Weekly Suggestions 1

So I know that last time I said I would post one of these every Thursday, but I didn’t know how much work went into a post like this. And that’s why I’m posting late. So please, for my 0 avid followers, forgive me. This blog, as well as its creator, is a work in progress.

With that said, If you read my original post, you would notice that I changed it from “Week’s Learning” to what I plan to call it from now on, which is “Weekly Suggestions”, but of course you haven’t cuz no one reads this shit yet. Anyways, I changed it to Weekly Suggestions because I neither want it to be an in depth review of the material I’ll be discussing, because if it was each of these deserve their own reviews, nor me saying every little thing that I learned the previous week. I want this post segment type thing (I have no idea what you call these) to be a sort of gateway for people to try out reading or listening to things they never considered before.

Basically as the name shows, it’s a weekly suggestion of materials that I’ve gone through the past week that I think you should check out. The topics that are covered are broad because I like learning about a broad array of topics and I think more people should. I find that this gives me insights that I can connect and see a bit better where everything fits together. But besides that, I just really love learning.

I shall put a disclaimer first before we get started though. I’m not an expert in any field, so take everything with a grain of salt and a hint of skepticism as you always should. So when in doubt, check the source material, which is my main objective anyways.

For those that just want it quick and dirty or don’t like the way I write and ramble, I’ll put a tl;dr version of just the links to the source materials at the bottom. So yeah, for this week, here are the topics covered:


Book

Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices 2nd Ed. by Anol Bhattacherjee

So let’s start this thing with a book. This one may be more for those of you in the social sciences that are academically inclined as it is intended by the author as an introduction to the whole doctorate and graduate level process of social science and related fields research. It was written for professors, researchers, and students alike and even includes a sample syllabus at the end which can be followed for a whole semester. However, if you’re like me and you’re outside of academia as of the moment but you want to refresh research concepts that you learned during college while deepening your understanding of the process itself, maybe to help you understand researches that you read when you feel like digging down into papers, then this might also be for you.

I found the book itself very readable, it’s not one of those text books that throw jargon at you then tries to explain but you still don’t understand. It goes straight to the point and condenses a lot of information in a few pages and only goes on tangents with examples when needed. However, since I’m not very well versed in statistics as of the moment, I did get lost in the final chapters about quantitative analyses, but that is on me and not the author. My lack of statistics comprehension aside, the book helped me a lot to remember different concepts like the reliability and validity of scales and the sub-concepts within them. It also helped me better understand theories and how they relate to empirical data, as well as the different social science research paradigms and how they formed. I could go on and on but it’ll probably bore you. So long story short, for those of you who want to delve deeper in research then, you should definitely check this book out. I know, I’ll always keep going back and referring to it time and again. And one of the best parts is, it’s free, yup, free. The author made it free because he believes that, and I quote from the preface, “… scientific knowledge should not be constrained by access barriers such as price and availability…”. So click the title of the book above and get yourself a copy.

Journal

Radical Predictive Processing by Andy Clark

I found this paper very interesting. I’m only starting to read about predictive processing (PP) and enactive approaches to cognition, and so far, they’re fascinating. This paper in particular is not a traditional paper that is in IMRD format with interventions and experiments, it’s more of a narrative review that shows where we are scientifically when it comes to radical PP as a lens to view cognition. If it’s your first time hearing these terms, then let me try to explain what radical PP is in a very oversimplified manner.

Think of catching a ball. It’s a relatively mundane and fairly simple task for most of us but radical PP shows that there’s a lot going on in us as we try to do this. Once the ball is tossed, before you even react, your brain is already trying to make a prediction of where the ball will be moment to moment. Your brain will then compare said predictions with where the ball actually goes and tries to make its predictions better. Simple enough right? This is where it gets kind of complicated, as your body moves to catch the ball, your perception changes and so does your brain’s prediction of where the ball will go. So in this stead, if you think of how dynamic catching a ball is, especially in a game like basketball or baseball, then you can kind of imagine the convoluted intersection between perception, cognition, and action and how they don’t happen in order but simultaneously as they feed off of the information given by the other.

