Monthly Archives: October 2015

Would You Want Your Parents to Know?

A new experiment at Harvard’s Student Social Support R&D Lab indicates that students in a summer program did better when their parents received a weekly one-sentence about their children’s performance.  The study used a randomize experimental design with students in … Continue reading

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Cities, Nature, and Mental Health

Is a walk in the woods good for you?  It used to be a part of everyday life for people all over the world, but as civilization has progressed and people mostly live in urban areas, contact with nature has … Continue reading

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Perception and Measurement about Mental Illness

Does it surprise you to learn that a large longitudinal survey of parents has led to the conclusion that the rate of severe mental illness among children and adolescents has dropped considerably in the last generation?  The study involved ratings … Continue reading

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How to Assess Needs?

Who can best determine what people in a community need to improve their lives?  Asking them seems to be the most helpful part of a good needs assessment.  In Houston, a nonprofit named  Neighborhood Centers assesses needs by “spending hundreds … Continue reading

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Paying for the privilege of participating in a medical experiment?

Medical research may identify a potentially valuable treatment that must be tested in a rigorous experiment.  Usually such experiments are funded by federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health, after a careful review, or by the company that has … Continue reading

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He’s Really Hot Now!

Do you every watch a basketball game and think that a player has a “hot hand,” by making a lot of baskets consecutively?  Do you ever play on slot machines and think that you are having a “streak” of good, … Continue reading

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Psychics and Pseudoscience

With concerns about reproducibility of results and exposure of instances of fraud–not to mention conflicting research results about what you should eat and how often you should be tested, it is easy to become cynical about the value of scientific … Continue reading

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Photos as Data

Do you store your photos on Google Photos?  Do you know that Google doesn’t just store, it also analyzes?  It scans pictures to identify such features as what you are wearing, what you are doing, and whether you are with … Continue reading

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DALY health

What is the cost of disease? It is typical to calculate the cost of illness to society by counting the number of deaths.  The more people killed, the worse the disease.  But when people are disabled by illness, they are losing days … Continue reading

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Googling as Social Data

The horrific tragedy of the April 2013 marathon bombing in Boston sent many people to the web.  In the four days after the bombing, total searches for news rose 50 to 160%, but total searches for religion dropped slightly.  Overall, … Continue reading

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