Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I recently returned from a trip that I'm calling "Midwestern Tour '04."  For about 10 days during the middle of July, I traveled through Cincinnati (to attend the Society for American Baseball Research or "SABR" convention), Chicago (to visit my sister and her family and also drop by the offices of some professors and researchers at Northwestern University in Evanston), and finally, Madison, Wisconsin (to attend the International Association for Relationship Research convention).  Where academics and sports are involved, a large University of Michigan presence is virtually assured, and there indeed were Michigan connections throughout the trip.

Cincinnati Portion of the Trip 

According to this document, there are six former UM baseball players currently in the major leagues.  However, only two, Cincinnati's Barry Larkin and St. Louis's Mike Matheny, were 1980s Wolverines.  Naturally, SABR schedules its meetings when the home team is in town, so I was able to attend a Reds game; they were playing the Cardinals, so I further got to see the two ex-Wolverines square off.  Although baseball certainly lags Michigan's "marquee" sports (football, men's basketball, and ice hockey) in popularity, I enjoyed going out to UM's Ray Fisher Stadium to watch baseball during my grad school days.  Michigan has a proud baseball history, having won the College World Series in 1953 (under Fisher) and 1962 (under Don Lund).  Up through the 80s, the Wolverines were a perennial post-season team, until being put on probation.  The program has not been the same since, but may be staging a resurgence under relatively new coach Rich Maloney

While in Cincy, I also added another Pizzeria Uno to my list of ones I've dined at (see the February and March archives on the right-hand side of the page, midway down, for my previous Uno's-related writings).

The SABR conference was great fun.  My activities ranged from watching a trivia contest (where I knew the answers to about five questions for every 100 asked, in contrast to the actual contestants who reeled off answers to one obscure question after another) to touring the grounds where Crosley Field, the beloved former home of the Reds, was located (there are no remnants of the park at the site today, just a variety of industrial businesses) and also a park in Blue Ash, Ohio that replicates some of the features of Crosley.  

At the SABR book exhibit, I picked up the book A Mathematician at the Ballpark, by Ken Ross.  On page 178, it cites my hot hand website on the statistical study of sports streakiness.

Chicago/Evanston Portion

Next it was on to Chicago.  Like any major research university, Northwestern has both research centers and traditional academic departments (often, scholars at one type of unit will have a joint appointment at a unit of the other type).  I knew (or knew of) a number of scholars at Northwestern, so I e-mailed ahead to see if people wouldn't mind having me stop by to chat about research and/or just visit.  Within the psychology department, I met with Alice Eagly, a 1965 social psych Ph.D. from Michigan.  I was also hoping to visit with David Uttal, a developmental psychologist who was a comtemporary of mine during grad school at UM in the 80s, but our timing didn't work out.   

I also met with two people at Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research.  My first meeting was with Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, whom only after our meeting started did I learn was also a 1980s Michigan Ph.D  (developmental psych, 1981).  Her research is in the area of public policy as related to families and children, such as studying welfare reform.  As seen in my lecture notes on adolescent sexuality, I've drawn upon Lindsay's research for many years in teaching my "Problems of Adolescence" course at Texas Tech (click here for the main syllabus).  In our conversation, Lindsay cited her experience at Michigan with the Bush Program in Child Development and Social Policy as being particularly valuable.  The other IPR researcher with whom I met was Greg Duncan.  Before moving to Northwestern in 1995, Greg spent over 20 years at Michigan as a research scientist and professor, including a stint as director of UM's Panel Study of Income Dynamics.  Although I had never met Greg during my time at Michigan, I knew of him.  We had a nice wide-ranging discussion of research on adolescent and young adult drinking, public policy, and research methodology.

The Northwestern scholars with whom I wanted to meet, of course, were not limited to people with Michigan backgrounds.  I also had a nice visit with Dan McAdams, who has a joint faculty appointment in the School of Education and Social Policy and the psychology department.

I want to thank my relative Bonnie (whose husband is a cousin of my mother), who works at IPR, for her hospitality during my visit.  Also, of course, I want to thank my sister Lynn and her husband Jeff for hosting me.  It was in the spring of 1986 that Lynn, then an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, came up to visit me in Ann Arbor; on that trip, she met Jeff, then an undergrad at Michigan, and the rest -- as they say -- is history.

Although Chicago is the home of the original Pizzeria Uno's -- both the first one at the corner of Wabash and Ohio and Pizzeria Due's, built about a block away to handle the Uno's overflow crowd -- I had already been to both before, so I didn't have any Uno's pizza in Chicago.  Instead, I tried out another Windy City deep dish place, Lou Malnati's.  It was good, in my opinion, but not quite up to Uno's.    

Madison, Wisconsin Portion

Lastly, I arrived in Madison to present a poster at the IARR close-relationships conference on a study an undergraduate student, Teresa Lair, conducted under my supervision (click here to see both the paper and some pictures I took in Madison).

