The Institute of Sexology

This exhibition was held in London. It covered the early work by Western scholars to study sexuality and diverse sexual identities. Featuring various social scientists from anthropology (such as Margaret Mead) to psychology (Freud), I was ecstatic that two sociologists, Prof Kayle Wells and Prof Julia Field, are featured prominently in the final section of the exhibit.

Wells and Field are two of the lead investigators of the longitudinal National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. 

The exhibition ends with an invitation to participate in the exhibition survey and also contribute a question. One of these is chosen to be added to the survey each week and the aim is to replace all the original questions with public questions. Some of the anonymous answers are on display and they change constantly. 

My favourite that I’m still mulling over is by a woman in her 20s (paraphrased): “You can tell whether a man is feminist or not by the way he has sex." 

Source: The Other Sociologist.

This is the Stendhal Syndrome Pavillion by artist Alicia Francis, at the Van Gogh Museum. The Stendhal Syndrome was coined by psychiatrist Graziella Magherini in 1979 to describe people being so emotionally overcome by the beauty of art that it manifests as a physiological reaction. The “syndrome” is named after French author Stendhal’s description of seeing Renaissance masterpieces in Florence in 1817.

“As I emerged from the porch of Santa Croce, I was seized with a fierce palpitation of the heart; the wellspring of life was dried up within me, and I walked in constant fear of falling to the ground.”

Stendhal is not accepted as a psychological condition but researchers continue to study it. Nevertheless the Santa Maria Nuova hospital in Florence still treats supposed cases after admirers see the statue of David and various works at the Uffizi Gallery. Source: @OtherSociology.

Incivility at Work

Psychologists find that experiencing rudeness at work from customers and colleagues increases absenteeism and decreases sales performance. That doesn’t mean that managers can’t step in and improve things. Psychologist Michael Leiter says:

“A big part of the intervention is just to get people to talk about their relationships rather than just getting ticked off with people and complaining to their friends… That’s part of your professional responsibility: to maintain good working relationships just like you maintain equipment and report breakdowns… You don’t have to wait until people get cynical or quit in disgust; it’s something management can do something about.”

Image: @SocialScienceIn on Instagram.

Science Media Hype: Women, Testosterone and Navigation


As usual, science hyperbole would like us to believe that men are “hardwired” to perform better than women at technical tasks. In this article by Science Alert, the heading tells us women navigate better when given testosterone: “Women can navigate better when given testosterone, study finds” The article itself keeps up this facade. Reading the study, however, we find that nothing of the sort is true.

Fifty-three women were recruited on the basis of being on the oral contraceptive pill and not having significant experience in gaming. Why did the latter matter? Because this experiment uses computer games to simulate navigation. The study does not actually test navigation in real life conditions. That’s usually okay – experiments try to construct experiences in a controlled environment. But when those conditions are created to exclude women with certain skill sets that immediately tells us that what is being measured is not biological processes, but rather experience – a social experience.

Continue reading Science Media Hype: Women, Testosterone and Navigation

Dehumanisation, Superhumanisation and Racism

Dehumanisation, Superhumanisation and Racism

Dehumanisation and “super-humanisation” are two sides of the same coin serving a racist agenda. Dehumanisation is the process by which conscious and unconscious bias leads people to see a racial minority as less human – less worthy of respect, dignity, love, peace and protection. Social science research finds that White police officers and young White students are more likely to see Black children as young as 10 years of age as being less worthy of protection and inviting violence in comparison to White children. Super-humanisation is on the other end of the dehumanisation continuum. It is when majority groups harbour latent ideas that minorities have special qualities or powers that make them less deserving of bodily consideration and pain relief. Research finds that White people have a tendency to see Black people as being stronger and therefore more able to withstand pain. These two twin processes, that place Black people outside of humanity, are steeped in colonial practices and they contribute to excessive policing and violence aimed at Black bodies. There are implications of dehumanisation and super-humanisation on the ongoing #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Read more on my blog: #sociology #psychology #socialscience