Morning Ed: Society {2016.10.18.T}

Love is in, chastity is out: A look at how what men and women want in marriage has changed.

Without a conference home, many have suggested that New Mexico State would drop to FCS and join the Big Sky. They have $1.4 million reasons to resist, however.

Kevin Clark writes of the NFL’s age problem. Most, though not all, of this cries out for a development league. The rest… as we start worrying about concussions, I think we’re just going to get used to inferior play for a while until things get sorted out.

Jack Bauer may be gone from 24, but we may get Tony Almeida! It would be cooler if we got him without the baggage that the series left him with. Which was a problem with that show generally, how it burned through characters.

We all mourned David Bowie’s death, but none of us could appreciate what it portended. {Via Aaron David}

It looks like gender differences in spatial tasks may dissipate if you simply reframe the terminology.

Judith Shulevitz looks at the conflicting aims of privacy and equality as it pertains to gender and transgenderism.

Lauren Young explains how Candid Camera puts conformity theory to the test.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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64 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Society {2016.10.18.T}

  1. Marriage traits: Some of the findings are interesting. The importance for good looks has risen higher on the scale for both genders. This isn’t surprising because as marriage grew less about economics, its natural that the more romantic and sexual factors would rise in importance. What is interesting is that good looks were apparently always more important for women than in men in terms of preference according to the charts. Another interesting thing is that importance of having a man who is good housekeeper and cook seems to have declined even though other surveys say that women want men who do more of the housework. Fewer women were in the workforce in 1938 than they are now but men seem to favor ambition and industriousness, work related traits, more in 1938.

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    • It’s possible that overall standards for housekeeping quality have declined for both genders over time. Just doing the work may be less important than doing it particularly well.

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      • Compared to 1938, it’s also probably:

        Easier to opt out of a lot of housekeeping processes (it is now much easier to have a complete and diverse wardrobe of clothes that don’t require ironing)

        Easier to buy in midway through a lot of processes (making a really good pie crust is still a nice skill to have, but your local grocery store has pie crusts that are reliably perfectly alright)

        Easier to buy out of processes altogether (household dishwashers are fairly affordable now)

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  2. Is Judith Shulevitz’s article nut picking when it comes to TERFs, just to say that there is some sort of cross-ideological ‘alliance’?

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    • Politics makes strange bed fellows. Maybe alliance is too strong a word but the Moral Right has been able to come to something of an agreement with Feminists or other elements of the Left in the past on certain issues even if they couldn’t exactly agree on the reasons for their agreement. This was true in the United States and the United Kingdom. I’m currently reading a history of the 1980s in the United Kingdom and there was a discussion on how the courts did not take sexual assault seriously enough from British feminists and the socially conservative elements of the Tories. Both were also against the video nasties, direct to video releases that used violence and sex that couldn’t be shown in regular movie theaters because of censorship. Now they had totally different reasons for wanting the courts to take sexual assault more seriously and hating the video nasties but they recognized that they had enough in common and that their solution was similar enough to work together.

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      • “Politics makes strange bed fellows.”

        Sort of like how the biggest supporters of feminism were the KKK. (Look up the history of women’s suffrage. It was not being pushed out of some agapic love for equal humanity.)

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      • LeeEsq: Politics makes strange bed fellows.

        I’m not saying that such an alliance can’t exist – existence is intuitively obvious to me. My question is *does* it exist? Or more precisely, how lopsided is this alliance?

        My guess would be very much so, like a military coalition where one country is providing 95% of all the forces and resources and some other group of nations is putting in the other 5%, but you can still call the action ‘multilateral’.

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  3. Re NMS football… One has to wonder how long that money will be there.

    When I was a lad, and followed one of the big-time college programs, the regular college season was 11 games. Seven conference games and four out of conference games. Of the four, three were walkovers and one was from another of the power conferences. The walkovers were like NMS — “In exchange for our share of the gate, we’ll come to your house, let your first string go up three touchdowns, and give you a chance to get your backups some experience.” Since the schedules were arranged years in advance, the power conference game was a crap shoot — you might wind up with another walkover, or you might be facing a contender for the national title.

