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Undergraduate Thesis Chart

For a number of years early in adulthood, driven by folly and vanity, 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.

Experimental Psychology

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.

Selected Peer-reviewed Work

International and Comparative Politics

In my first and only work of scholarship in political science, I managed to uncover a somewhat salacious and hidden fact in contemporary British politics (that nearly half of the British House of Commons would like to see the monarchy abolished) and also to get myself published in one of the very 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.

Comparative Politics (2011), " Monarchy and the British Political Elite: Closet Republicans in the House of Commons ," v43(2), pp 225-242. (Full text [PDF].)

Meaningless awards

  • USA Today All-USA College Academic Team
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 4.0/4.0 GPA, etc.
  • Named "outstanding senior" by the university-wide Honors Program, and by the departments of both of my majors (psychology and French).
  • National finalist for Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel's Prize in Ethics

Odds and Ends

I was originally hired at the CDC, based on my prior technical background at NASA, to coordinate the technical aspects of and to write software for an eye-tracking laboratory for NIOSH. However, the White House OMB canceled the project at the last minute on the grounds that the research would have required using mild deception (a common and necessary strategy in experimental psychology) on taxpayer participants. Fortunately, since the government rarely fires people, this meant I was freed up to start doing research related to my own interests.

My research in London led me to enjoy a long and lazy chat with The Right Honourable Tony Benn on the river terrace of the House of Commons, listening to him hold amusingly forth on the Queen's many vices.

I once did a clinical practicum a psychiatric hospital, administering psychometric evaluations and (more interestingly) frequently observing human brain autopsies in the neuropathology department.