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Posts uit oktober, 2013 tonen

Premature Experimentation: Revaluing the Role of Essays and Thought Experiments

Some years ago I served as an outside member on a dissertation committee in a linguistics department. The graduate student in question wanted to conduct experiments, an unusual idea for a linguist. When the idea was discussed during the initial committee meeting, a colleague from the linguistics department sighed and said dismissively Ah, experiments. Psychologists always want to do experiments because they don’t know what’s going on . The years had not yet mellowed me (ahem), so I had to bite back a snide comment. But now I’m starting to wonder if that linguist didn’t have a point after all. Isn’t our field suffering from premature experimentation? Don’t we all have a tendency to design and run experiments before research questions have been really thought through? I see four major sets of reasons why this might be the case. Institutional. Empirical articles are the principal currency of our field, so there exists an incentive structure to design and run experiments.

"Effects are Public Property and not Personal Belongings": a Post-Publication Conversation

Welcome to a post-publication conversation on social-cognitive priming!  The impetus for the conversation is a social-cognitive priming article by Jostmann, Lakens, and Schubert that was  published in 2009 in  Psychological Science . The article is interesting enough in and of itself but what makes it an even more interesting discussion topic is that the authors themselves have performed and reported replication attempts of some of their findings. In addition, there are replication attempts by others. The authors of the 2009 study, Nils Jostmann (NJ), DaniĆ«l Lakens (DL), and Thomas Schubert (TS), plus the author of a replication study, Hans IJzerman (HIJ), kindly agreed to respond to a series of questions I had prepared for them about the research. This allows a behind-the-scenes look of the original study, the decisions to perform replications, the evaluation of the replication attempts, and overall assessments of the main finding. The responses, which were given via email, are all

David Sedaris and the Power of the Spoken Word

Last week, David Sedaris gave a reading in Amsterdam as part of his latest book tour. When the performance was over, it dawned on me that something remarkable had happened. More than a thousand Dutch people had just stared for almost two hours at a soft-spoken and not physically imposing American man who was reading from sheets of paper. What was going on? In our modern culture we don't seem to be able to get by without visuals. Schoolbooks are littered with photographs, diagrams, and figures. Most professors are incapable of lecturing without PowerPoint. News programs feature a plethora of graphs, pie charts, and animations. Heck, there even is a photograph on the left of this paragraph! David Sedaris didn’t strut and prance across the stage while gesturing maniacally like a stand-up comedian or an overly excited TED-talker. He didn’t bring any visual props with him and certainly no PowerPoint presentation. Instead he was standing rather motionlessly