ITEM: One in two United States senators and two in five House members who left office between 1998 and 2004 became lobbyists.
STUDY: “Congressional Revolving Doors: The Journey from Congress to K Street,” Congress Watch, July 2005
AUTHOR: Brad White, Director, Congress Watch Research and Investigations, Public Citizen
OUTSIDE FUNDING: Public Citizen is a Washington, D.C.- based non-profit government watchdog that has received funding from foundations including the Ford Foundation, the Bauman Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and from its 300,000 members
ITEM: As early as high school, girls express less interest in holding political office.
STUDY: “Uncovering the Origins of the Gender Gap in Political Ambition,” American Political Science Review, August 2014
AUTHOR: Richard Fox, Department of Political Science, Loyola Marymount University
OUTSIDE FUNDING: National Science Foundation
THE MOST DANGEROUS IDEA IN MENTAL HEALTH
ITEM: The idea that people can immediately banish knowledge of abuse from their own consciousness, lock those memories away for years, and then recover them through therapy is one with very shaky empirical grounding.
STUDY: “The Neurobiology of Recovered Memory,” Journal of Neuropsychiatry, Summer 1997
AUTHOR: Stuart Zola, Department of Psychiatry, University of California-San Diego
OUTSIDE FUNDING: Department of Veterans Affairs, National Institutes of Health
ITEM: People who survived atrocities like the Holocaust, torture, and natural disasters do not appear to have the ability to seal away a memory after a traumatic experience, keep it locked away, then recall it with clarity.
STUDY: “‘Memory Work’ and Recovered Memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse: Scientific Evidence and Public, Professional, and Personal Issues,” Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, December 1995
AUTHOR: Stephen Lindsay, Department of Psychology, University of Victoria
OUTSIDE FUNDING: National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Alberta Law Foundation
ITEM: A much higher percentage of the general public and clinical psychologists believe forgotten traumatic memories of abuse can be recovered accurately through therapy, compared to research psychologists.
STUDY: “Are the ‘Memory Wars’ Over? A Scientist-Practitioner Gap in Beliefs About Repressed Memory,” Psychological Science, February 2014
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Loftus, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine
OUTSIDE FUNDING: National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship for co-author Lawrence Patihis
WE ARE ALL CONFIDENT IDIOTS
ITEM: When rushed, even professional scientists start making purpose-driven mistakes.
STUDY: “Professional Physical Scientists Display Tenacious Teleological Tendencies: Purpose-Based Reasoning as a Cognitive Default,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, October 2012
AUTHOR: Deborah Kelemen, Department of Psychology, Boston University
OUTSIDE FUNDING: National Science Foundation; study produced by the Religion and Theology Project at the University of Oxford, which is funded by the John Templeton Foundation
ITEM: People were presented with several variations on a curved-tube image and asked to identify the trajectory a ball would take after it had traveled through each.
STUDY: “The Hobgoblin of Consistency: Algorithmic Judgment Strategies Underlie Inflated Self-Assessments of Performance,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2013
AUTHOR: David Dunning, Department of Psychology, Cornell University
OUTSIDE FUNDING: National Science Foundation
ITEM: People tend to make inferences about the law based on what they know about more informal social norms.
STUDY: “Norms, Learning, and Law: Exploring Influences on Workers’ Legal Knowledge,” University of Illinois Law Review, 1999
AUTHOR: Pauline Kim, School of Law, Washington University, St. Louis
OUTSIDE FUNDING: Fund for Labor Relations
ITEM: Each of us possesses certain foundational beliefs— narratives about the self, ideas about the social order—that essentially cannot be violated.
STUDY: “The Case for Motivated Reasoning,” Psychological Bulletin, 1990
AUTHOR: Ziva Kunda, Department of Psychology, Princeton University
OUTSIDE FUNDING: National Institute of Mental Health
ITEM: Most people know little to nothing about nanotechnology, but still opine on whether nanotechnology’s risks outweigh its benefits.
STUDY: “Affect, Values, and Nanotechnology Risk Perceptions: An Experimental Investigation,” 2nd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies paper, 2007
AUTHOR: Daniel Kahan, Yale Law School
OUTSIDE FUNDING: National Science Foundation, and a partnership between the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Pew Charitable Trusts called the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
ITEM: In the classroom, some of the best techniques for disarming misconceptions are essentially variations on the Socratic method.
STUDY: “Misinformation and Its Correction: Continued Influence and Successful Debiasing,” Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2012
AUTHOR: Stephan Lewandowsky, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia
OUTSIDE FUNDING: Australian Research Council, Australian Professorial Fellowship, and an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship
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