    Today, after conference changes and consolidations, that same big-time college program has a 12-game regular season: nine conference games, one against a team from another of the power conferences, and two walkovers. The number of slots for the (relatively) big money game as the walkover for a top program have gone down. Presumably, the payouts will also go down.

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  4. I think Clark needs to do a bit more work to show that younger players means a lower quality of play.

    I actually think a bigger issue is the homogenization of strategy and a lack of creativity on the part of coaches and front offices. I’ve heard many people posit that there simply aren’t enough quarterbacks to go around, especially in a QB-driven league. I think that’s crap. First off, why is it necessarily a QB-driven league? Yes, certain rule changes have favored the passing game. But that doesn’t mean the only way to win is with an elite quarterback. The problem is that teams see teams with elite quarterbacks winning and then try to emulate that approach. But they are doing it with a non-elite quarterback. Or, more precisely, they are doing it with a quarterback who isn’t ideal for the style of play used by those successful teams with elite quarterbacks. If you try to copy the Patriots but you don’t have Tom Brady or a Tom Brady-like passer, you are going to fail. That doesn’t mean the quarterback you do have sucks. It just means there is a disconnect between your personnel and your strategy.

    The Patriots are, in fact, a really interesting example. Part of what has made them so successful is not a dogged commitment to an Xs-and-Os approach. Quite the opposite, actually. What makes Belicheck so good at what he does is his ability to adapt to the players he has. Yes, he targets certain types of players at certain positions. But we’ve seen him win with Brady as a game manager early in his career. We’ve seen them win with a wide-open offense. We’ve seen them win with offense. We’ve seen them win with two-TE sets. We’ve seen them play smash mouth football. Belicheck does his best to get the players he wants but is fully willing to work with the players he has. That is why it often seems older players have mini-career renaissances in New England. LeGarrette Blount’s best season was his rookie year in Tampa Bay. And yet it “feels” like he is playing better in New England than he ever did. And, in a way, he has. Because in matchups with Blount will perform best, Belicheck leans on him. In the 2014 playoffs against a bad Indy run defense that was gearing up to stop Brady, Belicheck pounded the ball with Blount 30 times for 140 yards and 3 TDs. The next game, in the Super Bowl against a staunch Seahawks D-line, he got only 14 touches. The games where Blount does exceptional standout but he isn’t expected to be exceptional every game because most players can’t be exceptional every game. Belicheck understands that. Few others seem to.

    So while the preparedness of players may be a factor, I don’t think it explains everything. Stop trying to use Ryan Fitzpatrick like he’s Tom Brady. Don’t expect every running back to be a feature back. Understand that there are different ways to win in the NFL instead of being a copy-cat league in which you copy better coaches with better players and act surprised when you get inferior results.

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    • The buried lede was not so much that this is about younger players, but that both the NFL, through its collective bargaining agreement, and the NCAA, presumably through embarrassment over the increasingly obvious absurdity of its “student athletes” line, limit practice time. Players need to have the pattern recognition skills to instantly take in the situation, and then immediately know how to react. For most people, these skills can only be acquired through repetition. Limit practice time and you have players zigging when the should be zagging.

      The secondary implication is that the highest level of play was only possible by abusively exploiting players. Note also the bit about trying to “create a culture of staying after practice,” i.e. extra time that is “voluntary” but there is always another guy waiting to take your place if you get cut.

      As for a developmental league, the NFL has a culture of penny-pinching. This is why you end up with cheerleaders being paid less than minimum wages. A developmental league would be expensive. Baseball and hockey developmental leagues partially pay for themselves, but there is good reason to believe that this would not be true of an NFL developmental league. That niche is blocked by NCAA ball. NFL Europe was a failed attempt to work around that. So while a developmental league is indeed the solution to the problem, I would not anticipate the NFL going this route before such time as they find themselves on the precipice staring into the abyss.

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      • “The secondary implication is that the highest level of play was only possible by abusively exploiting players.”

        I can see someone getting that, but I think it’s more that there’s a certain level of ability beyond pure physical athleticism–the “raw talent” coaches refer to–that’s expected for players at the pro level. And that ability comes from practice, study, working on techniques rather than simple “run fast and kill the guy with the ball” play. While you can pick this up via mentorship, both from coaches and from veteran players, there are now strict rules that limit the amount and type of communication that coaches can have with players, and there’s no incentive for the veteran players to do anything differently (particularly when it’s obvious that they’re only a few dropped passes away from getting bounced in favor of someone younger and, oh yeah, a lot cheaper).

