Monday, January 31, 2011

More shamelessness on behalf of others.

Apparently it's quick update/shout out week(s?) here at Nathan Explains Science. I wanted to draw your attention to biologist Jon Wilkins's blog, Lost in Transcription, where it is Egypt week. Jon is a poet in addition to being a biologist — he's far more interesting than me — and has spent some time on the evolutionary biology of cooperation (I believe...) as well as the poetry of Langston Hughes, one of my favorites from high school. Please take a minute to check him out.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mimicry might make you more liberal at ScienceNOW

I have to tell you that this is not the best study I've reported on—the sample and effect sizes are small—but the result is nonetheless kind of interesting. Here's the idea: people unconsciously mimic each other, and there's evidence that makes people more empathetic and, in particular, more likely to think of themselves in terms of their relationships with other people rather than in terms of their own traits. That, in turn, has been connected to more liberal ideology. Hence this experiment, which suggests a connection between the sort of social cues implicit in mimicking someone (unconsciously) and voting for, in the US, Democrats.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Of Fish and Behavioral Models of Voting

No, those two aren't actually related, except for the fact that it's plug day here at Nathan Explains Science.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Grammar in the Real/Political World

My friend, the illustrious John Bullock of the Yale University Political Science Department, points this observation out. I can't vouch for the blog or its content, but it is intriguing.

Readers may, with bemused curiosity, recall that one of my first stories was on grammar and perceptions of political figures. The story is here.

Stay tuned for a post on physics: how gravity really works!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fielding Reader Questions: Is It All Rigged?

After two weeks of holidays and actual scientific research (hush now!), I thought it time I answer an important and surprisingly interesting question in political science: is everything rigged? (Thanks to reader Tom Mesirow and others for asking the question.) To answer this question, we need to spend some taking that question apart a little bit. When we say rigged, I think what we mean is something like "are the corporations/labor unions/American Medical Association/NPR in control of politics?"