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Celebrity gossip, psychology edition

Posted by Robin Abrahams  June 20, 2008 10:45 AM

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The psychology blog Mind Hacks has a entry today about a profile of Steven Pinker in the Guardian, which, of course, notes his "trademark rock-star chic." They note:

Here at Mind Hacks, we're glad someone else has finally picked up on Professor Pinker's rock n' roll credentials as we've noted for some time that he bears an uncanny resemblance to Joey Tempest, lead singer of 80s rock band Europe.

Their observation is illustrated with the following graphic:


Finally? Excuse me, Mind Hacks, but Mr. Improbable and I formed the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists in 2001, with Dr. Pinker as the founding member:

The first member, chosen by acclamation, was psychologist Steven Pinker, whose hair has long been the object of admiration, and envy, and intense study. From that lone, Pinkerian seed, there has grown a spreading chestnut, black, blond, and red-haired membership tree, which you can see below and on the other LFHCfS web pages.

The LFHCfS has been going strong ever since, and now boasts many hundreds of members. The LFHCfS began with a dream I had in graduate school--one night, deep in the throes of dissertation angst, I dreamed that I had been asked to edit a special issue of a very prestigious psychology journal, which would be entirely dedicated to the work of Steven Pinker. As editor, my main responsibility was to ensure that every article mentioned Dr. Pinker's luxuriant flowing hair. Upon awakening, I told Mr. Improbable of this, and the LFHCfS was born.

I'm so lucky to be married to a man who makes my dreams come true.

But Dr. Pinker and Mr. Tempest are not the only uncanny look-alikes in the world of psychology. J.B. Watson, the founder of behaviorism, bears a striking resemblance to John O'Hurley, best known as J. Peterman on "Seinfeld":


B.F. Skinner, another famous behaviorist who liked to go by his initials (it was the fad at the time; they believed that by rendering their actual first names a "black box" they would be considered more scientific), is a ringer for popcorn mogul Orville Redenbacher:


And humanist Abraham Maslow, best known for his hierarchy of human needs, looks adorably yet disturbingly like that slow-moving Australian marsupial, the wombat:


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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at

Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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