I’ve just been playing with google’s new “experiments” and if your as much of a geek as me, they’re pretty addictive. My favourite, called Ngram searches every word of every book that has been uploaded to google books and plots a graph based on the proportion of books printed every year containing that word. Here are my results from throwing a few comparison terms at the database..
NB: I’ve had this post sitting ready to be upped for a while because it’s more than a little bit silly. I’ve got some reservations about the strange patterns in some of the graphs Ngram puts out. I’m finally posting it now after reading a great critique published yesterday by David Berreby of the use of “Ngrams” in research. In particular, the proposition made by Robert Kurzban who questions the progress of psychology as a field based on a couple of Ngrams (and theory based on Meehl’s classic 1978 paper) . So read on, with an extra shake of salt.
Meehl, P. (1978). Theoretical risks and tabular asterisks: Sir Karl, Sir Ronald, and the slow progress of soft psychology. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 46 (4), 806-834 DOI: 10.1037//0022-006X.46.4.806
Michel JB, Shen YK, Aiden AP, Veres A, Gray MK, The Google Books Team, Pickett JP, Hoiberg D, Clancy D, Norvig P, Orwant J, Pinker S, Nowak MA, & Aiden EL (2010). Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books. Science (New York, N.Y.) PMID: 21163965
Science beats religion in the intellectual horserace way back in the 1860′s..
..But the battle with GOD himself has come to a stalemate
God even starts to make a comeback in the 1980′s… but why?
Just the first hypothesis off the top of my head… could it have been to do with the outbreak of…
FAIL is still winning in the eternal battle against WIN..
Here’s a couple for the ladies…
Just for fun… the age of Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll
What about the reefer madness?
LSD research explodes, until the global ban
Have a go yourself with the google experiment for yourself here! I’ll post the best ones left in the comment box below this post. Another fun research tool is the google news timeline and theres tonnes more “experiments” here. Below is google’s ad for the whole thing. Google doesn’t make beers, but if google made beers..
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