BSc Dissertation on hunter-gatherer theory available online

Copyright Gary and Glenn McCoy:

Copyright Gary and Glenn McCoy, 23/09/2007.

The first downloadable file have been put up. If you are interested in reading my BSc dissertation it is now available in the Download page.

The dissertation is about foraging-related stimuli and hunter-gatherer theory. It is somewhat based on a study by Krasnow et al. (2011), who found that on an absolute object location memory task (aOLM), women had a disadvantage with fruit stimuli. I was interested to see if this effect also occured in the conventional relative OLM task (in absolute OLM precision is involved, and no sex difference is usually observed. In relative OLM women tend to overall be better).

Research on foraging-related stimuli on OLM were scarce. Besides the Krasnow et al. (2011) study, the only other study to investigate this was Cashdan et al. (2012), who found no difference between fruit and animals on the task. They did not, however, compare results to controls.

We did an experiment were participants had to remember the location of objects and then subsequently place them where they had previously seen them. The stimuli was manipulated to include fruit, animals, and neutral stimuli. Hunter-gatherer theory (Silverman & Eals, 1992) suggested that women should generally be better at this task, so we predicted that women should outperform men in the neutral condition. Furthermore, as men were hunters their performance should improve with animal stimuli compared to neutral. Similarly, women should show improvement with fruit stimuli compared to neutral. Continue reading


Upcoming publications and academic work

I am currently working on several projects that aim to be published in one form or another. I hope to have at least one major publication in place before I apply for a PhD, as this would improve my chances substantially. As this blog hopefully illustrates, however, it is not the only project underway:

1) Dissertation publication
Geoff Cole and myself have been working on submitting a revised version of my BSc dissertation to the EP journal. We submitted our first draft in October and are working on the second draft now.

Results from Experiment 1.

This publication mostly covers Experiment 1 from my dissertation, which focuses on the impact of evolutionary-related stimuli on object location memory. The paper will also be published under Luke Cannon’s name as he also gathered data, and possibly a fourth author who is replicating the experiment as we speak.

The paper is currently titled Sjoberg, Cole, & Cannon (in prep). Effects of foraging related stimuli on object location memory in the hunter-gatherer theory.

2) BPS Newsletter
I am writing an essay on the pitfalls of evolutionary psychology, which I hope to get published in the BPS Psychologists journal, probably under “New Voices”. The paper is in its final stages.

3) Review of Hunter-Gatherer theory for EHB
I received a “cautious invitation” to review the evidence for hunter-gatherer theory from the Evolution and Human Behavior (EHB) journal. If you are unfamiliar with the theory: it basically suggests that men have developed improved spatial abilities because they were hunters in early human settlements. By contrast, women were gatherers and have developed superior object location memory. I personally believe the theory to be flawed and contradictory, and use it as an example in some length in the BPS paper I am writing. After communicating with the editor of the EHB journal, I was allowed to write a review of the evidence for and against the hunter-gatherer theory. This invite is “cautious” because usually such invitations are somewhat prestigious and go straight to publication, but should I complete this paper it will be subject to normal peer review (which I of course prefer, anyway). As this is quite a large undertaking, the project will probably not be complete until well into next year.

Espen at the BPS UG Conference in Glasgow, March 2012. Photo by Rachael Wilner.

4) Presentations
Following the Glasgow presentation last year I am planning to present the BSc dissertation results at the following conferences:

BPS Annual Conference, York, UK (April, 2013)

EHBES Annual Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands (March, 2013)

HBES Annual Conference, Miami, US (June, 2013)

However, the presentations are subject to availability, schedules and finance (traveling is expensive – especially to US), so I may not go to all of these. I do hope to attend at least one!

Welcome to Espen Sjoberg’s science blog!

Oh hi, didn’t see you there! Welcome to Espen’s science blog!

My participation in the sleeplab (University of Bergen, 2008).

That I have labeled it a science blog may be debatable, but this blog will mostly focus on issues concerning science and possibly media, mostly from my personal view.

The blog is in development and is likely to change as it grows. The wallpaper is of the planet Gliese 581 G, a potentially habitable planet similar to Earth. There is a debate over whether this planet actually exist or not (Forveille et al, 2011), but nevertheless I really like the artist image of it. I am not sure who exactly made the image, but I found it at Beyond Earthly Skies. The background is of the Hubble Telescope’s Ultra Deep Field image, looking back nearly 13 billion years. You might find this a somewhat odd choice seeing as the content on this site will probably largely relate to psychology, and not astronomy (ironically my first reference in my first post is an astronomy reference). However, I’ve always been fascinated by the universe and the vastness of it. In many ways this uncomprehensibly big space that we occupy so little of is to me the symbol of scientific progress. For now the blog logo is the DNA double helix, as imagined by, I believe, Richard Fay.
All of the designs are likely to change as the blog develops and becomes more customised.

If you are wondering about the name of the blog: it’s a pun. It is a mix between Descartes doubt of existence (cogito ergo sum) and Cohen’s significance joke about the Earth being round. If you are unfamiliar with significance levels I’m for now only going to give an oversimplified explanation: the p < .05 basically means that me existing is a result that only had a 5% chance of being found, assuming I didn’t exist. I’m sure many of you didn’t quite get that, but don’t worry. It basically means I am likely to be alive from a statistical point of view…its a joke.

I hope to post a variety of science-related posts at this blog. While I would like to be active, based on past experiences I think I am probably going to only produce 1-2 posts per month to begin with. I’ve had blogs before that were personal or related to movie projects, but they all died after a few weeks. This blog, however, aims to be an outlet for my scientific achievements, thoughts, projects, and opinions, and hopefully this is something people might be interested in reading.