A Caution to Measuring Character in Schools & More Weekly Links


A selection of recent behavioral science news, articles, and resources worth checking out:

  • Scientists are optimistic they can measure a student’s personal qualities—traits like grit and resilience, often referred to as character traits or non-cognitive skills—but they caution educators and policymakers that the current measures aren’t yet sophisticated enough to be used in student, teacher, or school evaluation. (Educational Researcher)
  • “In 2013, if you were a man between the ages of 20 and 49 who’d died [in the UK], the most likely cause was not assault nor car crash nor drug abuse nor heart attack, but a decision that you didn’t wish to live any more. In every country in the world, male suicides outnumber female.” Will Storr, in Mosaic Science, explores why. (Mosaic Science)
  • “Every surgeon carries within himself a small cemetery, where from time to time he goes to pray.” Joshua Rotman writes a beautiful review of London neurosurgeon Henry Marsh’s new memoir Do No Harm. (The New Yorker)


  • Over the last century, behavioral scientists have revealed numerous biases that humans, despite their best efforts, regularly fall victim to. The trouble is, in their research, behavioral scientists can fall victim to these biases as well. Psychologist Brian Nosek, whose work with the Open Science Framework was featured in Nautilus this week, is hoping to overcome the very human mistakes that scientists can make by creating an entire new framework for the research process. (Nautilus)
  • A portrait of the final days of the beautifully determined Sandy Bem, psychologist and gender pioneer, as she chose to end her own life as the result of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. (New York Times Magazine)
  • When solving problems like California’s drought, should policy makers reach for material incentives or leverage social norms? Drawing on research on cooperation, a team of behavioral scientists suggest the latter in their op-ed in this week’s Sunday Review. (New York Times).


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