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The Orville s02e11 _ The Moclans discover Cigarettes 2

Édith Piaf during World War Two, Kerensky, & the German Journey to N. Africa – WW2 – OOTF 017

10 of The Most Counter-Intuitive Psychology Findings Ever Published

Research Digest

ByChristian Jarrett

One of the most annoying things you can say to a psychologist is: “Isn’t it all just common sense?”. No it’s not, as the list below demonstrates. But anyway, such a criticism of the field misses the point. Many findings in psychology can seem obvious after the fact, but we can’t know in advance which aspects of folk wisdom will stand up to scientific scrutiny. Striving for the objective truth through empirical testing – that’s what science is for, whether applied to molecules or minds.

That said, it’s always fun to share those findings that clash with received wisdom. So for your reading pleasure (and for the next time someone asks you the “common sense” question), here are 10 particularly counter-intuitive findings from the psychology archives. Please use comments to share your own favourites that we’ve missed.

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Psychology’s 10 Greatest Case Studies – Digested

Research Digest

ByChristian Jarrett

These ten characters have all had a huge influence on psychology and their stories continue to intrigue each new generation of students. What’s particularly fascinating is that many of their stories continue to evolve – new evidence comes to light, or new technologies are brought to bear, changing how the cases are interpreted and understood. What many of these 10 also have in common is that they speak to some of the perennial debates in psychology, about personality and identity, nature and nurture, and the links between mind and body.

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The hierarchy of evidence: Is the study’s design robust?

The Logic of Science

hierarchy of scientific evidence, randomized controlled study, case, cohort, research designPeople are extraordinarily prone to confirmation biases. We have a strong tendency to latch onto anything that supports our position and blindly ignore anything that doesn’t. This is especially true when it comes to scientific topics. People love to think that science is on their side, and they often use scientific papers to bolster their position. Citing scientific literature can, of course, be a very good thing. In fact, I frequently insist that we have to rely on the peer-reviewed literature for scientific matters. The problem is that not all scientific papers are of a high quality. Shoddy research does sometimes get published, and we’ve reached a point in history where there is so much research being published that if you look hard enough, you can find at least one paper in support of almost any position that you can imagine. Therefore, we must always be cautious about eagerly accepting…

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Most scientific studies are wrong, but that doesn’t mean what you think it means

The Logic of Science

When faced with scientific studies that disagree with them, many people are prone to claim that they don’t have to accept those studies because most scientific studies are actually wrong. They generally try to support this claim by either citing the work of John P. A. Ioannidis (especially his paper titled, “Why most published research findings are false”) or by quoting Dr. Richard Horton who said,

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

To the anti-scientist, these are “get out of jail free” cards that let them dismiss any study that they don’t like. In reality, of course, those who oppose science…

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A question of confidence? The Constitution Committee’s view on the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011

The Constitution Unit Blog

Nine years after the passage of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, both government and opposition have expressed a desire to repeal it, following two general elections: one brought about about using the provisions of the Act and another by circumventing them. The Constitution Committee has produced a report setting out what any replacement legislation needs to address. Its Chair, Baroness Taylor, discusses the Committee’s conclusions below.

On its introduction in 2011, the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (FTPA) was heralded by the then Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, as a ‘constitutional innovation’ that would no longer allow the timing of general elections to be a ‘plaything of Governments’. Nine years on, it is safe to say that the FTPA has not had the effect that he and others envisaged. The FTPA has been stress-tested and found wanting by political parties and commentators alike.

The FTPA sets the length of parliaments at five…

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Angus Deaton – “The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality”

German Failure to Develop a Four-Engine Bomber

Weapons and Warfare

“Amerika” bomber Amerika Bomber: A group of Me 264 aircraft getting ready to take off.

The answer lies with Germany’s theory of war in general. Everyone knew that Germany could not sustain a long-drawn-out war like WWI. Blitzkrieg, to use a simple term, was developed to achieve quick victories of the kind that were essential to Germany’s success. As a result, the sole purpose of the Luftwaffe was to directly support the ground troops in getting that victory through direct intervention on the battlefield.

In general, the twin engine bombers (Do17, Ju88, etc.) were to function in an interdiction role, disrupting supplies and the flow of reinforcements directly behind the battlefield. Strategic bombing, the only use for four-engined bombers, was a waste of time if the war was only going to last weeks or months. If Germany needed strategic bombing, then she had already lost.

A very decent four-engine plane…

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