The celebrity analysis that killed celebrity analysis

Most ‘psy’ professionals are banned by their codes of conduct from conducting ‘celebrity analysis’ and commenting on the mental state of specific individuals in the media. This is a sensible guideline but I didn’t realise it was triggered by a specific event.

Publicly commenting on a celebrity’s psychological state is bad form. If you’ve worked with them professionally, you’re likely bound by confidentiality, if you’ve not, you probably don’t know what you’re talking about and doing so in the media is likely to do them harm.

Despite this, it happens surprisingly often, usually by ‘celebrity psychologists’ in gossip columns and third-rate TV. Sadly, I don’t know of a single case where a professional organisation has tried to discipline the professional for doing so – although it must be said that mostly it’s done by self-appointed ‘experts’ rather than actual psychologists.

A new article in Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law traced the history of how this form of ‘celebrity analysis’ first got banned in the US under the ‘Goldwater Rule’.

The Goldwater Rule stemmed from a scandal surrounding a 1964 publication in Fact magazine that included anonymous psychiatric opinions commenting on Senator Barry Goldwater‘s psychological fitness to be President of the United States. Fact, a short-lived magazine published in the 1960s, carried opinionated articles that covered a broad range of controversial topics. In the 1964 September/October issue entitled, “The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater,” the opinions of over 1,800 psychiatrists commenting on Goldwater’s psychological fitness were published…

Of the 2,417 respondents, 571 deferred from providing comments, 657 responded that Goldwater was fit to be president, and 1,189 responded that he was not fit. None of the psychiatrists whose comments were published had examined Goldwater, however, and none had permission from him to issue their comments publicly. In the article, Goldwater was described with comments including “lack of maturity”, “impulsive”, “unstable”, “megalomaniac”, “very dangerous man”, “obsessive-compulsive neurosis”, and “suffering a chronic psychosis”… Much was made of two nervous breakdowns allegedly suffered by Goldwater, and there was commentary warning that he might launch a nuclear attack if placed under a critical amount of stress as president.

Goldwater responded by bringing libel action against Ralph Ginzburg, Warren Boroson, and Fact… The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York returned a verdict in favor of the senator… The AMA and APA immediately condemned the remarks made in the Fact article after its publication. Individual psychiatrists also spoke out against the ethics of the published comments.

Most people who are subject to ‘celebrity analysis’ don’t have the luxury of bringing libel suits to defend themselves but it’s probably worth remembering that if someone is seeming to give a professional opinion on someone’s psychological state whom they’ve never met, they’re probably talking rubbish.
 

Link to article on ‘Psychiatrists Who Interact With the Media’

Towards a nuanced view of mental distress

In the latest edition of The Psychologist I’m involved in a debate with John Cromby about whether our understanding of mental illness is mired in the past.

He thinks it is, I think it isn’t, and we kick off from there.

The article is readable online with a free registration but I’ve put the unrestricted version online as a pdf if you want to read it straight away.

Much of the debate is over the role of biological explanations in understanding mental distress which I think is widely understood by many.

Hopefully, amid the knockabout, the debate gets to clarify some of that.

Either way, I hope it raises a few useful reflections.
 

Link to ‘Are understandings of mental illness mired in the past?’ (free reg).
pdf of full debate.

Spike activity 12-12-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news:

The new trailer for upcoming Pixar movie Inside Out is very funny and has a remarkably accurate depiction of brain function.

Neurocritic covers hipster neuroscience.

Is the ‘bilingual advantage’ in cognitive performance a result of publication bias? Maybe, suggests the Science of Us.

The Economist asks whether behavioural economics could be a tool to tackle global poverty.

Why do friendly people usually lead happier lives? asks BPS Research Digest.

Fastcompany has an interesting piece on the curious results from an online lingerie company who use extensive A/B testing of model photos to see underwear.

The science of why torture makes for useless interrogation – in New Scientist.

Snake oil salesmen selling torture

The US Government has just released its report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, aptly branded the “torture report”, which is available online as a pdf.

It makes for appalling reading but sheds light on the role of two psychologists in the creation and running of what turned out to be genuinely counter-productive ‘enhanced interrogations’ that were used in preference to already productive non-abusive interrogations.

In the report the psychologists are given the codenames Grayson SWIGERT and Hammond DUNBAR but these refer to James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen who have been widely identified by other sources in the preceding years.

