Field of Science

And now, on the radio

The radio show I discussed a couple weeks ago finally aired. I would have posted earlier, but I wasn't aware it had happened. My appearance is brief, but it was fun to do. The journalist (Michelle Elliot) does a very nice job of discussing birth order effects, so it is definitely worth listening to.

Coglanglab on Scientific American

I have an article on the Scientific American website (part of the Mind Matters blog) this week. It's on the relationship between language and thought. Check it out.

Speaking Chinese

People often talk about speaking 'Chinese,' as if there were a single language called 'Chinese.' There are a number of related Chinese languages, much as there are a number of related Romance languages.

It turns out the situation is worse than we thought, though. Linguists have been discovering new Chinese languages.

My First Radio Interview

In my brief career as a freelance travel & culture writer, I conducted a number of interviews. I had never been interviewed for anything real prior to just finishing a phone interview with a journalist who is considering writing about my birth order research.

Harvard being Harvard, many of my friends have been interviewed by multiple TV and radio shows, and there are periodically camera crews on my floor. But my lab's research is less media-friendly (no dancing parrots), it's not something we normally deal with.

I admit the experience is somewhat disconcerting. I expect my birth order research to be controversial. And while there is really no point in publishing something that is then ignored, the one advantage of being ignored is nobody's likely to send angry emails, feel I misrepresented their findings, or criticize the methods or conclusions. So while I do seek out publicity for these findings (hence the blog, and also an upcoming article I'm writing for a mainstream science magazine), success in achieving that publicity is at least as worrisome as failure. So we'll see how this goes...

New in Developmental Research

Every year, the Harvard Laboratory for Developmental Studies (of which I am a part) sends out a newsletter to all the parents of the kids have participated in our research studies. For every project conducted in the last year, the lead experimenter (usually a grad student or post-doc) writes up the results in layperson-friendly terms. This year's newsletter was just published. Check it out here.