declutter your writing

I’ve been tracking the feedback I give to my students as they write their manuscripts for a class research project. The most common feedback is, to quote Strunk and White, “omit needless words.” Early drafts are filled with words that don’t do any work. Simply removing unnecessary words will sharpen your ideas and make yourContinue reading “declutter your writing”

Thoughts on “hostile appraisals”: namin’ ain’t explain’

In the past few decades, aggression researchers have emphasized the role of cognitive structures and processes in understanding aggressive behaviors. Understanding how people think can deepen our understanding of when and why people behave aggressively. As a consequence of all this research, aggression researchers, like any in-group that looks for useful labels, have created aContinue reading “Thoughts on “hostile appraisals”: namin’ ain’t explain’”

turn in your best end-of-semester research paper

I’ve been teaching an upper-level psychology lab course for the past few years. Over the course of the semester, students conduct their own research project and, by the end, write a paper describing their project. It is my favorite class to teach. Even though I don’t intend for it to be intimidating, this research paperContinue reading “turn in your best end-of-semester research paper”

lions and tigers and academic writing…oh my

  Here’s a familiar story: A scientist sits down to write a manuscript and, rather than creating a crisp and coherent presentation of information, meanders aimlessly for several pages instead. This story is a tragedy. How can we avoid such tragic situations? Try thinking of your manuscripts like a great novel or a blockbuster movie.Continue reading “lions and tigers and academic writing…oh my”

self-editing your writing

If you have a draft of your manuscript, congratulations! You have slain the “monster of blank pages,” the fearsome beast that intimidates even the most capable of writers. I know you are tired, perhaps even exhausted. Rest, for now, but do not stop here. Your hero’s journey is not complete, you are merely at theContinue reading “self-editing your writing”

the publication recipe

From 8 o’clock in the morning until 5 o’clock in the evening an undergrad research assistant would sit behind the angular metal desk inside of the door of the Harris Aggression Lab. Their job was basically that of a human turnstile: They shepherded the parade of participants through the procedures of the lab’s latest studyContinue reading “the publication recipe”

Improving my writing through reading: Simons (2014)

Linda Skitka recently shared a great exercise for helping students improve their writing.* This “reverse engineering” exercise sounds helpful. I can feel when writing is executed well and when it is not; however, I have never tried to verbalize why the writing is executed well. Thus, before asking my students to complete this exercise, I thought I wouldContinue reading “Improving my writing through reading: Simons (2014)”

Scientific Theories and Improvised Explosive Devises

Dr. Harris was a skillful instructor. He explained abstract concepts in a way that made his students feel as if they were part of an intelligent conversation rather than pupil-shaped furniture in the room being lectured to. His most impassioned lecture was on testing scientific theories: To the students in the WSU Social Psychology program,Continue reading “Scientific Theories and Improvised Explosive Devises”