Mitchell and Jessen were both contractors, who, according to the new report, arrived at detention centres to direct CIA interrogations, despite having no interrogation experience, and in face of sometimes severe reservations of regular CIA staff.

Later, Mitchell and Jessen formed a company, Mitchell Jessen and Associates – given the codename ‘Company Y’ in the report – which was contracted to the tune of $81 million to perform the interrogations. By interrogations here, of course, we mean torture that include waterboarding, unnecessary feeding through the anus, sleep deprivation, violence, threats, confinement to coffin shaped boxes for days on end, and painful stress positions.

Mitchell and Jessen’s approach was flawed from the start because it was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the theory they based their approach on.

They are frequently described in the report as saying that their interrogation method aimed to induce a state of ‘learned helplessness’.

This was a concept first developed by the psychologist Martin Seligman who noted that if you prevented animals from escaping when they were given electric shocks some eventually stopped trying and just fell into a state of passivity as they were repeatedly shocked.

Seligman argued that this might explain depression: people who experience multiple uncontrollable tragedies simply lose motivation and give up trying to make things better.

It’s not a great theory of depression but it does describe the loss of coherent self-helping behaviour that appears in some people who have no control over their abusive situations.

Mitchell and Jessen wanted to induce this state in detainees, thinking that it would make them more likely to co-operate.

This, to be frank, is just bizarre. The theory predicts the opposite would happen and this is, rather grimly, exactly what occurred.

Detainee Abu Zubaydah, the report notes, became “completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth” after repeated waterboarding. Ramzi bin al-Shibh started to exhibit “visions, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm.”

One CIA staff member understood exactly the counter-productive psychology of these techniques when he noted that “we believe employing enhanced measures will accomplish nothing except show [al-Nashiri] that he will be punished whether he cooperates or not, thus eroding any remaining desire to continue cooperating”. This is learned helplessness in action.

It’s not as if the entirely nonsensical basis of Mitchell and Jessen’s ‘learned helplessness’ approach was a complex or subtle theoretical distinction – it’s undergraduate level psychology. Even for the uninitiated, the clue is in the name.

Perhaps one of the biggest questions is why Mitchell and Jessen were given such a central and powerful role to carry out these useless torture sessions in light of their lack of experience, the incoherent basis of their ideas, lack of results, abusive methods and and massive conflict of interest.

On this last point, the report notes that CIA staff members on the ground expressed concerns that Mitchell and Jessen were responsible for assessing detainees’ suitability for ‘enhanced interrogation’, directing the sessions, evaluating their own performance, and profiting from participation.

If it couldn’t get any worse, the report mentions in several places that established CIA psychologists repeatedly expressed concerns about what was happening but were overruled.

The episode is both a monumental fuck-up on the level of the organisation’s ability to detect psychological snake oil and a vast human tragedy.
 

pdf of full report from Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

You won’t find the data in my pants

The journal contexts has an excellent article on the long history of exploring the sex lives of sex researchers as a veiled attempt to discredit their work.

…these stories suggest a troubling pattern: they tend to focus on researchers’ alleged sexual proclivities, spinning them as deviant motivations which compromise the research.

For example, James Miller’s biography of Michel Foucault links Foucault’s work to unconventional sexual activities like sadomasochism. Thomas Maier begins his biography with Virginia Johnson losing her virginity, portrays her as a sexually conniving secretary, and delights in exposing complicated aspects of the researchers’ sex life together. And historian James Jones depicts Kinsey as deeply twisted.

The problem is not simply that sexuality research remains stigmatized. It is that, in many circumstances, sex itself remains stubbornly discrediting. Sexuality’s cultural meanings are paradoxical—it is simultaneously repulsive and attractive, taboo yet vital to our happiness. It is difficult to write sexual stories without reproducing what Michael Warner calls “the ordinary power of sexual shame.” Moreover, stories that examine sex research through the prism of the researcher’s sex life rely on the simplistic notion that there is a specific connection between one’s sexual experiences and research.

A fascinating piece which covers the sort of leering interest sex research continually attracts despite it being one of the most important and under-investigated aspects of human health and behaviour.
 

Link to ‘The Sex Lives of Sex Researchers’ in contexts.

