Circle of Willis (episode with Sinime Vazire)

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Welcome to Episode 8, where I talk to SIMINE VAZIRE, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis, about the stability of personality, our ability to know ourselves, and some of the nuances within the prescriptive advice of the Open Science Movement. Simine wears a number of different hats. In recent years, she’s been at or near the center of ongoing conversations among scientists about the virtues and challenges of open science. As part of this work, she co-founded the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science (SIPS) and co-hosts a science podcast (with Sanjay Srivastava and Alexa Tullett) called THE BLACK GOAT. Simine is also editor in chief of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science and a senior editor at Collabra. Interestingly, Simine has also been a part of the conversation about the process of criticism in science. As most listeners well know, criticism is unquestionably essential if science is going to be self-correcting (which is of course the whole point!). One question the field has been grappling with is the point at which criticism crosses over into harassment and bullying—a question at the heart of a recent op-ed Simine wrote for Slate. I have my own thoughts on this question, which I’ll save for another time, but one of the reasons I was so keen to ask Simine to be on Circle of Willis is that I find her approach to grappling with such questions to be equal parts humble, charitable, and firm. She isn’t likely to allow a legitimate criticism to be brushed aside in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, but neither is she going to participate in (or for that matter tolerate) bullying. I think that in our age of shoot-from-the-hip outrage, that can be a hard path to find, let alone walk, and I genuinely admire her efforts. There are many other things I love about Simine, but as you’ll hear in this episode, at or near the top of the list of her agreeable traits is that she’ll be the first to tell any of you that sometimes she’s wrong. We try to be right while tolerating (and admitting to) our mistakes. Oh, and — seriously — keep a notepad handy for this episode. Simine is unusually quotable!

Link to resource:

Type of resources: Student Guide, Teaching/Learning Strategy, Podcast

Education level(s): College / Upper Division (Undergraduates)

Primary user(s): Student, Teacher

Subject area(s): Applied Science, Social Science

Language(s): English