Does priming religion make people more generous?

Embed from Getty Images A decade ago a paper titled ‘God is Watching You’ by Shariff & Norenzayan (2007) received a lot of attention after it reported an experimental study showing that people subconsciously primed with religious concepts, regardless of their stated level of religiosity, behaved more generously. (The study reported a similar increase when secular ‘moral’ institutions were primed but this [Read More…]

Trump and the Art of Questionnaire Design

President Trump and his team are in the process of carrying out an online survey. It is called the ‘Mainstream Media Accountability Survey‘ and is currently accessible on the Republican National Committee’s website here. As someone who spends a fair amount of their time designing questionnaires for psychology studies reading this relatively short questionnaire was akin to watching a horror movie. [Read More…]

An unfortunate reality: Milo will be back

This is something of an addendum to my previous post recommending that liberals get used to Milo’s presence as a conservative voice. Shortly after that post was published a controversy erupted over positive comments about paedophilia that Milo had made during two online interviews. The subsequent outcry proved too great even for him to deflect. So in [Read More…]

Milo’s here to stay but liberals shouldn’t care

The Breitbart ‘journalist’ Milo Yiannopoulous has been in the news a lot recently. Violent protests against a talk he was supposed to give at Berkeley led to President Trump tweeting out his support, not so long ago he secured a controversial $250,000 book deal and a few days ago he appeared on Bill Maher’s Real Time show [Read More…]

Michael Shermer endorses popular alt-right Youtuber Stefan Molyneux

Michael Shermer is a prominent figure in the skeptical community. He is the founder of the Skeptics Society, editor of Skeptic magazine, gives TED talks promoting skepticism and has published a tonne of books on the value of science, rationalism and skepticism. However, he is not without his controversy. He is a devoted libertarian and sometimes let that [Read More…]

Thin skins and the muddled mess of academic Jargon

A longstanding pet hate of mine is just how rife the arts and humanities have become with a particular brand of obscurantist (postmodern inspired) academic jargon. Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont did an admirable job of skewering some of these tendencies as they related to the (mis)use of mathematics by French post modern intellectuals in their [Read More…]

The value in telephoning the dead

This week’s episode of the popular NPR podcast This American Life featured a touching story (available to listen to here) about how some people in Japan who had lost loved ones in the 2011 tsunami were making a pilgrimage (of sorts) to a phone booth on a hill in the town of Otsuchi in order to ‘speak with’, or more accurately send messages to, [Read More…]

Brexit and Cognitive Bias- Part 2 Conspiracy Theories

In this second post about Brexit and the cognitive biases that surround the referendum decision I want to focus on the prevalence of conspiracy thinking. Both the Leave and Remain campaigns sought to exploit conspiratorial thinking but the Leave campaigners proved to be much more adept at this and it proved to be one of the key factors behind their success. Now in the [Read More…]

Of Gorillas and Cruel Intentions

I’ll get back to the unfolding Brexit car-crash in my next post but first I want to return to a story from a few months back-  the tragic death of the silverback gorilla, Harambe, who was killed after an infant fell into his enclosure. The media frenzy around this incident has passed but the outcome of the investigation conducted [Read More…]

Brexit and Cognitive Biases- Part 1 My Position

I apologise for not posting recently. I have been a little snowed under preparing journal articles and on top of that I have found it hard to focus on blogging about research while the monumental EU referendum and its aftermath have been roiling over my home country. So, rather than continue and just ignore the elephant in the [Read More…]