I am Neuroscience PhD, a humanist, skeptic, feminist, avid reader, science enthusiast, woolly-liberal über-nerd, and, as of October 2015, father to the Lykketroll.

I moved from England to Norway in January 2012 and live in Lørenskog with my wife, the Lykketroll, and our two aging rescue cats, Socrates and Schrödinger. 

I am on paternity leave from the 4th of July to the 18th of November. 

The job I am on leave from is as an  Associate Professor and Head of Studies at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. My background is in child neurodevelopment (my PhD looked into the relationship between fatty acids like omega-3 and cognitive development in young children) but I now work on a hodge-podge of things roughly within the field of Universal Design of ICT 50% of the time, the other 50% of my time I am Head of the 'General' Studies (Allmenn in Norwegian) Unit, which is comprised of around 24 academics within a range of fields, including mathematics, physics, Norwegian, and technology and leadership.

In between working and doing the usual dad things,  I like hiking and running in the beautiful Norwegian outdoors, cooking and playing video games. 

If I believed in souls I would say that mine was born in Norway. 

I plan to sleep when I'm dead.

Flowers and MILFs: 14-year-olds play a gender word-association game

By far the most interesting session I have participated in during my time observing/assisting with a HEF confirmation course has been the session on love and sexuality, with two exercises in particular standing out. The first was a word-association game, which I write about below, and the second was a Q&A session where the confirmants could submit questions about sex anonymously and have them answered. I've decided to turn that into a separate post, as their questions were so interesting that I feel they deserve fuller, better researched answers.

For the word-association game, the confirmants were split into boys and girls

. Each group had to write the first word(s) that came to mind when thinking about ‘boys’ and ‘girls’. First they did so for their down gender, and then for the opposite gender. The group with the highest number of different words, regardless of what they were, ‘won’.

I've translated the words (all the ones I could read) and combined the results of the two different confirmation groups I assist with below.

Screenshot_1.jpg

The results are largely predictable for a bunch of 14-year-olds, with lots of words relating to pubescent bodies. What really caught my eye, however, and the thing I'm not really sure what to make of, are words written by the boys like ‘whore’, ‘MILF’, ‘hardcore’ and ‘2 girls 1 cup’, or ‘cunt’ (which is the worst the girls came up with). It’s disheartening, to say the least, that they’re up on the board – that they are some of the first words that come to boys' minds when they think of girls, or at least one of the words is. I suspect that it was a case of one word being written and the rest being a product of bravado as they egged each other on to be more 'offensive', ergo more 'cool'.

Why its should be cool to write 'MILF' or '2 girls 1 cup' is what's really interesting. Are they like me, someone who's only ever heard about, but never actually seen, the infamous video? If they know what it's actually of, how do they feel about it? What do they understand about what the term 'MILF' means; not in literal terms, but in relation to the woman it is being used to describe?

The sad thing is that the board-writing exercise was supposed to be followed up with a discussion of which words were up on the board and why, but we ran out of time, leaving a lot of unanswered questions. The next time the exercise is run, I'll be sure to leave a lot more time to find out exactly what these kids think and why.

Penis length, virginities and paraphilias: Answering some questions 14-year-olds have about sex

Hamza Tzortzis back at Aston University, despite the controversy