May 15, 2008

Graduation and other stuff . . .

Well graduation was this past Sunday for the College of William & Mary. As you can see, I decided to attend, and I brought my wife along. It was nice and short. And though there was some celebration, it ain't over yet! All my class requirements are completed, but there's still that little thing we call a thesis that needs to be defended. I have until July 18th to defend my thesis, which is plenty of time so I don't expect to run into any problems. But until then I suppose I can't officially consider myself an MA. My wife on the other hand has completed everything, including her thesis, and her graduation from VCU is this Saturday. Fun stuff.

So now we basically have about two months before we move to Lexington, KY and start our doctoral programs at the University of Kentucky. This is an exciting time for us. Of course, we don't have much to do right now. I do have thesis work to complete, as well I'm still working on a few other side research projects. Yet I still feel that I have a lot of free time on my hands. Part of this free time I plan to spend writing (both blog and academic writing). As well, I have started a writing schedule (under the advice of my future grad advisor) and I hope to use these two months to get used to scheduled writing. Hopefully then I will break my binge writing habits, haha.

As for the blog, I'm making myself the goal of at least three posts a week, though it'll be great if I can get to posting daliy. I let myself slack too much this past semester, so I need to make up for it. Anyways, more on that later! Congratulations to all my friends and colleagues who are now fellow graduates! Yea!

On another note, here's a collection of links to keep you busy. Each has to do with psychological science in some way or another:

* Firstly, here's a newly launched website called Personality and Social Psychology Comments. As you can guess from the title, it's an online database of comments on published papers in the areas of personality and social psychology. Here's a brief description of PSPC:

"In order to advance as a scientific field, we argue that personality and social psychology should be characterized by cumulative knowledge as well as a constant questioning and discussion about what has been previously established. To incorporate such an ideal, previous data and unpublished research should be far more accessible than it is today.

We believe that there is a great deal of well-conducted research such as replications, extensions of previous studies, and null findings that never reach the stage of publication. Thus, valuable information never gets accessible to the scientific community.

Most of all, however, we believe that scientific enterprise should be open and critical and there should be a space to express criticism and other viewpoints. PSPC is meant to provide a forum for these issues and hopefully function as a resource for researchers conducting reviews and meta-analyses as well."

PSPC seems like it could be a pretty useful tool, but no one has bothered to submit any comments yet. I'm not sure whether it's because the word just hasn't gotten out yet or what. But if it starts to garner some popularity, I imagine it's usefulness will become more apparent . . . especially those comments focusing on null findings.

* The second item concerns a society called, Psychologists for Social Responsibility. This is the first time that I have heard about them, though the group was founded 25 years ago. I found out about them through a social psychology listserv. It's basically a group that uses psychological knowledge to promote peace and social justice. I took a gander at their website. I suppose that if you are into peace or political psychology, this might be an interesting group to look at/consider.

* Finally, my last item concerns a new essay that Steven Pinker has just written in the New Republic. It concerns the concept of dignity, its uselessness in terms of bioethics, and how it's being used to stall the progress of basic scientific and medical research. It's a good essay, brief and to the point. Go check it out!

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