Fall 2018 | Volume 17
BRITE Lab News Blast
A weekly publication from the UW-Madison BRITE Lab
Announcements, Reminders, & Upcoming Events
  • New procedure for BRITE Lab small grants this year. We once again have funding for BRITE Lab small grants this year, but have some small changes to the application procedure. This year we will have an open rolling application procedure without specific application deadlines. The goal is to help people better match funding requests to times when they are ready to actually run studies, and to allow faster turn-around times by having a smaller number of grants to review at a time. We encourage those who are interested in BRITE Lab small grants to first contact BRITE Director Justin Sydnor (justin.sydnor@wisc.edu) with a short description of the study you have in mind. Justin will then (likely) suggest a short meeting to discuss together so that he can give some initial feedback prior to the formal small-grant submission. Justin is happy to discuss preliminary ideas and he especially encourages graduate students or those newer to behavioral/experimental research to reach out at early stages of their study planning and conceptualization. You can find the full RFP for BRITE Lab small grants for the 2018-2019 here.

  • Contact Felix to book time in the lab or indicate an intention to book. We already have a number of studies scheduled to run during Fall 2018. Although we still have a good amount of room, we encourage you to reach out to Felix if you have any intention of running lab sessions during Fall 2018 because the schedule had filled up quickly over the past year. Even if you are not yet ready to finalize session times, it will help us plan if we know that you might be requesting times later in the semester.  

  • Send interesting things to Justin and/or Felix. If you see any papers, conferences, graduate student workshops, resources, etc... that might be of interest to the broader BRITE Lab community, please send along the info to Justin and Felix. 

We will use this space each week in the news blast for Justin to share new ideas he thinks may be of interest for our behavioral & experimental community. If you ever have ideas for topics, please share your ideas with Justin .

This Week's BRITE Idea:

This week's BRITE Ideas comes from a paper that Jordan Tong (a frequent BRITE user and one of the faculty on the advisory board for BRITE Lab) sent along. The paper is by Klaus Fiedler from the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science ( link here ).

Fiedler makes an argument that more psychological (and I'd read that also more generally as behavioral) research should be based on "a priori theorizing". His broad point is that we should not be running experiments just to test for interesting phenomena. If we are very phenomena focused, it leads (in part) to the problem that many seemingly interesting findings might simply not be true. Instead, he argues that we should be developing generalizable theories about the world, individual behavior, etc... and designing experiments that shed light on those theories.

I've seen the power of this in my own work. A number of my field experiments were conducted with only vague ideas in mind and sometimes we got something interesting. But the best things I've done have been the cases where we actually wrote down a simple model and figured out what our theory had to say in conjunction with designing our experiment. Jordan's work uniformly reflects this perspective (which is part of why he sent it along). There are, of course, counter-arguments and other ways of doing things. But I think this is a worthy read.  
Interested in booking research time in the Lab?
View available time on our Lab Calendar;
email requests to the Lab Manager, Felix Zhan

Volume 17 | September 14, 2018