Naturally, I saw some former Michigan people:
  • Terri Orbuch, who was featured in a June write-up (see archives) about UM's Early Years of Marriage Project.  A paper from the project (Orbuch, Veroff, Hassan, & Horrocks, 2002, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships)  won the IARR Article Award at the conference.
  • Linda Acitelli, a University of Houston faculty member, with whom I overlapped during grad school at Michigan (she was in the personality psychology program, but there was extensive contact between the social and personality programs).
  • Kathy Carnelley, a lecturer at the University of Southampton in England, and Amber Story, a program director at the National Science Foundation, a pair of mid-1990s Michigan post docs.  Kathy was also featured in my June write-up on the Michigan-UCLA connection.
  • Dan Perlman, a professor at the University of British Columbia, who told me he did some of his graduate work at Michigan in the 1960s.

In addition to the people, however, the town of Madison itself evoked a strong connection in my mind to Ann Arbor.  The similarities are numerous:

  • In both towns, the major street in the campus area is called State St. (which is the case in some additional Big Ten cities as well).
  • Both towns have extremely liberal political climates.  In Dane County, Wisconsin (which includes Madison), Gore and Nader combined in the 2000 presidential election to take two-thirds of the vote.  In Washtenaw County, Michigan (which includes Ann Arbor), Gore and Nader combined for slightly less than two-thirds.  I don't claim to know the demographics of these counties that well, but it's potentially the case that the campus areas per se were even more highly Democratic, with rural outlying areas diluting the county-level percentages.
  • A couple of businesses that I thought to be unique to Ann Arbor were also in Madison, namely Steve & Barry's t-shirts (which, I've discovered on their website, has quite a few locations) and the Dahlmann Campus Inn hotel (Ann Arbor link, Madison link).
  • Both, of course, feature traditional, college-town barber shops.  In Ann Arbor, I always went to the State St. Barber Shop during my graduate student days and I make it a point to go there every time I get back to town.  Bill, the State St. barber, was featured in the 1989 book Big Ten Country by Bob Wood, and to my knowledge, Bill is still there.  Upon arrival in my hotel room in Madison, I looked over the Madison magazine that was displayed in the room.  I noticed an article about a man named Don Fine, who owns the College Barber Shop on State St. near the University of Wisconsin campus and has been cutting hair there for 51 years.  I went in the next morning, grabbed a seat in the waiting area, and hoped to get Don for my haircut.  There were about five barbers cutting at the time, but by the luck of the draw, I got Don.  He was extremely friendly.  As the article notes, his chair is "the first in the shop's line of eight and the one in the prime spot in front of the picture window."  I noticed how Don would personally say good-bye to each departing customer, so my guess is that he picked the location of his chair to enable him to do so most efficiently.  (While on the subject of barber shops, I want to acknowledge the Collegiate Barber Shop in Lubbock, where I usually go.)

There are also obvious differences between Madison and Ann Arbor:

  • Madison has the two lakes (Monona and Mendota) on either side of the isthmus containing the state capitol building and campus (in fact, there's a town newspaper called The Isthmus).  The Wisconsin Memorial Union on campus has a beautiful terrace behind the building overlooking Lake Mendota; there are tables set up so people can dine out by the lake, as well as a stage for evening musical performances (see the set of pictures I took, which I referenced above).  Ann Arbor has nearby water as well, including places to go canoeing (as I recall, Chris Crandall was a very skilled rower during our Michigan grad school days), but not as prominently as in Madison.
  • Madison is a state capitol, Ann Arbor is not.
  • Ann Arbor has a Borders book store in the campus area (in fact, Ann Arbor was where Borders originated), whereas the Madison Borders appeared to be away from the campus.

I went to the Pizzeria Uno's in Madison twice on this recent trip.  I had been to this Uno's before, but it was over 15 years ago (when visiting my relative -- again through a cousin of my mother's -- Jill Soloway, a UW student at the time and now a writer for HBO's "Six Feet Under").  Also, not surprisingly given Wisconsin's motto of "America's Dairy Land," I ate more ice cream on this recent trip than I usually do.  The Daily Scoop in the student union, where ice cream made in the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant is sold, is a can't miss.

As you can see, I was quite taken with Madison.  Even a maize-and-blue guy such as myself has to admit that Madison is just as nice a town as Ann Arbor (OK, there I admitted it).

In closing this segment about the Madison component of my trip, I would like to congratulate Linda Roberts, a UW-Madison faculty member and former colleague of mine from our days at the Research Institute on Addictions in Buffalo, New York, on an excellent job of co-hosting the IARR conference.

Monday, July 12, 2004

The U.S. Supreme Court recently completed its term for the year. As most of you are probably aware, the major cases involved the rights of prisoners detained as part of the War on Terror.

One of the cases, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, involved an American citizen named Yaser Hamdi, whom the U.S. government was holding as an "enemy combatant." Two issues were at stake: whether Hamdi could be detained (perhaps indefinitely) without being charged with any crime, and whether he had the right to challenge his detention in court (and with assistance of counsel).

