The Week in Politics, According to Twitter

Well, this past week was an eventful one in U.S. politics.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, delved into yet another Twitter-related controversy on Saturday after tweeting an image of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, standing near a giant pile of cash and a word bubble conspicuously shaped like the Star of David. Critics immediately pounced on the imagery and accused Trump of anti-Semitism.

The Trump campaign quickly responded by deleting the tweet and replacing it with an altered version, which featured a circle rather than a star. But then, in a surprising display of apparent self-sabotage, Trump went on to defend the use of the six-pointed star, claiming in an angry speech that his campaign staffers “shouldn’t have taken it down” and that it’s “just a star.” Unfortunately for Trump, the Anti-Defamation League and 27 other Jewish organizations disagree. Read more “The Week in Politics, According to Twitter”

Has the Academic Job Market in Psychology Finally Bottomed Out?

Earlier this month, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released data from the 2014 Survey of Earned Doctorates, the latest edition of an annual census of individuals who receive research doctoral degrees from U.S. colleges and universities.

And based on an official NSF report highlighting the major findings from the survey, it seems 2014 was a good year for dissertation defenses.

All totaled, U.S. institutions awarded 54,070 PhDs in 2014. That’s 2.5% more than were awarded in 2013. It’s also the highest number of PhDs awarded since the Survey of Earned Doctorates was first conducted back in 1957. Science and Engineering fields, in particular, have seen tremendous growth in recent years. Doctorates in these fields presently constitute 75% of all newly earned PhDs in the U.S., up from only 66% in 1994.

But despite the record number of doctoral degrees awarded, 2014 was not an entirely good year in the world of doctoral education. Even though the recession ended several years ago and the U.S. economy is rebounding, the results of the latest NSF survey suggest the PhD job market is still stuck in a lingering slump. Read more “Has the Academic Job Market in Psychology Finally Bottomed Out?”

Are People with Mental Illness Dangerous? A Bayesian Approach to Tackling Stigma

As part of the ongoing effort to stop Donald Trump from becoming the Republican Presidential nominee, an ad was circulated on Facebook recently featuring pictures of his wife Malania posing nude. The pictures were from a 2000 photo shoot with GQ, and the ad was produced by an anti-Trump “Super PAC” called Make America Awesome.

Although the Super PAC apparently has no ties to his principle rival in the Republican Primary, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Mr. Trump was quick to go on the offensive. Read more “Are People with Mental Illness Dangerous? A Bayesian Approach to Tackling Stigma”

Which Presidential Candidates are talking about Mental Health? And What are they Saying?

Do you know someone who has been diagnosed with a psychological disorder – perhaps depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, or even Schizophrenia? If you don’t, there’s a good chance you will eventually. It could be a close friend, a family member, or maybe even yourself.

Each year, mental illness affects roughly 1 in 5 adults in the United States. That’s about 43.6 million people or about 18.1% of the U.S. population. And that’s just within the time span of a single year.

The chances of experiencing a bout of mental illness at some point in your life is a staggering 46%. Essentially the flip of a coin. Read more “Which Presidential Candidates are talking about Mental Health? And What are they Saying?”

Mapping Automobile Accidents in the United States

Every year in December, my wife and I drive up to Scranton, Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with family and friends. We live in Raleigh, North Carolina, so the drive is long but usually uneventful.

This past year, however, our trip north was complicated by some pretty nasty weather. Nothing as bad as what was experienced out west around this time, and certainly nothing compared to the great “Snowzilla” attack of 2016. But it was bad enough to cause several accidents and delays along the way. In the end, a drive that should have taken 8 hours ended up taking closer to 14 hours.

During one of several times we were stopped in traffic behind an accident, I started to wonder what the most dangerous roadways are in the United States. And where in our country are automobile accidents most prevalent? Following a near collision with a tractor trailer along the seemingly always foggy stretch of Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County, PA (between Harrisburg and Hazleton), I certainly had my own opinion on the matter.1 But what do actual data suggest? Read more “Mapping Automobile Accidents in the United States”

Can too much science be a bad thing? Growth in scientific publishing as a barrier to science communication.

There’s no doubt we live in an exciting time of innovation and discovery. With thousands of academic journals currently in print, more scientific research is published today than ever before. And the amount of scientific research being produced only continues to grow each year.

According to a search on PubMed – the free online database developed and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) – scientific research has increased exponentially over the last century. The amount of research published in 2014 (514,395) was more than triple the amount published in 1990 (136,545), more than 100 times the amount published in 1950 (4,432), and more than 3,000 times the amount published in 1940 (153). Read more “Can too much science be a bad thing? Growth in scientific publishing as a barrier to science communication.”

Here is a List of all the Colleges and Universities in the U.S. that offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

If you plan to go against the advice of certain politicians and major in psychology in college, then you’re going need to find an undergraduate program that suits your needs and professional aspirations.

Psychology is one of the most popular majors in the U.S., and there are literally hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the country that offer an undergraduate degree in the field.

Of course, thanks to our society’s increasing obsession with college rankings, you’ll likely have no trouble finding several “definitive” lists of the best psychology programs in the country (here, here, and here, for example).

Read more “Here is a List of all the Colleges and Universities in the U.S. that offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology”

Jeb Bush Thinks You Shouldn’t Major in Psychology. Is He Right?

During a recent campaign event in South Carolina, Republican Presidential candidate Jeb Bush took a shot at psychology majors, suggesting most will not go on to find good jobs after graduating.

“Universities ought to have skin in the game,” the former Florida governor said at a South Carolina town hall with Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy. “When a student shows up, they ought to say ‘Hey, that psych major deal, that philosophy major thing, that’s great, it’s important to have liberal arts … but realize, you’re going to be working a Chick-fil-A.'”

Not surprisingly, Bush’s remarks were widely condemned by those in the psychological community. And many took to social media using the hashtag #thispsychmajor to showcase their professional accomplishments and to discuss the importance of psychology to everyday life.

Read more “Jeb Bush Thinks You Shouldn’t Major in Psychology. Is He Right?”

How Many Citations Does a Typical Research Paper in Psychology Receive?

grad student aspirations

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At one point or another, every aspiring scientist dreams of someday revolutionizing their field. After all, who wouldn’t love to publish a body of work that goes on to be remembered for heralding some exciting new discovery or for challenging longstanding paradigms or schools of thought?

But how realistic are such aspirations, particularly in psychology? If you’re a psychological scientist publishing research in peer-reviewed journals, what are the chances that others will read and cite your work? And how many citations does a typical research paper in psychology receive?

Read more “How Many Citations Does a Typical Research Paper in Psychology Receive?”

Psychology’s Employment Problem Crosses Gender Lines

In my last post, I tried to better understand the employment prospects for PhD recipients in psychology by taking a look at 20 years’ worth of data from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Survey of Doctorate Recipients. What I found should be concerning to professional psychologists and students of psychology alike.

Although the NSF data show that very few psychologists are actually unemployed (<2%), fewer PhD recipients are employed full-time in psychology than in any other field of science. Moreover, the gap in full-time employment between psychology and other sciences has more than quadrupled in the past 20 years. As of 2013, only 73% of PhD recipients in psychology were employed full-time, whereas 26% were employed primarily part-time. In contrast, 85% of PhD recipients in psychology were employed full-time in 1993, and only 13% were employed primarily part-time.

So it seems psychology in the midst of an employment slump. Or is it?

Read more “Psychology’s Employment Problem Crosses Gender Lines”