You may have seen, earlier this month, one of several news reports about how belief in God is great for reducing worries (e.g. here). Well no, that's not really what the study found - the study is actually a bit more precisely focussed than that and a bit more interesting for it.
The researchers, lead by David Rosmarin at Harvard Medical School, were interested in the idea that the Middle-Eastern monotheisms place a great deal of focus on trusting God. Yet many believers don't trust their........ Read more »
Rosmarin, D., Pirutinsky, S., Auerbach, R., Björgvinsson, T., Bigda-Peyton, J., Andersson, G., Pargament, K., & Krumrei, E. (2011) Incorporating spiritual beliefs into a cognitive model of worry. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67(7), 691-700. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.20798
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
I tried to convince my headstrong niece otherwise but she persisted. She didn’t think keeping her last name mattered. As a member of the generation that pioneered the acceptability for women to keep their own last name after marriage, I was sure it did. Now I know I was right. And now she will know [...]
Related posts:Hard to be a woman? The beat goes on….
Redux: Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman (with appreciation to Tammy Wynette, Linda Ronstadt and Anne Reed)
“I didn’t know truth ........ Read more »
Noordewier, M., Horen, F., Ruys, K., & Stapel, D. (2010) What's in a Name? 361.708 Euros: The Effects of Marital Name Change. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 32(1), 17-25. DOI: 10.1080/01973530903539812
One of the risks of blogging is that you can fire off ideas into the public domain while you’re still excited about them and haven’t really tested them all that well. Last month I blogged about a random walk model of linguistic complexity. This week, I found out that it was flawed...... Read more »
Lupyan G, & Dale R. (2010) Language structure is partly determined by social structure. PloS one, 5(1). PMID: 20098492
It is quite difficult to write on something which everybody claims to be an expert at. As a matter of fact, this post has been in my dashboard for more than 4 months already. It has never been touched since I prepared the image on the lower right. There is a resurgence of interest on [...]... Read more »
Guillermo, R., & Paluga, M. (2011) Barang king banga: A Visayan language reading of the Calatagan pot inscription (CPI). Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 42(01), 121-159. DOI: 10.1017/S0022463410000561
As Cold War propaganda in the West would have it, communist states were to be despised because they were atheist and Godless. The reality, however, was quite different. In the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church never went away and popular belief was often at odds with official state doctrine. It is doubtful that the [...]... Read more »
A while back, I Links Dumped Josh Rosenau's Post Firing Bad Teachers Doesn't Create good Teachers, arguing that rather than just firing teachers who need some improvement, schools should look at, well, helping them improve. This produced a bunch of scoffing in a place I can't link to, basically taking the view that people are either good at what they do, or they're not, and if they're not, you just fire them and hire somebody else. I was too busy to respond at the time, but marked that doen as s........ Read more »
Allen, J., Pianta, R., Gregory, A., Mikami, A., & Lun, J. (2011) An Interaction-Based Approach to Enhancing Secondary School Instruction and Student Achievement. Science, 333(6045), 1034-1037. DOI: 10.1126/science.1207998
What is risk, and how can it be expressed? Should risk be defined through probabilities or should risk be defined through uncertainties? Different international standards, do not provide adequate guidance for risk assessments and lack the necessary precision. In the paper, they claim that different international standards, such as the AS/NZS 3460 Risk Management Standard, the COSO ERM framework and the ISO 31000 Risk Management Standard do not provide adequate guidance on these issues and lack ........ Read more »
In 19th century Bavaria rye prices correlated to property crime rates (see Correlations from weather to sociology). When food prices spiked in 2008 commentators were smart enough to mention this might have something to do with the riots across the 3rd world (see World's poor are up in arms over food prices). The first half of 2011 has seen many riots in Africa and the Middle East and again it has... Read more »
Marco Lagi, Karla Z. Bertrand, Yaneer Bar-Yam. (2011) The Food Crises and Political Instability in North Africa and the Middle East. Physics and Society. DOI: arxiv.org/abs/1108.2455
Density matters. That’s the premise of this blog, after all. The number of people per square mile influences the character of a place—a topic I’ve covered repeatedly—but human population density isn’t everything. Take savannas. They are ecosystems defined by density. Savannas are grasslands dotted with trees—not too many and not too few. They can have [...]... Read more »
Wakeling, J., Staver, A., & Bond, W. (2011) Simply the best: the transition of savanna saplings to trees. Oikos. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.19957.x
by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator
During a recent trial, a witness was about to leave the stand as a slip of paper with a question emerged from the jury. The note was enough to make the examining counsel's blood run cold, as the juror asked the witness, "Isn't [your attorney] signalling you on how to answer by nodding his head to indicate 'yes,' or 'no'? He is! I see him!" Thankfully for us (actually, wonderfully for us), it was opposing counsel that the note referred to. Thankfully for him, the judge didn't allow the quest........ Read more »
Rose MR, Diamond SS, & Baker KM. (2010) Goffman on the jury: real jurors' attention to the "offstage" of trials. Law and human behavior, 34(4), 310-23. PMID: 19728058
So it happened again. We do a lot of pre-trial research and observe a lot of both mock jurors and the dynamics related to presiding jurors. This past weekend, we re-experienced the frustration of how bad it can be when you get a controlling and dominant presiding juror. In a real jury, a dominant presiding [...]
