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student projects and papers

Biology of Love

This is an overview of the biological influences on sex, love, and attraction. It includes research on the types of “love” and which brain areas and chemicals are involved in those subjective experiences. This presentation was created by Randy Ludwig for Dr. Michael Shermer’s course, “Evolution, Economics & the Brain” taught at Claremont Graduate University during the spring 2011 semester.

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(1.6 MB Powerpoint Presentation)

Superstitious Behavior: Affect Your Luck?

Does superstitious behavior affect your luck? In this presentation students use their knowledge of the scientific method to answer that question. For their final research project, the following superstitions are tested: (1) walking under a ladder, (2) opening an umbrella indoors, and (3) spilling salt. This presentation was created by Charles DeLoach, Paarth Trivedi, Eli Goodman, Brady Serwitz, and Sara Owens for Dr. Michael Shermer’s course, Skepticism 101: How to Think Like a Scientist (Without Being a Geek) at Chapman University during the fall 2011 semester.

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(526 kb Powerpoint Presentation)

Heuristics and Cognitive Biases
Among the American Electorate

This presentation depicts the history of academic thought on voter turnout and shows how recent neuroscience has changed the prevailing wisdom on the subject. While political science scholars of the 70′s and 80′s believed voters were rational calculators, neuroscience has shown that emotion and narrative play a strong role in this process. This presentation was created by Michael Mermelstein for Dr. Michael Shermer’s course, “Evolution, Economics & the Brain” taught at Claremont Graduate University during the spring 2012 semester.

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(182 kb Powerpoint Presentation)

Darwinian Arts & Notions of Beauty

The presentation explores the evolutionary basis for the creation and consumption of art in all forms. It discusses art’s adaptive function; as well as, its role in natural and sexual selection. The universality and evolutionary basis of aesthetic tastes in art is also discussed. This presentation was created by Amanda Limongi for Dr. Michael Shermer’s course, “Evolution, Economics & the Brain” taught at Claremont Graduate University during the spring 2012 semester.

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(6.6 MB Powerpoint Presentation)

Making Mistakes & Being Wrong

We all know the cliché “To err is human.” To most extent, this is true – human error is the cause of 70% of airplane crashes, 90% of car-wrecks, and 90% of workplace accidents. We love telling people that they (not us) are wrong and happily point out their oversights. But is there another side of making mistakes? This PowerPoint presentation explores why human beings are so prone to making errors and why it is sometimes quite good to make them. After all, as Kathryn Schulz also pointed out in her book “Being Wrong,” embracing error can lead to some transformative results – healed relationships and fascinating discoveries. This presentation was created by Veronika Alexander for Dr. Michael Shermer’s course, “Evolution, Economics & the Brain” taught at Claremont Graduate University during the spring 2012 semester.

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(623 kb Powerpoint Presentation)

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Carbon Comic

Carbon Comic (by Kyle Sanders)

Carbon Comic, which appears in Skeptic magazine, is created by Kyle Sanders: a pilot and founder of Little Rock, Arkansas’ Skeptics in The Pub. He is also a cartoonist who authors Carbon Dating: a skeptical comic strip about science, pseudoscience, and relationships. It can be found at carboncomic.com.

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The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

Reality Check

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future

The battles over evolution, climate change, childhood vaccinations, and the causes of AIDS, alternative medicine, oil shortages, population growth, and the place of science in our country—all are reaching a fevered pitch. Many people and institutions have exerted enormous efforts to misrepresent or flatly deny demonstrable scientific reality to protect their nonscientific ideology, their power, or their bottom line…

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Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

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Top 10 Things You Should Know About Alternative Medicine

Top 10 Things You Should Know About Alternative Medicine

Topics include: chiropractic, the placebo effect, homeopathy, acupuncture, and the questionable benefits of organic food, detoxification, and ‘natural’ remedies.

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Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

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