2012 Convention News


Race Masks Health-Disparity Complexity

In his Keynote Address at the 24th APS Annual Convention, James S. Jackson of the University of Michigan challenged the "easy" idea of race as an explanation for physical and mental health disparities. His years of research have found that while whites have more favorable rates of physical health disparities, blacks have more favorable rates of mental health disparities. Jackson believes these differences are best explained not by race but by the types of behaviors people engage in to reduce the stressors of life. "Racial group differences that we observe are really only a masquerade — and in fact they are not really racial group differences at all," Jackson says.

Meet the Editor of Clinical Psychological Science

John M. Musser Professor of Psychology and Child Psychiatry at Yale University, director of the Yale Parenting Center, author of a number of seminal books, and editor of the new Association for Psychological Science journal Clinical Psychological Science.

War on Wisdom

Barry Schwartz - "Bring the Family Address"

There are various ways to do the right thing and most of them are flawed. One can meticulously adhere to rules, for example. Or eagerly perform for various incentives, financial or otherwise. We can avoid the sticks and savor the carrots.

“Who Owns Science?” Scientists From Diverse Perspectives Answer

The question is as expansive and provocative as were the answers provided at the Presidential Symposium of the twenty-fourth annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science.

APS president Douglas Medin called for “diverse perspectives” when he posed the profound, three-word question “Who owns science?”

Butler Builds a Culture of Research

Butler University students Ashley Asuncion (far left), Angeline Modesti, Allison White, Trevor Spelman, and Emily Lauth

Many faculty mentors consider…


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Achieving Diversity

Elizabeth A. Phelps

Psychological research has shown the value of diversity in improving the quality of decisions while also promoting social and cultural goals of providing equal opportunity regardless of social-group membership. Although we generally think of diversity goals as assuring that every person of equal talent has an equal chance of being represented, psychological research also shows that diversity helps diminish the invisible but persistent psychological barriers that emerge from being a member of an underrepresented…


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Brain Differences Are Not Always Deficits

APS Past President Morton Ann Gernsbacher, University of Wisconsin-Madison, says identifying atypical neural functions and structure as deficits rather than differences reinforces negative stereotypes.

The public can’t seem to learn enough about the brain, judging by the abundance of popular articles, books, and TV programs that seek variously to demystify its inner workings, prevent its decline with aging, or train it to…


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Failure to Replicate the Mehta and Zhu (2009) Color Effect

Mehta and Zhu (2009) reported several studies in Science on the effects of the colors red and blue over a series of cognitive tasks. Red was hypothesized to induce a state of avoidance motivation which would cause people to become more vigilant and risk-averse in a task. Blue was hypothesized to induce a state of approach motivation which would cause people to use more innovative or risky strategies. Studies appear in high-impact journals, like Science, often because they report novel or far-reaching effects. Such studies need to be replicated in order to determine whether the finding is reliable.

My lab…


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Race/Ethnicity Moderates Associations Between Childhood Weight Status and Early Substance Use

Identification of risk-factors for early drinking, smoking, and illicit drug use is essential for targeted substance abuse prevention. Few studies have examined associations between weight during childhood and early substance use, with mixed results. Some research has linked childhood obesity to higher rates of alcohol, cigarette, and/or cannabis use during adolescence, while others have found no associations.

The present study examined the role of race/ethnicity as a potential moderator of relationships between childhood weight status and early use (by age 15) of alcohol, cigarettes, and cannabis.

Logistic regression models were conducted predicting likelihood of early substance use from childhood weight…


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