On the third day of CoDI Dean and Cross brought to me, my very own science adventure…
Lewis Dean and Kate Cross: Choose Your Own Science Adventure
Kate and Lewis come as a double act. They had such a good time at their first two CODI shows that they’re coming back for a third in 2016.
We tracked them down to ask them about their research and themselves.
What is your name and what is your job title?
KC: Kate Cross, Lecturer in Psychology, University of St Andrews
LD: Lewis Dean, Public Engagement with Research Manager, Research Councils UK
Tell us about your research in one sentence.
KC: I study psychological differences (and similarities) between men and women.
LD: I’m interested in the evolution of human culture; basically why we’re the primate with hammers and computers and science
Who/what inspired you to do research?
KC: When I was a 2nd-year undergraduate student I was taught by a Prof called Anne Campbell. She studied girl gangs in New York, so she had some interesting stories to tell about her work! She clearly loved what she did and it was exciting to hear her speak about it.
LD: There are three writers who had a massive impact on me – James Herriot and Gerald Durrell inspired my interest in animals and Jared Diamond got me thinking about how humans evolved.
What’s your show about?
KC: It’s a show about ‘Questionable Research Practices’. These are things that scientists sometimes do – whether knowingly or unknowingly – which make it more likely that their results are wrong.
LD: And they end up telling the world that they’ve found something real, when it’s really not clear that they have.
Why did you pick that topic?
LD: Well, last year we did a show about current controversies in psychology, and as part of it we did a brief demonstration of how one Questionable Research Practice called p-hacking works. (It’s when researchers do several lots of tests on their data but only report the ones that ‘worked’)
KC: Our audience wanted to know more, and we wanted to cover more – about how common these practices might be, about some of the consequences of them, and what we could do about them. So we decided to come back and devote a whole show to it.
LD: But nobody wants to come to a 50-minute lecture entitled “Questionable Research Practices, Why They’re Bad, And How To Stop Them”
KC: (We are certain about this)
LD: So instead, we’re going to do a bit of silly theatre. We’re going to show the sorts of situations where scientists might be likely to use Questionable Research Practices, and some of the consequences that QRPs can have.
KC: While avoiding any accusations flung at particular scientists or groups.
LD: Of course. We’ll also do some Q&A.
KC: Yes. Think of it as being part half ‘chat with a couple of researchers’ and half Greek-tragedy/detective movie/British farce mashup.
Well what more could you wish for? If you’ve already seen the duo in action, you know what a treat you’re in for with this show, if you haven’t, well you’d be a fool to miss another!
Lewis & Kate’s show takes place on Saturday 6th August, Stand in the Square (Venue 372), 3-4pm, £8 (£6)
Purchase tickets at: http://www.outstandingtickets.com/show/102/performance/1537/book-tickets