This is a PDF download licensed for personal use only - read full licence terms.
Academic writing can be beautiful. It can be elegant, whimsical, moving, funny, passionate, persuasive. But mostly it's not. What we read in books, journals, yes, even in these pages, often leaves us cold. Why do many psychologists write so badly?
Other scientists have pondered this question: for example, see Stephen Heard's call 'to deliver (and to value) pleasure along with function in our scientific writing' (tinyurl.com/pdlfmnf). Amongst much support for this notion on social media were complaints that such attempts had been quashed by editors - is the academic system simply not set up for beauty?
Or is there more to it than that? On p.198 Simon Oxenham and I discuss the uncomfortable idea that there is some sorcery at play... that obscure writing not only survives but thrives, because it works. We then get tips from psychologists who do write well, and seek your views.
Talking of beauty in prose, see our website for our first poetry competition (and so much more). And over on www.bps.org.uk/digest, listen to the new Digest podcast!
Dr Jon Sutton
Managing Editor @psychmag
Words and sorcery
Simon Oxenham and Jon Sutton consider the causes and consequences of bad writing in psychology
Eldercare: The new frontier of work-family balance
Lisa Calvano on the psychological impact of caring for spouses and parents
Michael A. Smith looks at glucose effects on human memory performance
Managing and coping with sexual identity at work
Y. Barry Chung, Tiffany K. Chang and Ciemone S. Rose consider LGBT issues
New voices: Are we mindful of how we talk about mindfulness?
Kate Williams with the latest in our series for budding writers
Thinking machines; scars; cigarette packaging; questions about scientists; and more
President's column; conversion therapy
Psychologists against austerity; public engagement; the right to be forgotten; anonymous contributors; the fitness to practise process; and more
Dismissing evidence from psychology; bad managers; the Cyranoid illusion; how brains respond to corporations; and more from our free Research Digest.
See www.bps.org.uk/digest for more, including episode one of PsychCrunch
An interactive mind: Jon Sutton talks to Andreas Roepstorff (Aarhus University)
We talk to social psychologist Robin Goodwin; hear about the role of psychological well-being practitioner from Katie Bogart; and Harriet Mills tells us about her work with Triumph Over Phobia
One on one
with Peter Venables, Emeritus Professor at the University of York and winner of the Society's Lifetime Achievement Award
Eye on fiction: A disquieting look at dementia
Mike Bender provides a critique of Lisa Genova's novel Still Alice, the film adaptation of which is out this month
the usual mix of books and other media reviews, including The Eichmann Show, The Hard Problem at the National Theatre, a synaesthetic dining experience, Invisibilia, Happy Maps and much more
Masculinity, trauma and 'shell shock': Tracey Loughran delivers a fitting tribute to the men who suffered in the First World War, and more modern conflicts
Five years ago
Go to www.thepsychologist.org.uk for our archive, including Alison Gopnik on the supreme infant
Big picture centre-page pull-out
The path to participation: Society award winner Guy Holmes on 'walk and talk', part of a growing movement in community psychology