Monday Miscellany: Ghost-Story Provocative Musicals Edition

1. I love everything about snarky psychology writing. Which makes these hidden gems in psychology publications wonderful.

B.J.H. would also like to thank the U.S. Immigration Service under the Bush administration, whose visa background security check forced her to spend two months (following an international conference) in a third country, free of routine obligations—it was during this time that the hypothesis presented herein was initially conjectured.

2. I think I contribute more to practical psychology than theoretical, lab-research stuff, but this makes me pretty happy I didn’t test that hypothesis.

3. Over at Science of Eating Disorders, Tetyana keeps investigating Mandometer(r) treatment for eating disorders. In particular, their claims about EDs not being mental illnesses.

Reason #1: The failure of psychotherapy argues against an underlying mental health disorder. The poor long-term remission rate for patients with eating disorders using interventions aimed at treating their psychiatric symptoms (reviewed in the Introduction) suggests that these symptoms are not the cause of their eating disorder.

Oh, now I understand! If it’s not cured by psychotherapy, it’s not a disorder! Hey, where are you going with those goal posts?

4. I know I wrote a whole piece about an overgeneralization spotted on PsychToday, but these Ten Research-Based Wedding Vows are brain-meltingly adorable.

5. I have a dopey devotion to Netflix. It has brightened many a badbrain day and been a source for all those Big Lebowski references that had been stumping me. This longread on reverse engineering Netflix is joyous.

6. Electroconvulsive therapy gets a terrible rap–in my experience few undergrad psych students seem to even know it’s a viable therapy for some with depression and bipolar disorder. This theory is appealing (lookie there, full text!), but if wanting neatly packaged theories to be true made them so, damn, would research be easy.
[Laymen’s version of conclusions promoted by paper: getting electroconvulsive therapy changes how much grey matter you have. How this changes is what can be used to predict how patients respond to ECT. Also, since the grey matter changes are localized, it might be possible to use a more targeted type of intervention in the future.]

7. Family goes in for 23anMe genetic testing, finding out that daughter isn’t related to her father. Normally, this would lead to family tensions and uncomfortable conclusions. Not…quite? (h/t Ed Yong)

8. Dr. Isis on how we structure graduate programs. Predictably, I read this between working on grad school applications.

Graduate education in the United States is structured such that advancement is predicated on success in a couple of high-stakes events. As a student, I took a qualifying exam in my second year and it tested my basic knowledge of my field. I took another exam in my third year which tested my understanding of the scientific method and process. At the end, I defended my thesis. At the time, each of these events felt like they could make or break me; if I failed, my career was over and there was no redemption for me. In retrospect, having now been on the other side of this process, I realize that there was enough investment in me that I was not going to be allowed to fail miserably. I was too clouded by the idea of failing a test to be able to see that.

Structuring graduate education as a series of high-stakes events is problematic. There are few events in my career that feel high-stakes anymore. I submit an article to a journal, it gets reviewed and rejected. I take the reviews, revise the paper, and try again. I write a grant. It doesn’t get funded. I revise it and submit it again. Or I submit another one. I teach and get some negative feedback. I incorporate that feedback into my lectures next term. Short of complete and total incompetence, no single event really has the potential to end my career. With each thing I do, I learn and I keep plugging forward toward my goals. I surround myself with mentors and more senior scientists who objectively and routinely evaluate my career and provide me feedback.



  1. says

    Thanks for the plug Kate! I just wrote the final part of the series. *Phew*. So glad to be done with that load of bullshit. I don’t know how SBM folks and others have the energy to tackle this crap week in and week out. I’d rather write about good science.

  2. carlie says

    I was surprised to read on the Netflix story that they have everything so finely categorized, because my experience with browsing has been the opposite. My best example: after searching for The Dick Van Dyke Show, it suggested Orange is the New Black as “others similar to this”.

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