That’s the Trouble with Research Baby, BIT’s Quest for Better Hiring, plus more weekly links


A selection of recent behavioral science news, articles, and resources of note:

  • When your research participants are babies, there’s no such thing as a flawless experiment. Whether it’s tantrums or throw-up, researchers are forced to adapt their experiments on the fly. This variability and unpredictability, however, doesn’t make it to publication. In the latest issue of Socius, David Peterson describes his ethnographic work in three developmental psychology labs over the course of 16 months, detailing the challenges researchers faced as well as the suite of dodgy research practices they employed to “produce” statistical significance. (Socius)


Photo: Deepwarren

  • Diversity makes teams better. Yet, diversity is still lacking in many organizations—see this story on Apple and this one on the Supreme Court. The Behavioral Insights Team is out to solve this problem. They recently launched Applied, a behavioral science inspired recruitment platform to help organizations make fairer and more informed hiring decisions. (NPR, New York Times, Behavioral Insights Team, Applied)
  • Erik Linstrum’s new book, Ruling Minds: Psychology in the British Empire, recalls Britain’s colonial rule in Asia and Africa and explores the contradictory role early psychological science played—from justifying white supremacy on the one hand, to documenting the profound similarities between the British and those they colonized on the other. (New York Magazine)
  • Where does your waste go? New Zealand is aiming to increase the salience of this and other questions that pertain to the everyday decisions we make that impact the environment.  “Tidy Kiwi,” policies are revealing how long-standing and recent nudges are improving New Zealand’s environmental grade. (Misbehaving Blog)

Photo: Jamie Kimmel, Misbehaving Blog

  • Not enough salt? Try cooling down your soup. With insights from neurogastronomy, restauranteurs are learning how to create flavors with temperatures, sounds, sights, and textures. (New Republic)
  • Are fear-provoking tweets contagious? According to computer scientist, Emilio Ferrara, stress responses via social media have proven capable of spreading fear contagion across the world. In Nautilus, he explains “How Ebola Infected Twitter.” (Nautilus)
  • The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recently updated their guidelines to make screening for depression a higher priority within primary care. Their recommendation places screening for depression on the same level of importance as screening for physical diseases like diabetes and hypertension. (The Atlantic)
  • “It would be absurd to suggest that we should do what we couldn’t possibly do,” write Duke researchers Vlad Chituc and Paul Henne in ”The Data Against Kant.” However, according to their forthcoming study on blame and obligation, it turns out we do just that. So who’s to blame? (New York Times)


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