Tuesday, March 1, 2016


About 5 or 6 years ago my colleagues at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute and I made public a large set of behavioral data from language and cognitive tasks performed by people with aphasia. Our goal was to facilitate larger-scale research on spoken language processing and how it is impaired following left hemisphere stroke. We are pleased to announce that we have completed a thorough redesign of Moss Aphasia Psycholinguistics Project Database site. The MAPPD 2.0 interface is much simpler and easier to use, geared toward letting users download the data they want and analyze it themselves. 

The core of this database is single-trial picture naming and word repetition data for over 300 participants (including 20 neurologically intact control participants) with detailed target word and response information. The database also contains basic demographic and clinical information for each participant with aphasia, as well as performance on a host of supplementary tests of speech perception, semantic cognition, short-term/working memory, and sentence comprehension. A more detailed description of the included tests, coding schemes, and usage suggestions is available in our original description of the database (Mirman et al., 2010) and in the site's documentation.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Acceptance and rejection rates

There was a recent blog post at Frontiers pointing out that journals' publicly-available rejection rates are not associated with their impact factors. Their post discusses several factors that contribute to this, but I've been thinking about how rejection rates are calculated, particularly publicly stated rejection rates. For example, the 2013 rejection rate for both JEP:LMC and JEP:HPP is 78% and JEP:General is slightly higher at 83%. These are top-tier experimental psychology journals and those rejection rates seem intuitively appropriate for selective outlets, but I think they might be inflated because many papers are rejected with an invitation to revise and resubmit.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

15th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop

NCPW15 – August 8-9, 2016 – Philadelphia, PA, USA

Contemporary Neural Network Models:
Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Cognition

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Reproducibility project: A front row seat

A recent paper in Science reports the results of a large-scale effort to test reproducibility in psychological science. The results have caused much discussion (as well they should) in both general public and science forums. I thought I would offer my perspective as the lead author of one of the studies that was included in the reproducibility analysis. I had heard about the project even before being contacted to participate and one of the things that appealed to me about it was that they were trying to be unbiased in their selection of studies for replication: all papers published in three prominent journals in 2008.  Jim Magnuson and I had published a paper in one of those journals (Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition) in 2008 (Mirman & Magnuson, 2008), so I figured I would hear from them sooner or later. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Zeno's paradox of teaching

I've wrapped up my Spring term teaching and received my teaching evals. Now that I've (finally) had a chance to teach the same class a few times, I am starting to believe in what I call Zeno's Paradox of Teaching: every time I teach a class, my improvement in teaching quality is half the distance between quality of the last time I taught it and my maximum ability to teach that material.
If I'm right about this, then I think it means that it's important to think long-term when approaching teaching:
  1. New faculty (like me) should start by teaching primarily core courses, ones that are offered every year, have good support materials, and provide a consistent opportunity for improvement. Specialized seminars can be fun to teach, but if they're not going to be offered every year, then improvement will be slow.
  2. Don't drive yourself (myself) crazy trying to teach the "perfect" class on your (my) first time teaching. Try to do a good job and next time try to improve on it as much as possible.
  3. Zeno's paradox means that I'll never teach quite as well as I think I could teach. The positive message there is that one should continue trying to come up with creative ways to improve a course. The warning there is that perfection is not an appropriate standard and not to be too hard on oneself for failing to reach it.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A little growth curve analysis Q&A

I had an email exchange with Jeff Malins, who asked several questions about growth curve analysis. I often get questions of this sort and Jeff agreed to let me post excerpts from our (email) conversation. The following has been lightly edited for clarity and to be more concise.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Job Opening: MRRI Institute Investigator (all levels) -- Language and Cognition in Neuropsychological Populations

Moss Rehabilitation ResearchInstitute (MRRI) seeks an Institute Investigator to join our historic program in language and cognition and help build the next generation of translational neuroscience/neurorehab research.

The successful applicant is expected to conduct an independent program of research and to participate in research collaborations within and outside MRRI. The ideal candidate is a cognitive, clinical, or neuroscientist or speech-language pathologist who studies language or related cognitive disorders, and who may also conduct research in translating basic science findings to improve clinical practice. Preference will be given to candidates who complement the faculty’s interests in areas like language processing, language learning, semantics, action planning, cognitive control, neuromodulation, neuroplasticity, and/or lesion-symptom mapping