November 16, 2011

White People Think Black People Are Dirty

stapel stereotyping half.jpg
obviously he brought the trash with him

In Science, a study about racial stereotyping.  Science, as you know, is read by scientists, which means they are progressive intellectuals who never racially stereotype. They voted for Obama to prove it.  Though they unanimously subscribe to Evolutionary Psychology Bible they themselves are not subject to evolutionary forces; but it is helpful and entertaining to learn what makes the animals in the red states do what they do.

When you're short on time and long on caffeine skip over the study itself and just look at the Introduction, where you will always find two things.

Unnecessary references:


There is substantial evidence that discrimination has serious negative consequences for those who are discriminated against, as well as for society in general (1-3). A neglected possible source of stereotyping and discrimination is physical disorder. The environment can affect the relative accessibility of important goals (4, 5), and recently it has been found that physical disorder in particular can, through shifting the relative accessibility of goals, increase littering, trespassing, and even stealing (6).

None of these sentences need referencing, because none of them contain a proposition worth referencing.  They are either definitional (e.g. racial discrimination is negative) or uselessly vague.  Yet we have exhausted 6 out of the 24 references to be told nothing.   

Next: references that don't actually support the statements they are supposed to be supporting.

There is some evidence that stereotyping is goal-driven (7-9), and there is even evidence that when people's desire for structure and predictability is high, they are more likely to engage in stereotyping than when it is low (10-13).

Reference 10 is a review article about existentialism.
Reference 11 has the word stereotyping in it, but isn't about the link to predictability.
Reference 12 describes the kinds of responses that occur when expectations (not stereotypes) are/are not confirmed: "will this taste good?"  "If you are told Paul is a kind man, how will you react when he isn't?")
Reference 13, is about how the goal of interpretation affects the interpretation/stereotyping.

I should also point out that all four of those references happen to have been written by the same person who wrote the sentence they were all supporting.


II.

For no reason I know, works of philosophy are compromised by even a typo in the introduction, but in science you can open with a golden shower anecdote and no one notices.  Oh well.  To the experiments. 

The setting: a Dutch train station.  40 Caucasian men and women were asked to sit in a row of chairs and fill out a questionnaire about Muslim and gay stereotypes.  Chair 1 was occupied by either a white or a black researcher, which they term a "confederate."  Yes, like they're grifters.  Where would the subjects choose to sit?

The experiment was run twice: once on a day when the station was clean (order condition), and another time a few days into a janitorial strike, i.e. in a dirty train station (disorder condition.)  How did the disorder affect the choices white people make about where to sit?

We predicted that in a dirty train station people stereotype more and would choose to sit further away from an outgroup confederate than in a (relatively) clean train station.





stereotype stapel.jpg
Conclusions:

Importantly, this stronger stereotyping in the disorder condition was accompanied by a significant increase in the distance the respondents chose to put between themselves and the black confederate..

There are a number of reasons why this study is silly, but, unlike the researchers, subjects, and striking janitors I am not being paid for my nonsense, so I will only list a lot of them.

The subjects are completing a survey about Muslim and gay stereotypes, yet are sitting near a black man.  Would the results have been the same if the confederate was gay?  No?  Then it's only measuring racial stereotyping, which is fine, but then you can't say this:

... In a disordered environment, people are more likely to distance themselves from outgroup members than in a clean and ordered environment.


Trust me on this: 'outgroup' has a whole different connotation in The Netherlands than in the U.S.  But the sleight of hand is to take a white vs. black racial study and convert it to a scientific generalization about stereotyping, the kind where some other study can use it to say, "there is evidence to suggest that people distance themselves from outgroup members."

Would the results be the same if black subjects were studied?  Perhaps this is a study of prejudice and fear, i.e. white people are afraid to sit near black people but black people are also afraid to sit near black people, which would produce the same graph.  But you'd have to rewrite the conclusions because it wouldn't be about "outgroups."

Right about here I you want to take a drink, because apparently the only scientist in The Netherlands that has sex with strangers is me.  Think about his study, and the results, and what you think it means.  Now look at these photos:




stapel stereotyping.jpg
Suddenly the seating choice takes on a different hue.   Is she avoiding the black man in the top picture, or is she looking to get penetrated in the second?  BE HONEST LIARS.  I will admit that technically the author remains correct, both interpretations are the result of "stereotyping,"  but one happens to be a negative stereotype and the other happens to be a substantial plot point of every drama on ABC.  Here's a revised title for the study:  "Clean Stations, Dirty Minds: How Just The Right Conditions Can Make A Woman Go Black.  (But She'll Be Back.)"

The study assumes that how close whites sit to whites is the default, hence a black confederate in a dirty station makes them sit "further away"; but why isn't the distance they sit in the disordered condition the default per race, and other things make them close the gap?  This is especially true if the subjects are used to disorder as the typical state of affairs, i.e. they're from Rotterdam.  ZING!  (It is, after all, a train station.)

If you want to go Schrodinger, remember that the subjects in both conditions are surrounded already by other white people who are observing them (the interviewers).   They are not alone.  In ordered environments, does this make people feel safe/horny/cold/social enough to move closer? (i.e. if the interviewers were not present, perhaps whites would choose to sit equally far from black people in both ordered and disordered environments.  They'd still be racist, but things couldn't make them more racist, only less racist.)  

Note also that the default condition for the station is clean; the janitorial strike caused an unusual circumstance.  How would the results come out if the station was usually dirty and one day became unusually clean?

And etc.  Instead, the study closes with this:

Thus, the message for policy-makers is clear: One way to fight unwanted stereotyping and discrimination is to diagnose environmental disorder early and to intervene immediately by cleaning up and creating physical order.

That's the kind of delicious "broken windows" soundbite that gets you published in Time Magazine, but why would the effects last more than a day?  Wouldn't people become desensitized to the disorder? 

