center for brain, behavior & evolution

Understanding the natural diversity of behavior, in the lab & in the wild.

We hope We think will be full of pleasant surprises, with forms of content we didn’t anticipate. Still, a blank canvas is intimidating, so we’ve put together a list of standard categories of contributions you can peruse to see if one resonates with you. These options are found in the drop-down menu of our proposal submission page. If you have an idea for a longer piece, it may be possible to break it into a series of smaller posts that can be run over time.

THE LITERATURE AS YOU SEE IT pieces seek to expose new or overlooked literature, raise questions about common practices, and describe technical details to non-specialists.

Journal club (200-800 words) -- Succinctly describe exciting new findings. What motivated the research, what was learned, and why is it relevant to the study of behavior? These are among our most frequent posts. It’s a good place to start if you would like to contribute to the blog but want to test the water first. Be sure to include a link to the paper, even if it is pay-walled.

The stacks (200-1000 words) -- Describes an older contribution (>10 years old), including its historical and contemporary significance. Some papers may be classics, described for graduate students by senior faculty. Others may be prescient publications that have been underappreciated. Still others might be forgotten fads that remind us of changing values. These posts remind us where we have been as a field and introduce students to the history of the discipline.

Explainer (300-2000 words) -- This highly valued contribution speaks to our core mission – to broaden and deepen the purview of behavioral research by providing accessible introductions to new topics. It explains complex ideas in simple language. Focal ideas may be challenging because they employ new technologies or complex mathematics, or because they come from unfamiliar fields. This category also includes impartial, third-person perspectives on current controversies. These posts should end with suggested resources for learning about the topic in more depth.

What we did (300-1000 words) -- If you have a recent development in your research program that is particularly exciting, this is a good place to summarize it for your peers. These posts are often longer than a scientific abstract as well as less formal. Place your recent work in a broad context for other scientists.

IMO (300-1000 words) -- Authors express views on promising areas of behavioral research, on common misconceptions, and on the strengths and weaknesses of our practice. While ideas might be radical, the language is civil. Of course, opinions shared by everyone are boring. Our readers will be more interested in posts that suggest concrete solutions to problems, that challenge us to consider our work in a new light, or that provide a dose of sobriety over the latest craze.

FIRST PERSON posts provide personal perspectives on our working lives.

Pro-tips (200-500 words) -- These pieces offer advice to biologists in earlier career stages, ranging from career-life balance, to classroom practice, to applying for your first grant.

Experimental error (200-500 words) -- Humility and humor put a human face on scientific practice. These light pieces describe a low point in your career. The post should describe a challenge the author faced and how the problem was resolved.

Alternative tactics (100-500 words) -- These short autobiographical posts describe a variety of career trajectories. They include unusual paths by which you arrived at a research career or unusual places your training led you.

Notebooks (200-500 words) -- These short anecdotes bring to life moments in the lab or field. These pieces are timely and relevant when they relate to work currently in progress, articulate an unusual or rarely voiced experience, or reveal a personal side to the history of science. The author of this piece might be at any career stage, ranging from a prospective graduate student to a Nobel laureate. They can be written or recorded as audio or video. Candid images from the lab or field make useful supplemental media.

 

CONNECTIONS tie the study of behavior to society and culture.

Solutions (200-500 words) -- Behavioral sciences have a wide variety of practical applications. They can inform conservation policy, consumer preferences, epidemiology and more. Tell us about one.

In culture (200-500 words) -- Brief ruminations on the intersection of science and the arts. Explain how a piece of music, art or literature moves you, changes the way you view science, or is enriched by a knowledge of brain, behavior or evolution. Accompanying media with permissions for reproduction are particularly welcome. Original works? Even better.

Accidental findings (50-200 words) -- Sometimes the ephemera of science exhibit surprising beauty. Send us an assembled photograph of field specimens, preliminary scans of brain sections, a visualization of genomic data, plastic-ware not suitable for the autoclave, catalogs of vocalizations, strange audio from your electrophysiology equipment – anything that caught you off-guard and held your attention long enough to capture and save it.