A simple trick to improve your memory

Want to enhance your memory for facts? Tom Stafford explains a counterintuitive method for retaining information.

If I asked you to sit down and remember a list of phone numbers or a series of facts, how would you go about it? There’s a fair chance that you’d be doing it wrong.

One of the interesting things about the mind is that even though we all have one, we don’t have perfect insight into how to get the best from it. This is in part because of flaws in our ability to think about our own thinking, which is called metacognition. Studying this self-reflective thought process reveals that the human species has mental blind spots.

One area where these blind spots are particularly large is learning. We’re actually surprisingly bad at having insight into how we learn best.

Researchers Jeffrey Karpicke and Henry Roediger III set out to look at one aspect: how testing can consolidate our memory of facts. In their experiment they asked college students to learn pairs of Swahili and English words. So, for example, they had to learn that if they were given the Swahili word ‘mashua’ the correct response was ‘boat’. They could have used the sort of facts you might get on a high-school quiz (e.g. “Who wrote the first computer programs?”/”Ada Lovelace”), but the use of Swahili meant that there was little chance their participants could use any background knowledge to help them learn. After the pairs had all been learnt, there would be a final test a week later.

Now if many of us were revising this list we might study the list, test ourselves and then repeat this cycle, dropping items we got right. This makes studying (and testing) quicker and allows us to focus our effort on the things we haven’t yet learnt. It’s a plan that seems to make perfect sense, but it’s a plan that is disastrous if we really want to learn properly.

Karpicke and Roediger asked students to prepare for a test in various ways, and compared their success – for example, one group kept testing themselves on all items without dropping what they were getting right, while another group stopped testing themselves on their correct answers.

On the final exam differences between the groups were dramatic. While dropping items from study didn’t have much of an effect, the people who dropped items from testing performed relatively poorly: they could only remember about 35% of the word pairs, compared to 80% for people who kept testing items after they had learnt them.

It seems the effective way to learn is to practice retrieving items from memory, not trying to cement them in there by further study. Moreover, dropping items entirely from your revision, which is the advice given by many study guides, is wrong. You can stop studying them if you’ve learnt them, but you should keep testing what you’ve learnt if you want to remember them at the time of the final exam.

Finally, the researchers had the neat idea of asking their participants how well they would remember what they had learnt. All groups guessed at about 50%. This was a large overestimate for those who dropped items from test (and an underestimate from those who kept testing learnt items).

So it seems that we have a metacognitive blind spot for which revision strategies will work best. Making this a situation where we need to be guided by the evidence, and not our instinct. But the evidence has a moral for teachers as well: there’s more to testing than finding out what students know – tests can also help us remember.

Read more: Why cramming for tests often fails

This is my BBC Future column from last week. The original is here

Madness, murder and mental healing

London’s innovative biomedical centre, the Wellcome Collection, have created a fascinating interactive story on how ‘mesmerism’ and hypnosis played an important role in the history of mind and madness.

It’s written by the fantastic Mike Jay, who has penned many excellent books on the high-strangeness of the early science of the mind in the 1800s, and has been wonderfully realised as an interactive web site.

It’s called ‘Mindcraft: a story of madness, murder and mental healing’ and rather curiously, but also rather usefully, it has its own trailer.

After you’ve gone to the website, you just need to keep scrolling down to work through the story and you’ll be diverted into video, narrative and text along the way.
 

Link to Mindcraft.

Spike activity 05-12-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news:

There’s a picture gallery from the abandoned Talgarth and Denbigh asylums at Wales Online.

The Guardian has a piece on psychologist William Marston, polyamory, feminism and the genesis of Wonder Woman. Doesn’t mention he also invented the polygraph.

The saga of the lost, maybe found, and probably destroyed lost brains of Texas University is covered by the New York Times.

Pacific Standard has an interesting piece on what sociologists can tell us about serial killing.

End of the Road for “Endophenotypes”? Neuroskeptic covers a provocative but not particularly well powered study on the highly cited psychiatric Lego blocks of the mind.

BBC News has an investigative piece on the ‘world’s most dangerous’ psychiatric hospital. Very disturbing indeed.

Excellent piece in BBC Future on common myths about PTSD.

