The City Psychologist and the Country Psychologist
A Modern Academic Fable by Aesop Mueller There was once an experimental psychologist who lived in the country. This Country Psychologist worked at a small University With A Direction In Its Name, and taught a lot of classes, but he was very happy. One day, a psychologist from the city came to the University With A Direction In Its Name on sabbatical. The City Psychologist was from a Big University named after a Big State, with a Big Football Team and Big Classes. The Country Psychologist and the City Psychologist collaborated on research projects, and had a good semester. At the end of the semester, the City Psychologist said, "When you get a sabbatical, you should come visit me at the Big University. It will be fun!" Not too much later, the Country Psychologist got a sabbatical, and did just that. He went to visit the City Psychologist at the Big University. The City Psychologist showed the Country Psychologist the brand new fMRI scanner in the Big University Medical School. The eyes of the Country Psychologist got big and he cried, "Never in all my years in the country have I seen something so beautiful!" They began to run subjects. After the first three subjects were run, a Medical Doctor saw what the two psychologists were doing, and said, "Why are they stealing my scanning times?" He informed the Big University Regents and soon the City Psychologist and the Country Psychologist ran back to the psychology building, where they hid in their offices and the Country Psychologist dreamed of what other wonders the Big University held. He soon found out. Later that week the City Psychologist showed the Country Psychologist a piece of paper that said "NSF" on the top, with a red stamp saying "APPROVED" near the bottom. The City Psychologist asked the Country Psychologist, "Have you ever gotten a research grant?" "Once, a long time ago," the Country Psychologist lied. He was excited to find out that at the Big University, they give you money for doing research. So they hired a post-doc and some graduate student research assistants, and began doing research. At first, all of their data were perfect. Every graph showed a classic two-way interaction, and all the p values were below 0.01. But before too long, they found out that the post-doc had been falsifying their data and the graduate student research assistants had been embezzling the funds that weren't spent on the subjects that had never been run. Pretty soon, there was another stamp on the piece of paper that had "NSF" on the top and "APPROVED" near the bottom. This one was green and said "Probationary Status--Funds Denied". But still the Country Psychologist dreamed of the other wonders the Big University held. He soon found out. The Country Psychologist and the City Psychologist were again hiding in their offices, when the City Psychologist told the Country Psychologist about a special meeting that he was about to have with a group of people called the Tenure Committee. The City Psychologist told the Country Psychologist, "If they like me at this meeting, then I NEVER HAVE TO WORK AGAIN!" The Country Psychologist heard this and had to sit down to avoid fainting. "Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles! What a place the Big University is! I'm going to come here for good as soon as possible!" And so the City Psychologist had the meeting with the tenure committee. At the meeting, there was a Bitter Old Faculty Member, who did not like the City Psychologist. And so the Tenure Commitee did not like the City Psychologist, and told him that he had to leave the Big University. When the Country Psychologist heard the terrible news, he had a change of heart. "How horrible is the Big University, for though it has fMRI and grants and tenure, it also has Regents and Post-docs and Bitter Old Faculty. I would rather be back in the country, at my University With A Direction In Its Name, happy, peaceful, poor, and unknown, than here at the Big University with all its wonders and pleasures, living every day in fear and terror." And so the Country Psychologist returned to the country and the University With A Direction In Its Name, and the City Psychologist soon followed, and there they lived happily, for all of the rest of their days.