        So, you end up depending on the college level, but even there you have rules that are pushing players off the field and into the classroom.

        And, y’know, these aren’t bad things. The purpose of college is academicstudy, not athletic. My father tells stories of two-a-days with no water breaks so the players would “get tough”, of concussion protocols that were “go home and lie down, kid”. But if you want NFL to be worth watching then the players need to be good, and players don’t get NFL-good unless they develop, and there’s no way for them to develop right now.

        Remember that “10,000 hours” thing? How would that work out if you were not allowed, by law and regulation, to have more than 1,000?

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        • I’m not sure, but I think we are saying the same thing.

          For a college player to reach his full potential as a football player it has to be a more-than-full-time job, with no pretense of his being a student. The NCAA feels it is important to maintain the pretense that these guys are students, too, so it restricts the amount of time devoted to football.

          For a professional player to reach his full potential as a football player it has to be a vastly-more-than-full-time job, with no allowance for his having a personal or family life. The players’ union is strong enough to insist on players being given time off, hence the restrictions on the amount of time devoted to football.

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      • I agree with most of what says. I think the biggest problem with a D-League compared to say basketball (which also has college competition) is actually the sheer number of people that need to be paid. Football rosters are just huge. Basketball you can kind of skimp on. I mention D-Leagues mostly because the NFL just kind of acts like there’s nothing they can do. There is for at least some of it, they just choose not to.

        Regarding @kazzy’s comment, the inferior play I mostly see coming has to do with tackling, offensive and defensive lines, and so on. I’m Mr “There Should Be 40 Teams”… so I reject the “not enough QB’s” argument.

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        • I think part of the D-League issue for football is that the age curve on football is particularly unforgiving: Offensive players: here. Defensive players: here. In particular, defensive players peak at 23 and running backs at 24, and begin to decline significantly at age 27/28. Teams will want to start these guys early. OTOH, quarterbacks peak at 28 and remain pretty good for at least another 3-5 years. Offensive line similar.

          I understand these curves to be descriptive, so if NFL does things differently like lower the age requirement or get more involved in development, these things could change. But there is not a lot of time for development, what there is would require taking on college, and would still probably result in a wide divergence based upon position, more so than other sports because football positions are more specialized.

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        • I think the tackling and line issues are primarily attributed to what Richard brings up. I think the complaining about QB play and the like are more in line with my issues. The former can probably be more objectively measured while the latter is much more of a subjective issue.

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    • What’s interesting about the NFL is that everyone thinks that scoring is up because of offensive firepower. However, the number of TDs per game went from 2.5 in 1984 to a whopping 2.56 in 2015. However, FGs made went from 1.26 to 1.63 in that same time period. It’s kickers that have gotten better.

      Also, I would note that the Pats have demonstrated that it’s not Brady. Cassel was 10-5 for that team (his first win was credited to Brady) and 25-40 the rest of the way. Jimmy G looked like a Pro Bowler in his start and will likely wash out when he signs with another team. Belichick is an amazing tactician.

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        • Place kicking is an interesting cultural phenomenon. It is a skill that can very definitely be taught, and which can be practiced without a full team. It also is a desirable position in that it comes with less risk of injury, or even simply wear and tear, than other positions. Put these together and you have youth kicking camps which only the relatively affluent–upper middle class or higher–can afford. I suspect that these guys don’t have a lot to talk about with their teammates, but it does result in that sweet, sweet 30% increase since 1984.

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    • I’d argue that this is an obviously un-Constitutional violation of Separation Of Powers, in that it’s one branch of government (Legislative) directing the actions of another (Executive) without the consent of the first branch.

      Like, should the President be able to write bills and sign them into law without their first having them go through Congress?

      And it appears that the Constitutionality of this activity (at least at the Idaho state level) has yet to be determined.

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      • Is it though? Couldn’t you view it as, “Legislature passes a bill, executive writes the regulations, legislature looks at the specifics and says, “No, that’s not what we meant, you are exceeding the power we assigned you.”

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        • Isn’t “review of other branch’s activities” supposed to be a judicial branch power?

