Category Archives: Super Nerdy :)

9 Stubborn Brain Myths

As psych students, you probably already know that these popular myths are incorrect. Even though they’re familiar, this “lifehacker” article can help you debunk the myths when you hear family and friends fall into these classic traps:


Harvard College National Collegiate Research Conference


My name is Brandon Gerberich and I am a Board Member in the Harvard College Undergraduate Research Association (HCURA). I have contacted you because I am wondering what the best method would be for inviting undergraduate students at Hofstra University who have conducted scientific research to take part in HCURA’s National Collegiate Research Conference (NCRC).

The conference will be held January 19-21, 2012 at Harvard and will include speakers, poster sessions, and student oral presentations. The oral presentations will be awarded to students who submit their abstracts for special consideration before the November 15 advanced registration deadline. Additionally, these abstracts will be reviewed and potentially awarded travel scholarships. The regular registration deadline is December 15 for any student interested in attending or presenting at the poster sessions. If you are interested in learning more about NCRC I have attached the conference brochure and included this link ( to our website.

>>National Collegiate Research Conference Participant Information<<

Best Regards,
Brandon Gerberich
Co-Chair of Participant Affairs and Operations Committee
Harvard College Undergraduate Research Association


Adventures in Depression

There are great novels and award winning movies that attempt convey the experience of depression. Now you can add an illustrated blog to that list. Check out Allie Brosh’s own description of feeling depressed on her hilarious blog, Hyperbole and a Half.

The Science of Negotiations

Whether it’s determining the salary you’ll receive for your first job or the price you’ll pay for a used car, learning how to negotiate is an extremely valuable skill. is presenting a weekly series of short podcasts based on a negotiations class two journalists took at Columbia. The podcasts cover the most important points and back them up with evidence from social science research.

Check it out here: <<PODCAST LINK>>

“Dogs Decoded” 10/12 on PBS

I’m more of a cat person, but one of my favorite PBS documentaries, “Dogs Decoded” is going to be replayed on Wednesday, 10/12 at 9:00pm on PBS. (It’s an episode of the series “Nova.”) Although dog lovers of all kinds are likely to enjoy it, there’s a lot of psychology in the show — everything from the nature/nurture question and whether you can domesticate a wolf to make a dog, to why dogs are so good at reading signals from people, and why some dogs have phenomenal memories.


Super Nerdy Podcasts

During my 2nd year as a postdoctoral fellow, I commuted about 1.5 hours to work EACH WAY, and that was only if traffic was moving well. (The things we do for love…) I kept my sanity by finding great audiobooks and podcasts to distract me from the horrors of I-95. If you’re stuck with a long commute or some time to kill with your ipod, you might try one of these podcasts. They’ll definitely make you feel smarter than you will after an hour of listening to Ke$ha, and they’re pretty entertaining.

The absolute best podcast for science nerds is RadioLab, which is actually produced at WNYC . Some of the episodes are better than others, but many, many of them touch on psych-related topics, and they’re always worth a listen. A few of my favorites are “Words,””Falling,” and “Desperately Seeking Symmetry.”

The relatively new Freakonomics podcast is more hit and miss so far, but some of the episodes are pretty great, too. I was a big fan of the first “Freakonomics” book, which examined common myths and assumptions in pop culture using data and behavioral economics. A few good episodes to try are “Sciontology” (stupid name — it’s about whether it’s a good idea for kids to take over the family business), “The Economist’s Guide to Parenting,” and “The Suicide Paradox” (it sounds more depressing than it is).

Happy listening!

Considering Grad School?

The summer is a great time to think big thoughts, like what you want to do with your life, whether you want to go to grad school, and if so, in which field.

I put together a handout with an overview of my advice to help you weigh the pros and cons of grad school, and what the application process is like. You can find a pdf of it here: novak-gradschooladvice

Of course, different people will give you different perspectives, so it’s a good idea to ask around after you’ve started your search. During the semester, you can set up an appointment with your faculty advisor or visit professors you’ve had during office hours to get their valuable input, too. The Psych Club also organizes meetings where you can hear from speakers and panelists about different kinds of programs and what it takes to get in.

In addition, Dr. Miller sent me a link to an excellent website created by a professor at another university. The writer covers a lot of the same ground as I do, but it’s still worth a look: What is even more valuable about his site is that he succinctly describes the different types of degrees and graduate programs related to psychology:

These links are just a starting point. Graduate admissions can be extremely competitive, but you’ll have the best shot possible by learning about the process and becoming the best candiate you can be for the kind of program that interests you. Decisions about grad school are tough ones to make, and it’s a good idea to invest time reading up on graduate training options generally, and individual program requirements specifically. Putting the time and effort in now will help you to avoid wasting even more much time and money on a program that’s a poor fit for you. There are some helpful links on the right of the blog for the APA, APS, and other major psychology organizations for help with general information, and then you can search for individual program’s websites to get the details for each one.

Good luck!