Friday, 25 June 2010

Bloggers behind the blogs: David DiSalvo

This is part of an ongoing series of interviews with some of the world's leading psychology and neuroscience bloggers.

Next up, David DiSalvo of Brainspin and Neuronarrative.

How did you become a psychology/neurosci blogger?

I've always been curious about psychology and spent a lot of time in college reading Erickson, Piaget, Freud, Jung, Adler and others (though I wasn't pursuing a psychology degree). I eventually took a class on 'Neurobiology' that cemented my interest in the psych-neuroscience vector. I've been an active follower of research developments in those fields ever since -- and have applied the knowledge in research I've conducted to support public health and other public education outreach campaigns. A few years hence, I finally got around to documenting my interests in a blog.

What's your blog's mission?

My mission is to make research findings accessible to a broad audience, and to engage experts in various psych-neurosci related disciplines to share their knowledge with my blog's readers.

Are you also on Twitter - if so, how do the two outlets complement each other?

Yes, I'm on Twitter as @Neuronarrative and I find that the two complement each other very well. I use Twitter mainly to send new post updates, but also to generate interest for other blogs that I enjoy reading.

How does your blogging affect your day job?

At times it can be a difficult balance to maintain, but in general it works without too much difficulty. Very often I pull late nights working on posts, but it's worth it.

What are your weapons of choice - i.e. what blogging platform / hardware do you use and why?

I use Wordpress, chiefly because it was the easiest platform to launch quickly and change over time. I house the blog on their server, which means I don't have the same flexibility I'd have if I housed it myself, but the logistics of doing so just weren't practical when I launched. Eventually I may shift to a more customizable platform.

What advice do you have for any budding psychology bloggers out there?

My advice is that you should follow your passion for the subject and make that passion evident in your blog. But, never lose sight that the discipline deserves your full investment. Don't try to take on something you aren't prepared to thoughtfully, judiciously and honestly engage. There are too many mediocre and barely credible blogs out there (to say nothing of the flatly bad ones), so don't waste time creating another one. If you're going to do it, do it right —which includes (but is certainly not limited to) devoting a substantial amount of time to research and writing, and reading voraciously.

What blogs do you read (list up to five)?

Tough question because I read so many. If I had to limit the list to the top 5, I'd say: Mind Hacks, BPS Research Digest, Psyblog, The Neurocritic, and Changizi Blog.

What books or other traditional media are you reading at the moment? (up to five)

I'm reading Timothy Ferris' The Science of Liberty, and recently finished Shenna Iyengar's The Art of Choosing (for which I'm writing a review in Scientific American Mind), and also recently read The Vision Revolution by Mark Changizi. I enjoyed Mark's book so much that I asked him to do an interview with me for Neuronarrative, which he graciously did.

And finally, what blog post of yours are you most proud of and why?

You know, I'm not really sure how to answer that question, so I'm going to shift the emphasis just a little and say that I'm very proud of the interviews I've conducted with notables in psych, neuroscience and related disciplines. Taken together as a singular body of work, I'm most proud of them.

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