I don't even doubt the conclusions
, but you have the moral decency not to overlook the flaws just because they match your prejudices.  This study does not logically lead to those conclusions, this study is sufficiently vague and flawed that no conclusions can be made, at all.

The reason this matters is because if the study is published in this way, with these conclusions, people will assume it is science.  This becomes a "known."  Next thing you know it's in a Malcolm Gladwell book and that's the game.

These points seem not to have occurred to the following people: the two authors of the study; the guy who took this photograph; the four peer  reviewers; the editor; everyone who read the study.

I don't blame them, but as I am not the smartest guy in the universe it should have at least occurred to someone, and thus we have the fundamental problem of psychological research: it shouldn't be reviewed by peers.  Not because they are stupid, but because they are in the same "world" and can't see things from the outside.  It should be reviewed by physicists; but  if it was, there'd be only one psychology journal left and it would be empty.   I reviewed Justin Timberlake's In Time more closely than anyone reviewed this study.

Two things happen with studies like these: either they enter the Sea Of Publications, another meaningless ion of sodium that does nothing else at all except contribute to the rising sea levels that will eventually kill us all;  or they get used by government policy guys to justify, well, it depends: justify making trains stations way cleaner, or way dirtier.  Your city's needs may be different.


III.


So the study is an interesting observation about which no conclusions can be reached.  However, there's a further punch line to this: the study was a fraud.

Diederik Stapel, noted Dutch psychologist, was recently outed for massive scientific fraud, i.e. he made up all his studies.  "All of them?"  Does it matter?

The scientific community is aghast at the extent of his fraud-- fraud on "Astonishing Scale", writes Gretchen Vogel in the same issue of Science; and Bruce Alberts was so furious he wrote an "Editorial Expression Of Concern."  Ooooooooohhh.  People's Elbow.

The battle cry now is that science has to be done differently in order to prevent fraud; but the important truth is that this study should never have been detected as a fraud because it should never have been published in the first place.  The cacophony of self-righteousness among everyone with "professor" somewhere near their name is a diversion from the reality that the way the entire field conducts research and draws conclusions is suspect.

Hide behind Stapel, strap some Kevlar to his chest and let it draw fire while you deploy a few more studies to the journals that are of dubious quality and of no consequence, the system has to hold just until you make tenure.  I know.    These studies are useless, worse, they are perfectly packaged for the media and popular consumption so that in spite of their meaninglessness they will change the way people think and change the way society acts.  I wouldn't have used this study to win another drink in a bar argument but some minister somewhere will use it to demand 300M euros or whatever they will use next month  for clean stations or racial purity.

IV.

"Why is Alone lenient on the judge who beats his daughter?  Can he really believe Wall Street is blameless?  He thinks the media is creating a straw man of a college kid angry at Paterno's firing?"

You don't need me to point out the obvious bad guys, there is no point for me to decry scientific misconduct and pedophilia. But when I don't do it you think there's something wrong with me, that I'm blind.  Why do you want me to say the things you already know are true?   Because that's what you were trained to want.

What you need me for is to untrain you, force you to realize that focusing on the obvious bad guys is a defense against looking at everything else, because that everything else is you.  You were trained by media which labels hypocrisy as the worst sin imaginable; and individual instances of corruption-- hey, there's a welfare cheat, hey, there's Bernie Madoff-- as the appropriate target for your wrath.  Bernie Madoff is not your problem, he is not your enemy, and unless you lost money to him he is nothing to you; and as long as you can be reminded to be angry at him you are not going to ask why the system needs Bernie Madoffs to survive.  Stapel may have invented the data that no one will look at but Science didn't vet the conclusions that everyone will remember.  Which is worse?  "Keep your guns trained on the bullet proof straw man.  Look over there, he's a jerk!"    If they can drive you to rage, they've  succeeded.

Here's the synthesis: there's an argument against OccupyWallSt, and another about a beating your daughter, and another about raping some kid in a shower, and this, and etc-- all of these are the same thing.  All of these represent the institutionalization, the mainstream acceptance, of self-serving behavior because that behavior allows everyone else to be equally self-serving.  Or, in more basic yet precise language: individual narcissism is encouraged to permit the existence of societal narcissism, all of which is at the expense of your soul.  Repent.

---

http://twitter.com/thelastpsych











Comments

<a href="http://thirdtierre... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 11:24 AM | Posted by Nando: | Reply

http://thirdtierreality.blogspot.com/

For $ome rea$on, many still do not find the law school pigs dirty - when they are clearly detestable creatures.

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The question the photos rai... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 11:44 AM | Posted by Empire of Jeff: | Reply

The question the photos raised in my mind is, "What kind of weirdo sees a stranger on a long empty bench, and then chooses to sit so close to that stranger that every inch of their thighs are touching?"

That's not flirting range. That's crazy, psychopathic, doesn't-grok-the-concept-of-personal-space range.

Which highlights the obvious staging of the photo. Nobody sits that close to ANY stranger.

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Exhausting.Proving t... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 11:51 AM | Posted by White Female: | Reply

Exhausting.
Proving to some white people what some black people already know.

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What do the study authors m... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 12:00 PM | Posted by Jim: | Reply

What do the study authors make of the fact that, in the clean station, the subjects chose to sit closer to the black confederates by a margin that would seem statistically significant from the error bars?

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TLP - "What you need me for... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 1:24 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

TLP - "What you need me for is to untrain you, force you to realize that focusing on the obvious bad guys is a defense against looking at everything else, because that everything else is you."

"Need"? Seriously Alone, stop trying to make yourself out to be some kind of saviour who is the only person who can see the truth and "untrain" people. "Repent", "soul" saving, you are not a god or a saviour - just some dude on the internet who poses as a psychiatrist who is just as prone to confirmation bias and being manipulated by the media as the people you keep claiming you're superior too so they "need" you to enlighten them. Seriously dude, is this why you keep trying to claim that grandiosity isn't a symptom of a NPD? What are YOU trying to avoid seeing about yourself so desperately that you need to do it in public and have strangers affirm the vision of yourself as a saviour you just laid out?

