Cognitions about cognition (and other science)
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NPR just ran this fun piece about James Pennebaker’s work on pronouns and filler words, and how they signal status and romantic interest. Turns out we can learn a lot from the words we never think about: pronouns like I or you, fillers like “uh” and “um,” and “verbal ticks” like “like.” Word nerds, if you want to read up on the topic, check out these papers:

Clark, H. H. & Fox Tree, Jean E. (2002). Using uh and um in spontaneous speaking. Cognition, 84, 73-111. — “Uh” signals a minor delay in your sentence, whereas “um” signals a more major delay.

Arnold, J. E., Tanenhaus, M. K., Altman, R. J., & Fagnano, M. (2004). The old and thee, uh, new. Psychological Science, 15(9), 578-582. — “Uh” signals that the speaker will probably be referencing something new in their sentence that hasn’t yet been mentioned in that conversation.

Fox Tree, J. E. (2006). Placing like in telling stories. Discourse Studies, 8(6), 749-770. — Using ‘like’ isn’t always vapid! An overview of the different ways ‘like’ is used in speech and what it signals.

Kidd, C., White, K.S., & Aslin, R.N. (2011). Toddlers use speech disfluencies to predict speakers’ referential intentions. Developmental Science, 14(4), 925–934. — Kids use people’s “um”s and “uh”s to learn new words.

I first learned about “genius apes” Koko and Kanzi in intro psych, and you might’ve too. (You might’ve also heard about Koko mourning Robin Williams’s death.) But did you know that Kanzi’s foster mom has been banned from seeing him, or that Koko gets homeopathic treatments from a telephone psychic? Read on for the scoop about the dark side of research.

PINE MOUTH. This is terrifying.

If you love science, put your money where your mouth is and support these UConn researchers who are raising funds for their project studying the immune system of Hawaiian Bobtail Squids, who grow camouflaging glow-in-the-dark bacteria in their bellies. (Want to know how glowing could possibly be camouflage? Head over to their page to learn more.)

In which I sing lobstersaredecapods's praises. Best comment: “Not one mention of Zoidberg in the whole article.” I am disappointed in myself.

Overall, academic fraud is rare, which makes it all the more shocking when a major case is uncovered. To the public, it may seem mind-boggling that scientists would go to such lengths to deceive. In an ideal world, scientists work together to make incremental discoveries that add to the body of knowledge in a field and are recognized for quality work. In reality, the world of science can be cutthroat and isolating, with little oversight. Stem cell research is certainly not the only research field with a fraud problem, but it has all the right elements to motivate dishonesty: It’s a cutting-edge field with the potential to discover treatments for human diseases; it attracts highly competitive people who are all scrambling to make the next big discovery; and that discovery must be made, written, and published before any competitors can catch up.

Fascinating yet unsurprising: the upper middle class prizes endurance sports.

Ebola is scary, but Americans have no reason to be afraid of it yet. Medical experts and government officials are hopeful that they can contain the situation in West Africa, and scientists are continuing their work on an Ebola vaccine. In the meantime, if you’re still feeling paranoid, go ahead and clean your keyboard. As long as you’re avoiding strangers’ bodily fluids (which you should do already), you’ll probably be fine.

My latest, in Slate’s Lexicon Valley: Scots Wikipedia is TOTALLY REAL

“We found that in the role-play, people were significantly more likely to blatantly lie to women,” says Laura Kray, the lead author of the study. Twenty-four percent of men said they lied to a female partner, while only 3 percent of men said they lied to a male partner. Women also lied to other women (17 percent), but they lied to men as well (11 percent). Perhaps even more telling: People were more likely to let men in on secrets. “Men were more likely to be given preferential treatment,” says Kray. In several instances, buyer’s agents revealed their client’s true intentions to men saying, “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but … ” This sort of privileged information was never offered to women.

Gender in negotiation study: Women fare worse in negotiations because people lie to them more | Slate

Here’s the latest bad news for women in the workplace. No matter how hard women lean in, stereotypes will still be a problem.