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Cover Story

March Methodology Madness

Every spring, March Madness hits college basketball in the US. The Observer borrows the tournament’s nickname to spotlight innovations and trends in research practices. In our annual March Methodology Madness issue, we report on the latest tools and techniques that psychological scientists are pioneering and employing to advance the study of the human condition. ... More>


Observation

Speed Reading Promises Are Too Good to Be True, Scientists Find

Learning to speed read seems like an obvious strategy for making quick work of all the emails, reports, and other pieces of text we encounter every day, but a comprehensive […]... More>


Observer Article

Under the Hood of Mechanical Turk

When Amazon launched a product called Mechanical Turk (MTurk) just over a decade ago, the e-commerce giant billed it as an online service to enable a marketplace of workers to complete tasks in exchange for payment. But it didn’t take long for the product to become a significant research tool in psychological science worldwide. ... More>


Observer Article

Investigating Social Contagion With Digital Tools

Accumulating research provides evidence for a provocative idea that certain behaviors — such as smoking and eating habits — are contagious. Data suggest that we’re influenced not only by the behavior of our friends, family, and acquaintances, but also by the behavior of the people they know, and so on. How do these behaviors diffuse through a series of social connections? ... More>


Observer Article

Video as Data

Children’s behavior is rich, complex, and fascinating. But it is transient. At every time scale, from milliseconds to months, behavior happens and then it vanishes. Newborns’ “gas smiles” metamorphose into expressions of real pleasure, babies’ babbles become reciprocal conversations and teen poetry jams, and infants’ awkward toddling steps transform into ballet recitals and soccer goals. But all of it disappears into the ether as soon as the moment has passed. ... More>