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Beware the False Consensus Effect!
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Your Preferences - Preliminary Results
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Popularity Survey - DO IT FOR SCIENCE!
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Zietsch's Response to PZ, Laden and Scicurious.
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The Personality of Cities
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Discussion #1 - Walking Speed and City Size
Sunday, September 4, 2011
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This is a lie, she said.
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MSPaint is mightier than the Sword
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The Art of Indecision
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Skeptical Checklist 1.1
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The Skeptical Checklist 1.0
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Of Chimps, Children and Post-Grads...
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The Trolley Problem: Who cares?
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My very own Natural Disaster
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Oh sorry, I totally phased out there...
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Porn: A force of Mutual Benefits
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Statistical Pwnage
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Why you should care...
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The paper of Influence
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No-one cuts deeper than a Science Blogger.
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Half Full, or Half Empty? Well, That Depends on the Shape of the Glass.
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What Your Voice Says About You
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Babushka Blog: A Meta-Blog on ResearchBlogging.
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Blogging Carnival - What is Psychopathology?: Origins
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*sigh* Psi: A Rebuttal
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The Science of Mind-Reading
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How not to think yourself smart...
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Welcome to Assassins' League
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TODO LATER. A story of procrastination and forgiveness.
Thursday, October 21, 2010

A man and his words.
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Little kids, little minds...
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Smoking (maybemightcould) is Good.
Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to stop the Apocalpyse
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How to trick yourself creative
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Siesta - It sounds like Fiesta, but isn't.
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The Dread Pirate Rift
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Being Blonde. Natural or otherwise...
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Psycasm

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:

 

Discuss...

 

---

Reference:

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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yannisguerra
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First thing that came into my mind

http://xkcd.com/552/

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.

 


Psycasm
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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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