I'm a sucker for any blog post or article that attacks the mainstream media's failure to look at actual scientific research or that breaks down how "impartial" articles somehow manage to forget the entire other side of a debate.
So, I had to share this article from Bella DiPaulo's "Living Single" blog on Psychology Today, where she examines how a nine page article from the Washington Post (pictured) on the 'effectiveness' of marriage education somehow failed to include quotes from those who didn't think the programs are all that they're cracked up to be or any examination of examinations of the programs in peer-reviewed scientific journals...
Basically, it's a scary look at how articles in reputable publications really aren't as scientific or unbiased as we think they are, even when they are supposedly covering scientific topics and interviewing experts. I guess it's terrifyingly easy to ignore the dissenting opinions when you need an angle - in this case, the idea that divorce rates are so high because couples just don't know how to be married - but in getting people to read about the science, it's scary how much is ignored... and ultimately, is this really better? Is anyone really learning anything from this?
Just another reason we need more science in the mainstream, if you ask me!
I'm having one of those frustrating moments where I stood up for myself and there's not really a great outcome... I definitely didn't get what I wanted, the hope of getting something better evaporated, the situation is at least temporarily worse (hopefully only temporarily), and it just feels icky.
I know I might (or would...) regret not standing up for myself, but it doesn't really take away the frustration I feel right now. At rare times like these (I don't often stand up for myself, but this was pretty atrocious), I'm reminded of the conversation between Jane and Casey (Katherine Heigl and Judy Greer, respectively) in "27 Dresses" where Jane has just put together the ridiculously terrible slideshow of her sister for the rehearsal dinner and Jane feels like crap and she talks to Casey...
Casey: So what happened?Jane: He needed to know the truth.Casey: You could have told him face-to-face. I mean, I know my moral compass doesn't exactly point due north, but... if I say something's wrong, something's wrong.Jane: You're the one who's always telling me to stand up for myself.
Casey: Yeah, but that's not what you did. What you did was unleash twenty years of repressed feelings in one night. It was entertaining, don't get me wrong, but if it was the right thing to do, you'd feel better right now. Do you feel better right now?
It always makes me question what standing up for yourself really means and when it crosses that line from really standing up for yourself to attempted catharsis. And I don't know. I'm not sure anyone knows.
I was hoping to tie this back to psychology a bit better - with some awesome organizational justice, maybe some distributive and procedural justice featured, article - but I couldn't find anything that really thrilled me all that much. In particular, I found this article from the Harvard Business Review Research Blog called "What's Really Silencing Your Employees" by James Detert, Ethan Burris, and David Harrison. It's part of a series, but this particular article - based on yet another HBR article - goes through the myths of whistle blowing and what whistleblowers face. While it gets a bit too... "soft" (sociological? poetic?) for me at times, it does give reasonable advice to employers and managers about listening to what employees are saying - even about the small stuff - to create a norm where it's okay to speak up about problems, thus preventing the Enron-size whistle blowing and allowing employees to speak up about issues of all sizes.
So maybe the lesson - at least for those of us in the "little guy", David (of D and Goliath) position can learn to make it easier for our future subordinates to talk to us and prevent the build up of frustration that happens over time and prevent larger catastrophes. I guess for now I need to be satisfied that I did what I could and that I can add more behaviors to the list of what I don't want to be or do when I'm in a position of power - something that we often overlook, but is still important to consider.
I'll admit right now that I absolutely LOVE the World Cup. From the unabashedly biased commentators to the songs people just start singing in pubs to the way the organizers force attendees to actually explore the host nation to the sheer excitement generated by an event that only takes place once every four years. Somehow it's more than the Olympics... or at least it's different. The madness and excitement is all geared towards one sport, one country's team, one goal (pardon the pun).
I was lucky enough to be living in London during the 2006 World Cup and it was one of the most amazing and fun and bizarre and exhilarating experiences of my life and I'm a little sad that I'm not there now to join in the chorus of "You're a Bastard, Referee"- my personal favorite. But, the focus of this blog isn't my personal life or "adventures of the young and poor" (which is what I would subtitle the time in my life when I was in England), it's psychology. And to that end, I keep thinking about the many ways that psychology applies to the World Cup...
A few of those include:
- What can teams do to be more effective? How can players score more goals? A 2009 study (Jordet, Hartman, & Signmundstad) showed that players who rushed penalty kicks were actually LESS likely to score (something for Team USA to think about, perhaps).
