Announcement: The many blogs of Bill Ashton

August 20th, 2011

This is the portal to my other blogs.

Here on Academic Commons I have several blogs:

billashton, a miscellaneous blog (mainly psychology)

Things I say to my BlackBoard Students, a blog which documents … things I say to my Bb students

The Sound of the Stick, my advertising/consumer behavior blog

Off the Commons I have:

My bookmarks on Delicious.com of psychology-related news stories

My youtube channel – mainly lectures for students


Bill’s Blog of Psychology, an old and inactive blog

Heroes of Science!

November 19th, 2012

Including 1 women, 2 Asians and 1 African American!


One woman?!?!? Since we are on a computer, we should at least mention Grace Hopper.  Her Navy uniform would look cool on an action figure.

What is Open Access?

October 29th, 2012

Statement against gay rights

October 21st, 2012

Please listen to the end.

Comic Con: Mandy Caruso dressed in racy costume recalls sexual harassment by fans | Mail Online

October 21st, 2012

A 23-year-old woman is revealing the sexual harassment she endured at Comic Con when she dressed in a racy costume for the gathering of comic book, fantasy and science fiction fans. 

Mandy Caruso, a fashion designer, dressed as super heroine Black Cat and wore a skin-tight leather outfit that ‘has a fair amount of cleavage.’

It’s common for young women to dress in revealing and deliberately skimpy costumes for comic conventions. It’s also common, Miss Caruso revealed in a post on her blog, for them to be sexually harassed by overzealous fans. 

She described several encounters at last weekend’s New York Comic Con with men who posed for pictures ogling her breasts. She also recounted being ‘surrounded’ by a camera crew who claimed to be be filming a feature on fans, but instead seemed more interested in talking about her cup size.

Racy: This is Mandy Caruso's skin-tight Black Car outfit, which admittedly shows 'more than a little cleavage'


Comic Con: Mandy Caruso dressed in racy costume recalls sexual harassment by fans | Mail Online.

Dance your Ph.D.

October 14th, 2012

The dreaded question. “So, what’s your Ph.D. research about?” You take a deep breath and launch into the explanation. People’s eyes begin to glaze over…

At times like these, don’t you wish you could just turn to the nearest computer and show people an online video of your Ph.D. thesis interpreted in dance form?

Dance your Ph.D. link

DIY Rorschach Necklace

September 23rd, 2012

Look familiar, psychologists?




Duck Rabbit

July 30th, 2012


Door on Astoria Bvld.  ~26th Street.

The company’s logo is the Duck Rabbit illusion.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma on Facebook

June 9th, 2012

I love social psychology, but if I could go to college and grad school again, I’d focus more on math and game theory.  Game theory is the mathematical study of decision making.  Rational decision making.  One of the two popularly known examples from game theory are the prisoner’s dilemma and the commons dilemma.  I teach both in my social psychology class.  The prisoner’s dilemma was developed at RAND in the 1950’s and usually is stated like this:

Two men are arrested, but the police do not possess enough information for a conviction. Following the separation of the two men, the police offer both a similar deal—if one testifies against his partner (defects/betrays), and the other remains silent (cooperates/assists), the betrayer goes free and the cooperator receives the full one-year sentence. If both remain silent, both are sentenced to only one month in jail for a minor charge. If each ‘rats out’ the other, each receives a three-month sentence. Each prisoner must choose either to betray or remain silent; the decision of each is kept quiet. What should they do? [wikipedia]

The research focuses upon iterated prisoner’s dilemmas, when two individuals play this game several times over.  What is the best strategy to adopt to keep your collective sentence to a minimum?  Should you always defect or cooperate?  Should you switch?  Should you try to “game” your opponent or deduce their strategy and then build your strategy accordingly?

I play Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook.  It’s a time waster but an addictive game.  Most Facebook games are based upon exploiting your friends on Facebook to gain an advantage in the game and Bejeweled Blitz is no exception.  To gain high scores you need to “buy” boosts using “gold coins.”  Each day a player can send 35 sets of gift coins to your Facebook friends playing Bejeweled Blitz.  When receiving these gifts in your mailbox you accept the coins and then have the option of sending a set of gift coins back.

I send most of my gifts each day to my wife, because I know she will quickly send gifts back.  Today, as I was receiving gifts from my wife, I noticed that in the mailbox you had the option of just accepting the coins or accepting and returning a gift to the sender.


And then I realized that Bejeweled Blitz is an iterated prisoner’s dilemma.  I had the choice of defecting (accepting w/out returning) or cooperating (accepting and returning).  Since then I’ve found that there the prisoner’s dilemma can be found in other aspects of social networking.


One does not

May 21st, 2012

Blackboard was down the day two online finals were wrapping up.


Hilarity ensued.