The Straightforward Academic (or: Your advisor also poops)

This entry is part of a summer series over at the wonderful My Scholarly Goop, featuring true tales of early career researchers’ scholarly paths. Read my contribution here, and head over to the series to get a new essay each Friday, the whole summer long.

Not pursuing a PhD was, frankly, never part of my thought process. My parents are both researchers (albeit, in Biophysics and Physical Chemistry), and I grew up spending Sunday afternoons in the lab proudly reproducing the Briggs-Rauscher reaction in my own little lab coat while my parents were working. I’m a bit like the medical doctor who became a doctor because her parents are also MDs. You could say I tried to be a bit different and decided to become an opthamologist instead of a dermatologist, but that’s really about how crazy I went. Continue reading The Straightforward Academic (or: Your advisor also poops)

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Seven pieces of advice if you are considering to leave academia

The contents of this posts are inspired by a panel on exploring job options outside of academia at the Department of Psychology at Penn.Thanks to the four cognitive scientists turned data scientists and consultants Ting Qian, Jurgis Karuza, Christine Boylan, and Neil Bardhan, for their input.

In our last post, we interviewed two cognitive scientists who have decided to leave academia for jobs as science communication consultants and data scientists. Complementary to that post, we have assembled an advice shortlist in case you are contemplating to leave academia. Continue reading Seven pieces of advice if you are considering to leave academia

How to survive outside of academia: Interview with a data scientist and a science consulting coach

Most of us that are currently grad students or postdocs have experienced colleagues leaving academia for industry jobs. Even though I am currently a happy scholar, I can very well understand those who venture into industry – be it for making impact on a shorter time-scale and in a more direct manner, for more job security and more regular working hours, or simply for higher pay and the possibility to plan a family and get some savings. And indeed, the fluidity between academia and industry has arguably never been that strong. I find it very important for us young cognitive scientists to know that academia is not a one-way street, and the world outside there is welcoming us warmly, should we choose to enter it.

Meet Christine Boylan and Neil Bardhan, who have both recently left the academia cosmos to pursue two very distinct career paths.

Continue reading How to survive outside of academia: Interview with a data scientist and a science consulting coach

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing

Naomi Havron is currently a postdoc at the LSCP in Paris, France. She is investigating syntactic adaptation and syntactic category learning in children and infants.

I spent four years writing my thesis, four years of ups and downs, p values smaller than .05, but also some t values smaller than .05. At times, I felt confident and optimistic, at times less so – this was somewhat correlated with the p values, but not significantly so.

Then it came time to start gathering everything I did into an article thesis. In the Hebrew University, at least in my year, not all of these articles had to be published articles, and you could also include manuscripts you did not plan to submit for publication. I thought I would write up everything, even my null results, because whoever reads my dissertation (well, at least all those 1st year PhD students and my grandfather) could probably learn just as much from my failed attempts than from my success stories. Continue reading The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing

How to run a meta-analysis? A video tutorial

Christina, Page and I like meta-analyses. We are convinced they are a great tool to leverage past research in order to move forward: To gain an overview of the state of a field, to get an idea of research practices, to plan new experiments, and even to get novel theoretical insights.

Continue reading How to run a meta-analysis? A video tutorial

Find a significant effect in any study

Stephen Politzer-Ahles is Assistant Professor at the Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He is committed to finding solutions to current challenges in the cognitive sciences. For instance, he is developing efficient and transparent strategies to empty out his own file drawer.

p>.05. We’ve all been there. Who among us hasn’t had a student crying in our office over an experiment that failed to show a significant effect? Who among us hasn’t been that student?

Statistical nonsignificance is one of the most serious challenges facing science. When experiments aren’t p<.05, they can’t be published (because the results aren’t real), people can’t graduate, no one can get university funding to party it up at that conference in that scenic location, and in general the whole enterprise falls apart. The amount of taxpayer dollars that have been wasted on p>.05 experiments is frankly astounding. Continue reading Find a significant effect in any study

The art of moving to the US for a postdoc (as a Marie Skłodowska Curie global fellow)

About 2 months ago, the latest round of successfully funded Marie Skłodowska Curie fellows has been announced, and some might soon start to plan their move abroad. My move one year ago was spiked with some unforeseen obstacles. But even without those presumably rather unique incidents, there are quite a few things I wish I’d known before. With that in mind, I’ve put together some helpful information on the administrative side of planning your stay. Since I am on a Global Fellowship to the USA, this post is especially geared towards those in the same situation. I hope that large parts can also be useful for fellows going to other countries and postdocs receiving a different kind of funding, though. So here you go!

Continue reading The art of moving to the US for a postdoc (as a Marie Skłodowska Curie global fellow)

Shouting from the ivory tower: SciComm for beginners

This week, I am tweeting not from my own account, but from the science communication “rocur” (rotating curator) account realsci_DE, the German version of realscientists. This is the latest instance of a few experiences in talking about science and my work as a scientist to a non-expert audience, and I’ve learned a great deal from and about this in the past. So I thought I’d share a few insights that I had along the way (fun fact: there are no natural born communicators, it all needs practice).

First tell me how this helps scientists!

Continue reading Shouting from the ivory tower: SciComm for beginners

We Stand in Solidarity with Scientists Across the Globe

Two weeks ago, I came back to the US after my holiday trip to Germany and France. This moment when you stand in front of the frosty immigration officer who makes you press all your fingers onto the dirty glass of the fingerprinting scanner, takes a webcam photo of your travel-exhausted face, and then scrutinizes your papers. This moment alone always makes me feel like an illegitimate intruder. But of course, it always goes well for me. This last time the immigration officer, still with her poker face on, noticed that my visa would run out in 3 months. Yes, I said hurriedly, I need to reapply. Ever wondered why they make you do this, the officer asked. I looked at her, slightly alarmed. To make a shitload of money out of you, she said, looked up, and smiled a friendly smile. I also smiled, relieved. We both laughed, and that is how I re-entered the United States of America.

Continue reading We Stand in Solidarity with Scientists Across the Globe

How to write effective introductory emails

Kate Von Holzen, post doc at Université Paris Descartes, explains in this guest post how this difficult and at times awkward first email can be written effectively. 

I’ve recently been giving a lot of advice to fellow academics about how to write effective emails. I’m not sure why, but this has fortunately come naturally to me throughout my career. Ineffective emails can lead to a lot of frustration, so I’d like to offer up the strategies that I use when writing emails to academics that I don’t know very well. Continue reading How to write effective introductory emails