I See Psychology… Everywhere

Risk Assessment and the NFL Draft

I don’t know if Kahneman’s a football fan, but I thought about him when I read this clip from Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column. The context is that the Browns & Bucs are flipping a coin to decide who gets to pick frist.

There was almost a mini-scandal in the coin flip for the third pick in the draft. The Bucs and Browns finished tied for the third pick, because their opponents’ won-loss records were identical. So Friday morning, Savage and Tampa Bay GM Bruce Allen met in a Westin Hotel conference room to break the tie for the third pick of the draft. Imagine the significance here.

Allen came into the room with a coin he wanted to use, one from a military base in Florida. That was fine with Savage. League officials Joel Bussert and Ken Fiore ran it. Allen called heads. And when the coin went up in the air, Allen shouted, “Wait! Wait!” The coin was plucked out of the air. And Allen said, “What are we going to do, let it fall to the floor or catch it and flip it over on your hand?” Let it fall, he was told. He called heads again. It came up tails.

Pretty big stuff. Might be the difference between the guy who can save your team for the next three or four years or the guy who might be a nice, complimentary player. “It was just nice to get a win,” said Savage, sounding like a desperate coach. “We gotta string some wins like that together.”

I’m not naive enough to think that whom you draft doesn’t matter, but I was amused by the handwringing about whether to call heads or tails. I’m sure Allan really regrets his call, but would he have changed his mind beforehand if given the chance?


27 February 2007 Posted by | Quantitative, Social, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Gender & Careers: I Really Can’t Believe It

emotional.jpgWow!  A game from the ’60s determines what “gals” will be ready for what careers.

via BoingBoing (as usual)

10 February 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jennifer Richeson Wins MacArthur Award

richeson.jpgCongratulations to Dr. Jennifer Richeson of Dartmouth, who just won a MacArthur Award, better known as a “genius grant.”  Dr. Richeson studies the cognitively taxing effects of interracial interaction and shows that interracial interaction appears to be ego depleting, making it harder to self-regulate in subsequent situations.  Here’s what the NYTimes says about her:

Jennifer A. Richeson, 34, the social psychologist who examines prejudice and racial stereotyping, is an associate professor of psychology at Northwestern University known for her novel use of empirical methods to analyze the experiences of minorities and majority group members as they interact. She found that battling expressions of prejudice decreased effectiveness in other cognitive tasks.

Because I’ll never win an award like this, I’m going to take pride in the fact that I’ve been following her work for several years and have found it fascinating and informative.  As a fellow social psychologist, I’m happy to congratulate Dr. Richeson and to look forward to many more years of productive contributions to the field (unless she just wants to take the money and buy an island or something)…

20 September 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment