novapsyche: a woman of stature circa 1900s peering out of a ring (womanring)
Paula Deen's Food Network contract won't be renewed -- "The Food Network said Friday it's dumping Paula Deen, barely an hour after the celebrity cook posted a videotaped apology online begging forgiveness from fans and critics troubled by her admission to having used racial slurs in the past."

Unattractive, mean people may be more likely to be bullied at work -- The pretty, mean people fare better.

Ruins of hidden Maya city, Chactun, discovered in Mexico

Scientists create detailed 3-D model of human brain
novapsyche: Teysa, Orzhov Scion (from Magic: the Gathering): a woman with a turned-up cowl, frowning (teysa)
So, with my altered habits vis-a-viz Internet news, I missed the brouhaha of this amazing gem:

Why Are Black Women Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women, But Black Men Are Rated Better Looking Than Other Men? : Why black women, but not black men?

This article, such as it is, was originally published in the Scientific Fundamentalist by Satoshi Kanazawa. It was picked up & broadcast by Psychology Today. Apparently a firestorm of criticism occurred, because Psychology Today took the article down quite quickly.

I happened to mention this as an aside to [personal profile] netmouse this weekend. Although I did not adequately describe in words how atrocious Mr. Kanazawa's non-sourced "scientific" article was, I did so in tone. I promised to follow up by sending the two articles once I got home.

Coincidentally, [personal profile] netmouse's reply came the same day that ColorofChange.org sent a missive about this very incident. Therein the authors say:

Last week [Psychology Today] published an article claiming it to be scientific fact that Black women are less beautiful than women of other races,2 penned by Satoshi Kanazawa, who is notorious for hiding behind pseudoscience to promote discredited racist and sexist ideas.3

By giving Kanazawa a platform and validating his ideas, Psychology Today dehumanized Black women and girls everywhere. After widespread public outcry, they removed the article from their website.4 (emphasis in the original)

Yes. Unlike Mr. Kanazawa, ColorOfChange.org cites its sources.

[personal profile] netmouse concisely termed Mr. Kanazawa's work "bunk". Unfortunately, he keeps getting a platform.

ColorOfChange.org has a petition asking for a formal apology, if you're interested in signing. But to tell you the truth, not even a full retraction would undo the damage already done.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
I picked up Science at the library today and came across a very cogent, important article: "Racial Bias, Unspoken But Heard" by John F. Dovidio. Four separate studies (joined by a common theme) detail how nonverbal information influences the attitudes of TV audiences. "Specifically," Dovidio states, "exposure to nonverbal race bias, via evaluative conditioning, may cause perceivers to associate race with affect and thus exhibit race bias themselves" (p. 1711). The findings are stunning in their implications:

Nonverbal race bias was thus observed across 11 shows, each with an average weekly audience of 9 million, suggesting that many Americans are exposed to nonverbal race bias. These biases may occur for a variety of reasons: because actors spontaneously exhibit nonverbal bias, because biased nonverbal behavior is written into scripts, and/or because directors persuade actors to change their nonverbal behavior. Regardless, the bias appears on a number of popular television shows and thus may influence viewers. (p. 1712)

For many years, many have thought that TV influenced how viewers perceived groups portrayed in various ways on TV; however, since the '70s, it's been assumed that merely changing the content of the story or the makeup of the cast was enough to shake up longstanding beliefs. I highly recommend reading the article in full, if possible (the only free virtual content is the abstract, linked above).

Of course, I'd like to see a similar study carried out with a group that is nonwhite, then have the results compared. (Every population in these studies were white, presumably to test for conformity of these racial views.)
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
Teen Birth Rates Higher in Highly Religious States

[T]he results don't say anything about cause and effect, though study researcher Joseph Strayhorn of Drexel University College of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh offers a speculation of the most probable explanation: "We conjecture that religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception among their teenagers than they are in discouraging sexual intercourse itself."

[...] They found a strong correlation between statewide conservative religiousness and statewide teen birth rate even when they accounted for income and abortion rates.

For instance, the results showed more abortions among teenagers in the less religious states, which would skew the findings since fewer teens in these states would have births. But even after accounting for the abortions, the study team still found a state's level of religiosity could predict their teen birth rate. The higher the religiosity, the higher was the teen birth rate on average.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
In Study, Texting Lifts Crash Risk by Large Margin -- NYT article (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] supergee)

911 Caller Did Not Describe Gates as Black -- WashPost article

Pique And the Professor -- "The debate -- really more of a shouting match -- is also about power and entitlement." (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] supergee)
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
Study: Food Storage Began Well Before Farming

People were storing grain long before they learned to domesticate crops, a new study indicates. A structure used as a food granary discovered in recent excavations in Jordan dates to about 11,300 years ago, according to a report in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

That's as much as a thousand years before people in the Middle East domesticated grain, the research team [...] said.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
Oil fight could trigger a federal shutdown

This angers me. (Not the shutdown part--if the Republicans want to be that stupid/suicidal right before the election, let them.) Democrats are now, after all these years, drawing up a plan to allow drilling in ANWR? Conservation is a fantastic moral issue. It incenses me that they're willing to compromise their morals.

See Extreme appeal: voters trust extreme positions more than moderate ones, study finds (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] dsgood)

Science!

Jul. 25th, 2008 02:46 am
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
Why play a losing game? Study uncovers why low-income people buy lottery tickets: Carnegie Mellon research points to poverty's influence (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] dsgood)

Although state lotteries, on average, return just 53 cents for every dollar spent on a ticket, people continue to pour money into them — especially low-income people, who spend a larger percentage of their incomes on lottery tickets than do the wealthier segments of society. A new Carnegie Mellon University study sheds light on the reasons why low-income lottery players eagerly invest in a product that provides poor returns.

In the study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, participants who were made to feel subjectively poor bought nearly twice as many lottery tickets as a comparison group that was made to feel subjectively more affluent. The Carnegie Mellon findings point to poverty's central role in people's decisions to buy lottery tickets.

[...] "State lotteries are popular revenue sources that are unlikely to go away anytime soon," said George Loewenstein, a study co-author and Herbert A. Simon professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon. "However, it is possible to implement measures that can actually benefit low-income lottery players and lead to fairer outcomes." Loewenstein noted that one such potential method for addressing income inequality, which has shown promise in other countries, is tying lottery tickets to savings accounts.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] netmouse asked me a long, long time ago to delineate the difference between society and culture.

Society is what exists presently in human aggregations (towns, cities, etc.).

Culture is what is passed down from generation to generation.

These obviously intermingle, but they are not the same. Society is not passed down (though the idea of society is).

This is a slim definition, but it serves.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
Posted in [livejournal.com profile] feminist: Apparently there have been studies explaining that smiling is a social phenomenon linked with submissiveness.

I smile more often than not. But like I told the guy I interviewed with yesterday, I'm a pleaser by nature. Maybe I shouldn't advertise that so much. But I couldn't imagine going through a whole day scowling.

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