i was having breakfast with friends at beauty's bagel when i saw this picture. i could not stop staring. the jesus-like erotic figure is nice of course, but what mesmerized me was the sentiment. this is the phrase i've been searching for. i can finally start my blog.
this blog is about being wrong. specifically, i plan to write about two things:
1. the search for truth in psychological research.
2. the search for self-knowledge in everyday life.
my thesis: both of these pursuits are riddled with obstacles, and should be approached with a great deal of skepticism and humility.
when i was in graduate school, a professor warned me never to contradict myself in writing. i was shocked. my data did not always tell me the same story. my own views fluctuate all the time. why did i need to take a single position and not budge? because that is how you build a reputation in science, i was told. you associate your name with a position, and spend the rest of your career standing your ground (while brandishing your humungous cv).
of course, this is crazy. we are all wrong. all the time. some of us are just less wrong than others. the best we can hope for is that our ideas are interesting enough that other people will bother to refute (and thus refine) them.
sometimes i lay awake at night worried that self-skepticism has been abandoned in psychological science. we are all trying to sell our results, to journal editors and reviewers, to each other, to the media. we feel threatened when someone suggests we might have been wrong. we treat people who challenge others' findings as bad sports. we revere the people who defend their positions most fervently, rather than the ones who invite criticism and are willing to change their minds. the world is upside down.
here are some things i think i might bring to the conversation (but i'm probably wrong):
1. i like research methods, and i have a mild crush on statistics. i can't seem to commit, but i like to dabble.
2. i spend a lot of time with manuscripts during the review process. i see how the sausages are made. i am partly responsible for some of the foul sausages. (and, i'd like to think, for some of the delicious ones, too.)
3. you might have noticed that i am not male, whereas a mindblowing proportion of voices in this area are. ask yourself: would a man have posted the picture above? i am already broadening the scope of the conversation.
*artist credit: matt leibowitz