Okay, now what?
What are my expectations for this blog? A few years back, one of my best friends started a blog about BC wines (that's British Columbia wines, not Before Christ wines, which would be overaged by now). Within a few short years, he was receiving free media credentials to wine tastings, free bottles of wine on his doormat, and even a recent private flight to a winery. So the expectations for my blog are high indeed.
To start with, I figured I'd highlight what the blog will be about. If you're reading the blog at this point (Post 1), odds are you are one of my family members (Hi mom!) or one of my graduate students (get back to the basement and stop screwing around on the internet!).
This blog will mostly be about 3 things.
1. The research I read. I'm a cognitive and evolutionary psychologist who studies a lot of topics. But most of those topics somehow boil down to a single seemingly straightforward question: Why do people believe what they believe about the world? Within this broad topic, I'm really interested in how people come to adopt, or not adopt, supernatural beliefs. In addition, I'm interested in what those beliefs do for the individuals and groups that hold them. Cool stuff, right? So from time to time, I'll post about new findings in this area. It could be about evolution, culture, religion, morality, you name it.
2. The research process. If you've been paying attention to psychology broadly, and social psychology in particular, you'll know that we've been taking a beating the past few years. Whether it's our flagship journal publishing a (unreplicable) set of evidence supporting ESP or high profile cases of academic fraud, a lot of the news hasn't been particularly good. But the outcome could be good. Among other things, it's provoked some serious introspection within the field about how we should be doing our science. From time to time, I'll chip in on where I see things heading. Of course, I'm just a second year Assistant Professor, with little academic clout. So, you shouldn't read my blog for any deep insights about THE SOLUTIONS TO ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS!!!, and there are plenty of good sources out there that are more focused on this topic. But I might be able to offer an interesting perspective. As a junior researcher, I've been taught a lot of techniques that are currently being flayed publicly. I don't really feel like I have much power to make sweeping pronouncements on what needs to be done (nor do I have a personality that finds such a mission particularly fun). But junior faculty are in a weird position. So I can talk about the weirdness, I suppose.
3. (In)accuracy in popular representations of science. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever published a scientific paper that subsequently received media attention, but often what the public sees in the popular press is a badly abused, sensationalized, inaccurate depiction of the actual research. So this blog will be a place where I can hopefully offer a perspective to add some nuance, as well as occasionally necessary corrections, to media portrayals of psychological science. Since this is my damned blog, I'll pay particular attention to media portrayals of my damned research.
So there's the blog in a nutshell. Enjoy!