- What about the scarier parts of the World Cup - the psychology of crowds and what happens when the drunk guys at the bar singing footie songs get angry or go home (or both)? Despite the fun I had in England during the World Cup, it's not hard to imagine that some of the drinkers turn violent and because drinking increases around World Cup matches, this can cause problems. One study found that there was a 25% increase in domestic violence on the five days when England played a match in the 2006 cup! (This is in stark contrast to mostly debunked myths about battered women increasingly seeking shelter after/around Superbowl Sunday, so more research would be nice - and necessary - before anyone makes absolute claims and domestic violence and the World Cup. After all, it's only one event and sample...)
- Can people predict the outcomes of the matches? Turns out distracted experts make the best predictions - or, unconsciously thinking about the prediction leads to the best results, at least for experts (for everyone else, it doesn't much matter), according to a study by the famed judgment and decision-making researcher Dijksterhuis.
- We all know about the vuvuzelas - the obnoxiously loud horns responsible for the "Killer Bees on the Attack"-like buzzing noise - and yes, they are annoying to fans watching on TV. And they probably cause some damage to fans attending the matches. But what about those who aren't exactly choosing to surround themselves with such hoopla? What about the people hoping to grab a small piece of the economic boom known as the World Cup? The stadium and event staff... well, NIOSH tells us that they are suffering more than just annoyance, but the vuvuzelas can cause serious (hearing-related) consequences that can affect quality of life for workers as they risk permanent hearing loss!
- And, one of my favorite things about the World Cup, when I was in England, was the sheer impact of the event - the number and diversity of the people who watched and the conversations that it inspired between people who might otherwise have little in common. The sense of altruism that united the nation was unreal and unlike anything I have ever experienced. After all, Nelson Mandela never wrote an essay about how the United Nations should be more like the Olympics... but he did write one about the World Cup in 2006! (And I'm working on finding that darn link that now seems to be missing, but I read it at the time and LOVED it!) And so the HR Capitalist points out how effective the World Cup can be in bridging gaps still not covered by diversity training.
If those aren't good enough reasons to inspire even my fellow academics and self-proclaimed nerds to watch, I'm not sure what else is... all I can say is that I have not been disappointed, so grab a beer, sing "God Bless America" or similar patriotic song in a bar full of fellow fans (England definitely has WAY better songs than we do... unless there are some I don't know about?!), and have fun!
Enjoy and you can find more in this section of the Monitor each month...
- "Being Stephon Marbury: The Situation of Having 'Baggage'" from The Situationist Staff, 03/04/2009 - This was an examination of whether the public perception of Marbury would change depending on his situation - when he went from the NY Knicks to the Boston Celtics. Not anything completely different from other Situationist pieces, but an interesting example of their continued re-focus on the situation.
- "When the Star Fires the Boss" from the HR Capitalist, 05/25/2010 - The most recent article of the bunch reflects on Lebron's relationship with Mike Brown, former coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The capitalist also describes some situations where a boss can be fired, despite (recent) superior performance (like Mike Brown winning coach of the year).
- "Basketball Players and the Hot Hand" by Jonah Lehrer at The Frontal Cortex, 11/1/2006 - An older post, but still fun to revisit because, as you might have noticed, I enjoy the application of unique psychological phenomena to sports and perhaps my favorite example is the hot hand... basically, it's a review of Tversky and Gilovich's classic 1985 paper on the hot hand - demonstrating that it does not exist, despite the overwhelming belief of basketball fans and players at all levels. It's still one of my favorite, most bizarre, complicatedly beautiful findings in all of psychology...
- And lastly, "10 Ways the NBA is Like Your HR Career" by the HR Capitalist, 10/26/2009 - Because it's still funny (at least to me and probably to almost anyone who has ever had a job) and even better, highlights some of my favorite "athletes behaving badly" moments. And since Kobe the Rapist led this pillage and burn campaign, it seems appropriate.
As I attempt to come up with some sort of normal routine while living in a new city and working a pretty exhausting (but satisfying!) internship/job, I'm struggling to make enough time to create the perfect blog entry. I keep feeling as though I should only blog if I have ample time to come up with the best idea since the advent of the wheel and then edit it at least 5 times. But I know that perfectionism can ultimately paralyze you (if you don't believe me, check out this piece on perfectionism & procrastination from Dr. Bill Knaus on Psychology Today), make you feel too scared to do anything because you have such a fear of failure... and so I refuse to do that and present you with posts that are a bit more me, errors and all...
I just discovered this entry on the Nudge Blog (their tagline is "improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness"). It's an illustrated/cartoonized version of Dan Pink's talk on what motivates employees and what doesn't and I've embedded it here (below). It highlights the point that money isn't always or the only solution. I love to see intelligent research and findings explained in creative ways like this and so I just had to spotlight it here! (The Nudge Blog is also pretty awesome and I definitely recommend it!)Enjoy and let me know what you think (or if there's something better out there I haven't seen)!