Archive for June 8th, 2009

American Institute of Biological Sciences Talk on Unscientific America

By Chris Mooney | June 8, 2009 12:12 pm

I was psyched to be invited to give a speech last month about Unscientific America by one of my favorite scientific societies–AIBS–and so even though the book wasn’t actually out yet, I couldn’t say no.

I think the talk itself went very well–it was a plenary session so the audience numbered well over 100, perhaps as high as 200–and the video recording of it, including my slides, is of very high quality. So if anyone wants to watch the presentation, almost exactly 30 minutes long (I have come to believe that no lecture should ever be any longer), please click here.

I wish I could embed the video but that does not appear to be possible. Still, you can get it either as a video or as a downloadable MP3.

I am not giving any more lectures until the book tour begins next month, with a stop in La Jolla, CA on July 16. We will have more info on the tour very soon….

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Unscientific America

The Kissing Experiment

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 8, 2009 9:05 am

Update: Thanks to all who have participated in the kissing survey. The polls are now closed, but my associated cognitive neuroscience experiment begins next week. You can follow the research live on Twitter @Sheril_.

My next book deals with a subject I’ve written extensively about on and off the blog. I even helped to facilitate a popular symposium at last years AAAS meeting on topic…

The Science of Kissing will be an interdisciplinary look at why and how we kiss, drawing on neuroscience, classical history, evolutionary biology, anthropology, and popular culture. Without giving away too much detail, I’ll say that it’s been extremely interesting to compose so far and more fascinating than I ever imagined.  And then I got to thinking…

Why merely report on the science when there are obvious next steps in research? So I did what anyone in my position would. I called up a neuroscientist. The wonderful Dr. David Poeppel has kindly agreed to help me conduct a a cognitive neuroscience experiment next month and now I need you to help us plan the methodology.  Results will be featured in the book!

Here’s what to do: Below the fold you’ll see a 15 photos (labeled A-O) of couples kissing. We need you to help us categorize them into three groups:

1) erotic – passionate/sexually-charged kiss
2) friendship – kiss between friends
3) relationship – affectionate kiss implying commitment

I’m turning off comments on this post so responses won’t be biased.

To participate, email me ( with the list of letters (A-O) and corresponding rank (1, 2, or 3) based on how you perceive each image.

Names and contact information will not be shared or published.  Thanks to all for participating and please do encourage friends to take our survey as well!

(photos removed when survey ended)

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Media and Science, Personal

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