Social-Science

Category archives for Social-Science

The other big gender-disparity graph making the rounds yesterday was this one showing the gender distribution in the general workforce and comparing that to science-related fields: This comes from an Economics and Statistics Administration report which has one of the greatest mismatches between the tone of the headline of the press release and the tone…

Keeping the week’s unofficial education theme, Kevin Drum posts about the latest “kids these days” study, namely the just-released NAEP Geography results. Kevin makes a decent point about the 12th grade questions being fairly sophisticated, but includes one comment that struck me as off base: I gotta tell you: I went through the five sample…

One of the standard education reform proposals that gets suggested every time somebody brings up the condition of American public education is that teachers should be offered some form of performance incentive, whether in the form of “merit pay” programs on a continuing basis, or bonuses for reaching particular targets. This is one of those…

A lot of pixels have been spent discussing this study of grade inflation, brought to most people’s attention via this New York Times blog. The key graph is this one, showing the fraction of grades given in each letter category over the last fifty years: Lots of effort is being put into trying to explain…

Great Moments in Deceptive Graphs

This morning, via Twitter, I ran across one of the most spectacular examples of deceptive data presentation that I’ve ever seen. The graph in question is reproduced in this blog post by Bryan Caplan, and comes from this econ paper about benefits of education. The plot looks like this: This is one panel clipped out…

A bunch of people I follow on social media were buzzing about this blog post yesterday, taking Jonah Lerher to task for “getting spun” in researching and writing this column in the Wall Street Journal about this paper on the “wisdom of crowds” effect. The effect in question is a staple of pop psychology these…

Is College Worth It?

As I noted the other day, we’re entering graduation season, one of the two month-long periods (the other being “back to school” time in August/September) when everybody pretends to care deeply about education. Accordingly, the people at the Pew Research Center have released a new report on the opinions of the general public and college…

A little while back, Jonah Lehrer did a nice blog post about reasoning that used the famous study by Gilovich, Vallone and Tversky, The Hot Hand in Basketball (PDF link) as an example of a case where people don’t want to believe scientific results. The researchers found absolutely no statistical evidence of “hot” shooting– a…

Education Reform Is Slow

Kevin Drum notes a growing backlash against education reform, citing Diane Ravitch, Emily Yoffe and this Newsweek (which is really this private foundation report in disguise) as examples. The last of these, about the failed attempts of several billionaires to improve education through foundation grants, is really kind of maddening. It makes the billionaires in…

On Multitasking

After chasing a bunch of kids with cell phones off of his lawn, Kevin Drum has kicked off a discussion of “multitasking”, specifically about whether it’s merely a threat, or a positive menace. He points to an interview with Clifford Nass, a researcher who says his experiments show that nobody is any good at doing…