APA Interview & Deleted Interview Questions

I recently answered some questions from Skye Cleary, managing editor of the APA blog. Some of the interview questions were really fun. In fact, I ended up going over the word limit. So I had to delete some things. But if you’re interested in the deleted interview questions, then you can find some of them below. The main interview is here: “APA Member Interview: Nick Byrd“.

The Deleted Interview Questions

What time of day are you most productive and creative?

My mind is at its best in the first 6-7 hours of my day. When I’m smart, I use those hours to accomplish the most demanding and important things on my to-do list. But when I’m foolish, I waste that time on mindless and/or unimportant work.

What do you like to do outside work?

Hmm. It varies:

What is your favorite quote?

“You cannot escape philosophy.”

I’m guessing that this has been uttered in one form or another by many people in many contexts. The last time I saw this line was when I read “Neuroscience Needs Behavior: Correcting a Reductionist Bias” in Neuron. Here’s a free copy of the paper.

What is your least favorite type of fruit and why?

Mango. That smell. Yuck. I feel sick just thinking about it.

What would you like your last meal to be?

Whatever makes my body most useful to science.

Crystal Meth & Your Brain: An Infographic

Methamphetamine use is on the rise (Drug Enforcement Administration 2015). And so are crystal-meth-related drug convictions (see “State Sentencing…”). So what do we know about crystal meth? In particular, what does crystal meth do to your body and brain? The South Shore Recovery Center has some answers. In fact, they’ve done us the favor of turning those answers into the infographic below.
Continue reading Crystal Meth & Your Brain: An Infographic

On Grading (Or “How To Get An A”)

I’m a tough grader. But am I unreasonably tough? No. At least that’s the view I’ll arrive at in this post. 🙂 I’ll compare my grading to (a small and biased sample of) others’ grading, mention a few of my own grading experiences, summarize my grading philosophy, and present the basics of how my students can get an A.

1. Groundwork

First, my grade distributions often form bell curves centered in the low B range — sometimes the C range. So unless students’ work is exceptional, students tend to get a B or C. (NB: This is not a justification; it is a description.)

Second, I take myself to have been a pretty serious student. (Flashback: in high school, I used my free periods to write papers …not assigned papers. Just papers that I wanted to write.) With a few exceptions in my entire life, I have paid attention in class, done all the homework, and tried to actually learn the material. Nonetheless, I have definitely earned a few Bs and even Cs.

Yeah. Earned. 

I emphasize this because Continue reading On Grading (Or “How To Get An A”)

Office Space: The Lap Desk (And How To Make One)

I prefer using my laptop with an external monitor. I like the big screen and I like being able to stand. But sometimes I just want to use my laptop the way it was meant to be used: on my lap! Alas, there are a couple of problems with using a laptop on your lap. First, most laptops cannot vent properly on a soft surface. Airflow is blocked and the machine can easily overheat (sometimes leading to internal damage). Second, my lap is too far from my eyes, so I tend to slouch when I use a laptop on my lap. To address these problems, I made a lap desk. In this post I’ll explain how I made the lap desk.


The materials for this are easy to come by.

Wood. I found a wooden TV tray table by the dumpster  — have I mentioned that I’m a scavenger? (See “Office Space: Desk Setup“). The tray eventually Continue reading Office Space: The Lap Desk (And How To Make One)

True Story: I Responded To Spam… And It Paid

The holiday season and the US presidential election were in full swing. Christmas hysteria and Donald Trump had taken over. Add to that the fact that I had multiple deadlines looming. Oh! And I hadn’t had coffee yet. So I was probably an 8.5 on the “I hate the world” scale.

And it’s not even 8:00am.

I had just started my I’m-not-quite-ready-to-get-out-of-bed-but-I-should-probably-start-working-on-something sequence. First stop: email. After glancing at a few emails, I come across a spam email that was sent to everyone in the philosophy department.
Continue reading True Story: I Responded To Spam… And It Paid

Implicit Bias | Part 1: Bias Anxiety

The research on implicit bias is kind of scary. The research suggests that most people are biased. Worse, the research suggests that we are unaware of some of our biases. And further, the research suggests that our behavior is biased despite our conscious efforts to be unbiased. So I could be doing harm despite my best efforts not to do no harm! So yeah: I’m anxious. In this post — the first in a series about implicit bias — I’ll be talking about this bias anxiety.

In future posts, I’ll talk about the theory behind our implicit biases [Part 2], how implicit bias impacts the workplace [Part 3], over 25 practical debiasing tips from the scientific research [Part 4], and the practice of giving an encouraging feedback about our biases [Part 5].


Bias anxiety usually strikes me at the Continue reading Implicit Bias | Part 1: Bias Anxiety