How researchers get heard
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Who Owns Halloween?

Not commercially — I know that’s Instagram and your local pet costume pop-up store. I mean scientifically. Who can scientifically explain why the hell we love Halloween so much?

Mathias Clasen, for a start. Five years ago, Clasen (an assistant professor of literature and media at Aarhus University) wrote this wonderful synthetic essay for the British Psychological Society, curating what research says about the anthropological and evolutionary psychological roots of Halloween.

It’s cool. And it’s a cool example of resource content, summarizing what research has discovered on a question.

But Clasen’s essay is a one-off. What if a research group decided to “own” (as in, curate) what research knows about Halloween?

BPS also threw together 31 links about the psychology of zombies, horror films, being buried alive and other scary stuff. But it’s just a link roundup.

Creating the resource everyone turns to to learn what’s behind Halloween — from psychology to economics, or just either one of those — would give your organization massive branding potential.

Yes, it’s impossible to “own” research around Halloween. But staking the claim to curation (and synthesis, a la Clasen’s piece) of what the literature says around a big question your audiences have would make your organization’s expertise concretely valuable.

So: what’s your Halloween — what big question could your organization own as a research curator and expert?

And if you’ve decided not to own that big question and its huge potential upside in attention, why not?