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Author Archives: Scott Alexander

OT128: Opentos Thread

This is the bi-weekly visible open thread (there are also hidden open threads twice a week you can reach through the Open Thread tab on the top of the page). Post about anything you want, but please try to avoid … Continue reading

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APA Meetup This Saturday

I’d like to meet any SSC readers who will be at the American Psychiatric Association meeting this weekend in San Francisco. I propose lunch on Saturday 5/18, 12 PM. We can meet at Room 312 (randomly chosen as a room … Continue reading

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A Critical Period For Lactation Fetishes

Enquist et al on lactation fetishes is one of my favorite papers. They wonder – as we’ve all wondered at one point or another – how people develop fetishes. One plausible hypothesis is “sexual imprinting”. During childhood, you have a … Continue reading

Age Gaps And Birth Order Effects

Psychologists are split on the existence of “birth order effects”, where oldest siblings will have different personality traits and outcomes than middle or youngest siblings. Although some studies detect effects, they tend to be weak and inconsistent. Last year, I … Continue reading

Is There A Case For Skepticism Of Psychedelic Therapy?

There’s been an explosion of interest in the use of psychedelics in psychiatry. Like everyone else, I hope this works out. But recent discussion has been so overwhelmingly positive that it’s worth reviewing whether there’s a case for skepticism. I … Continue reading

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5-HTTLPR: A Pointed Review

In 1996, some researchers discovered that depressed people often had an unusual version of the serotonin transporter gene 5-HTTLPR. The study became a psychiatric sensation, getting thousands of citations and sparking dozens of replication attempts (page 3 here lists 46). … Continue reading

OT127: Openinsula Thread

This is the bi-weekly visible open thread (there are also hidden open threads twice a week you can reach through the Open Thread tab on the top of the page). Post about anything you want, but please try to avoid … Continue reading

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Little Known Types Of Eclipse

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth gets between the Moon and the Sun. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon gets between the Earth and the Sun. A terrestrial eclipse occurs when the Earth gets between you and the … Continue reading

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Update To Partial Retraction Of Animal Value And Neuron Number

A few weeks ago I published results of a small (n = 50) survey showing that people’s moral valuation of different kinds of animals scaled pretty nicely with the animals’ number of cortical neurons (see here for more on why … Continue reading

Buspirone Shortage In Healthcaristan SSR

(Epistemic status: Unsure on details. Some post-publication edits 5/1 to make this less strident.) I. There is a national shortage of buspirone. Buspirone is a 5HT-1 agonist used to control anxiety. Unlike most psychiatric drugs, it’s in a class of … Continue reading