the best practices debate. Go read these posts! I'll be here when you return.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

SPSP 2015: Actually Predicting the Future

In regression (a common statistical practice used in social science research) we often attempt to predict the outcome of a given dependent measure (the DV) based on what we know about other measured variables theoretically related to the DV (the IVs). This common regression method has one problem though: We are predicting values for data that we have already collected. What if we were to engage in actual prediction? That is, what if we attempted to predict the values of a DV that is unknown? How might we do this and what would be the benefit?

This was a fascinating talk presented by Liz Page-Gould of the University of Toronto at the Future of Social Psychology Symposium!

SPSP 2015: Status Shapes Preferences for Redistribution

A lot of people think about political ideology as a powerful causal force that influences the structure of our society and our respective positions within it. In the politics and inequality symposium Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and her colleagues examined political ideology from a different perspective: Instead of shaping the structure of society, does political ideology arise from our position within that structure? That is, do we create our political beliefs strategically in order to justify our own lives and the lives of those around us?