Pleased to tweet you

Psychologist editor @jonmsutton fired questions at psychology’s Twitterati

@jonmsutton – what do you get out of tweeting, personally and professionally?

tomstafford – Twitter is ‘like having a little part of you that's always down the pub’ (that’s not all good!)
Green_Minds – Twitter was described to me as ‘social proprioception’. A mental work environment full of ppl’s interesting ideas
– a sense of oneness and community; a good feeling of having done something good by sharing what you know/have found
jankoch – virtual friendships, empathy (if you follow the right tweeples), news, good laughs.
socialemotions – Tweets: like the free discussion you get after a meeting in which an offhand remark sparks the meeting you actually wanted to have.
a6ruled – sadly only a small sense that I’m doing something a bit like a sort of thing I vaguely think I should be doing.
sophiescott – it’s a very useful way of having discussion abt papers, like a highly distributed journal club.
RichardWiseman – professionally; spreading word about my blog, books, and research. Personally; finding out my friends are meeting up without me.
@jonmsutton – Describe your favourite study
chriscfrench – Gorillas in our midst. Makes us realise our intuitions about cognition are often v wrong! Just tested our builder on the clip: his reaction was a joy to behold!
vaughanbell – Dutton & Aron 74 Men on a shaky bridge tell hot women sexier stories due to misinterpreting anxiety
as sexual arousal.
TheSocialBrain – The lucky underwear study. Superstitious charms + rituals actually do improve performance:
UoWPsych – Favourite study: Small children are able to non-consciously process complex algorithms that stump top mathematicians
a6ruled – Pedersen, Keithly, Brady, 1986. Women in public loos wash their hands if someone else is there. If alone, they don’t.
sandygautam – Simons change blindness experiment where the person seeking direction changes but is unnoticed
science_fairy – Asch conformity studies showing the lengths (no pun intended! :) ) people will go to to fit in
OhMyPsy – Cross (1977): 94% of uni instructors sampled thought they were above average on teaching ability ‘better than average effect’
RichardWiseman – Galton’s study showing that prayer doesn’t increase the lifespan
of those doing the praying or those prayed for
– levels of processing, craik and lockheart, for showing how the ways we engage with info affect memory and recall.
j0ns1m0ns – Burgess’s studies taking ppl shopping in London & recording behav in great detail. Many insights into multitasking

@jonmsutton – @sapinker says ‘Far from making us stupid, these technologies are the only things that will keep us smart’ – agree?
chriscfrench – At the group level @sapinker is right. At the individual level, you could argue it either way.
@jonmsutton – What’s your manifesto for the future of psychology?

vaughanbell – Greater diversity in ourselves, our thinking and our study participants
a6ruled – bit above my paygrade this one. something like making a vibrant & useful future with & distinct from neuroscience?
j0ns1m0ns – Need to boost status of cognitive theorising if psych is to remain at forefront.
OhMyPsy – Bolster wider relevance by better marrying academic & practical issues e.g. Evidence based policy/law derived frm psy research
– Study topics that are relevant to people -have a section in all psych papers ‘Why does this matter in the real world?’
cfernyhough – Put the brain in its proper place and stop neglecting the old-fashioned study of mind and experience.
sandygautam – more balanced with emphasis on positive/neurodiverse stuff; venture into consciousness and other unexplored fields
– more and better dissemination to public – psychology is not mind-reading and psychologists are not all Freud.
UoWPsych – Break down barriers between different fields of psychology: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts

@jonmsutton – Is there a place every psychologist should visit? Why?

PsychologyMarc – A secondary school: Life in all its unique splendor
tomstafford – the past, to get a sense of the huge variety of human experience and psychology possible
UoWPsych – The Old Bailey during a major trial – every aspect of the human mind and behaviour challenged and/or exposed.
PsychologyMarc – an alternative reality where psychology is seen by the public as relevant and scientific
@jonmsutton – what would your psychological superpower be?
sophiescott – I think psychologists already have superpowers. However I would like to be able to calm people down.
OhMyPsy – statistical power!
vaughanbell – My superpower would the ability to speak and understand all languages.
alexfradera – Amplified emotional contagion: when I laugh, everybody laughs. I laugh a lot.
RichardWiseman – the ability to convince referees that there are no problems with a paper that I have submitted for publication.
tomstafford – I’ve already got psychological superpowers: I can detect others’ thoughts from vibrations they make in air!
sandygautam – being able to muster positive emotions like happiness on demand: every time, any time.
KPUNews – That’s easy – mind-reading. Either that or identifying the quickest queue at the supermarket
PsychologyMarc – the ability to engage students for more than 10 minutes (on a good day)
cfernyhough – Superpower: being able to experience the world through the eyes of a child
jsnsndr – If I could speak to animals (& other non-communicatives) there are also some things I’d like to say to mosquitoes and newborns.

@jonmsutton – How might technology change psychological research and practice in years to come?

a6ruled – i guess the obvious
is really easy portable brain function imaging / measuring in any situation
tomstafford – Rise of personal experimentation and self-monitoring e.g.
sophiescott – hopefully fMRI sequences will be silent. The loud sound hurts auditory studies + prob also other psych fMRI studies
vaughanbell – Tech will hopefully make research evidence more widely available. This
is a massive problem in the developing world.

@jonmsutton – What’s your advice for non-Twitter users in psychology?
KPUNews – Twitter eats time. Use it wisely, my child.
DrPetra – get involved! Great place for activism, education and networking
vaughanbell – Tech will hopefully make research evidence more widely available. This is a massive problem in the developing world
sandygautam – get a life. get a twitter account or be doomed to oblivion

@jonmsutton: Who would you like to see on Twitter and why?

cfernyhough – I would love to see Jerry Fodor on Twitter. I think he would be devastating.
RichardWiseman – Stanley Milgram because it would suggest he is still alive.
sophiescott – Celia Heyes. Funny + sharp, and has a brain the size of a planet. She would express herself well in 140 characters 

Have you considered using Twitter as a research tool?

tomstafford – Is using it to keep up with research news and colleagues not enough?!
– Twitter as a research tool? Yes, struggling with Twitter API at the moment.
– Research tool for writing, but not science.
Green_Minds – Twitter as research tool: tempting, but hard to explain sample characteristics to journals. Many still dubious about SurveyMonkey.
KPUNews – Yes @RichardWiseman and I ran twitter mass remote viewing study last summer; now under review for jrnl publication
RichardWiseman – terrible idea, it will never work!

A beginner’s guide
If you are left confused by these pages, perhaps you haven’t yet ventured on to Twitter. It’s a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s ‘followers’. All users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, external applications, or Short Message Service (SMS). Indeed, it is sometimes described as ‘SMS of the Internet’.

Evan Williams, creator of Twitter, says:?‘What we have to do is deliver to people the best and freshest most relevant information possible. It’s not a social network. It's an information network. It tells people what they care about as it is happening in the world.’ Others can see tweets as ‘shouts into the darkness hoping someone is listening’!

Why not give it a go and make up your own mind? It takes minutes to get started via, and the service is free. See for a guide.

You can add any of the Twitter identities in this piece to (for example to see their feed. Also, try out some key Society feeds:
@researchdigest – News and links from the Editor of the Society’s Research Digest
@bpsjournals – The latest news from the Society’s journals
@jonmsutton – Managing Editor of The Psychologist
@bpsconference – Conference updates from the Society
@dcpinfo – Division of Clinical Psychology
@occpsychuk – Division of Occ­upational Psychology
@divhealthpsych – Division of Health Psychology
@dcpconference – Division of Clinical Psychology annual conference
@bpsstudents – Student Members Group
@psypag – Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group

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