Saturday, May 5, 2018

Summer plans

I still have to finish drafting a final exam, and I will have final exams and projects to grade all this coming week. I will have few moments to breathe. That will end, I'll take a few moments to rest, and then I have some time for some scholarly writing. Hard-earned, and sometimes painful experience has taught me that my best time to write is during those few weeks before the first summer session for classes starts, and then during July and early August. I do have some writing commitments to take care of and some data sets and analyses that need to be published. In many cases, initial drafts are already complete. In one case, I just need to complete a cover letter and settle on an initial journal for publication.

I imagine the easiest route for me will be to take care of an invited book chapter first, as it has a tangible deadline toward the end of this month. I have been re-reading articles and going over notes I use in my classes already. That topic is on implicit motives. I think, given recent research on IATs, I should be able to cover this chapter quite well. It doesn't hurt that I am quite familiar with McLelland's work on measures of implicit achievement and dominance motives. I have a good idea of how that chapter will look by the time it needs to be submitted.

I have three different weapons effect papers that are in various stages at the moment. One is a narrative review that I just submitted. I should have an idea late this summer if I can at least get a revise and resubmit on it. I am taking a more skeptical tack on this one, given the findings from my meta-analysis that is already in press, and the opportunity to communicate with an audience outside my usual discipline is one that I find intriguing. One that Meagan Crosby and I have worked on and that we've presented just needs the cover letter. Then it gets sent off. That I can easily do this month. Finally, I have a data set that is very small n and I would ordinarily be hesitant to try to publish, but because of how it ties in to some other research on threat detection, I am going to try to get it submitted somewhere. I suspect that I will work on that paper a little later this summer. My initial hope was that these would be my final contributions to the weapons effect literature, as my skepticism about behavioral outcomes has left me a bit discouraged. However, a student and I were brainstorming and if she is still wanting to approach me with a design idea, I'll take on one more. That study would potentially help settle some speculation about the viability of a situated inference model (SIM) approach to the weapons effect.

I need to get back to the Type A and Aggression meta. Preliminary database building and analyses are done. I'll report those findings at a conference next year. It probably isn't the first thing one would think of tackling after completing a high profile meta, but I am not exactly one who follows the whims of fashion. This is another one of those projects in which a student is involved, and I really want her to have a published article out of this if at all possible. The usual methods of hunting down fugitive literature have already been exhausted. We'll hit the listservs next.

Beyond that, there is a paper that has been on the back burner for way too long. It deals with how we scientists communicate media violence research with each other and as a consequence to the public. The basics of this paper are already in place. It need considerable editing, and I hope the student who spearheaded this particular paper is still willing to take the lead. If so, I will be delighted. The topic of science communication is one that is increasingly near and dear to my heart. This particular student struck a nerve with me when I saw the initial draft, and I think he convinced me that we really do need to rethink how we not only communicate among ourselves but with the public, because what we are doing now clearly is not working. I think the more difficult endeavor is how we as scientists studying media violence communicate with each other, given that the major players have taken clearly demarcated sides and neither respect nor trust those on the other side, and given the reluctance of those of us who are relatively minor players to end up cannon fodder for the major players. By comparison, communication with the public is a piece of cake. We have some ideas and some tentative answers. I'd like to have a submitted draft late this summer or early fall.

That's an ambitious list for an educator, and I suspect the high priority stuff will get done, and some of the stuff on the back burner will remain there until next year. I do have some travel plans shaping up. I want to spend some time with my parents. At my age, opportunities to do so are becoming increasingly rare. Those moments matter far more than what is in print. I will spend a week in Tampa reading AP Psychology essays and hanging out with some of the coolest people I know. A Cali trip is in the works. We need to pay tribute to a fallen family member and visit with those who remain. And of course no trip to Cali is complete without hitting the beaches and finding the good food trucks.

As far as this blog is concerned, I'll try to keep it updated as time permits. Certainly some words about media literacy matter, and I'll contribute what I can when I can. I also want to use this as a forum to sound off on some of my thoughts about aggression-related cues as recent experiences have left me more of a skeptic than I once was. I may have a few things to say about choosing one's collaborators wisely, as I have not always done so in the past. The short of it: at this point, I think I am happier and a better writer as a solo act (or working exclusively with students). I used to be good about posting photos from conferences, etc. The last year or so got away from me. I'll try to correct that a bit, and hope I don't bore too many of you in the process. Okay. That's it for now. Time to rest up and get ready for another finals week.

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