Americans average about 11 lies a week, according to a story by Sharon Jayson at USA Today. And those who tell the fewest lies look better on various measures of health.
This is the kind of story that makes for good water-cooler conversation, where you can, of course, lie about what you did over the weekend, among other things. But it's light stuff; so light it might simply float away. And it's not likely to be remembered for long. Maybe there is more substance to this story than I'm suggesting, but it's hard to tell from Jayson's story. And she reports that the researcher gave participants lie-detector tests. Wasn't that discredited decades ago? A quick scan of other stories provided little more illumination.
At the Philadelphia Inquirer, Diane Russell Girardot reports that some chefs are moving toward smaller portions of food, and that they are finding that appetizers are often their favorite and most memorable foods. Again, this is fun; but is it science, or merely a discussion among people about food?
I'm sorry to report that most of what I found while skipping through Google to look for news from the psychology meeting was similarly lacking. A study from Texas--US News ran a syndicated HealthDay story--found that fitter kids are likely to get better grades. This is potentially important from a public health point of view, but the story was written in advance of the talk by someone who apparently did not cover it. And it's not terribly surprising.
Psychological research is important stuff. The country spends billions of dollars on it, and, let's face it--we're not a nation of psychologically superior beings. We could use some help. The coverage of the meeting represents a missed opportunity. I'm sure there was some good work reported there. But most of it will not reach the rest of us. The APA tells me that a mere 20 members of the press registered at the press room. Keep this in mind for next year--it's a great source of scoops if almost nobody comes.
Admittedly, the psychologists couldn't compete with Michael Phelps. But there is plenty of room on the web for psychology coverage and the Olympics. And I suspect most reporters who cover psychology cannot claim they were pulled away from the beat and sent to London.
So: What happened? Why the poor coverage?
- Paul Raeburn