New posters for my classrooms

Some pretty cool research on how not actually being watched, but just the merest facsimile of being watched actually makes people behave better:

A group of scientists at Newcastle University, headed by Melissa Bateson and Daniel Nettle of the Center for Behavior and Evolution, conducted a field experiment demonstrating that merely hanging up posters of staring human eyes is enough to significantly change people’s behavior. Over the course of 32 days, the scientists spent many hours recording customer’s “littering behavior” in their university’s main cafeteria, counting the number of people that cleaned up after themselves after they had finished their meals. In their study, the researchers determined the effect of the eyes on individual behavior by controlling for several conditions (e.g. posters with a corresponding verbal text, without any text, male versus female faces, posters of something unrelated like flowers, etc). The posters were hung at eye-level and every day the location of each poster was randomly determined. The researchers found that during periods when the posters of eyes, instead of flowers, overlooked the diners, twice as many people cleaned up after themselves

Perhaps this should be my new approach to prevent cheating– posters of eyes all about the classroom on test days.

Chart of the day (my book version)

Big day for me yesterday, after years and years of work, I finally sent the full draft of my book manuscript, The Politics of Parenthood (co-written with the fabulous Laurel Elder) to SUNY Press where it is under contract for review.  We still have to get some (presumably favorable) reviews and then make some (hopefully minimal) revisions, but this was a really big step.  I cannot at all remember how long Laurel and I have been working on this as a book, per se, but our very first research on the politics of parenthood was a conference paper from 2001!  There’s a lot of material in the book that we’ve published articles about– not the same as the book, but similar– mostly on how parents are different from non-parents (short version– moms are more liberal; fatherhood makes much less difference, when it does, it’s conservative), but I also realized there’s some really good in there that’s not seen the light of day but for conference presentations.

Among that, we’ve got a nice chapter looking at the increase in the use of parent-family themes in political rhetoric.  Here’s our chart of just how much presidents have referred to parents, families, children, etc., over the years in State of the Union Addresses:

Short version: it’s gone up a ton, and actually peaked around 2000.  Most notably there’s a huge jump around 1980 and we’ve consistently stayed well above the level of earlier decades.   The same effect occurs in Party Platforms and convention speeches.

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