          And if the legislative branch is going to have veto power over regulations, then what’s the use of an independent executive? It’s effectively an auxiliary body of the legislature at that point.

          I agree that the legislature should be more specific and direct in how the laws it passes are to be enforced, rather than leaving it to regulatory-body rulemaking, but that doesn’t mean the legislature should be driving the executive branch.

          I mean, if they want a law enforced in a particular manner, then why not pass a law saying exactly that?

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          • I agree that the courts are properly the correct venue, but (and I don’t know this to be true in Idaho specifically), the courts don’t seem terribly interested in actually being that venue, since they tend to defer to the executive more often than not, if someone manages to achieve sufficient standing to bring an action in the first place.

            Although, ideally, if the legislature is so concerned, why aren’t they making their voice heard quite firmly during the public comment period? I assume that there is no rule preventing legislative members from making themselves heard during such periods, correct?

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            • “I assume that there is no rule preventing legislative members from making themselves heard during such periods, correct?”

              There’s also no rule requiring that the regulatory body pay any attention to them, or to any public comments at all. Public comment is advisory, not directing.

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              • That’s not accurate. If I remember correctly agencies have to respond to most public comments.*

                *To lazy to look up the standard, but I would bet it has something to do with being material to the issues dealt with by the rule.

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        • The proper remedy there is the Courts. Or writing a more narrowly tailored law to override it. In the end, it’s no different than them passing a law and not liking the result of the law — the fact that it went through a rule-making process to codify it doesn’t really change the flow.

          (Not to mention that, pragmatically, regulationsoften require subject-matter expertise to write and assess, which is why Leg’s don’t write them in the first place and why they often have lengthy comment periods.

          I might think the EPA’s regulations on disposal of a certain chemical to be overly cautious and expensive, but at least I can trust the folks that wrote the rule would recognize the chemical if they had their head shoved into it.

          Bluntly speaking, I’m pretty sure some members of the Texas Legislature wouldn’t see the problem with pouring leftover cement mix down a storm drain for disposal….)

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      • The Idaho S.Ct. ruled 3-2 that lawmakers have the authority to veto executive-branch proposals. The article is about an amendment proposed to make that clear in case the Court composition changes. As I understand the state court’s ruling, the law was upheld because the legislature had delegated its own lawmaking powers to the executive and therefore it was permissible to condition the delegation.

        My preferred solution would be judicial enforcement of the nondelegation doctrine.

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        • So, if I’m reading that right, you’d prefer judges kick a bill to the curb if the legislature was being overly vague & obtuse (thus leaving it to the executive branch to craft the bulk of the law*)?

          Given how the courts like to restrict standing to challenge regulations, how would the courts get involved in a timely manner? Nowadays, the bill is passed, the regs are crafted, and after all is said and done, if someone can show that a regulation has caused them harm in a fashion the courts find excessive, then they hear the case. Since the law is all done and the infrastructure to enforce it is in place, possibly for years, courts have shown a reluctance to upend things once they are firmly in place.

          *I can’t decide if this is done out of laziness, or political maneuvering (so the party controlling the legislature can place all the blame on the other party that controls the executive).

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          • I believe the legislature should express an intelligible principle sufficient to guide and control agency rulemaking. If the legislature cannot do that, then it needs to study the issue more, including if it wishes direct the agency to issue a report. I think there are a few issues with legislative delegation: It is undemocratic, agencies pursue their own agendas, and the regulatory state conflates expertise with legitimate public policy issues. I think requiring the legislature to make the nature of the delegation as clear as possible will ameliorate these issues. Particularly since violating many regulations is a criminal offense.

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              • It’s not just “like being vague”. At least when it comes to regulation, they can’t really get specific.

                Take something simple like, say, disposal of chemicals. Congress lacks the expertise, the time to keep up with it (new chemicals pop up all the time), the research staff and manpower to determine what’s best…..

                Just disposal of chemicals — one tiny element of what the EPA does — would basically keep Congress busy for years.

                Which is why, you know, the Executive branch exists and Leg’s occasionally create new agencies to handle this sort of thing.

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                • Take something simple like, say, disposal of chemicals.

                  For something like that, it shouldn’t really be an issue because the legislature could say something along the lines of “disposal of chemicals in accordance with accepted best practices to ensure public safety”. I mean, technical problems have technical answers.

