January 13, 2013
This week, I will be at the annual conference for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). I will still try to update at least a couple of times through the week, but it will more likely be conference photos than substantive articles.
However, I will be covering the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality preconference for the Religious Studies Project. I’ll submit my conference report to them over the weekend, and, if they deem fit, they’ll post it sometime after that.
If you will be at the convention and spot me, feel free to say hi!
January 12, 2013
This week’s Things Worth Reading covers critiques of the data interpretations behind popular stories, how atheism can be uplifting, how our ideology colors our interpretations of facts, and high heels: hot or not?
January 8, 2013
Not actually a tiger. Image by Flickr user Exkhaniber.
There are a couple of posts that bring steady traffic to my blog, even though they written a long time ago and even though I have barely updated the blog since I wrote those posts. One of these is on the relationship between religion and racism. Racism is an important topic for psychologists, one with substantial application to our understanding of everyday social behavior. So there is a lot to say about it, and I would like to revisit it this week with a couple of posts on one of the psychological processes underlying racism: psychological essentialism. Today, I’ll explain what psychological essentialism is, and in the second post later this week, I will explain how it is linked to racism.
What makes a tiger a tiger? Is something a tiger because it has black stripes, four legs, a tail, etc.? Or is there something deeper, something inside that makes it a tiger? If you are like most people, you probably believe that just having the features of a tiger (stripes, etc.) is not enough to be a tiger. After all, if I painted stripes on myself, crawled around on all fours, and taped a tail to my rear end, I wouldn’t be a tiger. No, there is something else, something invisible to the naked eye, something inside the tiger that makes it a tiger. If you agree, then you might be a psychological essentialist.
January 5, 2013
This week’s Things Worth Reading covers science journalism, environmental effects on crome, and the New Year’s resolutions of famous people:
EDIT: I must add two important links to this week’s Things Worth Reading:
January 1, 2013
Since the last time I updated this blog, a lot has happened:
- I passed the qualifying exam in my doctoral program.
- The Religious Studies Project posted another podcast response by me, this time on why women are more religious than men.
- My husband and I adopted two dogs.
- I saw the Mississippi River for the first time when we visited St. Louis.
- I ate a ghost chili (OK, I swallowed it whole–a strategy that resulted in much less suffering).
- I turned 30.
- Jesse Preston, Ryan Ritter, and I had a review paper on religious prosociality accepted for publication in a forthcoming book edited by Vassilis Saroglou.
- I began writing my (second) master’s thesis. (Some of the work from this thesis will be presented in a poster at the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality Preconference for the Society for Personality and Social Psycholigy’s annual meeting later this month.)
- I lost about 25 lbs.
Last night, a friend asked if anyone at the New Year’s gathering had any resolutions. I couldn’t help but think that my life was pretty good over the past year. I accomplished several milestones, all without the help of any New Year’s resolutions. So I answered
But reflecting on the question today, I feel differently. When I turned 30, I realized two things. First, I need to take care of myself–lose weight, sleep more, have a more regular schedule–otherwise, I might find 40 unpleasant. Second, I want to keep challenging myself, keep improving at what I do and keep trying new things. So why not see a New Year’s resolution as a challenge?
Ok, I challenge myself to write here at least three times a week. But to accomplish this, I need to make some compromises with myself: Not all of my posts can be 1,000-3,000 word essays on esoteric research topics. I just need to write about what’s inspiring me today. And sometimes, that might be my dogs or cooking or hiking. I will still write about psychology and religion and politics. I am just giving myself permission to write about other things as well.
February 22, 2012
A while ago, I posted some advice for applicants to graduate schools. Today, The Religious Studies Project has posted a revised and expanded version of this advice that includes links to other online resources for grad school applicants. Here is an excerpt of that new post:
Generally speaking, the key to graduate admissions is fit—which means roughly that your interests are aligned with those of the department. So start browsing department websites. Get a feel for what the faculty are studying and decide if your interests match those of one or more faculty members. For large departments (such as psych and bio), the faculty are often further partitioned into divisions, and your application may be reviewed solely by the division to which you are applying, in which case you will want to focus on that division. Make a long-ish list of schools and faculty you are interested in, and then make an appointment with one of your professors to discuss that list. People in your field may know what departments tend to have good placement (getting people into jobs they want), have advisors whose students never graduate, etc. You want to know as much of this as possible.
January 28, 2012
Greetings from SPSP! I’ve been quiet this week as I am at the largest conference in my field, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. It’s been a great experience so far. Yesterday, I attended a symposium on religion and prosociality that was extremely exciting and has inspired my next blog topic: the supernatural punishment hypothesis. But that will have to wait until Monday!
For now, I wanted to let you know that there is a post by me up at The Religious Studies Project. Recently, the fine folks over there posted an excellent interview with Armin Geertz, one of the leading cognitive scientists of religion, and they invited me write a response. Because the site is aimed to introduce people to different ways of studying religion, I thought it would be useful to summarize some of the major findings in that have resulted from the cognitive approach. So head over there and take a look and subscribe to the podcast.