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Why is that white woman rid... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 1:30 PM | Posted by anonymous: | Reply

Why is that white woman riding the bus?

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Because the photo isn't tak... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 1:36 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Because the photo isn't taken in America?

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Jim, there is no study. Sta... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 1:43 PM | Posted, in reply to Jim's comment, by Guy Fox: | Reply

Jim, there is no study. Stapel *made it up*. Asking what the authors make of their numbers is like asking if Superman performs better when taking multivitamins.

And Alone breaks the fourth wall.
Pro: Something might click in a few more brains, which will then feel less inclined to seek knowledge from CNN & co., feel less knowledgeable when they do, and realize that Science isn't a different genus, if perhaps a different species.
Con: Having provided one justification to discontents, he will likely be pressed for more. There might be a community germinating, and it might allow an FCC-let of its own to develop. People might start asking terrifying questions, like "How do we feel about this?"

Daniel Dennett quotes the following passage by Lee Siegel whenever someone has a darkened room and a projector handy:
" "I'm writing a book on magic," I explain, and I'm asked, "Real magic?" By 'real magic' people mean miracles, thaumaturgical acts, and supernatural powers. "No," I answer: "Conjuring tricks, not real magic." Real magic, in other words, refers to the magic that is not real, while the magic that is real, that can actually be done, is not real magic."

Alone, people are gonna whine to the magician that the tricks defy the laws of physics, and when he tells them how the tricks work, they're gonna hate that cheatin' conjurer who conned them out of their two bits. They're only gonna be happy when three conditions are satisfied: 1) the magic becomes real; 2) they can do it themselves; and 3) this makes them special because hardly anyone else can. An illusion that doesn't fool becomes merely an effect, and people are gonna feel conned. They're more likely to hate the guy who told them about the mirror than the guy who's been duping them. My point: if you want approbation, you need to start writing for CNN.com, but please don't.

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Why is that white woman ... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 1:45 PM | Posted by Empire of Jeff: | Reply

Why is that white woman riding the bus?

Because she's in The Netherlands. But that brings up another question:

Why is that black man in The Netherlands?

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Anonymous, are you asking f... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 1:56 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Guy Fox: | Reply

Anonymous, are you asking for a refund? Oh, you didn't pay for this? Oh, and you could've stopped reading at any time? Oh, you *actually invested* time complaining about Alone's ego?

A blog is just like a flyer that lands in your mailbox, except it never lands in _your_ mailbox, you have to ask your neighbour for a copy; i.e. you have to invest a minimal amount of effort in acquiring it. Do you go to Walmart/Best Buy and whine about the poor quality of their flyers? You're complaining about something you were given for free and could have discarded at any time. Why would you invest in something without value? Why would you complain about something to which you have no connection?

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My complaint is that Alone ... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 2:00 PM | Posted, in reply to Guy Fox's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

My complaint is that Alone is himself perpetuating an illusion of "truth speaking" and "special insight" and unable to address or recognize the same limitations in himself that he derides in others. Well that and trying to redefine narcissism to suit his own personal and political agenda.

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So if I don't agree with so... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 2:15 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

So if I don't agree with something I should "just stop reading" rather than trying to discuss it in the relevant forum? Isn't that the exact opposite of what TLP advocates? My issue is not with TLP having different or the same personal or political beliefs as me, I enjoy that and don't "need" or even want everyone to share or affirm my perspective. What I'm taking issue with is all the talk of narcissism while, um, presenting himself as a saviour. Yeah, I know that TLP is very adamant that grandiosity isn't a an aspect of narcissism but that seems rather self serving in someone who presents himself as an internet saviour. He's not the devil or anything (if devils existed), just a dude on the internet who claims to be a psychiatrist (everyone's a dog/psychiatrist on the internet) - but his refusal to even consider his own biases and constant assertions superiority and truth speaking make him a hypocrite (and also obviously mean his unacknowledged subjectivity leaks into all his "objective" observations). Simply holding someone to the standard they claim they uphold is hardly doing more than pointing out the obvious hypocrisy.

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10 commandments. Because go... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 2:15 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

10 commandments. Because god knew we have 10 fingers and use 10 as a measure of counting. How do I know that? Because of I were God I would have done the same. "it just makes sense"

Oh and the fact they came from God.

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"but his refusal to even co... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 2:32 PM | Posted by Matt Wigdahl: | Reply

"but his refusal to even consider his own biases and constant assertions superiority and truth speaking make him a hypocrite (and also obviously mean his unacknowledged subjectivity leaks into all his "objective" observations). Simply holding someone to the standard they claim they uphold is hardly doing more than pointing out the obvious hypocrisy."

... and hypocrisy is the ultimate sin, right? By making his hypocrisy or lack thereof the issue, you divert attention from his actual arguments and focus solely on his attitude. That's irrelevant to whether he has a point or not.

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"Don't look at my finger; l... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 2:41 PM | Posted by butterflymcdoom: | Reply

"Don't look at my finger; look at the moon."

Thank you, Alone.

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It's clear to me why the wh... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 2:54 PM | Posted by Andrea Harris: | Reply

It's clear to me why the white woman isn't sitting near the black man in the dirty station: she doesn't want to sit where her shoes will be touching things like dirty plates and rotten banana peels. Notice that the black guy is sitting where there is a bit of clear space around his feet.

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"My complaint is that Alone... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 3:05 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"My complaint is that Alone is himself perpetuating an illusion of "truth speaking" and "special insight" and unable to address or recognize the same limitations in himself that he derides in others. Well that and trying to redefine narcissism to suit his own personal and political agenda."

I'm pretty sure dude has shattered his own identity up quite a bit in his days. Everyone wants to be needed, everyone has some aspects of narcissism in that it feels good to be wanted and needed and be a good person, and to share with the world you are a good person for x reason in order that you can be wanted and needed.

