Monday, 23 April 2012

Everybody's Favourite Little Team These Days

Is Newcastle United quite possibly, being the team that nobody seems to dislike, everybody's favourite side team now? That is, if you aren't already a Newcastle United fan, you'd find them irresistably hard not to admire?

Everywhere in football world where the BPL is concerned, Newcastle's praises are being sung far and wide, particularly after their smooth 3-0 victory over Stoke City. After that disastrous campaign where they got relegated, nobody expected them to bounce back so quickly, if they were ever expected to bounce back at all. And after a spate of what looked like very bad decisions (offloading Enrique, Carroll, Nolan and Barton), Pardew's shrewdness seriously turned the tide and Newcastle are on course for a top-4 finish and a chance at European championship next season.

Every other "top" team in the BPL now has its demons it is villified for. Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, to some extent Tottenham Hotspur, and certainly the much maligned Liverpool, all have their critics. Newcastle United, on the other hand, appear to be the team that the BPL is proud to have in the top-4. It's an amazing feeling, and possibly one that non-fans might never really know. But we really got stuck in and it's one heck of a fairy tale ride.

It's funny how the fortunes of one football club can emotionally affect thousands of people around the world.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Refuting the Atheist Professor vs the Christian Student

Written almost a year ago, I'm not sure why I hadn't come across this earlier, but I'm glad it's been written.

The story about the atheist professor getting pwned by the Christian student (and maybe that student is frickin' Einstein) has lived on way past its sell-by date, and I'm hoping this article should drive a decisive nail into its coffin.

I really like how the author ends off.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Quite possibly the only scenario where men are more capable than women at multi-tasking.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Doctorate Studies

Today marks a checkpoint in life where I've made a critical decision - to accept the SMU PhD offer.

This has come on the end of months of applications, letter writing, solicitations for referrals, correspondences, and anticipation and disappointment. In the end, quite disappointingly, I was down to two options out of a possible nine - SMU's financially supported PhD programme, or Oakland University's MS programme where funding is not guaranteed.

I must clarify that the disappointment is solely to do with the lack of acceptance letters from elsewhere; I think working with the particular professors I have in mind at SMU will make my doctoral studies at SMU very fruitful. But it will never take away the fact that I was hoping to at least be able to pick one from a few offers.

But anyway this is still a momentous time because I've finally come to a decision and I'll now be able to just look ahead and focus.

I had to regretfully decline the OU offer because my parents can't afford to pay to put me through another few years of incredibly expensive education, and I wouldn't want to burden them anymore anyway even if they were willing. The decision to reject is still regretful because through correspondences with my potential mentor (who is a stalwart in the EP field), it looks like OU will be up and coming; Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins graced events that he organised. I will be missing out on working with them when even meeting them would be a divine honour at this point.

But that's that; it's never worth the time and emotions looking back and rueing missed chances. With a spot in SMU, I've got my ideas set and potential researchers I'd want to work with, and I'm going to publish my ass off.

Looks like I'll be around these parts for a little longer! Stay tuned for more papers.

Sunday, 15 April 2012


I think social sciences research is especially and uniquely interesting for being a lens that peers into the soul of the practitioner like no other type of research can. People who are passionate in researching topics in the social sciences - psychology, politics, sociology, etc - are often that passionate because their research is "me-search"; a substantial part of their work goes towards understanding something about themselves.

Consider the researcher who delves into the psychology of sadness - he has a longing to comprehend how such a profound emotion can have such a grip on his life. The feminist researcher writing sociological papers on female empowerment must somehow feel like her capabilities are undermined by how society regards her biological sex. Then there is the four-time divorced relationship expert, who is so knowledgeable of the dynamics of relationships simply because he is hungry for that ideal relationship he has never been able to attain and can't stop pondering deeply about it. And we may also turn to our friend, the mental health researcher, who is prompted to enter the field because a very close childhood friend of hers suffers from depression.

Many prominent, expert researchers in the social sciences are quite likely good at their specific research interest because within that research interest lies something that will puzzle them for life. That desire to overcome their very own life puzzle can provide the fuel for a life-long obsession with a particular topic or issue.

Essentially, all of such self-directed research, or me-search, stems from a deep-seated need to understand issues that plague the restless researcher so that, from understanding, he can control the problem and ultimately justify either his desires and actions, or his inability to overcome the forces that hold him back.

So, budding social scientists, what personal demon of yours is going to both torment and consume you, and at the same time make you produce great bodies of literature?

Friday, 13 April 2012

Psychology of Attraction Podcast

Dr. Rob Burriss, who runs OracleLab and the Psychology of Attractiveness Podcast (PAP), has featured my paper in the March 2012 PAP.

Taken from his website,

Apr 1, 2012

Why a gameshow host’s chiselled jawline can make his contestants smarter, the exact number of daily portions of fruit and veg that are required to boost beauty, and why counting money makes men choosier.

Download the MP3

New research shows that The Voice's format is right for the wrong reasons: by concealing the contestants from the judges, the judges aren't influenced by appearances, but also, by preventing the contestants from seeing the judges, performances aren't given an unfair boost.

The articles covered in the show:

Whitehead, R. D., Re, D., Xiao, D., Ozakinci, G., & Perrett, D. I. (2012). You are what you eat: within-subject increases in fruit and vegetable consumption confer beneficial skin-color changes. PLoS ONE, 7(3).
Read summary

Yong, J. C., & Li, N. P. (in press). Cash in hand, want better looking mate: Significant resource cues raise men’s mating standards. Personality and Individual Differences.
Read summary

Flowe, H. D., Swords, E., & Rockey, J. C. (in press). Women's behavioural engagement with a masculine male heightens during the fertile window: evidence for the cycle shift hypothesis. Evolution and Human Behavior.
Read summary

Academic Publishing Debut

My first published paper is finally available here:

Yong, J. C. & Li, N. P. (2012) Cash in hand, want better looking mate: Significant resource cues raise men’s mating standards. Personality and Individual Differences, 53, 55-58.

More to come for sure!