The Court's decision was what might be considered a "compromise verdict." The detentions themselves were permissible (having received the proper Congressional authorization), but the detainee had the right to a day in court to challenge the detention.

As noted in an excellent summary of the case by Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism:

"Amicus briefs [were] filed by former prisoners of war, experts on the law of war, and Fred Korematsu on behalf of Hamdi."

As with all entries on this website, there must be a University of Michigan '80s connection, and that connection is Fred Korematsu. Korematsu, as many of you know, brought an unsuccessful Supreme Court challenge 60 years ago to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

I had the pleasure of seeing Korematsu speak at the UM law school about the history and legal issues of his case. It was probably in 1988 or '89. I've found two documents on the web that allude to Korematsu speaking at UM. Based on contextual clues, the first document could very well be describing the same lecture I saw, whereas the second one appears to describe a later visit by Koretmatsu. There's obviously no reason why Korematsu couldn't have spoken at Michigan on multiple occasions.

As I will attempt to detail in future entries, the University of Michigan gets a lot of prominent scholars, politicians, and historical figures to speak on campus. The "intellectual nourishment" level is high.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

If asked, most researchers would probably say they had one (or a few) favorite project(s) among the research studies they had conducted over their careers. Some projects may stand out in one's mind as being more fun to work on than were others, or it may be the reaction of the field to a published product that stands out.

My personal list of favorite projects would have to include the heat-aggression in baseball study I conducted with Rick Larrick and Steve Fein. The official scientific reference for this study is:

Reifman, A. S., Larrick, R. P., & Fein, S. (1991). Temper and temperature on the diamond: The heat-aggression relationship in major league baseball. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 580-585.

I do not teach social psychology (even though my Ph.D. is in social psych, my faculty appointment is in human development and family studies at Texas Tech University). Still, I am fortunate enough to be able to give an annual lecture on the heat-aggression in baseball study to the undergraduate social psych class of my TTU colleague Darcy Reich. Last week I gave this guest lecture for the third straight year, each time during Darcy's summer session class (what better time of year to speak about heat and aggression?).

Rick, Steve, and I came up with the idea for such a study during the summer of 1987 (the end of my third year at Michigan and Rick and Steve's first). Based on a landmark Michigan-based article by Dick Nisbett and Tim Wilson (Psychological Review, 1977), I try to be very cautious about claiming an impetus for my thought processes. Having said that, I would say there were three events that led Rick, Steve, and me to conduct the heat-aggression in baseball study:

*It was a very hot summer for us in Ann Arbor.

*An article by Craig Anderson, a prolific heat-aggression researcher, came out in the June 1987 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology on temperature and crime rates.

*Major League Baseball was dealing with a "beanball war" that season, as exemplified by the July 20, 1987 cover of Sports Illustrated. (After you click on the preceding word "cover," be sure to scroll down far enough when the page comes up.)

I remember that Rick, Steve, and I went for pizza one evening at a place on Maynard whose name I can't remember, to discuss our plans for the study. In conducting the study, each of us spent long hours in the UM libraries, going over microfilm rolls of major newspapers to look at randomly selected baseball box scores (for the hit-by-pitch data, our measure of aggression) and corresponding weather pages (to record the high temperature in the home city the day of the game). Nowadays, box scores are readily available on the web, with weather conditions at the game included in the box score.

To make a long story short, we conducted the initial parts of the study in 1987, presented our results as a poster at the 1988 convention of the American Psychological Association, then published our final results in PSPB in 1991, as noted above (we had to do some additional analyses for the journal version). Beyond some initial media coverage of the study in 1988 and my annual guest lecture at Texas Tech, the study has continued to live on in a number of ways:

*Citation by Dean Keith Simonton in a 2003 Annual Review of Psychology chapter on "Qualitative and Quantitative Analyses of Historical Data."

*Citation by Anderson in several articles and chapters (click here for his list of recent publications).

*Citation by Eric Sundstrom, Paul Bell, and colleagues in a 1996 Annual Review of Psychology chapter on "Environmental Psychology 1989-1994."

*Continued citation in several social psychology textbooks.

*Inclusion of the study in several social psych professors' online syllabi and lecture notes (a search at Google, with the keyword set "reifman" "larrick" "fein" -- keeping the quotation marks -- currently yields 35 hits).

*A reprinting of our journal article in the book Psychology is Social.

*Application by Tom Timmerman of our idea that hit-by-pitch instances measure aggression, to a different context, namely the question of whether black batters were more likely to get hit by a pitch than their white counterparts, as part of the climate of prejudice just after the integration of Major League Baseball.

*And last but not least, publication of a letter of mine in the July 27, 1998 issue of ESPN The Magazine, in response to an article in the June 15, 1998 issue on hit batters that omitted our research.

My bottom line is that, if a topic such as baseball that has interest to many people can get students excited about doing research, then that may be the heat-aggression study's main contribution.