I’ve always been interested in psychology, but life took me this way and that, and I didn’t pursue a BA in the subject until I was in my 40s. (Note to anyone in midlife considering returning to college: totally worthwhile. It was great fun, and it’s taken my writing career in exciting new directions, including this blog.)
I worked in a couple of research labs while in school–one in developmental psychology and one in speech cognition–and found those experiences absorbing and enlightening. Science can be an inexact science. There are myriad nuances to designing studies, executing them, and interpreting the results. How were terms defined? Who were the research subjects? Is there more than one way that the results can be interpreted, and what are the implications of that?
I’m also fascinated by how much closer and closer to the bone researchers must cut in choosing topics, both to pursue their own interests and, frankly, to come up with fresh spins on eternal human conditions in pursuit of publication. Some research seems a little silly or obvious, but it all contributes to building a body of knowledge. Besides, what we think is “common knowledge” isn’t always right. And you never know where new information might take you. I believe that whatever passion honest researchers pursue is worthwhile, even when research leads to a dead end, which is information in its own right.
So this blog will focus on (mostly) new psychological and sociological research as it pertains to our lives. We’ll speculate on practical applications, ruminate on how our experiences might confirm or conflict with conclusions. I’ll toss out ideas for research topics that occur to me as I’m going about my business and invite you to do the same. If I can find existing research on those subjects, I’ll bring it here. Sometimes I’ll talk directly to researchers about their research (I love doing that).
If any researchers are reading this, they’re probably rolling their eyes and putting up their dukes. Scientists are not crazy about the press and its tendency to oversimplify and sensationalize. They particularly loathe anecdotes, since every student tries to use those to disprove well-established concepts. I understand and respect this. But I hope to be a respectful conduit between what they know and what we want to know.
I invite and encourage comments; blogging is a conversation and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.