The Situationist

Situationism in the Blogosphere in November 2007

Posted by The Situationist Staff on December 2, 2007

Josh Radovan & Digital Methods Initiative

Below, we’ve posted titles and a brief quotation from some of our favorite non-Situationist situationist blogging during November. (They are listed in alphabetical order by source.)

* * *

From Cognitive Daily: “Just smile, you’ll feel better!” Will you? Really?

“But the notion that ‘smiling will make you feel better’ has actually been confirmed by research. There are several studies demonstrating that people are happier when they smile, at least in certain circumstances.”

From Developing Intelligence: Google in Your Brain? PageRank As a Semantic Memory Model

“The world wide web can be understood as a giant matrix of associations (links) between various nodes (web pages). At an abstract level, this is similar to human memory, consisting of a matrix of associations (learned relationships, or neuronal connections) between various nodes (memories, or the distributed representations constituting them). In the new issue of Psych. Science, Griffiths et al. ask whether Google’s famously accurate and fast PageRank algorithm for internet search might behave similarly to the brain’s algorithm – whatever that might be – for searching human memory.”

From The Phineas Gage Fan Club: Evidence for shallow voters, or mere exposure?

“In the latest issue of PNAS, Ballew and Todorov (2007) report that election outcomes can be predicted from fast face judgements in participants who know neither of the candidates. In other words, to some extent voting behaviour is influenced by quick judgments of appearance – maybe the guy with the better hair really does win. Although this study is very interesting, there are a few shortcomings that will be discussed at the end of this post.”

From PsyBlog: Why We do Dumb or Irrational Things: 10 Brilliant Social Psychology Studies

“Over the past few months I’ve been describing 10 of the most influential social psychology studies. Each one tells a unique, insightful story relevant to all our lives, every day. But, the question is which one has the most to teach us about human nature? Which one gives us the most piercing insight into how our thoughts and actions are affected by other people? Have a read and then vote: . . .”

From Psychology and Crime News: An ethnographic account of violent careers

“[T]he narratives that young repeat offenders tell indicate that their violent acts ‘are interconnected and integrated into a recognizable developmental process as opposed to being isolated events. This type of developmental process… is not dominated by causal necessity. Rather, violent careers depend on contingent events and consequences of action, which function as direction-setters and social barriers in an individual’s life.'”

From We’re Only Human: Wisdom and Wizardry

“Reading is one of the mental activities that can decline with age, as basic mechanics like word processing and memory slow down. But it doesn’t have to, and Stine-Morrow has shown that sharp elderly readers actually read differently than poor readers. They are much more likely, for example, to create a mental model of a book when they first start reading—getting all the characters straight, the setting clear, and so forth. They also pause more, often mid-sentence, to integrate new information into their understanding of a story.”

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