Underlying the things that are bad about narcisstic traits are things that are perfectly reasonable and perfectly human when acknowledged and not used for harm. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be cute/smart/hot/talented/awesome/insightful/brilliant/rich so that people will think you are cute/smart/hot/talented/awesome/insightful/brilliant/rich and therefore like you.

Of course TLP got weird identity shit and of course he's seeking something out of this. Every single action that every single person does comes from a place of desiring to do that action which is born of a desire within the self. Meaning every single thing we do is self serving if only in that it fulfilled our own desire to do it. Be self sacraficing, be altruistic, be kind.

Really in kids, the way you train these behaviors is with social approval for pro-social behavior combined with a base of the child having experienced prosocial behaviors from the parents/caregivers in order to know what that's like.

We crave doing that which is rewarded in our environments and if we are well bred then that which we crave is to do the highest good in order to recieve the most honorable forms of praise. We can still choose to do otherwise even if this mechanism is in tact, but we will know it. If this is established early enough and a person becomes a full person, then recieving that honor WITHIN YOURSELF becomes enough. You may not get positive feedback from those in your environment for being altruistic but within yourself you have been trained to see altruism as the highest good and therefore find yourself most pleasing to yourself if you act from that base.

The truth is, even still, the training that altruism is the most honorable way to behave is still deeply rooted in messages that the altruistic get the girl/guy/greatest honor after death/self knowledge of being a good person.

There's still a belief that the highest reward that can be experienced will be bestowed on those who maintain compassionate behavior.

The fact that these things ultimate reward the self is not bad. The self is not bad. If you think your self needs to be sublimated and destroyed then you will try to sublimate and destroy everyone elses self: or if you carry that belief and you DON'T try to destroy everyone elses self "for the greater good" you aren't really treating them as you believe a human should be treated, are you?

We SHOULD all do our best to work for the greater good and self sacrafice may be part of that. But in order for the "greater good" to mean anything at all, we have to acknowledge that it is in fact exactly because of how important each self in the body of the whole is.

If you follow destroying the self for the sake of others to it's conclusion you really become a practitioner of reverse machiavellian sociopathy.

If you see false identity in alone, and if you are right, the answer is really that he and everyone else is in fact better than he thinks he/they are despite the faults. You can fling that at him all you want, but really you're throwing flowers.

If you tell him, "Hey you're bad because you have narcissist traits somewhere and you tell others they are bad for having narcissistic traits" either he's right that he and others are bad, so you're affirming his rightness and in fact INCREASING his authority on the matter: or you're telling him that he/others deserve a more compassionate handling of their condition and problems in which case how is that insult?

I do think he is trying (whether succeeding or not) to use his unstopably overly critical brain to do good. Not solely for the sake of narcissism but because for himself, he would like to do good.

Which is as good as any human can say of themselves.

I think underlying the criticism is more compassion than comes across here, because the point for him (it seems) is not to be compassionate but to dissect ideas/representations. If after dissected you find that you don't have compassion for what remains, perhaps you are implanting your own response onto him. (Though his words do convey rather detached handling of sensitive issues, whatever that actually means about his thoughts on them)

If you want to criticize the rightness or wrongness of his dissections, that's another matter. I think the unmoderated comments leave it pretty open that he is up for being dissected himself and commenters oblige. But you keep coming back so I think I can tell where you stand. If your point is that he is wrong about some things, I think you are right. Of course he's wrong about some things.

He's probably not needed in the way he imagines he's needed, but if your point is that people with narcisstic traits should be considered more gently than TLP handles them, then so what? Dude wants to be needed. Don't we all? So long as we use that to try to offer something beneficial to others, it's sort of a part of being a human.

If you don't find his blog useful whether for insights or entertainment or whatever-- why would you read it? Do you feel he is under appreciating what others in the world have to offer? Do you wish he would read your ideas and be willing to learn from you? Perhaps you could write on partial objects, I rather get the idea that was the point of the site.

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You're still just suggestin... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 4:04 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

You're still just suggesting I go away and not expose myself to things I may disagree with or simply disengage when I see something that is problematic. Apparently you think I should just expose myself to things I agree with or approve of (as you apparently do when confronted by something that doesn't entertain you) and not think critically about what I read. If you're going to put yourself out there - if you are building an internet identity that you promote that's based upon being a critical thinker who sees beyond all the bias that you want people to believe but then can't live up to yourself - then talking about the identity being constructed is quite valid. Why should there be special rules for TLP? (I get it that it's his blog and obviously he can ban me if he likes, my question is why you seem to think that there should be special rules for TLP and why you feel anyone who doesn't engage according to your desires should just go away.)

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I wrote the comment above y... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 4:35 PM | Posted by anon 305: | Reply

I wrote the comment above yours and none other. It seems this space is open for anyone to say anything they like. Don't go; stay, have a cup of tea.

You feel TLP has presented a false identity to you and you are very upset. It's cute that you mention "TLP would want me to say what I think!"

I bet he would.

So, it's likely TLP has some bias, what do you think this means about his ideas? Does it change their meaning and how so? You're not going to be deleted, have you ever read the comments here before? Google translate the German above. Speak it.

So TLP is not above having his own blind spots, should he not discuss blind spots he sees in others? Is that what you're getting at?

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I tend to agree with what T... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 4:59 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I tend to agree with what TLP said in the previous article about the judge, which is that the first step is forgiveness. I forgive you for your arrogance, and I forgive TLP for his narcissism because he has a point. You do have a point, and it's an important one. TLP is often wrong, and probably has less validity than the people he talks about, but the point still stands. The mistake I see people making when they talk about Alone's analysis is the same one every time. It's not about him. It's about you. You are the focus of the article, you are your own worst enemy, and you are the problem in your own life.

TLP is the ultimate example of why your reaction to these things is what you need to focus on and understand. You feel insulted by his hypocrisy. Fair enough, please investigate this experience further. Do not justify it, that will not help you.

