Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

January 1, 2013

New Year’s Challenge

IMG_5148Since 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.

January 22, 2012

Religious Studies Project

Hello again, Internets! Twice in the past week, someone has mentioned my blog to me, which, of course has made me feel terrible at its state of abandonment. So let’s get back into it.

A new resource for those interested in the study of religion has just launched: The Religious Studies Project. It’s a fantastic website, with content relevant to both academics and non-academics alike. David G. Robertson and Christopher R. Cotter have been posting conference announcements and resources to the site. They’ve also launched a pretty exciting new podcast featuring interviews with major scholars. The first episode, on phenomenological approaches to religion, went up last week and is a great introduction to an influential approach to understanding religion. They’re also posting a response article to each episode that will comment or expand on what is discussed in the interview. Of course, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or via RSS to automatically catch each episode.

If you have even a casual interest in the study of religion, this is a fantastic website, and I strongly encourage you to check it out.

August 3, 2011

New Journal: Secularism and Nonreligion

A new interdisciplinary journal in the area of scientific study of religion (broadly defined) has begin accepting submissions. The journal Secularism and Nonreligion defines its scope as follows:

Secularism and Nonreligion is an interdisciplinary journal published with the aim of advancing research on various aspects of ‘the secular.’ The journal is interested in contributions from primarily social scientific disciplines, including: psychology, sociology, political science, women’s studies, economics, geography, demography, anthropology, public health, and religious studies. Contributions from history, neuroscience, computer science, biology, philosophy, and medicine will also be considered. Articles published in the journal focus on the secular at one of three levels: the micro or individual level, the meso or institutional level, or the macro or national and international levels. Articles explore all aspects of what it means to be secular at any of the above levels, what the lives of nonreligious indivduals are like, and the interactions between secularity and other aspects of the world. Articles also explore the ideology and philosophy of the secular or secularism.

The journal’s contents will be open access, meaning that the articles are available to anyone; you do not need to belong to a university or other institution that subscribes to the journal. The journal is sponsored by the Non-Religion and Secularity Research Network and The Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture.

July 29, 2011

Psychological Scales of Yesteryear

Example Item from the Imaginary Audience Scale

Example Item from the Imaginary Audience Scale

When psychologists create scales (such as the many personality tests you may be familiar with), they try to use language and examples that would be relevant and accessible to their participants. Although this helps in reducing the possibility that participants will be alienated or confused by the items in a scale, it also means that some scales don’t age quite as well as others. The above example is from Elkind & Bowen’s 1979 scale to measure a component of egocentrism called imaginary audience. This scale was used in a study of K-12 and college students in 1990 (Jahnke & Blanchard-Fields), and I wonder whether the language already seemed outdated at time. Reading it 21 years later, I got a little chuckle.

Updates will continue to be sporadic (ok, they’e been non-existent) while I finish up my summer travel/deadlines. Unfortunately, no dress-up parties are planned—at least none that I am invited to—but there are still adventures to be had and data to be analyzed before I am back to a more normal schedule.


Elkind, D., & Bowen, R. (1979). Imaginary audience behavior in children and adolescents Developmental Psychology, 15(1), 38–44.

Jahnke, H. C., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (1993). A test of two models of adolescent egocentrism. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 22(3), 313–326.

June 27, 2011

Update Schedule

Contrary to evidence, this blog is not abandoned! I will be traveling quite a bit for the rest of the summer, so updates will likely be few until things stabilize. But I will try to do better than last week from here on out.

In the meantime, please enjoy this photo of my cat: