For a number of years early in adulthood, driven by folly and intellectual insecurity about coming from a culturally backwards town in rural America, I pursued a career as a professor and research scientist. Though my two academic careers (in experimental psychology and international/comparative political science) were somewhat brief, they were, if judged by the myopic and misguided metrics of the profession, reasonably successful.
Along with my collaborator and co-author Brady Reynolds (U. of Chicago, now at Ohio State), I planned and conducted a research program on impulsive choice behavior at the US Centers for Disease Control (the CDC) in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. My thesis, for which I wrote much of the psychometric data collection and analysis software myself, was the first experimental study to show that sleep deprivation causes a tendency in humans to make decisions more impulsively. Brady and I co-wrote a number of studies and theoretical papers on the subject of impulsivity and delay discounting (a field in behavioral economics that seeks to quantify impulsivity). A cursory inspection of the Internet informs me that to this day texts like the Oxford Handbook of Impulse Controls Disorders are still citing our work.
I began my research career assisting in Georg Eifert's lab doing work related to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a subject in which I retain an interest to this day.
I also once did a clinical practicum a psychiatric hospital, administering psychometric evaluations and (more interestingly) frequently observing human brain autopsies in the neuropathology department. That was fun.
Selected peer-reviewed publications
(NB: Some of these were published under my old last name, which I changed when I got married.)
- The Behavior Analyst (2004): "Impulsive Choice and Workplace Safety," v27, pp 239-246.
- Behavioural Processes (2004): "Measuring state changes in human delay discounting: an experiential discounting task," v67(3), pp 343-356.
- The Psychological Record (2005): "Delay of Gratification and Delay Discounting: a Unifying Feedback Model of Delay-related Impulsive Behavior," v55, pp 430-460.
International and Comparative Politics
In my first and only work of scholarship in political science, I managed to uncover a moderately incendiary and hidden fact in contemporary British politics (that nearly half of the British House of Commons would like to see the monarchy abolished) and, in the process, somehow to get myself published in one of the top peer-reviewed journals in the field. Based on a year's worth of bleary-eyed late nights spent reading at the London School of Economics, my paper also included a long historical and theoretical review of British anti-monarchism, which also afforded me the thrill of citing one of my favorite writers (Christopher Hitchens) in a peer-reviewed academic publication.
Comparative Politics (2011), " Monarchy and the British Political Elite: Closet Republicans in the House of Commons," v43(2), pp 225-242.