Or you could keep telling yourself that his hypocrisy invalidates his argument. You can do that forever, and nobody will win against you.

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Perhaps you should ask how ... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 5:11 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Perhaps you should ask how I feel instead of projecting what you want to believe I feel onto me? I'm not "very upset", I just value critical thinking so speak up when someone claims that's what they're doing but are ignoring their own cognitive biases. I didn't say "TLP would want me to say what I think" - what I asked was why you're promoting ignoring things that you don't agree with and avoiding critical thinking? It just seems odd combined with your defence of TLP - do you come here to get TLP to do your "critical thinking" for you and avoid all other media that doesn't parrot back to you your beliefs? This is a question, I'm genuinely curious as to why you'd tell me to just not read things or speak up about inconsistencies when you seem to be a fan of TLP who consistently promotes critical thinking (even if he's not doing as he himself says). Like I said, I have no problem with TLP being human, it's the expressed sense of personal superiority (positioning oneself as superhuman) and disdain for other humans (for being human) that I find problematic on a blog that takes narcissism as one of its core subjects. I find this worth discussing, apparently you do too since you're discussing it.

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My biggest problem with TLP... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 5:52 PM | Posted by Felan: | Reply

My biggest problem with TLP's narcissism sermons is that he asserts it's a new problem. Media makes it worse then it has ever been.

I'm skeptical that humanity are more anything than they have been in the past. We have accumulated more knowledge and built up our tools for making other tools. We can communicate with greater ease then ever before. But if we are horribly narcissitic now, I'm inclined to think we have always been so.

I've been lead to believe if you got a divorce in the 50's it brought great shame to the family. That sounds distinctly like the same narcissism he points out. The word narcissist derives from a very ancient word (actually a name of a person), far far older than newspaper and journalist.

We like to believe we are smarter than our ancestors, I tend to believe we aren't dumber.

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"what I asked was why you'r... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 6:19 PM | Posted by anon 305: | Reply

"what I asked was why you're promoting ignoring things that you don't agree with and avoiding critical thinking?"

Who'se projecting my dear? Did I say that? Did I ask you to leave? Did I ask you to stop talking? Did I ask you to ignore anything?

?

Where are you coming up with this? I would love to hear more about how you feel. Tell us more.

" Like I said, I have no problem with TLP being human, it's the expressed sense of personal superiority (positioning oneself as superhuman) and disdain for other humans (for being human) that I find problematic on a blog that takes narcissism as one of its core subjects"

Well disdain for other humans for being humans sounds terrible. Human behavior can be very prone to error and self absorption to the ignorance of others, allowing them to suffer without helping, or causing them to suffer needlessly. This is difficult to witness without feeling such negative emotions as anger/disdain/etc particularly if the actions or belief systems result in suffering. I believe that working past disdain for how self centered humans often are is a meaningful thing to do, because it's a quality in all of us, so forgiveness and compassion for such a very human quality is part of moving beyond it. So I agree with you, having only disdain for poor behavior in humans is not a full picture. However when we are injured by others self centeredness and don't have the skills to repair the injury or are still suffering from it or seeing others suffer at the hands of others; it is very difficult not to feel negative emotions such as anger or disdain, which I believe in having forgiveness for as well.

I don't really come here for narcissism speak, I like the dissections of studies and psych industry. Spicy.

No one is going to silence you all your life, share your feelings with the world!
I totally dig critical thinking, that's fun.

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Those error bars are hilari... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 6:48 PM | Posted by slw: | Reply

Those error bars are hilarious.

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Some people look at the stu... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 7:16 PM | Posted by DensityDuck: | Reply

Some people look at the study and see racist white people. Some people look at the study and see the vast liberal conspiracy. Some people look at the study and see publish-or-perish destroying the concept of useful research.

The point of Alone's essay is not any of these things. The point is that we see the story we want to see in the things that present themselves to us. It doesn't even matter that the study was fake. That just deals another hand in the game we play with reality. What Alone says is true whether the study is real or fake or not even a study at all. We all tell a story with our lives, we're all the main character in the movie of us, and everything we see is a prop.

The question becomes what kind of movie you want it to be. Society and evolution combine to make us narcissists and we can't change that, but we can decide how we get our kicks. If people decide that that cleaning up the train station fights racism, that doesn't mean the train stations don't get clean.

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Anon305 - Why do you assume... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 7:25 PM | Posted, in reply to anon 305's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Anon305 - Why do you assume I was talking to you, my dear, when the response wasn't to your post, I didn't address you and you didn't say that? Now you're just confused. I was, of course, responding to the person who suggested that it was preferable to avoid reading things that one didn't agree with than to think critically and bring something up for discussion.

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Anon305 - I'm not saying an... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 7:35 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Anon305 - I'm not saying anyone is trying to silence me, I merely asked why someone who obviously considers TLP to be on the mark regarding critical thinking would then suggest that if I don't agree with, like or give unconditional approval to what TLP writes (or if I comment on the identity he's publicly constructing in the media - the internet and blogs are also media) that I should not read the blog and I shouldn't point out issues with critical thinking when they arise.

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"What you need me for is to... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 8:04 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"What you need me for is to untrain you"
CREEPY

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That was my first thought w... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 8:06 PM | Posted, in reply to Andrea Harris's comment, by Carlier: | Reply

That was my first thought when looking at the two pictures, too. There's a continuous stream of trash between her and the confederate in the second picture. As it stands the study is conflating avoiding sitting in trash with avoiding black people, which is pretty hilariously racist.

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Hey, ummm, Anonymous, you m... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 9:35 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Marcus: | Reply

Hey, ummm, Anonymous, you must have missed the "Repent" joke at the end. It's okay, we'll wait for you to catch up ;)

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What? Ok then why did the f... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2011 9:37 PM | Posted by anon 305: | Reply

What? Ok then why did the first half of your paragraph address me and ask me a question that was directed at someone else? HUH?

