Dilettante: Social Psychology

The entry for this installment of Dilettantin’ is a weblog for the students of Bruce Landon, PhD, a psychologist at Douglas College in Canada. He apparently is into instructional technology/educational psychology also, so his site has some cool resources – a comparion of online course management systems, etc. But the blog for students of the social psychology course was the page on which I randomly landed. The first entry (playing by the rules of the game again) is about an article from Wired magazine about how disbedience of the emergency preparedness officials saved the lives of several world trade center employees.
This, to me, is an information “bit” similar to that of the story of the woman who was decapitated by the windshield in a car accident. The story goes that the EMS personnel at the scene figured that if she hadn’t been wearing her seat belt, she would have been thrown forward and, more importantly, down – and thus avoiding the decapitation. Now – setting aside for the moment the probable urban legend status of this story – what does this type of propaganda do for us? It’s surely the epitome of the maxim “the plural of ‘anecdote’ is NOT ‘data,'” yet the power of anecdotalism is strong, and I wonder if that’s part of the point of posting this on Bruce’s Weblog.

Bruce Landon’s Weblog for Students