                  It’s stuff like, to take an example from the article, the state police deciding the definition of a bar is a place that sells at least 20 drinks a week. That strikes me as something the legislature should have offered better guidance on (i.e. what defines a bar).

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                  • Yes, but what are those “best practices”? Someone has to codify them, has to be the final authority so that a company can determine if they’re in compliance or not.

                    And you can’t just turn to a chemical engineer’s professional group or something — turning over laws to a private concern raises all sorts of red flags, for obvious reasons.

                    I do agree the police shouldn’t be in charge of defining what is and isn’t a bar, but can you imagine a Legislature trying to deal with something like the Clean Air and Water Act? Do you have any idea how much diverse crap we were dumping into the air and ground, willy-nilly?

                    You can pass a law limiting the hours of a bar and define what a ‘bar’ is legislatively, but try determining what can and can’t be dumped into the air or water, that’s a different story.

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                    • “You can pass a law limiting the hours of a bar and define what a ‘bar’ is legislatively, but try determining what can and can’t be dumped into the air or water, that’s a different story.”

                      Why?

                      And do please try to come up with an answer that is not a restatement of “because Congress is a bunch of dumbasses”.

                      Because what you’re saying, there, is that we should not expect our elected officials to know things. That we should not expect them to be able to be educated and come to a useful decision. That we should not expect the people who govern us to be smart.

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                    • turning over laws to a private concern raises all sorts of red flags, for obvious reasons.

                      And yet this is one of the primary functions of lobbyists, to inform & influence legislation and regulation.

                      To the specific example, if the only party who had a voice with the EPA regarding the disposal of hazardous chemicals was Joe’s Cheap & Easy Chemical Disposal Services, we’d have cause for concern. But the reality is that the technical concerns will be addressed by a variety of professional, industrial, and activist lobbyists. Hopefully the people at the EPA listen to them all and try to find a workable compromise.

                      So while I don’t expect legislators to understand technical details, I do expect them to be as informed as possible, considering there is a veritable army of interested parties eager to educate them over an expensive dinner. From what I hear, those lobbyists are even happy to hand legislators pre-written bills they can use as a template, or as-is.

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                  • “disposal of chemicals in accordance with accepted best practices to ensure public safety”

                    There’s millions of dollars spent daily by interested parties piling up arguments before courts (both the judicial branch and the public opinion varieties ) about what “accepted best practices” are, and what “endangers public safety”.

                    See anthropogenic climate change, or the West Fertilizer Plant explosion, or Flint

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              • We have enough lawyers here that one of them should know, but I believe the SCOTUS has tossed statutes or parts of statutes because the limits on the authority delegated to the executive branch were too vague. There are certainly plenty of cases argued on the theory that some agency action has overstepped the authority granted by Congress.

                Got no idea about the individual states.

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                • I know they have, and they did so rather recently, I believe. But I was pretty damn shocked such a case found it’s way through the courts to begin with.

                  ETA: I’m curious if Francis is going to pop up and school us all on these issues.

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                  • Most of the major grants of regulatory authority specify processes the agency must follow — announcements that they’re going to make a rule, publish preliminary versions, take public comment and respond to them, etc. For most of the agencies, recourse to the courts is specifically spelled out. It’s a or question, but I don’t think standing is hard.

                    Keep in mind that at least at the federal level, executive rule-making authority is a grant of legislative power from Congress, and can be taken back by Congress. States, especially those that load all kinds of odd things into their constitutions, could be different.

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              • The nondelegation doctrine’s “intelligible principle” requirement has been around since the 1930s, but I think the consensus is that the courts have backed away from applying it. I merely suggesting returning to a previous perceived status quo. Alternatively, Congress may have gotten better at complying with it, though this is probably not true of state legislatures, particularly those that do not have strong judicial enforcement of the “intelligible principle” requirement.

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      • I see your point, but it seems to me that the creation of regulations by the executive branch is on shaky constitutional ground as it is, at least at the federal level (my knowledge of Idahoan constitutional law is a bit rusty). The theory is that bureaucratic regulations are just the executive branch deciding how to implement law passed by the legislature, but it often seems to go beyond what can plausibly be justified on those grounds.