"I didn't say "TLP would want me to say what I think" - what I asked was why you're promoting ignoring things that you don't agree with and avoiding critical thinking? It just seems odd combined with your defence of TLP - do you come here to get TLP to do your "critical thinking" for you and avoid all other media that doesn't parrot back to you your beliefs"

Well color me confused as you say, it seems you're addressing a number of people interspersed with your comments without identifying who you're talking to. There are too many anonymousi for this.

Anyways, carry on then.

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Despite the photos being st... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2011 1:55 AM | Posted by D.Hammer: | Reply

Despite the photos being staged, I couldn't help but think, "Maybe people were avoiding the trash." In an unclean place, the trash becomes the deciding factor, not the other people nearby. Except that the study was false, so I guess it doesn't really matter anyway.

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Bernie Madoff is my ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2011 5:01 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Bernie Madoff is my problem. He's damaged the world I occupy.

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"...acceptance, of self-ser... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2011 6:31 PM | Posted by aliz: | Reply

"...acceptance, of self-serving behavior because that behavior allows everyone else to be equally self-serving."

SO?! so what? this has been the way things always were and always will be. what authority do you have over people to tell them what to do and think? absolutely none.
if people want to be self serving, let them. you cant stop them. you, or anyone else, never will.
also, why continue this christian bullshit? first forgiveness, now repentance. what's with that?

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. That's the point. It... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2011 6:59 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

.

That's the point. It is large, but it is traveling fast.

(This is the outer ionosphere)

(X)

I'll run the thing by you again because, in case you don't understand what I'm trying to say with this visual, you missed the point.

You can't fix Madoff. You can't change anything by focusing on him. He's a straw man and an easy target. In fact as a target he's too easy to hit. Any concern that is that easy to identify is a distraction from shit that actually matters. That's TLP's point. Nancy Grace doesn't matter specifically because of what she does to people. You are focusing on the things that bother you because that's what gets you to participate. You can't participate without playing by their rules, and the first rule on the list is they win, you lose. That's the point of coming here.

You can't save the world. You can save yourself. Forgive the world and repent.

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Interesting.When I d... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2011 7:40 PM | Posted by Paula: | Reply

Interesting.
When I dress sluty, black men sit closer to me.
When I dress more conservative, white women sit closer to me.
Okay- when I dress sluty all men sit closer to me dammit!
But when I am eating- all dogs sit closest to me. I think cats would sit closer but the dogs scare them away.
But when I fart- no one sits close to me. Wait, the dogs don't seem to mind. Never mind.

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I've been lead to believ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2011 8:52 PM | Posted, in reply to Felan's comment, by So Much For Subtlety: | Reply

I've been lead to believe if you got a divorce in the 50's it brought great shame to the family. That sounds distinctly like the same narcissism he points out. The word narcissist derives from a very ancient word (actually a name of a person), far far older than newspaper and journalist.

How is that narcissistic? Surely it is the opposite - people in the 1950s cared what other people thought about them and the impact their actions would have on others? What is narcissistic is the modern approach that ignores the pain that divorce inflicts on people who love us in favour of "just finding myself". In fact isn't that the textbook definition of narcissism?

We like to believe we are smarter than our ancestors, I tend to believe we aren't dumber.

We may be less well educated. In fact we are. But we are probably worse people.

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When I saw the girl sitting... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2011 9:38 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

When I saw the girl sitting next to the dude, having been in that situation myself, I assumed that circa 40 seconds ago a 300 pound fat man was occupying the alternative bench. Poor girl was faced with this anxious dilemma:

"Oh fuck the benchnext to me is empty FINALLY since that fatso got up onto his train, I need to MOVE MOVE MOVE NOW from dude next to me... but how do I do it without offending this guy and making it obvious that I am only moving to space myself from him?"

I think all citydwellers are familiar with that mental scenario: being forced to sit next to someone, only to have a more spacious bench free up, and the mental work / endless seconds spent plotting the right opportunity to GRAB THAT SPACIOUS SEAT without offending your siamese twin.

It looks like they photographed her right in that mental moment, she's all pretending to be oblivious, like she doesn't care, but really in her mind she is like "OMG I WANT TO GET OVER TO THAT OTHER SEAT STAAAAT".


Regarding the perverted sexual readings written by TLP and his apparent obsession with interracial porn: legs are crossed totally inverse of each other and she is desperately pretending like she is lost in whatever technology she is using. That is not the recipe for flirting. That is the recipe for handling being scrunched next to a stranger on the friggin' train.

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How is that narcissistic... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2011 11:11 AM | Posted, in reply to So Much For Subtlety's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

How is that narcissistic? Surely it is the opposite - people in the 1950s cared what other people thought about them and the impact their actions would have on others? What is narcissistic is the modern approach that ignores the pain that divorce inflicts on people who love us in favour of "just finding myself". In fact isn't that the textbook definition of narcissism?

The narcissism of it is believing that the actions of some other person bring you shame and that you have a right to be angry about that shame. You can love that person. You don't have to agree with that person's choices. But if you feel shame because of that person's choices then its because they are not playing their ascribed part in your movie. This is frequently the message that TLP gives out.

We may be less well educated. In fact we are. But we are probably worse people.

Really you think we are worse? Early Christians were feed to lions in arenas for sport. We have longer life spans. We can criticize our leaders without fearing for our lives. We can criticize religious authority gone wrong with less fear for our life than times past, thinking to the The Albigensian Crusade and others. I can say that what I know of history, which is a fair amount, we are collectively far better off. But people as individuals are basically the same and I haven't yet seen something to challenge that, though I would welcome it.

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Can I like this post more t... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2011 11:35 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Can I like this post more than once? Soo good.

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C'mon man, how long has it ... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2011 12:48 PM | Posted, in reply to So Much For Subtlety's comment, by Rob: | Reply

C'mon man, how long has it been since TLP talked about the difference between guilt and shame? Two posts? Three?