Again, this is an over simplification and of course, there’s a lot more to this concept and this paper than what I just said, so if you want your head to hurt a little bit and understand how cognition works a bit better then check it out at the link above. If you don’t have institutional access and you’re broke like me, you can get it here, but I didn’t make this and you didn’t hear it from me. Capiche?

Podcasts

Episode 158: The AB Effect at You Are Not So Smart

So we’re in podcasts now, huh. Podcasts are one of my favorite avenues to learn because it’s so accessible and you can basically download them and listen to them anywhere and there’s a lot of good ones out there. Speaking of good ones, this episode in particular is a very good one.

It talks about a phenomena that’s only been relatively recently documented which is the AB effect. Now, if you’re familiar with research, we have this thing called AB testing, which goes by many names like “Randomized Control Trial” in medicine, but basically it’s comparing one thing with another, be it treatment vs treatment, treatment vs placebo (which is a very interesting topic that I should write about in the future), or even policy vs policy. Tangent here, research designs can actually and often should be more sophisticated than this when testing more complex phenomena. Tangent aside, going back to the AB effect, this effect seems to show that there’s a significant (a little less than 50% according to the podcast) number of people that find this practice specially when done in more practical applications but in a more concealed manner bothering, and don’t approve. An example of this phenomena is how people were appalled by the experiment that facebook did, which you can find here, that tried to see how emotional contagion can happen in social networks using AB testing. So, does it bother you or are you fine with it?

If you’re one of the people that’s bothered by AB testing or wonder why AB testing bothers people and this interests you, then definitely check this episode out, the host and his guests, which are the leading researchers of this phenomena, cover a lot more.

On Grief and Loss at Stronger Minds

“The risk of love is loss and the price of loss is grief…” – Hilary Stanton Zunin

The podcast started with this quote which really rang true to me. Some of us are afraid to love, whether it’s romantic or platonic or familial, because it might hurt. Losing someone that you love or something that became a part of you can result in grief. And this grief can definitely be paralyzing and confusing. You may not understand what you’re going through or how to get better. If you’re interested in the process of grief or maybe you’re going through it now, then this episode may be for you. Kimberley Wilson, a Chartered Psychologist and visiting lecturer who works in private practice in central London, will tell you all about it and more.

Episode 37: Using Emerging Strategies in Powerlifting Programming with Mike Tuchscherer (Part 2) at Clinical Athlete

I highly recommend this one for any lifters out there because even though it’s more geared towards trainers and coaches of barbell sports, I think it can also be used by recreational lifters and/or self-coached people like me. I know the title includes powerlifting and it’s mainly geared towards a better understanding, creation, and execution of programs for powerlifting, but the concepts, I think, can also be used by other barbell sports like olympic weightlifting and of course by recreational lifters to better their programs and therefore their gainzzz. Mike Tuchscherer’s ideas that he expresses here such as what fatigue really is and whether it’s really something that’s bad and unwanted, among others, I feel, is really pushing the field forward. He’s introduced many concepts that changed how a lot of lifters, both professional and recreational, see training and programming such as the main topic of the podcast, emerging strategies, which really questions the assumptions of traditional periodization models. As noted, this is part 2, part 1 can be found here. If you’re confused with a lot of things I said, then I think you should hold out for a bit before listening to this and try to get some understanding of periodization concepts and programming first, If that’s you then I suggest you go here to start.

Online Article

Peer review: Troubled from the start by Alex Csiszar

Though I am not currently within the academic and scientific community, I am fascinated with how the scientific enterprise is and how it came to be. I think science is the most valuable tool that we have today to help ourselves gain knowledge and elevate our state of living. All you need to do is just look around you, medicine and technology for example, two of the biggest drivers of how we got where we are today, was brought to us by science. However, as powerful and good a tool science is, the ones implementing it are flawed creatures riddled with archaic habits of bias, us humans. As such, even if science is this great tool, the way we use it may not always be the best. The author highlights one of the things that is being contested right now within science, which is peer review, and shows how it came to be and that it may not be this super positive thing for the field that it purports to be. What I got from this is that, we shouldn’t abandon science, or even peer review, but we should strive to better its implementation, and that just because something is tradition, does not mean we should keep it.

