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Preaching About Teaching

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David B. Daniel

The study of how people learn stems back to the infancy of psychological science, when pioneers such as B.F. Skinner, William James, and Edward Thorndike developed “learning science” with the goal of telling teachers what to do. Nevertheless, true classroom-centered research remains scarce, argues APS Fellow David B. Daniel of James Madison University.

Daniel set the tone for the inaugural International Convention of Psychological Science Teaching Institute with a provocative opening plenary presentation. He began with a question: How can we leverage psychological science to develop usable knowledge for teaching and learning?

He advocates translating science for use in the classroom, noting that while research has uncovered substantial data about how individuals learn, much of that knowledge goes unused in educational settings. Although scientists and teachers have overlapping goals, they differ substantially in training,…

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Jennifer Richeson Named Guggenheim Fellow

PAFF_041615_JenniferRicheson_newsfeatureJennifer Richeson, an APS Fellow and former APS board member, has been selected as a 2015 Guggenheim fellow. Awarded by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the prestigious fellowships are appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.

Richeson is the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University, where she is also a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and professor of African American Studies. Her compelling research largely focuses on the social psychological phenomena of cultural diversity and social group membership, particularly the ways race and gender impact the way people think, feel and behave.

By utilizing a broad range of empirical methods, her work has uniquely examined the potential cognitive “costs” and mutual misperceptions associated with intergroup interactions. A key finding of her work is that interactions between minority and majority…

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Social Interaction and Extremism

Dominos_webAlthough many radicalized religious, political, and ideological groups have used extreme tactics — such as vandalism, arson, harassment and intimidation, and cyber attacks — to try to change others’ behavior not all groups seek to effect change in these ways. Many groups work to influence others’ beliefs and behaviors through legal political processes. What, then, causes some people to choose radical action over traditional legal forms of political engagement?

In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, researchers Emma Thomas and Craig McGarty (Murdoch University) and researcher Winnifred Louis (University of Queensland) explored the role social interaction plays in how people agree upon and accept the need for both traditional and radical action strategies.

The authors examined the impact of social interaction on politicization and radicalization in the context…

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Decoding the Neural Signature of Consciousness

Consciousness has kept philosophers and scientists occupied for centuries. Lofty ideas about humanity, agency, and responsibility all relate to the thing we call “consciousness”; and yet, we still don’t understand how this elevated concept plays out on a mechanistic level within individual people. Is it possible to pinpoint when and how conscious awareness occurs?

According to APS Fellow Stanislas Dehaene (Collège de France and INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, France) the answer may be yes. In his March 12 keynote address at the International Convention of Psychological Science, Dehaene showed how the advent of new tools is bringing us closer than ever to cracking the neural code of consciousness.

An essential component of cracking the code is being able to identify and follow stages of processing in the brain over time. By combining brain imaging tools that have high temporal resolution — such as magnetoencephalography (MEG) or electroencephalography (EEG) — with…

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Lakoff Explains Embodied Cognition

Our skin temperature rises when we get angry — hence the term “boiling mad.” Our blood pressure and heartbeat increase (as if we could “explode”). These common metaphors for anger all involve embodiment — a concrete form given to emotions, perceptions, and expressions, says world-renowned cognitive linguist George Lakoff. Essentially, he has found, humans understand complex aspects of their experience using a range of physical terms.

Lakoff delivered a comprehensive explanation of metaphor during a March 14 keynote address at the inaugural International Convention of Psychological Science in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in which he also covered the nature of embodied structures in the brain and the application of cognitive and neural linguistics in politics, psychology, literature, and more.

One of Lakoff’s main emphases was the body’s central role in conceptualization and language.

“You have connections to your body in all parts of your brain … You can only have meaningful…

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