Why tell Cogtales?

But Christina, there are so many blogs out there about Cognitive Science, women in science, being a scientist, doing good science! Why do you think we need yet another one?
Well, I agree, there are many great blogs out there that address almost everything I care about. But as Sho writes, very few do so from the eyes of a “early career researcher” who happens to be a woman interested in brains, babies, and so much more.

I hope the voices that we collect here add to the mix and show new viewpoints on frequently discussed topics. For example, as an interdisciplinary researcher, I wander across topics and communities, experience vastly different lab and conference environments, have to deal with different expectations and conventions. Add to that the woman scientist bit, and it’s a mix that — while not unheard of — is not that well represented when talking about science and being a scientist.

At the same time, I am human. I like things, I wear skirts and nailpolish, I have fun, and sometimes I get stressed and annoyed. All this is part of my scientist life. Actually, we tend to deny that we are human and have any emotions, both as the supposedly impartial scientist, and even more so as a woman who might be stamped hormonal and incapable of doing her job. But feelings are often what drives science forward; curiosity, a gut feeling that something will work, passion, all these are not necessarily rational. In fact, academia in general has so many irrational aspects.
We don’t talk about how it feels being a (female) scientist enough, instead I often read “this can cause anxiety” or “she is passionate about this”. Being told for journal articles to “show, don’t tell”, I wonder what anxiety is. So we should talk about the sleepless nights, the jolt with every new email, the strategies to deal and overcome, or even that feeling horrible at times is normal and might be perfectly justified.

Isn’t blogging a waste of time?
I don’t think so! First, it’s good to have a writing habit. Second, it’s an important part of science to talk about what you do, not only to your favorite colleague, but ideally to a bigger audience. Third, this blog lets me speak in a different voice than papers do. Here I can share thoughts and feelings I might not otherwise be able to even voice. I’m looking forward to this adventure and hope many of you hop on for the ride.


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