Off To NYC For Research In The Name Of Kissing

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | July 3, 2009 12:23 pm

The results from the preliminary kissing survey posted here a few weeks back have been incorporated into the design of next week’s cognitive neuroscience experiment in NYC. Follow the research live on Twitter @Sheril_.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Announcements, Culture, Education

Comments (11)

  1. Matthew

    I’m absolutely intrigued. So interesting to feel like I can participate in research. I’m looking forward to following next week!

  2. Arj

    I haven’t followed it closely enough to know all the details, but I know there’s been some controversy lately over whether fMRI really measures/records what it purports to (and probably some controversy over its statistical analysis as well) — Do any of these concerns bear on the validity/reliability of the data you’ll be producing, or do you feel your use of it is straightforward enough to avoid problems in interpretation?

  3. Arj,
    Good question. We’re working with multiple tools to interpret the data, so I’m confident we’re covering enough bases to avoid problems. There will be more detail about methods as our experiment gets going.


    Are you actually doing any research or are you just doing for your own amusement?

  5. John Kwok

    Do you need a photographer? Sounds fascinating.

  6. Quasar,
    Real research. Great university. Excellent collaborators. Should be a fun and interesting week.


    What’s an FMRI and an MEG? đŸ˜•


    No, wait! I found out!

  9. Christina Viering

    Don’t forget the pies!

  10. Mirror

    Twitter @TheKissingBook.: “Getting attached to a brain reading machine. Sharpie marker on my head. Wondering how Igot from marine biology to kissing experimentation.”

    The question is not how but why, why move from real science to pseudoscience? The kind of “research” you are trying to do may be fun but it’s interpretation is just pure speculation.

    Do you really expect to uncover any *solid* facts about kissing in the process? Or does it only have to be good enough to sell to general public?


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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry. Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at


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