Here are some non-narcissistic reasons why you might not want to get divorced:
... because it would hurt the other person (or your children)...
... because you would be breaking a serious commitment...
... or because you're religious and you think it's a sin.

All of which are rooted in an internal sense of morality. (Note: I'm not religious -- I'm not saying they're all good reasons -- just that they're not narcissistic.) If you consider divorce wrong, and have a strong internal sense of morality, getting divorced would cause strong feelings of GUILT. And as TLP is always saying, narcissists can't feel guilt -- only shame.

And so we're clear:

> people in the 1950s cared what other people thought about them and the impact their actions would have on others?

The first part is shame. The second part is guilt.

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Or, in more basic yet pr... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2011 9:49 PM | Posted by Anna: | Reply

Or, in more basic yet precise language: individual narcissism is encouraged to permit the existence of societal narcissism, all of which is at the expense of your soul.

No one is looking to convert you—just plant that seedling of doubt in your head because this is, in fact, a matter of the soul. And, while we're at it, let's reevaluate some basic assumptions—since when is 'hypocrisy' a moral dealbreaker? (Thank you to Matt Wigdahl for pointing out that all the hypocrisy talk is yet another distraction from the real, substantive quality of the argument.) Otherwise, you wouldn't be fighting so hard, would you?

On that note, everyone should seriously consider reading 'The Master and Margarita'—things are starting to look awfully familiar around here.

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I don't like the comments o... (Below threshold)

November 19, 2011 4:16 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I don't like the comments on this post.

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Well it's all rather ironic... (Below threshold)

November 19, 2011 11:42 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Well it's all rather ironic that people would assert on a blog like TLPs that's busy trying to "save" others/the world that everyone else should try to save themselves and not the world. Physician, heal thyself etc...

If you can't see why hypocrisy - saying one thing but doing something else - are problematic then you're talking about issues of integrity then you seem to have missed some of TLPs key themes (or so it seems to me). If TLP was "all about the ideas" then he wouldn't need to make his blog title an identity and spend so much time focused on constructing the identity he wants to project to readers (a rather dramatic and very fictional one at that - not that I mind some drama...just saying that this is all identity building - a false identity that hides the true person at that - and not just idea presentation).

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I am not sure I am buying i... (Below threshold)

November 19, 2011 7:25 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by So Much For Subtlety: | Reply

I am not sure I am buying into this. Sometimes other people's actions do bring us shame. I would be pretty ashamed if I wore a Penn State jersey these days. I shouldn't be but it is a human and healthy emotion. But you have moved from what other people do to what we do. We should be ashamed if our own actions are shameful. Someone who casually abandons their family, to continue with the analogy, for their own selfish reasons is unlikely to feel shame but they should.

Not all shame is narcissism. Some of it is entirely appropriate.

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I was thinking of how most ... (Below threshold)

November 20, 2011 7:58 PM | Posted by Andy: | Reply

I was thinking of how most briefly describe TLP (the blog) to a friend. The best I could come up with was this: "Start with the tv show 'House.' Now imagine Dr. House is a psychiatrist, but in every regard the same person/character he represents in the show. Now imagine YOU are the patient, and House tears you apart, pulls out a sharp rhetorical needle and pops every little story you've been telling yourself for as long as you can remember. And without (and this is the key), trying to sell you any shiny new story in the process.
[Even as I type this I can imagine TLP commenters licking their chops...."you love TLP because it's like a TV show all about YOU!?! omg, narcissism explosion!!!"
But hell, maybe that just means it's working......]

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Um, Alone.....has someone h... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2011 1:04 AM | Posted by Not tech savvy: | Reply

Um, Alone.....has someone hacked into your blog, or my email?

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Just part of the long-term ... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2011 5:51 PM | Posted by Jack: | Reply

Just part of the long-term (often publicly-funded) drive to pathologize white behaviour, especially their desire to live among their own kind in their own homelands, and which an ideology of 'diversity' never applied outside western Europe seeks to render immoral.

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the hardest thing about rea... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2011 6:04 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

the hardest thing about reading tlp is downvoting all the comment posters who deserve a downvote... so many people to downvote, so little time to downvote them all.

I'm really curious though, were do all the commenters on this site come from? Metafilter, reddit, that sort of place?

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Reddit is probably the wors... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2011 5:21 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by please don't let me be misunderstood: | Reply

Reddit is probably the worst. But I've seen some Metafilters who are really bent on being wooly and not having a shred of reading comprehension, which is really amazing, since they (apparently) know how to write.

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"...Science, as you know, i... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2011 7:45 PM | Posted by Jess: | Reply

"...Science, as you know, is read by scientists, which means they are progressive intellectuals who never racially stereotype. They voted for Obama to prove it...."

Brilliant

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Brilliant in the way that a... (Below threshold)

November 28, 2011 10:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Jess's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Brilliant in the way that a reference doesn't need to be given or brilliant in the way there is no reference?

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I think it's hilarious how ... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2011 3:16 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I think it's hilarious how everyone is lashing out at TLP. First of all, I believe he has previously stated he struggles with some narcissism issues. But whether he does or not, how about just accepting that this is a blog and looking at the ideas. At worst, the pot isn't wrong when it calls the kettle black. At best, y'all are wrong about something largely irrelevant and are using that to ignore the main point.

I dig the Ken Wilber quote about this kind of criticism:

"For example, if a writer hurts somebody's feelings, or a writer's tone is perceived to be not green-meme enough (not "sensitive" enough according to green's particular values), then green will lash out at the writer for his or her tone. The argument goes like this: "Albert Einstein yelled at his secretary--he's obviously not a very sensitive person--and therefore E does not equal mc2." Everything he says will be trashed due to a perceived insensitivity, which means, not following green-meme protocol. It's pretty funny, actually, but you have to be a bit careful...."

