Houston Matters

Can We Trust All Those Studies About Human Behavior?

We discuss why we have a tendency to question social science research with comedian Paula Poundstone, and Dr. Amr Elnashai the new VP for Research and Technology Transfer at the University of Houston.

Every time a study comes out suggesting a broad conclusion about human behavior, you might find yourself challenging it, looking for ways the study is flawed or the conclusion is mis-characterized.

You’re not the only one. Comedian and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! panelist Paula Poundstone has become beloved for her rants challenging studies shared on the show. And she has a new podcast called Live from the Poundstone Institute, in which she flexes her acerbic wit on unusual scientific research.

In the audio above, we talk with Poundstone about the podcast and about her frustration with conclusions drawn from research studies. We also talk with Dr. Amr Elnashai, the new Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer at the University of Houston who oversees all research at UH, about how that research is interpreted – and sometimes misinterpreted – by press releases, media, and the general public.

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