Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy

Researcher, Data Scientist, Musician

Brain Dynamics Lab

To Boldly Go

Hi, I’m Michael. I conduct psychology research, program in R, and write music. I am passionate about the methodology, philosophy, and communication of science and aim to share that with you through this site.

If you would like to keep up to date with my work you can follow me on Twitter or GitHub, or subscribe to any of the RSS feeds on this site. If you are interested in hiring or collaborating with me I encourage you to read my CV and to get in touch.


  • Brain structure, function, and dynamics
  • The auditory system
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Everything music


  • MSc in Psychology (Brain and Cognitive Science), In Progress

    University of Calgary

  • BA in Honours Psychology, 2019

    University of the Fraser Valley

Transcoding multiple files with the same setting using Apple Compressor

Apple Compressor allows you to batch transcode audio and video files to a variety of different file types. However, annoyingly, it does not provide a straightforward way to apply the same output file type setting to multiple files at once.

Writing statistical formulas in R Markdown documents

If you are taking a statistics course or writing methods-based scientific papers, it is likely that you will need to write a statistical formula at some point. R Markdown has built-in support for writing beautiful math expressions using LaTeX mathematics syntax, where any math expression is wrapped in a pair of dollar signs (for inline expressions) or double dollar signs (for display style expressions).

Simulating experimental data in R

Knowing how to simulate experimental data is an incredibly useful skill. Practically, it allows you to generate data that you can use to test your analysis scripts, making it easier to preregister those scripts along with your study plan. Theoretically, it provides you with an excellent opportunity to test your intuition about how data behaves in different experimental designs.

Books for learning R

This post is a focused collection of free books for learning R, covering topics for new and advanced users. I will try to keep it updated as I come across new resources. If there are any resources you think I should add, please leave a comment below or DM me on Twitter.

Keeping up to date with scientific publications using RSS feeds

Keeping up to date with scientific publications is no easy task. There are millions of peer-reviewed scientific papers published each year, along with a continuously growing number of preprints. For most scientists, the vast majority of these publications have no bearing on their work—they’re essentially spam—and filtering through them manually is like slaying an Academian Hydra.




Embed Multimedia Files in R Markdown HTML Documents

The Musician's Compendium

The Musican’s Compendium is a work-in-progress comprehensive educational resource of all things music.

GPA Calculator

An R Shiny app for calculating, tracking, and converting your GPA.



Doing reproducible science: An opinionated introduction

Abstract What is reproducibility and why is it important that your scientific works are reproducible? Reproducibility refers to a scientific pipeline whose steps, processes, procedures, and results can be reproduced by other scientists (or future you), ensuring that results can be verified, and that the decisions that led to those results can be understood.

If Nazi = Red, and Canadian = Red, does Red = Good or Bad? Testing the limits of implicit attitude change using the Implicit Association Test

Abstract The present experiment tested the effects of indirect implicit attitude change on performance on the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald et al., 1998). The IAT is a subjective, indirect attitude measure widely used for business, research, and political purposes despite its unestablished construct validity and questionable reliability; thus, there is a growing need for research that identifies the cognitive mechanisms underlying IAT performance in order to assess its empirical value.

Are IAT Effects an artifact of design? Testing the impact of a rest period before reversing response assignments on the Implicit Association Test

Abstract Despite its popular use in academia, business, and politics, the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald et al., 1998) continues to suffer from a number of fundamental issues that give challenge to the test’s empirical value. The present research manipulated the difficulty of the IAT by introducing a rest period between the test’s congruent and incongruent blocks, in order to identify how the IAT’s design influences a test-taker’s performance.

Positive test strategies and confirmation bias in social assessment

Abstract Snyder and Swann (1978) demonstrated that individuals systematically adopt confirmatory strategies and preferentially search for evidence that confirms existing beliefs. We suspect that Snyder and Swann’s results are an artifact of their methodology. In the present experiment, we replicated Snyder and Swann’s work, but had participants generate their own hypothesis testing questions instead of selecting questions from an existing list.

What they say is all I need: The role of narratives in confirmation bias

Abstract Social scientists have long known about the malleability of attitudes to persuasive communications. But what happens when changed attitudes transform into change-resilient beliefs? This review explores how confirmation bias, the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s pre-existing beliefs can be caused and reinforced by narratives—termed here as narrative-driven confirmation bias.