January 8th, 2014 § 2 comments

To all those who have stumbled upon this blog, welcome! My name is Chris Gettings. I’m a  first year PhD student in the Basic and Applied Social Psychology program at the CUNY Graduate Center. I’m starting this blog mainly for my own edification, but I hope that, whatever brought you here, you’ll find something that makes you want to come back.

First a little background on me. I find social psychology endlessly fascinating, and the narrowest description of my research interests still covers huge swaths of the field. My central question is, How do people construct and maintain coherent worldviews? In practice this amounts to studying how people argue on the internet, which is actually what made me interested in social psychology in the first place.

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!

Duty Calls, xkcd 386

Everyone has beliefs that are tightly woven into their worldview. I’m interested in how people respond when these beliefs are challenged, and I’m using cognitive dissonance theory to explain the motivation people feel to defend them.

So why am I doing this?

It’s mostly about the writing. The idea for this blog struck me while reading On Writing Well by William Zinsser. I have no great aspirations about my reach or influence—for instance, I’m not aiming to push the discussion about how to save social psychology (look here for that). I’m still developing ideas for my nascent research program, and most of my academic energies are spent reading journal articles and teaching myself R. The upshot is that I have few organic opportunities to practice the craft of writing, and I started this blog to provide them.

I have two major goals, the first of which is synthesis. Human psychology is a tremendously complicated subject, and reading our research canon one gets a sense that we’re desperate to prove it. I hope to try my hand at synthesizing the competing threads in my particular area of social psychology, as Elliot Aronson implored us all to do over 20 years ago. The other goal is communication. Science Blogger is now a profession, but at its core blogging is a tool for direct engagement (as Chad Orzel says, blogging used to be punk rock man). I want to rediscover the roots of the form.

What will the entries consist of?

I’ll discuss primary research articles, both in my own area (e.g., motivated reasoning, ideology, public understanding of science) and in terms of broader issues in post-Stapel, post-Bem social psychology. My goal is to read and blog one article per week. I will try to keep to that schedule, because writing on a schedule is the only sure way to write anything (see this wonderful book by Paul J. Silva).

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking around! If you like what you see, leave a comment. I hope you’ll come back to see what I’m up to.


§ 2 Responses to Introduction"

  • Mary Sullivan says:

    I intend to follow this blog for my own edification. You’re going to learn how to write well and I’m going to learn something really new, I hope. Never too old to exercise the brain, right?

  • Paul Gettings says:

    I find your blog to be interesting and entertaining to me because of my background and because of your knowledge and skill. I will be back to see what other Social Psychology developments I can learn about.

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