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Ahhhh, Cornell!

What’s up with that place?

From his webpage:

Sternberg’s main research interests are in intelligence, creativity, wisdom, thinking styles, teaching and learning, love, jealousy, envy, and hate.

That pretty much covers it.


  1. gec says:

    Just want to make sure people don’t confuse Cornell’s Bob Sternberg with UPenn’s Saul “Serial Scanning” Sternberg:

    Saul Sternberg’s research interests are perhaps less broad than Bob’s (“Human experimental and mathematical psychology; Visual encoding, attention, and retrieval; Perception of time and temporal order; Production of rhythmic patterns; Control of movement sequences in speech production and typewriting; Memory search; Reaction time methods and models; Decomposition of complex mental processes.”), but at least they are less likely to have been plagiarized.

    Saul Sternberg’s website also features the late Seth Roberts, a friend to many.

  2. Mike says:

    Past roles include “Chair of Ethical Leadership”! You couldn’t make it up.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure I’m the 1,000,000-th person to make this observation, but I couldn’t help chuckling at the idea of a paper being retracted from the Journal of Creativity for not containing enough original material.

  4. Dave says:

    Academia has a weird incentive structure that seems to result in a lot of misleading research and publication/citation games.

    • David J. Littleboy says:

      tl;dr: Read his wiki page.

      The trick is to do work that tells people what they want to hear. People wanted easy answers to improving health and eating habits, and Wansink was there to give them that.

      People wanted there to be more to intelligence than IQ tests and SAT scores. Reading his Wiki page, he seems to have been a lot better at providing answers that people wanted to hear than Wansink was. (One of the things on his multi-aspect intelligence test was understanding (i.e. guessing) unknown words from context. Hmm. That’s a big part of the quizmanship (oops, quizpersonship) part of taking SAT/GRE tests, at which I was very good*. But it’s a bad idea. If you are reading something by someone whose use of language is precise, you can’t guess. I found this out once again today, by rereading, having looked up the words I didn’t know, a 1954 article by Mishima on Tanizaki (Japanese authors): Mishima had a lot more to say than I was able to figure out the first time around.)

      *: His wiki page mentioned that he retook some of the testing he was subjected to as a child/youth again a couple of years later and did much better on it. I missed the first round, having spent a couple of years mostly reading fiction and not quite succeeding at violin, and that reading was, I think, much of the reason I nailed the SATs. It sounded as though those early failures were seriously traumatic for him, and made him more driven. (Hmm. I don’t remember running into him: I was doing AI under Roger Schank at Yale when he was there, and Roger had us paying attention to psych folks.)

      His bit on thinking styles seems to be related to the now discarded idea of learning styles.

      I suspect (and hope) that in the very long term his work on intelligence will be superseded and seen as a first try at doing better than IQ/SAT/GRE tests. I don’t think it was anywhere near as bad as Wansink. (This is an axe I grind: we don’t have a clue as to what intelligence is, and aren’t getting much closer. So even a complete flailing failure might be useful.)

      The section of his wiki page on his tenure at University of Wyoming is a truly horrific horror story. Quite hilarious, as long as you weren’t involved with UW at the time.

      There seems to be a subtext in that bio of someone fiercely driven to succeed. I can’t imagine being around someone like that would be pleasant…

  5. Anonymous says:

    yet another story about a white mediocre man in a privileged position … how could he possibly get there? #womensday

    • Andrew says:


      When it comes to self-promotion, this dude is no mediocrity; he’s a goddam genius at glad-handing, back-slapping, and climbing up the greasy pole.

      • Anonymous says:

        we should then change our metrics I suppose… Universities shall not reward self-promotion, glad-handing, back-slapping, nor climbing up the greasy pole. isn’t this already in some ethics guideline? it probably really isn’t written anywhere.

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