Related posts:Deliberations & the role of the presiding juror
Educating Jurors: How NOT to start deliberations
Mistrials due to lawyers making faces, internet misconduct &........ Read more »
Koenig AM, Eagly AH, Mitchell AA, & Ristikari T. (2011) Are leader stereotypes masculine? A meta-analysis of three research paradigms. Psychological Bulletin, 137(4), 616-42. PMID: 21639606
Every now and then a study comes along that cuts with laser-like precision into one or two of the murky questions that haunt the sociology of religion. Just such a study has recently been done by Ed Diener, at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, and colleagues (earlier this year Diener published another great study on happiness and inequality in the USA).
What Diener et al wanted to know is simply this: why, if religion is supposed to make you happy, are people in the West leaving........ Read more »
Diener, E., Tay, L., & Myers, D. (2011) The religion paradox: If religion makes people happy, why are so many dropping out?. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/a0024402
There are many ways in which China remains a cipher for Westerners, most of whom labor under the misapprehension that “modern civilization” originated in ancient Greece and spread slowly outward, eventually reaching “backwards” China and even then only in attenuated fashion. This of course ignores parallel and in some ways more spectacular developments in Neolithic [...]... Read more »
“You made a circle”, exclaimed Ethan proudly as he looked up from his drawing. “You did make a circle”, his mum acknowledged, ignoring the fact that, not for the first time, Ethan had reversed the pronoun, saying “you” when he should have said “I”. Ethan was one of six children from Providence, Rhode Island taking part in a study of child language development. Every couple of weeks, a researcher from Brown University would visit him and his mum at home, record, and then transcrib........ Read more »
Evans KE, & Demuth K. (2011) Individual differences in pronoun reversal: Evidence from two longitudinal case studies. Journal of Child Language, 1-30. PMID: 21669013
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
It’s really about avoiding ‘lawyerese’. That sort of language makes you sound fancy but fails to make you likeable or helpful to jurors hearing your case. And that’s really what you want. Sometimes clients will marvel that we are able to extract so much information from focus group participants, and they ask us why we [...]
Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Stand up straight but avoid gesturing with your hands in front of the jury!
Simple Jury Persuasion: Don’t confuse argument w........ Read more »
Hansen J, & Wänke M. (2010) Truth from language and truth from fit: the impact of linguistic concreteness and level of construal on subjective truth. Personality , 36(11), 1576-88. PMID: 20947772
Okay, so that is hardly news. But it may surprise you to find that researchers are still discovering new ways in which alcohol makes us stupid. What’s more they’ve found your vodka Red Bull or Irish Coffee more dangerous than you think.... Read more »
Grant, S., LaBrie, J., Hummer, J., & Lac, A. (2011) How drunk am I? Misperceiving one's level of intoxication in the college drinking environment. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. DOI: 10.1037/a0023942
by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator
Speaking just before the Ames Straw poll on Republican Presidential contenders, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney faced a heckler. As the unruly crowd member shouted out that taxes should come from corporations, the candidate answered, "corporations are people, my friend." The gaffe-watchers on all sides and in the media immediately pounced, and the statement is now viewed as a flub that might dog a candidate who risks being viewed as a starched-shirt businessman out of touch with work........ Read more »
Mike Owen Benediktsson. (2010) The Deviant Organization and the Bad Apple CEO: Ideology and Accountability in Media Coverage of Corporate Scandals . Social Forces, 88(5). info:/
MacCoun, R. (1996) Differential Treatment of Corporate Defendants by Juries: An Examination of the "Deep-Pockets" Hypothesis. Law , 30(1), 121. DOI: 10.2307/3054036
This post originally appeared on Scientific American’s Guest Blog. High density living seems like a particularly modern phenomenon. After all, the first subway didn’t run until 1863 and the first skyscraper wasn’t built until 1885. While cities have existed for thousands of years—some with population densities that rival today’s major metropolises—most of humanity has lived [...]... Read more »
Hamilton, M., Milne, B., Walker, R., & Brown, J. (2007) Nonlinear scaling of space use in human hunter-gatherers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(11), 4765-4769. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0611197104
Apparently, the answer is yes. And it can also make you a wizard. The key (according to this research) is in what you are reading. We’ve talked about the power of stories (told well) to transport the listener. This goes beyond transporting listeners into something that is frankly strange. Researchers looked at the narrative-collective-assimilation hypothesis. [I [...]
Related posts:You’re not too old for a story (but you might be too young!)
Voir Dire Tip: Are you ‘transported’ by a........ Read more »
Gabriel S, & Young AF. (2011) Becoming a Vampire Without Being Bitten: The Narrative Collective-Assimilation Hypothesis. Psychological Science. PMID: 21750250
What are the fundamental human needs? What things, if we get them, will make us happy human beings? Are there such things as universal human needs, that everyone in every society would identify with, or does it depend on your personality and cultural background? In an earlier post on Maslow’s classic hierarchy of needs, I mentioned [...]... Read more »
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