Announcing A New Journal In Psychology

For the last week, I have found myself residing in the blissful haven that I would call a video game coma. With new content for another game on the horizon, the good news doesn’t stop rolling in for me. While video games might be a great source of recreation and pleasure, did you know that playing video games has all sorts of positive consequences? Among the many documented benefits, they serve a wonderful ego-boosting function, lead to increases in mental acuity and intelligence, help build social skills and, perhaps shockingly, even help build muscle mass while burning fat. In fact, an hour of gaming can be directly compared to an hour of strenuous exercise at the gym in terms of physique and health outcomes. Now I can assure you that all these things happen to be true so long as you don’t ask me for a source. Unfortunately, these results will never see publication in the current mainstream of psychological journals, owing to the fact that editorial boards demand that such claims be met with empirical support.

Demands I’m frankly too busy to meet.

In this day and age, psychological research finds itself in a tough spot. There have been claims made that researchers are manipulating their data in various ways to try and find statistically-significant results – a practice known as p-hacking or employing researcher degrees of freedom. Assuming that such practices are not employed by researchers, journals are already notorious for only publishing positive findings, avoiding publishing failures to replicate. There have even been a few prominent cases of data being flat-out fabricated by researchers. Even foregoing these issues, there are also always concerns raised by critics that some experiments might be so poorly designed that the data obtained from them doesn’t really tell us much of value. It’s almost as if we’re supposed to believe that leading questions are bad things for making scientific progress. All this trouble with data in psychology – from it not existing, to it not cooperating, through it being useless – is a relatively constant headache for many otherwise-talented researchers seeking outlets for their conclusions.

The lack of data cooperation is especially troublesome for those of us who have political or personal agendas to advance through our research. For example, the majority of people can agree that sexism against women must be put to an end. To ensure that other people take up this cause, it’s important to put out demonstration after demonstration about how each and every sex difference can be attributed in whole to both overt and subtle types of sexism against women. What is a researcher to do, then, if it turns out the conclusion they began with is not being supported by the data? Are they to just abandon their cause in that instance, or perhaps modify their stance? Of course not, but going back in and trying to make the data fit the conclusion can be a time consuming and occasionally unsuccessful process. This, my colleagues, is where I am proud to announce that I – along with my collaborators – have managed to solve these problems with our new journal, Psychological Feelings Review. The underpinnings of this journal will change the face of psychology forever.

Quite the improvement, if I do say so myself

What new ideas will Psychological Feelings Review bring to the table? For starters, our new journal will be banning the reporting of data altogether. Historically, important ideas in psychology and data have frequently found themselves at odds, and we feel by banning the use of data we can finally put an end to this meaningless conflict. Instead of reporting data, we strongly encourage those who submit to Psychological Feelings Review to instead just report the conclusions they were going to begin their research with anyway. The nature of the conclusions themselves less important than the level of pretentious snark or moral indignation through which they are expressed. Conclusions can be strengthened by repeating them, each time adding some level of formatting-based emphasis, as replications are important. Conclusions can be strengthened by repeating them, each time adding some level of formatting-based emphasis, as replications are important. Conclusions can be strengthened by repeating them, each time adding some level of formatting-based emphasis, as replications are important.

Our journal is a mere fledgling right now, and we do assume there will be criticism from the lame-stream of psychology who are seeking desperately to maintain their structural power monopoly on what they deem to be truth; an idea recently confirmed in our first forthcoming issue. In order to help authors respond to these criticisms, the editorial board has put together the following quick list of suggestions: first and foremost, remember, do not reference data in your replies to mainstream outlets; don’t start playing the game they want to play. Instead, try and assassinate the character of the author(s) you are replying to, such as by claiming they hate minority groups, that their ideas have grave social implications likely to lead to genocide, or that they have been credibly threatening you and your pets with violence to try and shut you up. Alternatively, you can also add some section to your reply making it clear that you “can’t even right now”, while also suggesting that your detractors need to go out and educate themselves. This latter tactic is especially effective, as it takes the burden off you needing to source your obviously-true claim while also casting doubt on the credibility of the critic: if your critics can’t be trusted to be well-informed about the topic in question, their concerns and comments can be safely dismissed as the ravings of an angry madman, all while you establish yourself as the insightful party who just doesn’t have the time or mental energy to deal with them; they’re just too far beneath you for you to even bother.

