Prof. Stephen Ceci, human development, and Prof. Kelly Zamudio, ecology and evolutionary biology.

2 Cornell Professors Selected Into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced its 214 new members on April 17, an honor distinguishing leaders across disciplines. Members on the list include former First Lady Michelle Obama and author Jonathan Franzen, as well as two Cornellians — Prof. Stephen Ceci, human development, and Prof. Kelly Zamudio, ecology and evolutionary biology.

A female (left) and male (right) zebra finch. When young males are
learning to sing, adjusting their vocalizations in response to the behaviors of females
allows them to develop a better song.

Sounds of Spring: The Science Behind Birdsong

“By putting development into social context, we’re gaining a better understanding of the biological and social mechanisms that drive developmental change in communication systems, and because we’re doing it in multiple species, that gives us insight into how development itself has evolved — both the evolution of communication as well as the development of communication,” Goldstein said.

SUPER-BOWL-Michelle-Gustafson-_-The-New-York-Times

What Kicks Off at Kickoff? The Science and Risks of Being a Superfan

It is no surprise that playing football can be dangerous; however, studies show that merely being a fan of football can also pose some serious risks. While many hail Super Bowl Sunday as a national holiday, evidence suggests that it is one of the unhealthiest days of the year. Football, one of the most followed sports in America, has some pretty serious fans — the Facebook presence of the NFL alone has over 17.2 million followers. Just last year, the championship game was broadcasted to over 103 million viewers. But the dramatic fluctuations from the victorious highs to the defeating, anxiety-ridden lows can take a toll on one’s body.

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AHMAD | Who Am I?

Countless times throughout my undergraduate career as a psychology major, I’ve been forced to memorize lists of psychologists’ names and their corresponding theories. These theories are sometimes fascinating and other times mortifying (yes, I’m looking at you, Freud), but they are almost never memorable. Sure, I can generally tell you what Kohlberg’s theory of morality is, or half-heartedly explain what Piaget’s deal was. I’ve never fully understood what was up with Freud, but I could still monotonously recite his psychosexual stages if you really wanted me to. My point is, none of the details of these psychological theories ever stood out to me.

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GOROKH | In Defense of Brian Wansink

Correction appended. They call it p-hacking. Imagine one day inspiration strikes and you set out to prove that sushi can improve academic performance. You assemble the lucky volunteers and month after month make sure the rolls are delivered to their doorsteps. Come winter, all giddy with anticipation, you inquire about the performance of your subjects during the finals.

GOOD TASTE ALONE | A Utilitarian Romance With Mankind

Buzzfeed, or some similar listicle oracle, recently informed me oh-so-helpfully of the top seventeen most romantic places to visit (I assume they meant with a partner and not just by yourself). Which, of course, got me thinking – what makes a place romantic? I guess this is where we have to admit that romantic means something different for everyone. So dozens of people might call Ithaca’s gorges romantic, but to one person that might mean, “Damn, these gorges really make me wanna bang anything that moves,” and to another, “Golly doesn’t this gorge just make me want to stare at the moon and talk about our spirit animals,” and to yet another person, “This would be a postcard-perfect place to begin an attempt to beat the 50% odds of divorce.” And yet, most people can agree that scenic vistas of nature are romantic, similar to cute or expensive restaurants or places that are quiet and private. Then, you have misattribution of arousal – a term used in psychology – which is actually pretty trippy.