The Situationist

Blogroll Review – Part 1

Posted by The Situationist Staff on February 2, 2011

Over at the new Law & Mind Blog, a group of Harvard Law students is writing a series of posts reviewing other mind-science blogs.  Each posts provides a summary of several blogs and features one that the author finds especially valuable.  Here’s Part 1 of that series (authored by third-year student Lea Downey).

* * *

Another great blog on the mind science topic is BPS Research Digest, where the British Psychological Society reports on recent studies in psychological publications.

The featured studies are chosen with an expert eye for interest level, relevance to current events, and accessibility even to readers relatively unversed in psychology, like myself. That editor Christian Jarrett describes each study in vivid, catchy language adds to the appeal.

A good example is a recent post on climate change. Jarrett highlights a study by Matthew Feinberg and Robb Willer in Psychological Science, which suggested that apocalyptic warnings may be more likely to evoke skepticism about the existence of global warming than more upbeat descriptions of potential technological solutions.

The post does a great job of pairing simple explanations of psychological phenomena:

Many people believe implicitly that the world is fair, that bad things by and large don’t happen to good people. When presented with evidence to the contrary, they ignore or downplay it.

With concise summaries of the results:

Those participants with stronger just-world beliefs were actually made more sceptical about global warming by the more shocking newspaper article. By contrast, the more upbeat article reduced participants’ scepticism regardless of the strength of their just-world beliefs.

Jarrett also makes connections to related studies, one concerning fear-based messages in the context of smoking, and another related to the framing of environmentalism as patriotic.

Other posts I recommend are “Other people may experience more misery than you realize” and “Coffee helps women cope with stressful meetings but has the opposite effect on men.” A particularly law-related one is “What makes revenge sweet?

Some other excellent mind sciences blogs are:

Advances in the History of Psychology, where a doctoral student explores developments related to her program in the history and theory of psychology at York University. A memorable recent post discussed “Autism’s First Child,” an October 2010 story in The Atlantic discussing the first individual to be diagnosed with autism, now age 77.

Blind Taste, a great blog linking food, wine, and popular culture with economics and cognition, looks not to have been updated in several months. But interesting posts concerning counterfeit wine, wine value mogul Robert Parker, and California’s Proposition 19 leave us hoping author Robin Goldstein will start up again soon.

Brain Blogger, an “official initiative of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation (GNIF),” reviews news and research in the fields of neuroscience and neurology, psychology and psychiatry, and health and health science. The blog’s diversity of posts includes “The Beauty of First Impressions” and “Daytime Napping Improves Memory.” Of particular salience to lawyers: “Free Will is NOT an Illusion.”

Channel N, meanwhile, exclusively features online videos related to brain and behavior. A subdivision of PsychCentral, “the Internet’s largest and oldest independent mental health and psychology network,” Channel N is currently highlighting videos on pediatric bipolar disorder, addiction, “why online dating is so unsatisfying,” and retired and rescued show horses being used in mental health therapy.

Do your brain a favor: check out some of these great blogs today!

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