For decades, the idea of a language instinct has dominated linguistics. It is simple, powerful and completely wrong, argues linguist Vyvyan Evans over at Aeon

3652 days

CC Licensed Photo by Flickr user Earl. Click for source.Mind Hacks is exactly 10 years old today. Here’s the first post where Matt announced that the book had started shipping.

This is the 4950th post and Mind Hacks has been going for 3652 days which means we’ve published an average of 1.4 posts a day, every day, for the last 10 years.

Apart from the blog posts there were two memorable occasions when we were featured in the mainstream press. Both were fittingly, slightly unusual.

Tom was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for leading a cognitive science safari through the streets of Berlin. A reporter accompanied him through the urban jungle and reported back from the pioneering trip through unexplored cognitive territory.

On a slightly different tack, an article in The New York Times featured my psychosis research. Curiously, it was put in the Fashion and Style section, which was most likely a mistake, although sometimes I catch a look at my well cut corduroy slacks and think maybe it was really due to my daring autumn look and stylistic joie de vivre.

Apart from those moments, we’ve mainly spent the rest of the decade at our laptops alternately flicking between PubMed and Google News, grumbling about people not linking to the original study and tapping out diatribes when people make unjustified inferences from neuroanatomical findings or limited behavioural data.

I suspect the next ten years might be somewhat similar.

Spike activity 28-11-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news:

The Pentagon publishes their plan for future war and they seem to have ripped off the plot from 1980s Rogue Trooper story lines.

The Scientist has a basic guide to imaging white matter with diffusion MRI. Next week in The Scientist: Collar up or collar down? We explore the latest lab coat trends.

Neurons light up Times Square for Midnight Moment – and they look amazing. Photo in New Scientist.

xkcd wins the internet with this cartoon simply entitled fMRI. Don’t miss the mouseover.

US regulators move on thought-controlled prosthetics, reports Nature – as soon as they can relax enough move the cursor. Mind Hacks – your number one source for brain-computer interface gags. Don’t miss our Christmas selection.

Mosaic Science asks whether hospital design can affect our recovery. With some fascinating answers.

Retroreport has a good video report on Sybil and the multiple-personality disorder hysteria that swept America in the 1970s.

A group of historians are identifying and memorialising unmarked graves of patients from an abandoned asylum in the States. Touching article and video report from The New York Times.

The wrong sort of discussion

The Times Higher Education has an article on post-publication peer review, and whether it will survive legal challenges

The legal action launched by a US scientist who claims that anonymous comments questioning his science cost him a lucrative job offer has raised further questions about the potential for post-publication peer review to replace pre-publication review.

The article chimes with comments made by several prominent Psychologists who have been at the centre of controversies and decried the way their work has been discussed outside of the normal channels of the academic journals.

Earlier this year the head of a clinical trial of Tamiflu wrote to the British Medical Journal to protest that a BMJ journalist had solicited independent critique of the stats used in his work – “going beyond the reasonable response to a press release”.

John Bargh (Yale University) in his now infamous ‘nothing in their heads’ blogpost accused the open access journal PLoS of lacking “the usual high scientific journal standards of peer-review scrutiny”, and accussed Ed Yong – laughably – of “superficial online science journalism”. He concluded:

“I am not so much worried about the impact on science of essentially self-published failures to replicate as much as I’m worried about your ability to trust supposedly reputable online media sources for accurate information on psychological science.”

Simone Schnall (University of Cambridge) is a social psychologist whose work has also been at the centre of the discussion about replication (backstory, independent replication of her work recently reported). She has recently written that ‘no critical discussion is possible’ on social media, where ‘judgments are made quickly nowadays in social psychology and definitively’.

See also this comment from a scientist when a controversial paper which suggested that many correlations in fMRI studies of social psychological constructs were impossibly high was widely discussed before publication: . “I was shocked, this is not the way that scientific discourse should take place.”

The common theme is a lack of faith in the uncontrolled scientific discussion that now happens in public, before and after publication in the journal-sanctioned official record. Coupled, perhaps, with a lack of faith in other people to understand – let alone run – psychological research. Scientific discussion has always been uncontrolled, of course, the differences now are in how open the discussion is, and who takes part. Pre social media, ‘insider’ discussions of specialist topics took place inside psychology departments, and at conference dinners and other social gatherings of researchers. My optimistic take is that social media allows access to people who would not normally have it due to constraints on geography, finance or privilege. Social media means that if you’re in the wrong institution, aren’t funded, or if you have someone to look after at home that means you can’t fly to the conference, you can still experience and contribute to specialist discussions – that’s a massive and positive change and one we should protect as we work out how scientific discussion should take place in the 21st century.

