You blinded me with science

April 3rd, 2008 → 9:44 am @

Yes, it’s baseball season again. That will, of course, result in more frequent hardball-related posts than I’ve been managing as of late. I’m also going to start an experiment — a semi-regular (and mostly random) collection of other interesting ephemera. This will, at the very least, highlight my oftentimes unhealthy fascination with science.

Without further ado…

I’m currently reading Harvard History of Science professor Anne Harrington’s The Cure Within: A History of Mind Body Medicine. It’s a fantastic book. I’m not going to try to summarize it here. (Jerome Groopman wrote a glowing review in the Times Book Review; also, the Globe recently ran an interesting Q/A with Harrington.) Among the many fascinating issues it raises is the constant tension between “hard” science and the validity/ability of our mind to effect our physiological reactions. One common example of mind/body interplay is the placebo effect. Here’s another: a recent study gives evidence that group stereotypes have concrete (and measurable) results on performance. That’s not as intuitive as you might think…and gives the lie to the notion that behind every stereotype lies a kernel of truth. (It could be that behind every stereotype lies some self-actualizing truth…)

Other interesting links:

Coffee really does make you smarter.

It won’t be long before you can get your insurer to help you with all that time you spend looking up stats online.

Post Categories: mind/body & science & Uncategorized