Sunday, October 29, 2017

On tap for later

I am going to have a full schedule through the rest of the semester. Blogging, as always, is on the back burner under those circumstances. When I do resume blogging, I'd love to spend some time on a few facets of research in my field that have been bugging me for quite some time. One area I would love to spend some time on is the use and likely misuse of meta-analyses, especially in highly contentious research areas. As someone who has participated in such research on rare occasion, I might have a few things worth saying, some of which will be definitely have a tell-all flavor. Also on tap is a look at classic research that has failed to replicate, yet still gets reported in textbooks and popular media as "fact" long after being debunked (e.g., ego depletion, facial feedback, Type A/B Personality).

In the meantime, I have some awesome student research projects to supervise. Undergraduate students are a blast to work with, especially those who are truly enthusiastic about the research enterprise and who have yet to reach the sort of Kurt Vonnegut-style jadedness that seems to settle in on those of us at mid-career. I have some small projects conducted with some former students that need writing up. These will probably not go to top-tier journals, as our work is more often than not attempting some form of replication using diverse but ultimately college student samples, or is very exploratory research that would probably be deemed unimportant to the premier outlets. Those manuscripts will get submitted to legitimate peer-review journals and we'll eventually get some hopefully necessary lines added to their CVs as they head to grad programs. I also have my usual social psych and stats courses to finish up. Those are inevitably fun for me.

A little reflection: in the academic world, one does not often land in a college or university that generally functions well, where the members of one's department generally get along well with one another, and in which one can make lasting friendships within the community - completely unconnected to the college or university. I am one of those lucky individuals who managed to do so, quite by happenstance. In a very real and fundamental sense, I have everything I would want and everything I need. For that I am truly grateful. The academic environment, more broadly, is one that so often pushes its members to believe that they need to compete for "opportunities" that they will not want and which will only leave them unsatisfied and miserable, all the while being pushed to believe that they will find "more" of whatever they really don't want elsewhere. My advice is not to fall into that line of thinking. It is a trap. If you've got it good, enjoy. Smell the roses occasionally. You'll be better off for it.

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