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Bad psychology is only one click away…

Bad psychology is only one click away…

If you don’t already, I recommend subscribing to Minding the Campus, a web-based mag focused on the American university from The Manhattan Institute. Today, John Leo has a fun post titled “One Result of Income Inequality–Dubious Psychological Studies.”

As an academic specialty, psychology suffers from a distinct lack of respect. For one clue as to why, consider the story last week on Inside Higher EdDoes Income Inequality Promote Cheating?. A doctoral student at Queens University in Ontario says yes–and he didn’t even have to leave his computer to reach that conclusion. A Google search for sites that offer college students free term papers or easily plagiarized papers for sale, he says, suggests that states with the highest income inequality generate social mistrust that leads to a generally high rate of cheating.

That actually sounds like bad philosophizing rather than psychological research. Alas, these sorts of rationalizations passing as scholarship are at the core of bad scholarship, one of the more unfortunate by-products of the higher ed bubble. (Which, in case you have forgotten, is fueled by the US gov’t.)

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Comments

“A Google search for sites that offer college students free term papers or easily plagiarized papers for sale, he says, suggests that states with the highest income inequality generate social mistrust that leads to a generally high rate of cheating.”

But…um…did the genius note that the offers were on the…you know…FREAKING INTERWEBS…?!?!?

So… Causal link to “states” = ZIP x NADA

    Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | April 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    It’s not about where the offers were made, it’s about where the searches orginated. How many people in each state were searching for such products. The author claims that there was a statistically significant positive correlation between searches for cheating aids and income inequality. Sounds dubious to me, but not insane, as would be assigning offers to states.

Psychology…..the most dangerous of the “junk sciences”.

Within the last 10 years I took a number of college courses in social sciences. I found sloppy thinking and agenda driven reasoning was common but in psych, especially, it seemed to me that the people the most deeply involved (students who majored in it, as well as faculty) seemed … how can I put this politely? Let’s say they did not give the impression of superior intelligence. Or even average intelligence.

They always thought they were the smartest ones in the room, though. Management candidates, every one.

    Browndog in reply to irv. | April 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Not sure how it is now, but the field of psychology is/was primarily made up of those who were “broken”…then “fixed” and endeavor to “fix” others…

    Mind you, there are very solid “principles” in human psychology…

When I was in college a friend of mine asked to read a paper I had written for an ethics class. I found out later that he just retyped my paper and submitted it word for word to a different Professor. What smoked my behind was that he got a better grade on it than I did.

Oh…. he went on to law school and still practices criminal law in California. I guess he didn’t understand the ethical part of the ethics paper. Oh well…..

    Milhouse in reply to Anchovy. | April 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    On the other hand, a friend of mine was accused by a professor of plagiarism because “no first-year student could possibly write like that”. And the same professor also took marks off for not giving a cite for an idea she came up with, because “first year students don’t have original ideas”.

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Speaking of stupid psych (in this case social psych) “research”, in case you haven’t read it, Michelle Obama’s Princeton college thesis.

BannedbytheGuardian | April 10, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Everybody goes through a stage of thinking ‘Yeah I’ll do psychology’. I hit my limit at about 14 reading Freud in the library. Now i think he really hated women & it blinded him .

However take away that & I think he really had something about hysteria.

I then took on Jung & then somehow got to Christopher Isherwood.

Then I was in Weimar Germany & then Hitler.

Everything leads to Hitler.

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