This Wednesday, renowned author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell graced Columbia with “A Few (Un)scientific Thoughts on Backlash” as part of the Psychology Department Colloquium Series. Bwog’s autograph-seeking John H. and photo-seeking Artur R. teamed up to skip class and explore the realms of the “unscientific.”
For the less-well-read, Malcolm Gladwell currently writes for the New Yorker and speaks for TED. He has written four incredibly successful books, The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and What the Dog Saw, whose central theme is to challenges common preconceptions via humorous anecdotes and surprising statistics.
It deserves mention that the event was moved last minute from Schermerhorn to Uris in anticipation of a larger crowd. We believe that this was, in fact, a ploy to weed out the overly-analytical psychology students. Regardless of the move, Uris 301 was still packed with more people than the bustling Package Center. The only reason that Public Safety did not bust the party (NSOP anyone?) was due to the presence of distinguished professors there.
“Never talk about something that the audience knows better than you do,” Gladwell started off. He offered the disclaimer that he is not an academic. In fact, he came to consult Columbia’s collective intelligence for answers to put in his forthcoming book, David and Goliath. Gladwell goes on to discuss the concept of the “inverted U-shaped curve.” (Also known as the straightened Bell Curve, or in math language, the Gaussian curve.)