Via Research Blogging, I came across the blog Thoughts of a Neo-Academic, written by an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. He has started a 10-part review of a recent special issue of the Journal of General Psychology, which examines the research into violence and video games. Part One is here, and worth a read. I tend to agree with this initial conclusion, that the media (and certain researchers) tend to take advantage of the occasional "big time" story to advance the narrative of violence being caused by video games, when in fact the research has concluded no such general, broad-based finding. I look forward to the follow-up installments.
Chris Anderson wrote this post about the third anniversary of Geekdad. I've linked to more than a few of their articles, recommendations, etc. over the years, and Anderson's book The Long Tail is one of my favorite reads over the last 3-4 years. I actually have a review of the book fully written: however, it is on my old netbook, which has suffered an untimely demise. At some point, I may make an effort to recover several of my writings off of the hard drive, but that moment has not yet arrived.
I should also note Anderson has been involved with Wired magazine (and Geekdad is associated with them), and a Geekdad book is pending release in May, which looks to be full of great ideas for parents and kids to complete.
In the meantime, happy anniversary, and keep up the good work!
An interesting post over at Marginal Revolution discusses, in part, whether younger scientists tend to be more innovative than older scientists, and if so, should this issue be considered in terms of implementing policy. I have found this issue fascinating ever since I read Greatness: Who Makes History and Why by Dean Simonton (a fantastic book, by the way). I recommend going over to the post and reading both the main article, as well as the comments (several of which are excellent). In particular, I agree with a comment by "Agnostic," who also cites Simonton:
The go-to source is Dean Simonton. See his *Creativity in Science* (lots of data). In sum, the more fluid intelligence is required to excel -- physics or math -- the younger the scientist tends to produce their greatest work. Where success is more based on crystallized intelligence (having a large store of facts to examine) -- medicine or history -- they flourish later.
And of course that'll vary within a field. More naturalist types of biologists like E.O. Wilson do their best work later in life. Physicist imperialists like Francis Crick will do their best stuff very early on.
Really, just look up your heroes and see when they did their best work -- if they were fluid intelligence types, you'll get pretty depressed. Einstein's "miracle year" of groundbreaking work was 1905 -- when he was 26 years old.
Intelligence research shows that fluid IQ starts to decline after 30, and really plummets in middle age. No time for dilly-dallying!
If I recall correctly, this breakdown tends to hold in other areas of achievement as well, when all else is equal. For example, in terms of literary achievement, poets tend to produce their most innovative, ground-breaking work at the youngest average age of any writers, while literary criticism is often writen at its best by older writers. Poetry is a visceral, instinctive form that is often at its best when it is deeply personal, and defies "accepted standards." Non-fiction, criticism, etc., on the other hand, generally depends on a well-developed knowledge of the field in question. Poetry is much more of a fuild intelligence endeavor, while theory and criticism is much more of a crystallized intelligence activity. You can probably make the same argument for songwriters as well; in most cases, the most innovative stuff comes early, the more polished (but conforming) stuff comes later.
I thought I would pass on a link to The Jury Expert, a website dedicated to applying the findings of social science research to issues related to the courtroom. While this is not directly related to forensic psychology per se, there is some really interesting stuff over there - check it out!
Providing further evidence of a severe methamphetamine epidemic, Postcards from the Id has been named a "Top 100 Mental Health and Psychology Blog" over at Online University Reviews. Just kidding about the meth, the ranking is much appreciated! From the link:
"Postcards from the Id - Here, you will read about the "lighter" side of clinical and forensic psychology. This blog is as thought-provoking as it is amusing."
All kidding aside, there are some fantastic web pages listed on their ranking site. So many people posting such good stuff, I am truly honored to be named among some of these blogs. Check them out when you have a chance.
The advance of technology has been amazing. I mean, we are at the point where Wi–Fi is being offered on airplanes. Think of the increase in productivity, customer satisfaction, and potential for further advancement!
Not that you couldn’t see this debate coming. Actually, I think it was while watching Manhunter (the original movie based on the book Red Dragon) that this issue was indirectly broached, as the criminal profiler had fallen asleep on the plane with his case file opened, and pictures of the victims were seen by the child sitting across the aisle from him. Whoops.
In this case, I gotta side with the flight attendants. I’m all for individual rights, but planes are a private company, and if they don’t address this, they are going to lose a ton of business. In addition, the kind of guy who’s going to watch porn on a flight is certainly not the kind of guy I want to have to look at/sit next to while he’s watching porn on a flight (get that air bag ready, that visual is worse than hurricane-level turbulence). Come on, wait an hour or two: the porn’ll still be there when you land...
Just a head's up. I recently found Anxiety - Depression and Stress Answers, a website that provides lots of infomation about anxiety, including the various ways it can present, treatment advice, and other tidbits. I looked at several posts, they've got some nice stuff. I'm going to put a link in my roll, so check them out!
While most research to date has tended to focus on those crazy people who write blogs, this article reviews research into the habits and thoughts of those who read blogs. Some very interesting findings, including a few that are surprising:
* Readers have diverse opinions of what makes a blog a blog. Academic definitions generally refer to blogs as frequently modified Web pages with dated entries listed in reverse chronological order. But study participants identified a wide variety of characteristics in what they considered to be blogs. These included both technical aspects like RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds and trackback links, as well as social aspects, including the presence of conversation or personal content.
* Regular blog reading often becomes more habitual and less content oriented. Similar to e-mail checking, blog reading can become ingrained into users' online routine. Sometimes, even the usefulness of the blog content itself can be less vital than the activity of reading or skimming the blog to fulfill a person's particular routine.
*The timing of a blog post is not nearly as relevant to readers as its position among the other entries. Readers are more likely to read the most recent posts at the top of the screen, and are generally less concerned with the exact age of a post. A vast majority of participants said they were not bothered when they were not able to read each and every blog post, challenging a common theory that users tend to feel overwhelmed by the need to remain constantly up to date. * Blog readers feel a responsibility to make insightful contributions. While past research noted readers expect bloggers to deliver frequent, high-quality posts, the UCI study found readers also place pressure on themselves to produce coherent, worthwhile comments in response to good blog posts.
Now, this is just a preliminary study, as the researchers only tracked the blog reading of 15 subjects. Nonetheless, the article does provide ideas for future examination, and the idea that researchers are continuing to assess the nature of blog usage indicates academia is recognizing the fixture blogging has become in peoples' lives. I especially like the idea of research like this from a consumer perspective - as bloggers and blog readers continue to learn what works and what doesn't (as well as likes and dislikes), the product will continue to improve.
Hey all, just a head's up. I'm adding a link to the web blog Furious Seasons. It is a blog that covers many aspects of mental health in America today, including many articles that address this issue on a macro level. In addition, it is written by an advocate, rather than a mental health professional. While I don't agree with everything the author has to say, I've found his posts well-written, timely, and asking the right sorts of questions. I am less pessimistic about the state of mental health treatment in America than he is, but I also think that one of the best ways for mental health professionals to improve our field is to hear what the consumers and advocates have to say - the scrutiny only makes us better at what we do. Check it out!