We also strongly encourage women and minority groups to submit to Psychological Feelings Review, as the questioning of conclusions from these groups can be taken as prima facie evidence of sexist or racist biases, allowing critics to be more safely dismissed. If you happen to not be a member of these groups, we would also strongly encourage you to at least publicly claim you are. The same guidelines hold for research on topics which the author has a personal history with. For instance, if you are concluding things about the negative effects of objectification, make sure to recount some moving personal anecdote about a time you’re moderately sure you were personally and severely disadvantaged because of it. Nothing says “objectively right” quite like a strong vested interest in the conclusion you’re pushing. If the conclusions sit well with other people’s intuitions, there’s a lower probability of them being questioned, and anecdotes help here; if they do not, you then have the ability to complain loudly about having your lived experiences erased by arrogant bigots who couldn’t possibility begin to understand what they’re talking about.

Don’t let other people’s experiences speak for them; that’s your job

Finally, we do anticipate that our journal will receive more submissions than could possibly be published, owing to space and time constraints. Until other journals take up our data-exclusionary methods, we will be forced into the uncomfortable position of having to only publish the conclusions that support our personal biases to the highest degree, or at least the ones we find most interesting after a night of heavy drinking. While this peer-review process might seem harsh, we believe it is one of the existing traditions of psychological review and publication that should be maintained in its current form, owing to its completely open-ended and intuition-based nature. After all, confronting challenges to one’s worldview is always unpleasant, so it seems selfish that any of you would ask us to do so in order to publish your work. Anyone submitting such papers really needs to get a life, and quit being so malicious towards us. I just…can’t even right now.

Closing Gender Gaps

Given that we are living in a society that privileges men, it should come as no surprise that women tend to be relatively disadvantaged. These disadvantages faced by women can take many forms: from the gender pay gap that favors men, to the fact that men make up the majority of all our elected officials and CEOs, and even to women not outperforming men in college by a wide enough margin. Indeed, women are sometimes even disadvantaged by the ways they benefit from the system  that sees men as stronger, more agentic, and competent than women. These facts may be shocking to hear, I know, as it forces us men to confront the deeply sexist social world of benefits and privileges that we are collectively granted access to on the basis of our gender alone and nothing more. It should go without saying, but these gender gaps are clearly unwarranted and unfair and, as such, it is a moral imperative to correct them. So it’s time to check our privilege, cast any doubts aside, and take a good, hard examination at some of the most sexist institutions in our society.

“Alright; I checked my privilege. What’s step two?”

At the recent event where the Playstation 4 was previewed, I was shocked to hear that men completely dominated the talks; in fact there were no female presenters. A chilling thought, I know. It’s almost as if men were telling women that women are unfit to play video games! What might come as an even greater shock to you is that large segments of the American workforce display similar levels of what is very clearly sexism. These fields are basically boys clubs with a metaphorical “no girls allowed” sign nailed to their doors in the form of rampant sexism and misogyny; fields that are simply inhospitable environments for women. These kinds of hostile sexism against women (and, because sexism = discrimination + power, men can never be the victims of sexism; they are just victims of discrimination, which is a totally different thing) box out large numbers of women who are otherwise qualified and eager for the jobs they are denied by society. One good for instance would be the field of construction, where the workforce is almost entirely male. Faced with such a clear gender gap, one can only be left gasping, wondering what steps our government and society are taking to remedy such obvious sexism. It’s not like women are too incapable  or incompetent to build houses, after all.

