ON THAT REPRODUCIBILITY IN PSYCHOLOGY STUDY, by @grainnemcmahon

Cross-posted from: Feimineach
Originally published: 13.08.15

The FEMINISTPHILOSOPHERS take on the recent claim from a study published in Science (Reproducibility in Psychology – NOSEK ET AL, 2015) that some research in psychology is not replicable (i.e. the same findings are not found over repeated, similar investigations) and, therefore, invalid. At least that’s the way it’s being reported in articles such as this on SLATE which states that,

If it feels like you can find a study to back up any harebrained idea these days, you actually might be right, a new study SAYS. On Thursday we, as humans, arrived at the zenith of irony when a study of studies was published and found—you guessed it—many studies were totally full of it, and overstated their findings. To be fair, the REPRODUCIBILITY PROJECT investigation, led by a University of Virginia psychologist did not set out to debunk every study in every discipline and only dealt with psychological-based studies published in three leading journals. The critique focused on social science research, so this does not necessarily disprove either of the studies you just read saying seven cups of coffee a day will, and will not, make you live longer.

It’s a bit harsh, I know.

There are two related points to be made here. For me, the Science study’s claims that many psychology research studies are not as valid as first reported is worrying for the research community. Well, no, it’s rather the damning coverage from Slate and the like that is most damaging because most readers will not (and why should they, I suppose) wade through the sensationalist headline and claims. Also, most people will not consider what we need or want research to do.
Read more ON THAT REPRODUCIBILITY IN PSYCHOLOGY STUDY, by @grainnemcmahon

The Science Museum and the Brain Sex game

Cross-posted from: Young Crone

Like many feminists, I was appalled to learn recently that the Science Museum has a long-term, permanent exhibition about gender aimed at children entitled Who Am I? Photos and reports from women who have visited recently paint a very alarming picture of an exhibition not only full of supposed statements of fact that are, in fact, pure junk science, conjecture, and illogicality, but inappropriate displays, including items presented at child’s eye level that in any other context would constitute a crime, such as a ‘packer’ (a fake penis which looks like a sex toy and which is worn in the underwear of females who wish to be/believe they are male, and increasingly bought for children as young as 3 by parents for whom the term ‘misguided’ is woefully inadequate). The newspapers have had a field day at the ridiculous ‘What colour is your brain?’ game, yet this is possibly one of the least troubling aspects of the exhibition, and none of the papers cared, dared, or had the brain power sufficient to also discuss the rest of the exhibition and make the link between this stupid, outdated game and how the trans ideology being presented in the rest of the exhibition relies utterly on exactly that kind of absurd belief, and that children are being transed by parents and (un)professionals on similar flimsy and silly ideas. 
Read more The Science Museum and the Brain Sex game

Bat watching: The art of paying attention

Cross-posted from: Aliya Mughal

“The Earth has music for those who listen.” George Santayana

Bats in flight, courtesy of Freepik.com

I hear it before I see it.  Repetitive ticks in quick succession, like the sound of a marble dropping on a tile floor before scuttling across the surface into the distance.  The sound suddenly gets louder, turning into a wet fluttering.  And then I see it, a pipistrelle bat swoops out from the barn door, over my head and into the dusky night.

Echolocation, the reverberating sounds made by bats that allow them to navigate in the dark when foraging for food, is indiscernible to the human ear.  I had the privilege of witnessing these majestic creatures in flight one evening, sat in a quiet unlit corner of an Oxfordshire field, with a bat detector tuning me in to the bats’ chatter.


Read more Bat watching: The art of paying attention

The Real Life of Twins at Communicating with Kids, by @cwknews

Cross-posted from: Communicating with Kids
Originally published: 15.07.15

I am an identical twin so I sat down to watch ‘Secret Life of Twins’ on ITV yesterday hoping that it would do something I’ve never seen before on t.v. by portraying the real life of twins, rather than the freak show entertainment we usually get.

But no, it didn’t; so here, for all parents of twins and everybody else in the world for that matter, is my critical response. I think I’ll start with a few requests to future t.v. producers of programmes about twins:

1. Would you stop getting twins to pose together doing exactly the same actions so that we can gasp at how amazing that is – they look AND act the same!

2. Can you stop the really patronising voice-over. Twins are not fluffy bunny rabbits.

3. Can you not act like the similarities between twins are the reality and the differences are aberrations. And please don’t sound SO startled when you mention those differences.
Read more The Real Life of Twins at Communicating with Kids, by @cwknews

Why should we focus on women in STEM?, by @psycho_claire

Cross-posted from: The Psychology Super Computer
Originally published: 23.09.13

So, the question posed as the title for this post prompted a twitter discussion between myself and a friend the other day. The discuss got a bit heated, which some could see as a bad thing, personally I see it as a consequence of debate between passionate people. What came out of that debate though, is that I’ve thought about this question a lot, I assumed that everyone understood why this is an important issue and why we should be focussing on it now, but it seems that assumption May be wrong. I’ve been thinking about how best to explain it, and so I approached my friend to see if he’d be ok with me writing a post on this subject. I want to make clear, this is in no way a continuation of some imagined disagreement. He’s happy for me to write this, and I’m looking forward to coffee with him soon. There’s no personal vendetta here.

Right, so that’s the disclaimer out of the way. :)

Before I explain the why. I suppose I’d better explain the what. What is the women in STEM issue. For those that don’t know STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. And currently we have a problem in STEM subjects and careers. That problem is the low uptake of women. This is not just a recruitment problem, in fact you could argue it’s not a recruitment problem at all. Since girls tend to like and do well in STEM subjects through high school. The women in STEM problem is being referred to as the “leaky pipeline” – at each further stage of education and career progression the proportion of women to men drops. It starts at A-levels, with fewer girls doing a-level in STEM subjects despite out performing boys at GCSE level. Fewer still continue to study STEM subjects at undergraduate level, and fewer at post-graduate. This trend continues through career progression, for example in academia, after PhD, fewer women become lecturers, then fewer become senior lecturers; on and on. Women disappear. Despite clear interest and aptitude in STEM subjects they vanish. But we don’t know why. This is the women in STEM problem.


Read more Why should we focus on women in STEM?, by @psycho_claire