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Robby Ratan
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I enjoyed this Wired article about the psychology of anti-social driving behavior and appreciate the thorough support for the argument...

...but I wish the author had taken it a step further toward the solution for this issue. Namely, if deindividuation contributes to aggressive driving, then helping drivers feel like individuals, improving the communication context of the road, etc. should lead to safer roads. 

That's an argument we presented in an article published last year in Pervasive and Mobile Computing ( Among a few other findings, our research suggests that people who individualize their cars (e.g., bumper stickers) feel closer to other drivers, which is associated with less aggressive driving. Last week, I presented a follow-up study at the International Communication Association ( to a group of mobile researchers ( I argued that convergence of the mobile phone and automobile (e.g., Tesla) is transforming the road into a context where communication between drivers no longer needs to suck and this has important implications. 

We already have apps that facilitate social interaction and reputation systems between drivers (e.g., Waze). These tools can be designed to promote communication on the road in ways that reduce the social isolation and deindividuation of drivers. My research consistently shows (I'm on the 3rd study now) that people are better, more conscientious drivers when they feel individualized on the road.  Thus, such digital communication tools in the driving context (when designed for minimal driver distraction) will likely lead to safer roads for all of us. 

I appreciate that Wired is taking on this issue and applying a psychological approach to understanding human behavior in the driving context.  I also hope that in future work, Wired will consider the ways that new media technologies are changing - at this very moment! - the long-lamented phenomenon examined here. 

According to my phone,
The weather's dry as a bone,
But I am feeling befuddled.

Do I trust the app
And not put on a cap?
Or do I trust the drip drops in those puddles?

Celina Wanek (student researcher) just realized today is a palindrome! 5/15/15!

Testing manageflitter.

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This article paints a bleak but interesting picture. Some stats: 
- "In 1960, only 15 percent of grades were in the “A” range, but now the rate is 43 percent, making “A” the most common grade by far."
- "In their first year, 33 percent of students report that they never talk with professors outside of class, while 42 percent do so only sometimes."
- "One prompt in the questionnaire asks entering freshmen about “objectives considered to be essential or very important.” In 1967, 86 percent of respondents checked “developing a meaningful philosophy of life,” more than double the number who said “being very well off financially.” ... Since then, though, finding meaning and making money have traded places. The first has plummeted to 45 percent; the second has soared to 82 percent."

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Finally free of my dissertation! ...the last of the directly derived articles (on avatar-induced stereotype threat) is published today, free to download here for some time:

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I AM A ROBOT a meeting. #kubirocks @RevolveRobotics

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For a somewhat-related (but more academic) read, check out:

Bailenson, J.N., Yee, N., Kim, A., & Tecarro, J (2007). Sciencepunk: The influence of informed science fiction on virtual reality research. In, Margret Grebowicz, ed. The Joy of SF: Essays in Science and Technology Studies (pp. 147-164). Open Court Publishing.

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Realization from convo last night w Ben Jarvis about the future of transportation networks: google + uber = goober ... one fine day. 
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