        The actual principle that we’re trying to enforce is that new law has to be approved by both the legislative and executive branches (and ultimately judicial). Giving the legislative branch veto power over bureaucratic regulations is consistent with that principle.

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        • Illinois has a legislative committee that is empowered to veto regulations. It became a central issue in the Governor Blagojevich impeachment, as one of the grounds was that he instructed his agency to ignore the veto. He had created an unfunded insurance program through rulemaking after the legislature had failed to pass it. He argued the committee was unconstitutional, but impeachment hearings are not judicial proceedings.

          Most of the time what happens is an agency promulgates rules and the committee suggests modest changes that are readily agreed to or points out legal restraints that may have been overlooked as outside the agency’s area of specialization. The committee (really its full-time staff) portrays itself as administrative rule experts. The state court has repeatedly refused to address whether the legislative role is constitutional, which seems to have created the framework for agency and committee to avoid controversy.

          I don’t have strong feelings on this, but several states have some form of legislative veto in their constitutions. I don’t like that Illinois’ veto is in the hands of a committee instead of a body of the whole. Overall, though it probably improves rulemaking quality and it might be more needed at the state level where there is usually scant attention paid to state agencies by anyone.

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  5. Chastity is probably tied to stuff like paternity.

    Much like everything else tied to the pill, it follows from the divorce of sex from procreation.If you don’t want kids, why would chastity be important? I mean, excepting stuff like some kinds of social diseases but there are a lot of ways to avoid transmission of one of those so we can take that off the table without discussing it further.

    If the main thing that you are looking for is an emotional connection, why would it matter if the person with whom you share an emotional connection goes off and takes the car through somebody else’s car wash from time to time?

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    • I’m not sure what “chastity” means in this case.

      Is it “a history of sexual abstinence prior to the marriage”?
      Or is it “a practice of sexual monogamy during the marriage”?

      Certainly if respondents were using the former definition, it’s unsurprising the expectation has declined.

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  6. RE: “Reframe The Terminology”

    uhhhh that’s not really what happened there. When you read the article, it’s more like “when you drop people into a situation and tell them to solve it, women do worse than men. When you also tell them how to solve it, women do better.”

    It is like saying “find the average of these three numbers” versus “here are three numbers, find the average by adding them together and dividing by 3”.

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        • Columbus would never have discovered America if he’d been using a map. “Fifteen thousand miles to India? In those little boats? You’re out of your mind.” But instead he used the time-tested male strategy of “Trust me, it’s over this way.” and the rest is history.

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          • Even if they had had a map, and frankly, I think they did (it just excluded a whole big section of the earth) those maps were pretty useless.

            And I think Columbus’s strategy was “I promise you a shed load of gold when I get to spice islands and open up trade routes”.

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            • Columbus is one of my pet peeves:

              Every cultured person in XV Century Europe (all ten of them) knew the approximate size of the Earth (known since the Hellenistic period), or the distance between Europe and China via the Silk Road. They all knew it was impossible to get to China navigating westwards because the vessels didn’t have enough autonomy. They could not carry enough foodstuff and water to sustain the crew in order to cross 2/3 of the planet in one go.

              They were right.

              Columbus, who had been in Iceland, had heard about Vinland, and how close it was west of Iceland. Hence he concluded that the calculation of the size of the Earth was wrong.

              He was wrong about the size of the Earth. Fortunately for him, his crew, and the Crown of Castille, he was right about Vinland.

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    • I’m not sure about that.

      With respect to the spatial orientation one, it read to me like there were two formulations:

      “As seen from the road sign, where are the other objects in the picture?”
      “As seen by the person standing next to the road sign, where are the objects in the picture?”

      That as small a difference as that eliminated the gender difference is surprising to me. It suggests to me that maybe the difference was only ever very small to begin with, right on the edge of significance (?)

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    • More likely, what actually happened is that a bunch of social psychologists ran a bunch of small studies like this, and one of them happened by chance to meet the 5% threshold of statistical significance.

      Note that these studies usually don’t (or never?) test the same group twice. They have a control group and an intervention group. By chance, sometimes the intervention group has a smaller racial/sexual/whatever gap in whatever skill they’re testing. Often it goes the other way, but those studies are less likely to get published.

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