New paper: “Your Health vs. My Liberty”

Why did otherwise life affirming people flout public health recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • Was it leaders’ messaging? For example, are “flatten the curve” graphs about statistical victims less effective than information about identifiable victims?
  • Was it people’s reasoning? Do some people not think carefully enough about public health? Might people who better at math better understand public health information involving concepts like exponential growth and probability?
  • Was it people’s philosophical preferences? Do some people just care more about preventing harm? Do others prioritize personal liberty over pubic health? Do people’s beliefs about science matter? Religion?

Michał Białek and I investigated. In short, we found that flouting public health recommendations was less about messaging or reasoning than philosophical beliefs, especially beliefs about our duties to others, liberty, and science. The paper is under review now published in Cognition. As always, you can find a free copy of the paper on my CV at byrdnick.com/cv. More details below.

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Anders Ericsson (1947-2020)

My colleagues and I are deeply saddened about the unexpected passing of Anders Ericsson on June 17. Dr. Ericsson was not only a massive figure in psychology, philosophy, performance, and beyond but—in my experience—an outstanding person.

Standout Memories

There is much to say about Anders. I can speak only to the past few years—and only a slice of it. Nonetheless, that slice of Anders is rich. Indulge me just three stories.

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Upon Reflection, Ep. 4: Online Conferences’ History, Methods, and Benefits

In this episode of Upon Reflection, I explain how academics should conference better. More accurately, I read my chapter, “Online Conferences: Some History, Methods, and Benefits” from Right Research: Modelling Sustainable Research Practices in the Anthropocene. This chapter reviews some history of online academic conferencing going back to the 1970s, explain the potential advantages of online conferences, report quantitative and qualitative results from three online conferences, and urge scholars to consider how they can contribute to a more sustainable, inclusive, and emergency resilient academy by replicating these online conferences.

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How to Record Professional-Quality Conference Presentations

A timely guest post by Katlyn Proctor


Recording a conference presentation is helpful for many reasons, from wanting to share the presentation with others to having it simply to look back on and refer to. Having a high-quality recording is therefore essential and needs to be done right the first time. There are different ways you can record conference presentations depending on the quality needed, what it will be used for, and whether your conferences are in-person or wholly online. This post will cover the basics to get you started.

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Online Conferences: Some history, methods & data

In the wake of virus outbreaks in multiple countries, many scholars are reconsidering conference plans. As someone that has organized multiple online conferences—sometimes during states of emergency—I have thought a lot about how online conferences can be more resilient to such emergencies. I have also found online conferences to be preferable in many other ways, which I explain in a paper about the history, methods, and findings of online conferences. The paper is currently under review for forthcoming in a collected volume about sustainable academic practices (see my CV). More links to free versions of the chapter are below.

Continue reading Online Conferences: Some history, methods & data

Upon Reflection, Ep. 3: Causal Network Accounts of Ill-being: Depression & Digital Well-being

Welcome to the third episode of Upon Reflection, a podcast about what we think as well as how and why we think it.

In this podcast, I read my chapter, “Causal Network Accounts of Ill-being: Depression & Digital Well-being” from Ethics of Digital Well-being: A Multidisciplinary Approach. In this chapter, I review how well-being and ill-being can be understood in terms of the causal networks studied by economists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and other scientists. As with all of my writing, the free preprint can be found on my CV at byrdnick.com/cv under “Publications“.

If you want to hear more, you can subscribe wherever you find podcasts. You can also find out more about me and my research on Twitter via @byrd_nick, or on Facebook via @byrdnick. If you end up enjoying the Upon Reflection podcast, then feel free to tell people about it, online, in person, or in your ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review.

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