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March 20, 2015

Weekend reading no. 2, 2015

Mountain Lake

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With spring rapidly approaching, I thought it was high time for another list of interesting articles about research, statistics, and anything else I thought was thought-provoking or smartly funny. Enjoy reading and have a nice weekend!

  • First up, an article more related to the practical side of being a freelance data analyst: What should you charge? How to justify your freelance rates? This article really dives into the specifics and practical application of strategies discussed by many others before. In short, the most important thing is to show your client the value you can add to their business. How? Go and read the article!
  • Whenever I go to a new place by plane, I always wonder whether it is better to take a taxi or public transport to get from the airport to the city. Luckily, FiveThirtyEight took some time to figure it out for some of the biggest airports in the US (hoping that an article on the biggest airports in the world is following soon!).
  • Did you know children's movies are filled with more traumatic events than adult movies? Ian Colman and colleagues compared the 45 top grossing children's movies to the 90 top grossing dramatic films for adults and found that important characters in children's movies were 2.5 times more likely to die than similar characters in adult dramatic movies. Mashable has a great write-up of the main conclusions of the article.
  • Feeling quite proud of my alma mater Utrecht University joining forces with the World Health Organization (WHO) to make medication affordable for everyone, starting with a drug for a serious respiratory infection that seriously affects premature babies.
  • Learning that Oliver Sacks (professor of neurology at NYU School of Medicine and author of many books, including "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat") has terminal cancer was quite a shock to me this last February. Oliver Sacks himself wrote a great Op-Ed in the New York Times on how he was/is feeling about it himself. It's a great, sometimes serious, sometimes witty, read, and I urge everyone to click over to read it right now.
  • I also want to share some articles that were recently published in psychological journals, starting with: "Reactive and proactive aggression: Differential links with emotion regulation difficulties, maternal criticism in adolescence". This is actually the first publication of my former fellow student Simona Skripkauskaite, and I'm so proud of her being the first of our year to get her thesis published in a journal!
  • Poerio and colleagues found that daydreaming about significant others was associated with increased feelings of happiness, love, and connection. So take a few moments of your day to ignore the busyness of the world and drift off whilst thinking of your own significant other. By the way, significant other in this study was anyone with whom the participant had a high-quality relationship, so your best friend/mom/cat totally counts!
  • Jackson and colleagues have shown that your friends can predict how long you will live, in a 75-year study of peer-rated personality traits. Basically, self-rated personality traits have often been used to predict mortality risk, but these researchers wanted to see if your peers were as accurate, or even more accurate in their ratings of your personality. They found that friend-ratings were indeed more accurate, in part because multiple friends ratings could be aggregated to form a more reliable measure of personality. Different personality traits were important in predicting longevity for men and women. Friend-endorsed conscientiousness and openness were predictors for men, whereas friend-endorsed emotional stability and agreeableness were predictors for women. So, better ask your friends what they think of you to see how long you have left to live!
  • Finally, Daniel Lakens wrote a great piece in 2014 about why psychology journals should make data sharing a requirement for publication. Especially his point on science as a cumulative process rings true to me! Let's try to make this happen!

I will be back with more links soon!

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