Link: Simone Schnall’s comments in full: blog, video

Previously: Stafford, T., & Bell, V. (2012). Brain network: social media and the cognitive scientist. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(10), 489–490. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2012.08.001

Previously What Jason Mitchell’s ‘On the emptiness of failed replications’ gets right, which includes some less optimistic notes on the current digital disruption of scholarly ways of working

Distraction effects

I’ve been puzzling over this tweet from Jeff Rouder:

jeffrouder

Surely, I thought, psychology is built out of effects. What could be wrong with focussing on testing which ones are reliable?

But I think I’ve got it now. The thing about effects is that they show you – an experimental psychologist – can construct a situation where some factor you are interested in is important, relative to all the other factors (which you have managed to hold constant).

To see why this might be a problem, consider this paper by Tsay (2013): “Sight over sound in the judgment of music performance”. This was a study which asked people to select the winners of a classical music competition from 6 second clips of them performing. Some participants got the audio, so they could only hear the performance; others got the video, so they could only see the performance; and some got both audio and video. Only those participants who watched the video, without sound, could select the actual competition winners at above chance level. This demonstrates a significant bias effect of sight in judgements of music performance.

To understand the limited importance of this effect, contrast with the overclaims made by the paper: “people actually depend primarily on visual information when making judgments about music performance” (in the abstract) and “[Musicians] relegate the sound of music to the role of noise” (the concluding line). Contrary to these claims the study doesn’t show that looks dominate sound in how we assess music. It isn’t the case that our musical taste is mostly determined by how musicians look.

The Tsay studies took the 3 finalists from classical music competitions – the best of the best of expert musicians – and used brief clips of their performances as stimuli. By my reckoning, this scenario removes almost all differences in quality of the musical performance. Evidence in support for this is that Tsay didn’t find any difference in performance between non-expert participants and professional musicians. This fact strongly suggests that she has designed a task in which it is impossible to bring any musical knowledge to bear. musical knowledge isn’t an important factor.

This is why it isn’t reasonable to conclude that people are making judgments about musical performance in general. The clips don’t let you judge relative musical quality, but – for these equally almost equally matched performances – they do let you reflect the same biases as the judges, biases which include an influence of appearance as well as sound. The bias matters, not least because it obviously affects who won, but proving it exists is completely separate from the matter of whether the overall judgements of music, is affected more by sight or sound.

Further, there’s every reason to think that the conclusion from the study of the bias effect gives the opposite conclusion to the study of overall importance. In these experiments sight dominates sound, because differences due to sound have been controlled out. In most situations where we decide our music preferences, sounds is obviously massively more important.

Many psychological effects are impressive tribute to the skill of experimenters in designing situations where most factors are held equal, allowing us to highlight the role of subtle psychological factors. But we shouldn’t let this blind us to the fact that the existence of an effect due to a psychological factor isn’t the same as showing how important this factor is relative to all others, nor is it the same as showing that our effect will hold when all these other factors start varying.

Link: Are classical music competitions judged on looks? – critique of Tsay (2013) written for The Conversation

Link: A good twitter thread on the related issue of effect size – and yah-boo to anyone who says you can’t have a substantive discussion on social media

UPDATE: The paper does give evidence that the sound stimuli used do influence people’s judgements systemmatically – it was incorrect of me to say that differences due to sound have been removed. I have corrected the post to reflect what I believe the study shows: that differences due to sound have been minimised, so that differences in looks are emphasised.

Wankers and prankers on the suicide hotline

CC Licensed Photo by Flickr user kev-shine. Click for source.The New York Magazine‘s new Science of Us section has an interesting review of a new documentary on hotlines – whether they be for suicide support or phone sex.

I was initially annoyed at the fact that the documentary puts both of these in the same category but it’s based on the interesting premise that hotlines – whether for mental health, sex or supporting members of a particular marginalised community – often involve the common component of lonely people reaching out to connect with a stranger, briefly, through conversation.

I don’t know how good the documentary is, I haven’t seen it, but interestingly the review was by an writer who himself had worked on a mental health support lines.

