Skepchick Quickies 1.29


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. That face article seems a bit fishy. Smells of phrenology and “wisdom of crowds”. I also can’t help noticing that there’s no link to the original study.

    (edit) Ah, found the study here.

  2. Amanda, the link to the “gibbon taunting tiger cubs” article links to the article on Andrew Wakefield instead. Dr. Wakefield makes a poor candidate for Cute Animal Friday, imo.

  3. @Imrryr: Fixed! Please do watch the gibbon and tiger video, it’s a good palate cleanser after Wakefield.

    @Steve: I thought the same thing. Reminds me of early criminology where a hooked nose meant you were a thief.

  4. @Steve: I’ve always liked the idea of phrenology, and felt that if were true, then there must be a place for therapeutic phrenologists and I would like to be one.

    Want to be better at math? Here let me hit you on the head with a hammer until you get a lump on the corollary spot. Too cautious in decision making? We’ll just hammer that spot down a bit. Want to be a better lover? Hammer to the head! Come back next week after the swelling reduces and we’ll have another go.

    I think that would be my dream job.

  5. Mid life crisis as an outdated concept? Maybe to him it is. It’s not for many of us.

    It is a myth in that it’s called “mid life.” I can happen at any age and to both genders, according to my reading.

    When it happens at mid life, you realize that many of your dreams and aspirations are not going to happen. You also begin to realize what age is doing to your body and that it’s going to get tougher for you as you age further. Another factor is outright age discrimination in the job market, something you might not have believed was happening when you were younger – but your nose is rubbed in it now.

    He can think what he wants, but he sounds a bit too “happy, happy, joy, joy” about it. More fulfilling? Not so far for me. It sucks.

  6. I used to have a book of Mark Twain’s letters. He would often write two versions. The first would contain what he really wanted to say. But then he would set that one aside and write another with a bit more charity, which is the one he would send. Naturally, the first versions are the more fun to read. I wonder if this one actually got sent.

    As someone on the downward slope from mid-life, I agree that the so-called mid-life crisis is no myth.

  7. My take-aways from some of this week’s cute animals:

    – Moose are freakin HUGE. Like, I’d cry if one accosted me. I’d give it my wallet and go fetal.

    – I will never be as good at anything as a gibbon is at being AWESOME IN TREES.

  8. @Steve: Thanks for the link. I read the original article and find this group of studies quite interesting and well done. (Of course, I am biased since I am also a Social Psychologist, like the authors). :-)

    What the researchers are trying to ascertain is how people utilize preconceived notions about others (stereotypes) in decision making and impression formation. Numerous studies in this area show we are likely to use mental shortcuts (heuristics) when forming impressions of others. Whether or not they are accurate is somewhat less important than their expedience. We generally don’t have time to form accurate impressions of most people we see by speaking to them or interacting with them for long periods. It’s most likely evolutionary. Our ancestors needed to make split-second decisions about “friend or foe” by examining non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions. This is highly adaptive, since it helps us know when to be on guard or relax in social situations.

    As I often say to my students, the mind always takes the easiest path, especially when it is occupied with other problems, such as avoiding being eaten by a predator or trying to solve a complex math problem.

  9. I’m having trouble believing the study about facial features giving away political affiliation- mostly because my personal n of 1 has proven that to be completely false. I’ve put my foot in my mouth with employers or professors because I assumed they were Democrats more times than I can count. I used to blame that on being a product of Massachusetts then moving to the south, but now that Massachusetts is no longer the Democratistan of old I don’t think I can continue using that excuse.

  10. @mainframe:
    The term “mid life” in “mid life crisis” is a misnomer. It’s been known to occasionally happen to people as young as 18 and and as old as 65-70. It is not the same as menopause in women. Women can have both menopause and mid life crisis. I’m thinking of coming up with a new term for it. “Life crisis” has already been generically used for any major crisis in one’s life. “Life philosophical crisis,” perhaps?

    It’s hard to say what the cause(s) are. There may be some biological underpinnings to it, but the research isn’t clear. The “graying man in his 40’s that dumps his wife for a hot car and a young blonde” is just a stereotype. I can vouch for the fact that, at least in my case, it’s all too real.

  11. I had a mid 20s crisis. It was all about getting a college degree in English and then realizing I was qualified for… nothing. Oh and getting divorced.

    I hope that my 40s and such will be much calmer.

  12. @Kaylia_Marie: Every single one of my friends has had an existential crisis in their mid 20s. All very smart, capable, and educated people and we all went, “Aaaaggghh! Life sucks, what do I do now!” at about the same time.

  13. @Kaylia_Marie: and @Amanda:

    I’ve actually heard about the new issue of a “quarter-life crisis”, and I sort of had one when I was 23. When I was in elementary school, then high school, then college, I had so much direction and some specific goal, and also a lot to look forward to. Then once I graduated college and started working full-time, it was just weird. I had no big birthdays to look forward too, since I could already drive, vote, and drink. I felt like I had to figure out some kind of life goal or I would never go anywhere. I felt like I had to try to find a better, perfect job, and maybe get started on a family (something that I had been terrified of just months before). I talked about these feelings with some friends and found out that it’s pretty common. I had everything I had worked for an desired, so basically I was left with a huge “Now what?”

  14. I’ve noticed, especially in this last year, that I’ve been desperately reconnecting with alot things about myself I thought I’d lost, and going through a sort of existential “who am I?” period.

    Growing my hair long again, playing guitar a ton again. Maybe it started with getting divorced a few years back, but I think I’m narrowing it down to the fact that I spent all of my 20’s doing what everone else wanted and needed me to do, and not jack for myself. Guess I’m just trying to make up for lost time…

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