William Ashton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Coordinator, York College Research Pool
Director, York Collge Honors Program
of Behavioral Sciences
3E-05, Academic Core Building
Research & writing
Careers for students
Example #1 - Bert the Muppet's Terrorists Ties
Closely exam this photo of a pro bin Laden demonstration in Pakistan.
Look just to the right of bin Laden's left ear. What do you see?
Bert, the Sesame Street Muppet!
Here's what happened.
A Pakistani printer was asked to make posters for the demonstration. He went to an internet search engine and typed in "bin Laden."
Many search engines return hits in order of their popularity -- that is, how often the site is visited. The printer choose the first image of bin Laden he found.
That image was from the Bert is Evil! site. This humorous site has pictures of Bert with notorious figures. And it was a very popular site!
Let this be an object lesson: you cannot quote information from the internet as fact. Information on the net may be unintentionally incorrect or, as in this case, intentionally incorrect.
(note: I'm providing no link to the Bert is Evil site because it contains a few jokes which are inappropriate for a webpage linked to by a CUNY web page. If you wish, find the site your self. But be warned - Bertisevil.com is not the site you're looking for - that's a porn site!)
Example #2 - Don't be someone else's learning experience.
First, go the the site Changingminds.org
Second, look around the site. Would you accept information from this site?
Third, in January of 2005 I found this page on changingminds.org
In response to this webpage, I sent an email to the site's owner
From: William Ashton,
On your webpage:
your description of the
group attribution error is incorrect. The term
The group error occurs
when a group make a decision which is far from
and received this response:
From: David Straker [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Very many thanks for taking the time to let me know of the error on the site. I sometimes go a bit to quickly. One of the reasons also for doing the site is to learn, and you have helped me here too.
Fourth, don't trust me. Look at the abstract from Messick's article.
It took Mr Straker over 1 year after I contacted him to have a learning experience and update the page on the group attribution error! Just think how many Psych students used his wrong definition.
Example #3 - I'm not alone.
Example #4 - Anybody can create a website
www.martinlutherking.org sounds like a great place to get information about Martin Luther King, Jr. Right?
No. It's run by a white pride hate group.
Example #5 - Satire may look real
How do burritos get to NYC? burrito.nyc.us.gov
Could you major in your current major at Miskatonic University?