Sunday 20 September 2015

#ISIR15 ends, celestial carriages await


So, thus ends a stellar conference.

One of the delights of a conference is to sit next to like-minded and knowledgeable confederates who feed me comments, evaluations and questions which need to be asked. The audience should have the last word. So, here is a selection of what such persons said to me about the talks.

James Lee’s talk went very well. At the beginning I thought it was an over-sell, but boy, the flow of his argument is terrifically clear.

I heard a lot of audience reaction after Steve Pinker's talk.  Comments like 'inspired, entertained, definitely going to try harder to write more clearly'.  There was quite a podium-rush after his talk - felt for his safety! Really good to have the hall ringing with laughter at the end of a long day.

PhD student Sephira Ryman gave a standout talk.  She asked: since men and women have similar mean intelligence, yet women have smaller brain sizes, are there other features that differ?  She found that gray matter volume is important for men, but white matter network connectivity was more important for women. Evidence from her sample of 244 persons that men and women may arrive at their intelligence by slightly different means.

Paul Sackett and Nathan Kuncel utterly destroyed the idea that SAT tests do not predict college performance. Their "ginormous" dataset comprised over a million students. A droll and data rich talk, they left myths about the non-utility of standardised tests lying like road-kill on the highway of evidence.

PhD student Helen Davis gave a fascinating talk that contrasted the spatial abilities and mobility patterns of two traditionally-living (forager-horticulturalist) peoples: the Maya and the Tsimane.  The lifestyle and ecology differ between the societies and this is reflected in their spatial abilities and movement patterns. The typically found sex difference in spatial ability (men outperform women) was only found in the Maya where men travel greater distances to find food for their children.

Alice Dreger. Simply barnstorming. Brilliant, and packed with rich content.  We must keep in contact with her.

Tim Bates' talks are consistently a highlight of any meeting he speaks at.  His careful replications, showing null results of famous memes that tear through the classroom like flu, are a pleasure to hear.

IN CONCLUSION – See you in St Petersburg, 15-17 July 2016


  1. Any many thanks to Doctor T for all the illumination. Not bad for an old 'un.

  2. Larry, San francisco21 September 2015 at 21:15

    Are there any on line links to the lectures. I would love to hear them

    1. Yes, I'm interested in Dreger's talk: has it been put online yet?