How to Spot a Broken Study: The Baby Conservative Project

baby-conservative-studyLast month, I examined one of the studies embraced in the current Psychology Today article, “The Ideological Animal” (Dixit, 2007). That study asserted that conservatives, among numerous other deficits, are lower in openness to experience and integrative complexity than liberals, and that people choose conservatism because it serves to reduce their inherent fear and anxiety (Jost, et al., 2003). The poor dears. …

Do Delusions Usually Involve Aliens and Government Agents?

strange-hallucinationQ: After reading your answer to Michael regarding drug-induced insanity, I began to wonder why almost all descriptions of paranoid delusions seem to involve secret electronic surveillance by government agencies or aliens. Are these themes really so common among people suffering from paranoia, or are they just convenient examples used by writers on the subject? If they are ubiquitous, how would you explain so many people having the same delusion? If not, what other delusions are there? What do people in other cultures delude about? – Mulder

Can Animals Recognize Symbols?

animal-symbol-recognitionQ: Is there such a thing as memory fluid? And can shapes affect your thoughts? Or can any other things affect your thoughts? Me and a friend are doing a science fair project and we are testing hamster memory. We will make three different mazes and put the hamster in, and see how many times it takes for it to remember the route. She suggested varying the materials, but I said I don’t think that’ll affect it, so let’s use shapes instead. But do the shapes or the materials (or both) affect your thoughts more? – Johnny