Women’s worries don’t end with the field of construction, however: similar gender gaps are seen in fields like plumbing, lumberjacking, and firefighting. As we know that the sexes are born completely equivalent to one another in terms of their physical potentials and psychological interests and motivations, these gender gaps can clearly only be the result of sexist socialization. Dismantling the sexist social constructs of our culture – constructs which were clearly created by men in the first place – is required if we ever hope to see the 50/50 split between men and women who are willing and able to fix your septic tank that we’ve all been dreaming about. As it stands right now, women are disproportionately forced into careers deemed appropriate for them by the patriarchy: nursing, child care, and secretarial work, all of which involve women outnumbering men by more than four-to-one.

Now I know there are some naysayers out there who might, in their ignorance (due to their privilege if they’re male and internalized sexism if they’re female), actually believe that there might be some biological differences between men and women at the physical or psychological levels that can explain these differences. That is to say, we don’t always need to resort to sexism to explain any and all the gender differences we see. The go-to example that many of these patriarchy-apologists tend to raise is that of the difference in upper-body muscle mass between men and women. Proponents of this sex difference cling to the myth that selection has acted on men and women differently in this regard, as having more muscle mass might help men dominate their rivals in competitions relevant to successful reproduction. The implication there would seem to be that, historically, men and women did not behave identically which, as we know, must be false on the basis of it sounding sexist to me.

This is literally what that argument sounds like

What those biological-determinists clearly overlook is the fact that men are socialized to exercise their upper-body more than women; without such socialization, these differences would surely vanish. Now there’s the slightly inconvenient fact the differences in strength between men and women might remain even after attempts were made to control for exercise, but let’s not forget that such tests were carried out using WEIRD samples. Further still, it’s unlikely that researchers were able to fully control for all the relevant sexist socialization forces, as many of them are exceedingly subtle. As it should now be clear that researchers have failed to fully control for such variables, one is forced to accept the undeniable conclusion that these variables must be driving the differences in strength between men and women. There’s just no alternative explanation.

So how can we go about remedying this problem? Simply put, women need better social mentors and role models in order to counteract the toxic messages that society is putting forth. This proposal comes in two parts. The first is that we must make it mandatory for men and women to take all the same classes and participate in all the same activities, so as not to send the message that one sex ought to have a certain set of interests. Special attention needs to be paid to the aforementioned skills and careers were men and women are most divergent on the professional level. This means that it needs to be mandatory for all students to take classes in nursing, early childhood education, logging, and firefighting.

The second part of the proposal acknowledges that change needs to take place on the professional level as well, so as to minimize any implicit or subtle messages that children might receive through the media or facts about reality. This means that we need to mandate, effective immediately, that all employers ensure that each job position on their staff is compromised of equal numbers of men and women who are making precisely the same wage (as they are both clearly as qualified, motivated, and work as much as the other). The worst offender in this regard is clearly the professional sporting industry. The world of sporting is so socially-backwards that they still enforce segregation on the basis of gender, for crying out loud! Not only does such a policy effectively tell women that it’s unlikely they’ll ever grow up to be a professional football player, but it goes further, suggesting that they’re so much less a person that they can’t even compete against the men. Here’s a memo for the professional sporting leagues out there: it’s not the 1960s anymore – segregation’s illegal.

A sad display of internalized sexism and a sad day for women everywhere.

I think I speak for all of us when I say enough is enough. It’s time to make our stand and put an end to all gender disparity, whether that disparity be in America, the world at large, or even in other non-human species. In fact, especially in non-human species. For too long have sexist messages penetrated non-human minds, resulting in sexually-dimorphic ornaments or behaviors. In some cases, the sexism has been so bad that males end up about twice as large the females; truly disturbing examples of the power of the patriarchy. We need to ensure that these non-human species have positive role models to look up to, and understand that their sexist behavior has larger social ramifications for other forms of life. Once we stop accepting this kind of behavior in other species, we might finally be able to stop accepting it in our own.