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In Case You Missed it April 7, 2017

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Each week, we recap featured posts from Character & Context and other blogs around the cyberspace, plus a few news stories and tweets that might be worth a look. If you have an item you'd like us to consider, use the hashtag #SPSPblog or tweet us directly @spspnews.

The Secret to Easy Theory

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By Kurt Gray

We all know Kurt Lewin’s aphorism “there is nothing so practical as a good theory.” Unfortunately there is a divide between knowing theory’s importance and knowing exactly how to do it.  How should one represent the structure of science—the nomological net of ideas? This post explores a new and simple way to depict theory: theory mapping.

Embrace the Data

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By Alex Danvers

What words can classify a movie review as positive? What words classify it as negative?

In the symposium Big Data: Vast Opportunities for Psychological Insight from Mining Enormous Datasets at the SPSP Annual Convention, Harvard economist Sendil Mullainathan threw up some obvious candidates, like “dazzling” or “gripping”—words that researchers brainstormed would do a good job. Using these “theory-grounded” words, a team of computer scientists was able to classify reviews with 60% accuracy—not much of an improvement over 50/50 guessing.

Inconceivable!

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By Dave Nussbaum