Entries in social psychology (5)


We're #2!

I usually don't talk much about work here, but I couldn't think of a better place to note this. A few months ago I commented on the recognition that one gets from academic publishing; I just learned from a colleague that one of my articles (Le & Agnew, 2003) is the second most cited paper from the journal Personal Relationships between 2002-2013, and that among the PR papers published between 2010-11, another one of our papers (Le, Dove, Agnew, Korn, & Mutso, 2010) is the second most referenced in 2012. Wanna get cited? Do meta-analysis! 


What recognition matters?

On the left is a screenshot from David Bromberg's Facebook page; I took a photo at his concert last night at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and sent it to my friend Mark Cosgrove, the guitar/mandolin player in David's band. Mark asked me if they could post it on their Facebook page. I gladly agreed; I'm honored that they liked the photo.* In the first 5 hours, 165 strangers had "liked" the photograph, 18 people had "shared" my photo on their Facebook walls, and there were a number of very complementary comments.

On the right is the PsycInfo information on my most well-cited article (Le & Agnew, 2003...Our Investment Model meta-analysis; PsycInfo is the primary database for psychology journal articles). This paper was published a decade ago (coincidentally, exactly 10 years ago this month), and to date has been cited 153 times. I haven't gone through to talley up how many of those citations came from (a) me (probably about 10-15 of those are me citing that paper in my newer work), (b) colleagues I have done research with (maybe another 40 of those citations?), or (c) researchers in my field that I know personally (another 40 of those?). My guess is that there are about 50-60 people in the world who have stumbled upon that paper in their own research, without knowing me, and decided they like that paper enough to cite it in their own work.

Fifty people in TEN YEARS. Or 165 people in 5 hours? It's no surprise which one is more satisfying...

Update #1: In the time it took me to write this post, 7 more strangers liked my photo, but, to my knowledge, no new papers citing my article were added to PsycInfo.

Update #2: After a couple of days, the photo has been shared around 35 times and liked over 345 times (as far as I can see). 

*As an aside, at the last minute, on the way out the door, it dawned on me that taking my camera might be a good idea. I didn't know if photography would be allowed at the Colonial, but after seeing all of those people trying to take shots with their phones, I realized that with my X-Pro1 I'd be much less annoying/disruptive than everyone else trying to snap shots...


Martin guitars and I/O psychology

A nice discussion of the organizational culture at the Martin Guitar Company. Other organizations I've been involved in could learn a lot from Martin ("we treat all coworkers with dignity and respect"). I always love it when the psychology and guitar worlds collide.


Why I'm more special than (or at least as special as) Drew Brees

With the annual meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) last week and the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, I was wondering how rare or common are social psychologists compared to (American) football players?

  • There are approximately 1,700 active professional football players (32 teams x 53 players on each roster), more if you count those guys on injured reserve or practice squads. So maybe there are 2,000 guys getting paid to play football in this country in any given year.
  • SocialPsychology.org claims that it has an "interactive directory of over 1,800 professionals who specialize in social or personality psychology." Of course, not every social psychologist has a profile there (but most do); then again, some of the folks with profiles aren't currently active (e.g., retired or don't currently hold faculty positions).
  • There were 3,400 people at SPSP, but that includes some personality psychologists and a lot of grad students (I'm not counting post-docs and grad students in my estimate of social psychologists; I'm also not including college football players in these numbers). Of course not all social psychologists go to SPSP; my guess is that there were 1,000 social psychologists with faculty positions, at most, at SPSP.
  • I suppose I could get a pretty good sense of the number of social (and personality) psychologists by getting the membership records for SPSP (i.e., the non-student members); most social (and personality) psychologists are members there. But that seems like a lot of work to ask of someone just to satisfy my follies.
  • The career of the average football player is much shorter than that of academic social psychologists (a few years vs. a few decades). So even if at any point in time there are the same number of people employed as social psychologists as football players, across the last 50 years there would have been many more professional football players than social psychology professors.

So my best guess is that in any given year the number of professional football players and social psychologists is probably pretty similar. But over time there have been more football players than social psychologists.

Of course, Drew Brees isn't the average football player. I am definitely not the Drew Brees of social psychologists, although we were at Purdue at the same time. I'm more like a backup offensive lineman or a punter... :-) 

(Please note, in case it's not obvious, the title of this post was written with tongue firmly in cheek.)


Separated at birth: Lutherie and social psychology?

I arrived safely in Vermont this afternoon (although I still have 3 more hours of Keith Richard's Life to get through), and in other news it looks like my dad will be able to get here tomorrow night, so he'll only miss one day of class.

After arriving at their home and workshop, George and his wife Pippa provided a fantastic home cooked meal for me and the other three students. Over our dinner conversation, in which George talked about his experiences as a luthier (a.k.a., the profession of guitar building) and about the processes we'll be doing over the next three weeks, it struck me that guitar building and social psychology are actually very similar in several key ways. Of course, take this with a grain of salt, since I haven't actually picked up a piece of wood or tool yet:

  • Both work under the apprentice model, in which you learn the craft from a more experienced mentor, taking on the techniques that s/he have developed, and then once mastering those, branching out and then deviating from those practices as you develop your own identity in the trade. There is likely a similarity that stems from a common ancestry within a particular tradition, but that as you become independent you also start to diverge.
  • At their core, lutherie and psychology (as well as other sciences) are about understanding the complex relationships between variables. How will this particular tonewood, shape of the braces, or thickness of the top combine to create a particular tonal voice? What other variables will I be accounting for (or not) in the decisions I'll be making along the way? You can't control everything at once, can you? (although as you become more experienced and sophisticated, you can take on more at a time.) Doesn't this sound a lot like designing and interpreting a research study? Don't I wish that I could run a multiple regression to predict how my guitar will sound? I'd try, but so far I haven't figured out how to get my data into SPSS.
  • With both you need to consider the big picture, but when it comes down to it, success occurs when you are able to focus on and succeed at the particular task at hand. A project is only as strong as the quality of the individual steps along the way. This was advice George gave us tonight: be attentive to each small task, and if executed well, together they will produce a good product.

I'm looking forward to getting into the workshop for the first time tomorrow. We'll be talking about some of the properties of wood and principles of acoustics, and also be making some of the decisions that will serve as the foundation for the rest of the class, and hopefully to some nice sounding guitars.