Friday, February 06, 2015

Weekend Reading: The Where Did That Week Go Edition

Wow! Things have been busy here lately, both with work and home things. I hate having a week go by with no posts, but sometimes, it can't be avoided. I tried to write a post Wednesday night, but couldn't make my thoughts coalesce into anything coherent, so I went and read a book instead.

I hope to be back to posting next week. In the meantime, here are some links for you to read:

When neuroscience papers about gender differences get publicized, stereotype reinforcements often get added... even when they are not in the original paper. This is one reason why I always caution people to be very, very careful about studies that find gender differences in cognitive abilities, or behaviors, or anything, really. As this article points out, scientists are people, and their stereotyped beliefs can influence how they present their work- and then the stereotyped beliefs of the people publicizing or writing about the work can distort things further. (Another reason I always caution people to be very, very careful about studies that find gender differences: it is most common for the studies to find a bigger variation within each gender than between the genders- but that gets overlooked. And that's not even considering the fact that treating gender as a strict binary is probably not a scientifically rigorous thing to do....)

This answer from an autistic boy about why making eye contact is hard is so, so good. I think a lot of us have a very limited understanding of how sensory input is received and processed by autistic people, and that causes us to lack empathy about how they are responding. Which is sort of ironic, really. I am far from perfect in this regard, and want to do better and help my children learn to do better when they come across other kids who are on the autism spectrum. Therefore, I am really looking forward to Steve Silberman's upcoming book NeuroTribes.

Out of a sense of self-preservation, I continue to not read what Jonathan Chait (or almost anyone else) is saying about "political correctness", but this response came across my Twitter timeline so many times that I broke down and read it and it was definitely worth my time. It is a response to Chait's piece, but it really stands on its own and has some really thought-provoking points.

Did you see that the Twitter CEO has said that they suck at handling abuse? I am cautiously hopeful this means that they're going to start getting better.

And that's all I have this week!

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