As a result the piece has some wonderfully insightful points about the emotional experience of working as a telephone support counsellor. I was really struck by this section:

Hotline mentions the masturbators, at least — cretins who call up and simply breathe heavily into their phones as they do their thing (at Samaritans, I never had to deal with them because they’d hang up and call back until a female picked up the phone). But the film doesn’t delve into other common experiences volunteers go through, such as how it feels to listen to and empathize with a desperate-sounding 12-year-old girl for seven devastating minutes, only to hear her — and the friends who have apparently been in the room with her the whole time — crack up with laughter, revealing her whole soul-crushing story of sexual abuse to have been a prank.

The problem is, after you’ve hung up angrily on the masturbator or the slumber-party pranksters, your phone is inevitably going to ring in another minute or five, and you have to somehow return to that place of empathy and openness, because the next person who calls may really need your help. It’s a strange sort of emotional bombardment, and Hotline missed an opportunity to unpack it a bit.

In the support hotline world, these callers are known as ‘wankers and prankers’ and they are surprisingly common. You probably wouldn’t imagine that people phone up suicide hotlines to whack off or wind people up, but it is common enough that most services have specific procedures to deal with these nuisance callers.

Many of these lines have a policy where the hotline attender doesn’t hang up on the caller, because people with the most disordered ways of accessing the services might be the ones who need it most.

To deal with this, some services have a specific person each shift whose job it is to listen to persistent masturbators. When they call they can just ask for ‘Julie’, or some other code name, and be passed on to the designated nuisance call monitor, who listens out for any signs that the person has something relevant they want to discuss.

This reduces the number of times people in the front line have the emotionally jarring experience of going from distressed suicidal people to ‘wankers and prankers’, meaning they’re better able to be open and empathetic for people who need it, and are less emotionally drained themselves.

It’s a strange corner of the mental health support world which has to overcome the foibles and dysfunction of social behaviour for which it was never designed to address.
 

Link to review of Hotline documentary.

Explore our back pages

At our birthday party on Thursday I told people how I’d crunched the stats for the 10 years of mindhacks.com posts. Nearly 5000 posts, and over 2 million words – an incredible achievement (for which 96% of the credit should go to Vaughan).

In 2010 we had an overhaul (thanks JD for this, and Matt for his continued support of the tech side of the site). I had a look at the stats, which only date back till then, and pulled out our all time most popular posts. Here they are:

topten

Something about the enthusiasm of last Thursday inspired me to put the links the top ten posts on a wiki. Since it is a wiki anyone can jump in and edit, so if there are any bits of the mindhacks.com back catalogue that you think are worth leaving a placeholder to, feel free to add it. Vaughan and I will add links to a few of our favourite posts, so check back and see how it is coming along.

Link: Mind Hacks wiki

Spike activity 21-11-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news:

Wall Street Journal on The Future of AI: An Ubiquitous, Invisible, Smart Utility.

A list of the 100 most followed psychologists and neuroscientists on Twitter compiled by the BPS Research Digest. And a mixed bag it is too.

Student Science has a fantastic how-to on how to build a sensory homunculus based on data from your own body.

Is There a Link Between Mental Health and Gun Violence? asks The New Yorker. Next to bugger all, says the research.

Neuroskeptic has an interesting post on how brain structure – behaviour findings might not replicate in brain scanning. Lots of good comments.

Pavlov. What an asshole. The New Yorker covers the little known story behind a psychology legend.

When Bad Things Happen in Slow Motion. Is there more to our experience of time than the foibles of memory? asks Nautilus magazine.

Science reports on a new finding of a genetic link to male homosexuality.

Interesting New Scientist piece on how altering the auditory feedback from our contact with the environment can shape perception of ourselves.

Vogue magazine continues neglect of cognitive science

Mind Hacks has been awarded the 2014 British Psychological Society’s Public Engagement and Media Award for its services to obsessive coverage of psychology and neuroscience.

I think I can speak for both Tom and I when I say we were actually aiming for recognition by Vogue magazine but it’s better than a poke in the eye so we’ll take it.

However, this is a chance to say if you’ve ever written anything for us, built or run the tech, sent us stuff, commented, linked to us, read something you liked, or marvelled with us at our growing knowledge of human nature, thank you.

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