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Robot Insects
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Women's Intuition
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Thinking with your Fingers
Monday, October 17, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On Souls and Confections...?
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
September (7)

On Souls...?
Thursday, September 29, 2011

Beware the False Consensus Effect!
Saturday, September 24, 2011

Your Preferences - Preliminary Results
Thursday, September 22, 2011

Popularity Survey - DO IT FOR SCIENCE!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Zietsch's Response to PZ, Laden and Scicurious.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Personality of Cities
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Discussion #1 - Walking Speed and City Size
Sunday, September 4, 2011
August (6)

People who Doodle Learn Faster = Bullshit
Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good News Everyone!
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Got the Time? Part II
Saturday, August 20, 2011

Got the time?
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Can Randomness Predict the Future?
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The House of Psycasm
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Part 1: Do We Have Freewill?
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Open Letter: A follow-up
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This is a lie, she said.
Sunday, May 22, 2011

MSPaint is mightier than the Sword
Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Art of Indecision
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Skeptical Checklist 1.1
Friday, May 13, 2011

The Skeptical Checklist 1.0
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Of Chimps, Children and Post-Grads...
Monday, May 2, 2011
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Magical Thinking: Voodoo, Prayer, Black Cats, and You
Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Art of Character Creation
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Video Game Morality: Actions inside the box?
Friday, January 21, 2011

Psychobabble goes live!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Trolley Problem: Who cares?
Sunday, January 16, 2011

Podcast delay and misc. Drugs!?
Saturday, January 15, 2011

My very own Natural Disaster
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A window into your Genetics and Mate Preference?
Sunday, January 9, 2011

Oh sorry, I totally phased out there...
Thursday, January 6, 2011

Porn: A force of Mutual Benefits
Sunday, January 2, 2011
2010 (35)
December (7)

Statistical Pwnage
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why you should care...
Thursday, December 16, 2010

The paper of Influence
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sharing: Part I - Emotions
Sunday, December 12, 2010

No-one cuts deeper than a Science Blogger.
Thursday, December 9, 2010

Me Meme [Ohh, links now]
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Half Full, or Half Empty? Well, That Depends on the Shape of the Glass.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
November (11)

What Your Voice Says About You
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Babushka Blog: A Meta-Blog on ResearchBlogging.
Sunday, November 28, 2010

An Announcement:
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Willful Self-Deception is Bliss
Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dance, Blogger, Dance!
Friday, November 19, 2010

The Science of Marriage
Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Moon and Antarctica
Thursday, November 11, 2010

Available: One Mentee. Good Condition.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Again we are limited by our puny human-ness
Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blogging Carnival - What is Psychopathology?: Origins
Friday, November 5, 2010

*sigh* Psi: A Rebuttal
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
October (12)

The Science of Mind-Reading
Thursday, October 28, 2010

How not to think yourself smart...
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Welcome to Assassins' League
Sunday, October 24, 2010

TODO LATER. A story of procrastination and forgiveness.
Thursday, October 21, 2010

A man and his words.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Little kids, little minds...
Sunday, October 17, 2010

Smoking (maybemightcould) is Good.
Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to stop the Apocalpyse
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to trick yourself creative
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Siesta - It sounds like Fiesta, but isn't.
Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Dread Pirate Rift
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Being Blonde. Natural or otherwise...
Sunday, October 3, 2010
September (5)
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Psycasm is the exploration of the world psychological. Every day phenomenon explained and manipulated to one's own advantage. Written by a slightly overambitious undergrad, Psycasm aims at exploring a whole range of social and cognitive processes in order to best understand how our minds, and those mechanisms that drive them, work.

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Usually it takes me a few days to write a post after I've done all my research. I've been trying (not very successfully) to sit on a post and read it cold some time after it's been written. I'm told this is called 'drafting', but I don't do it very often (or well).

So I'm going to try something new that will hopefully help me with this.

Here's what I'm going to do. If I find an interesting graphic relating to an up-coming entry, I'm going to post it for some initial thoughts a few days before the post-proper. The idea is that people can throw around some ideas regarding what it's about, what kind of questions could be worth asking the research, etc,... just to open up a forum and give myself a reason to sit on an entry before posting it.

So here's number one:






Wirtz, P. & Ries, G. (1992) The Pace of Life - Reanalysed: Why Does Walking Speed of Pedestrians Correlate with City Size? Behaviour, 123, 77 - 83.

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First thing that came into my mind

Unless they have a nice biological explanation, a random correlation will always be the most probable explanation. 

There is a book/article around the association of the size of the city with a bunch of other factors. I do think that a lot of factors in a city will be established, even without thinking about it, by the size/distribution of the city. It is kind of how development restricts the possible evolutive pathways that an organism may take.

Second...The association is logaritmic. It makes me always nervous, because it increases the probability that the authors massaged the data until they got one approach that gave them what they wanted.

Third...they better have a very objective way to measure waking speed. Humans know that they are being studied, and this clearly could affect the person's gait speed. A person living in a large city is much more likely to have heard about research projects. They may want to "help" the researcher by walking a little bit faster. Maybe they used video from surveillance cameras or a video left somewhere in the city. There also could be biases due to the place or time, etc

Interesting study, but I think it is way harder to do it than it looks.


Thami Croeser

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I agree that this is a suspiciously strong correlation, though I think the 'biology or nothing' line is a bit simplistic.

Years ago I came across a study in the field of urban design that found that our perception of time as we walk around is related to how interesting the environment around us is. A more interesting environment (perhaps more typical in denser areas?) makes time feel faster. If you can dig this study up, it may have stuff that can be connected to walking speed. The one limit to any connection you might make is that population size does not equal density in many places - american cities are typically far less dense than say, Hong Kong or Barcelona.


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From my G+ post by blog contributer Kate:

What's your angle? It seems like it'd be a simple dynamic...bigger cities have more busy people in them, and once you have a few fast-moving (busy) people on the streets, it becomes increasingly inconvenient to stroll around slowly, so everyone's pace picks up...

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