Other

The Reality Illusion by the Institute of Art and Ideas

This one was kind of weird for me especially with the last remark of Donald Hoffman, one of the guests, when he stated what he thought was really reality or what’s behind what we think is reality (I won’t spoil it for those who’ll watch, lol like anyone’s gonna read this either way). It’s an odd idea but who knows there might be something to it. Anyways, I don’t love this one, but I like it, because the ideas are kind of thought provoking but at the same time most likely not relevant right now for a lot of people. And I like playing around with ideas like that in my head, so if you’re like me, then go ahead and check it out.

Social Media

I think social media gets a bad rep sometimes because people tend to think that it’s all bad. Don’t get me wrong, it can be bad, but just like a lot of things there’s two sides to the same coin. With that said, I want to add this social media highlight here to give notice to (lol @self cuz no one even notices me) people who use social media for good, either for education or spreading awareness of things that people should really know about. So yeah, since we can’t really stop ourselves from scrolling sometimes, why not add some positive informative things in our feed? Now, there’s a lot of social media sites out there but I’ll focus on Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter because I want to and they’re mainly what I use.

Youtube – Veritasium

This channel probably doesn’t need anybody’s shout out (let alone mine), but I’ve been subscribed to it for a long time, and for a while I stopped watching it because I got bogged down with other things, but I’ve recently started watching it again and it rekindled why I subscribed in the first place. It’s because Derek, the owner and host of the channel, is really good at making intellectual questions and education be fun, engaging, and entertaining. To add to that, when I watch his videos, rather than just click away to the next video, I actually find myself pondering and thinking about what he talked about. The best part is that he doesn’t always just stay to one topic, he goes out and finds interesting stories and concepts from everywhere which I love because, as you can see from this post, I really like learning wide, and he helps me with that. I get introduced to many notions and happenings because of his videos. So yeah, give it a subscribe if ya want. Though, his channel is big and it has a lot of videos, so here’s my top picks for anyone who cares and wants to give it a try: Regression to the Mean; Is Most Published Research Wrong?; What Exactly is the Present?; The Science of Thinking; The Illusion of Truth; and The Bayesian Trap.

IG – @headfirst0

For IG, we have Joe Brien. Joe has an MSc in Health Psychology and covers a lot of topics, from substance abuse to depression and anxiety to happiness and eating. All of which, backed by evidence and contextualized as best as possible with the limitations of IG. He also does Q&As sometimes so if you do decide to give him a follow, you can ask him something that you may be going through or would like to know or maybe even where to get help and psychological services.

Twitter – @HengartnerMP

Last but definitely not least, we have Michael Hengartner, PhD for twitter. He’s somebody that I recently followed because I found his tweets quite interesting. His content is probably more for researchers and clinicians working with populations with mental illness, as he tweets studies that question certain aspects of pharmacological treatments and why they may not always be the best first line treatment for certain mental disorders. However, if you’re like me and like to explore this topic even if sometimes (or most times) going through the studies makes my head hurt. Then give him a follow.

Tl;dr

 

Whew, that was a lot. So yeah, jokes and self-depreciation in the intro aside, making this article and post was a monster of a task, which I didn’t think it would be (boy was I wrong). I probably didn’t do much justice to all the content and content creators that I tried to cover here, but I hope that was enough. I salute all of those people who have blogs that produce awesome content while having such a good web design. This has been such a learning experience for me.

I know my original post said as well that posts will be on Tuesday for creative posts and Thursday for weekly suggestions but seeing as how things panned out this week, I’ll adjust it to Friday and Sunday, respectively. I hope that I am able to follow this schedule this time and find my groove with things.

Anyways, I hope whoever stumbles upon this enjoyed it and picks at least one of the stuff that I covered here and reads or listens to it. That’s it for this week. Matthew out.

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