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The author of this study ha... (Below threshold)

December 11, 2011 12:06 PM | Posted by Wytse: | Reply

The author of this study has recently been accused of fraud. He has confessed and will probably be tried in court. Good foresight!

http://www.science20.com/science_20/blog/diederik_stapel_another_world_class_psychology_fraud-84171

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maybe next time I should re... (Below threshold)

December 11, 2011 12:13 PM | Posted by Wytse: | Reply

maybe next time I should read the full article before posting.. mehhh

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I'm a black woman and this ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2012 5:17 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm a black woman and this may have nothing to do with my response, but if I went to a station and there was a bench with a lot of garbage strewn around on the ground, I would stand as far away from it as possible or leave the station. I would then call the station master and complain about the debris and make sure that it gets cleaned up. Next, even in the absence of dirt, I never sit on benches at train stations. Never. Never. Because they're dirty.

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I'm about to become a full-... (Below threshold)

January 18, 2012 1:33 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm about to become a full-fledged scientist. And this stuff worries me. It keeps me up at night.

I realized the emperor had no clothes when I first tried to work as an undergraduate "research assistant", but I was quickly branded "dangerous" by my professors when I insisted on doing things the long, arduous, and painfully slow way- i.e., without playing fast and loose with experimental design or outright fudging data.

I'm well on my way to a career now, in spite of them. I know I could play the game by its rules and have a good chance of landing in a brand-name journal by the time I'm 33. But I actually kinda care about doing solid science, to the extent that I've been called "quixotic" by my less ambitious colleagues. It's gonna be a long rest of my life.

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I am posting this late, sor... (Below threshold)

February 2, 2012 3:08 AM | Posted, in reply to Andrea Harris's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I am posting this late, sorry- just read the posting, but I agree with Andrea. It is glaring obvious that the ground is littered with trash in the first photo. My first thought was gross.. I would not want to sit and put my feet in that trash. (why would anyone?)

I don't agree with comments that they are "sitting thigh to thigh" in the second photo- look at picture closely/ they are sitting next to each other but not that close. I could imagine sitting that close to a person I'd just met IF they were involved in a psych experiment and administering a questionnaire.. there would be a greater sense of trust than with a complete stranger.

I found the conclusions in the study ridiculous, yes, for many of the same reasons the author did. Interesting read, thank you.

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i read your article.... (Below threshold)

March 26, 2012 3:13 PM | Posted by online izle film indir: | Reply


i read your article..the things you have written sound very sincere and nice topics i am looking forward to its continuation.

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"I am not the smartest guy ... (Below threshold)

March 28, 2012 6:50 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"I am not the smartest guy in the universe..."

Oh stop.

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Amazing info provided here.... (Below threshold)

March 31, 2012 3:54 PM | Posted by Juan: | Reply

Amazing info provided here. I was looking to combine my psychological skills with coaching.
I found this site http://coachingpsychology.blogspot.com/ offering the firs coaching psychology valid certificate from the Middlesex university.
I am so very exited and I just signed up.
Cheers!

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Some people cannot read gra... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2012 1:55 PM | Posted by SJ: | Reply

Some people cannot read graphs.
If they're not sitting near to the black guy because of the trash then we should see the same effect with the white guy.
But we don't.

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"It's a stitch-up . . . You... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2012 11:42 PM | Posted by Christian: | Reply

"It's a stitch-up . . . You're labeled a Pratt and that's the game."

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The same reason why whites ... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2012 1:29 PM | Posted, in reply to Empire of Jeff's comment, by Spiral: | Reply

The same reason why whites are in South Africa!
Like seriously you had to ask that question?
People migrate for so many reasons, it could be
1. To further their education
2. To find a job in a situation whereby jobs are hard to get in their own country
3. To learn cultural differences,and
4. To go on vacation(just for tourism sake)!
Blacks are not the only ones guilty of migration.
Whites are found everywhere too, you know!
(Asian,Kenya,Angola,India,Mexico...you name it)!

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I myself am white but i lik... (Below threshold)

March 4, 2013 9:21 AM | Posted by zunaira ahmad: | Reply

I myself am white but i like black people more than white people because they are loving and caring and white people who cosider them dirty are themselves dirty from inside.So please don't mind if white people show off infront of you.

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Turns out Stapel made up th... (Below threshold)

May 9, 2013 5:31 PM | Posted by RadishMag: | Reply

Turns out Stapel made up the whole thing. No such experiment was ever conducted: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334/6056/579.summary

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1. That this got published ... (Below threshold)

July 25, 2013 9:42 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

1. That this got published in science is unbelievable. It reminded me of one of my lousy papers that I need to submit to a journal, I thought no one would take it...where's the latex template for science?

2. The disorderly setting picture, to me, just looks like she doesn't want to sit where her feet will be in garbage, am I crazy?

3. The conclusion and advice for the "policy maker" is unbelievable...but thank you, the "policy makers" will definitely save us on a create environments of infinite intimacy. I'm out to find a clean station...I need sex.

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Wow. Some comments on here ... (Below threshold)

May 14, 2014 12:29 PM | Posted by American: | Reply

Wow. Some comments on here are really stupid. Who cares where people sit? Also, to the person who wrote they "like black people better because black people are more loving and caring"...umm.. do you live in opposite land or something? Black on black crime is horrendous, black nations tend toward greater violence, uprisings, rape, etc.
I am so tired of all this who is more racist than who stuff. I judge people one by one. I used to have some black friends growing up, but they ALL ended up being back stabbers. I may be racist because of this, or I may not. Frankly, I don't care! I still judge people one by one, and I seem to only have white friends, because the black people who come up as candidates as friends usually do something inappropriate, or crazy, or selfish, or they try to ask me for WAY MORE favors or even MONEY than my white friends.
So that's just MY experience. Yours may be different. All in all, stop trying to convince people about racism or any other psychological bull. It's very tiresome. If I am a racist, I DON'T CARE A BIT!! So why would you waste your time, and just annoy me with whining and obviously posed studies.

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