Saturday, January 29, 2011

Some Possible Effects in Psychology

Sometimes psychological concepts emerge from the primal ooze that constitutes popular culture or lore: consider the well-documented Coolidge effect, the Duke of Marlborough effect, or the Mickey Gilley effect. My point is that we should be aware that sometimes major truths can be found, like love, in all the wrong places.

Novelist and scenario writer Anita Loos wrote two books in the 1920’s that positively beg serious study in research: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Gentlemen Marry Brunettes. Can we talk nowadays about an Anita Loos effect?   Frankly, the 1950’s movie loaded the dice, using Marilyn Monroe as the blonde. We need some research before we presume to do so. Seriously, hard science is empirical!

Some of you oldies might remember Dr. Eric Berne’s pop psychology book, The Games People Play. Joe South put these games succinctly in this song, and you don‘t have to read the book:
But let’s look at a few other possibilities:

Is it true that big girls don’t cry? The Four Seasons implied that to be the case.

If there is, why not call it the Four Seasons effect: is there a relationship between Neuroticism or attendant lacrimal behavior in females and height? Now that should call for a straightforward correlational study: “Feminine height and emotionality.” I’d use a simple correlation between the Neuroticism scale on the Five-Factor Inventory or the Big 5 Inventory and measured height using a sample of appropriately-aged volunteers. That’s a slam-dunk for a SEPA paper -- convenient data, easily done stats!

And Jimmy Soul once hypothesized a prescription for happiness, ably stated in a song by Pokemon masters Ash, Misti, Dawn, and May:

Naturally, any test of it should be reported in an article entitled something like “Spousal Attractiveness and Subjective Well Being”; and we may have -- presto! -- a Jimmy Soul effect!

Of course, dysfunctional families are always in style for research. Ska singer Peter Tosh suggested this topic originally in “Shame and Scandal in the Family.”: But let‘s report it as “Parental uncertainty as a mediator of diminished self-esteem” and launch the Tosh effect.

The Inner Circle suggested an interesting research topic: “Prearrest Disorientation and Confusion in Minor Offenders” in their song “Bad Boys“:

Okay: a Bad Boy Disorientation Syndrome or maybe an Inner Circle effect.

How about research into stereotypes? This little song provides some possible examples of stereotypes in cheerleading (lyrics helpfully provided in “I‘m Sexy, I‘m Cute“):

Naturally, the research should be entitled something like “Negative Stereotypes of Officially Designated Performance Encouragement Personnel;” and out of it should emerge the Cheerleader Stereotype.

.Anyway, you get the idea.

Finally, Jimmy Buffet suggested exploring this topic: “Factors Mediating Nostalgia for Gulf Coast Dives.” I think of The Florabama Lounge, near Gulf Shores -- happy times for generations of Alabamians who will exhibit the Buffet effect some day.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In Which I Inadvertently Praise an Alabama Town

Years ago, while traveling in Baldwin County, I asked for directions.

I asked a clerk in a convenience store "Which way is it to Faire Minette."

She said, "It's thataway.  And she ain't that purty."

I'm glad she didn't know French.

[Faire minette is French slang for cunnilingus.]