Social-Science

Category archives for Social-Science

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…

It’s NCAA tournament time, which is time for everybody to break out the moralizing stories about the pernicious aspects of college athletics that they’ve been sitting on since the football season ended. The Associated Press (via the New York Times) clocks in with a particularly discreditable entry, a story on a study of racial disparities…

Science Stereotypes and Threats

One thing that I thought of while writing yesterday’s mammoth post about scientific thinking and stereotypes was the notion of stereotype threat, the psychological phenomenon where students who are reminded of negative stereotypes right before a test tend to score worse than they do when taking the test without the negative reminder. This is a…

Academic Poll: Correlation and Evaluation

The always fraught question of student course evaluations has come up again on campus. In discussions, the correlation between “expected grade” and “overall evaluation” has once again been noted– that is, students who report expecting a higher grade are more likely to give a good overall score to their professors than students who expect a…

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing and finger-pointing in academic circles this week over the release of a book claiming college students are “Academically Adrift” (see also the follow-up story here). The headline findings, as summarized by Inside Higher Ed are: * 45 percent of students “did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning” during…

The Problem of the Humanities

I’ve probably gotten a dozen pointers to Gregory Petsko’s open letter in support of the humanities, addressed to the President of SUNY-Albany, over the last couple of weeks (the link is to a reposting of the letter at Inside Higher Ed; it was originally on Petsko’s own blog). I haven’t linked to it or commented…