Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hunks of Statistics: Sharon Begley

I decided that I shouldn't limit my Hunks of Statistics list to man-hunks. There are some lady-hunks as well. Like Sharon Begley.

Sharon Begley, from

I was introduced to Begley's work via Newsweek. She is a science writer by trade and has written several short, applicable news stories that I have used in statistics and psychology classes. The stories I list below cast a very critical eye on psychology. I think this is useful because she makes valid points AND these articles are a great way to generate student discussion.

-"Ignoring the evidence: Why do psychologists reject science?" discusses why some clinical/counseling psychologists ignore empirically-backed therapeutic methods in favor of home-brewed interventions (dolphin therapy, anyone?). I use this to get students talking about the importance of research-based decisions in psychology.

-"What's really human: The trouble with human guinea pigs" exposes the fact that most psychology research is conducted using undergraduates from developed countries. It primes students for a discussion of the importance of multicultural research, the limitations of generalization of research studies, etc.

-"More trial, less error: An effort to improve scientific studies": How important is replication? It is so important that a business called Science Exchange is actually providing professional replication services (instead of waiting around to do it yourself or for a peer to do so).

-Her personal website with a compilation of her online writings