Wake up call for me, after having repeated some of these memes as fact.

· The less someone knows about a subject, the more they think they know.

· Income (beyond some fixed level) doesn’t make people happy.

· People bounce back from setbacks and return to a fixed level of happiness. Adjunct: winning the lottery doesn’t make people happier.

· Also: Even so-called ‘wine experts’ can’t tell the difference between red and white wine by taste.

I got cW to perform a blind taste test with friends and he sent me a fascinating e-Vox recording of the event. It wasn't laboratory-grade rigor, but I was convinced of his ability to distinguish wine color by taste, largely thanks to his meaningful descriptions of evidence like "constriction in the sides of the mouth due to astringent tannins in the red."

The lesson:

    If you read the abstract and conclusion, and then skim the paper for interesting bits (graphs, tables, telling flaws in the methodology, etc.), that’s enough to see if popular claims about the paper are true in most cases. In my ideal world, you could get that out of just reading the abstract, but it’s not uncommon for papers to make claims in the abstract that are much stronger than the claims made in the body of the paper, so you need to at least skim the paper.



Dammit, I have parroted the income one.

posted by wasoxygen: 1011 days ago