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A New You: Behavior Change May Drive Personality Change

EC_large_2Do you want to be more productive at work? Do you want to stop worrying so much, or to be more compassionate toward others? If so, you’re not the only one — judging, that is, by the number of self-help books and seminars that tout personality-change regimens. But what does it really take to alter your personality?

In a 2014 article published in the European Journal of Personality, researchers Marie Hennecke (University of Zurich), Wiebke Bleidorn (University of California, Davis), Jaap Denissen (Humboldt-University Berlin), and Dustin Wood (Wake Forest University) presented a framework describing three preconditions for self-directed personality change. According to this framework, in order to successfully…


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Toddlers and Touchscreens: A Science in Development

In the last decade, smartphones and tablets have gone from being rare luxury devices to essential components of everyday life: Results of a recent survey show, for example, that family ownership of touchscreens in the UK increased from 7% in 2011 to 71% in 2014 (Ofcom, 2014). APS Board Member Annette Karmiloff-Smith and Tim Smith, psychological scientists at Birkbeck, University of London, want to know how this rise in digital technology may be affecting early child development. To do so, the scientists have established the TABLET project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, which aims to document the central role that touchscreen devices seem to play in family life and the enthusiasm that most children show for using the devices — in addition to recording parents’ concerns about digital technology.

This is a photo of a toddler using a tablet.The…


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Brain Activity of Passengers on Terrifying Flight Sheds Light on Trauma Memory

Neuroimaging data collected from a group of passengers who thought they were going to die when their plane ran out of fuel over the Atlantic Ocean in the summer of 2001 are helping psychology researchers better understand trauma memories and how they’re processed in the brain.

A total of eight passengers agreed to undergo fMRI scanning while they looked at video recreation of the Air Transat incident, footage of the 9/11 attacks, and a neutral event. The participants ranged in age from 30s to 60s; while some had a diagnosis of PTSD, most did not.

This is a photo of a plane flying into clouds.“This traumatic incident still haunts passengers regardless of whether they have PTSD or not. They remember the event as though it happened yesterday, when in fact it happened almost a decade ago (at the time of the brain…


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APS Commits to Promoting Transparent Science

This is a photo of a magnifying glass on papers.Conducting research in a transparent, open, and reproducible way is essential to achieving credible results that advance knowledge in any scientific discipline. Yet, there is no set of organized rules that defines and encourages such open and transparent practices.

Today in the journal Science, the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Committee announced TOP Guidelines, a set of guidelines that offer “a concrete and actionable strategy toward improving research and publishing practices.”

To date, 111 different journals and 34 organizations, including the Association for Psychological Science, have signed on in support of the idea of using publication guidelines to promote open science practices.

“The journals and organizations signing on to these guidelines represent a broad coalition across scientific disciplines, all aimed at better, clearer and more transparent reporting…


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Shoham Honored Posthumously for Contributions to Family Research

Late APS Board Member Varda Shoham was recognized posthumously as a recipient of the Distinguished Contributions to Family Systems Research Award at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA). Her husband Michael Rohrbaugh, a clinical professor of psychology and psychiatry at George Washington University, shared the award with Shoham.

AFTA is recognized Rohrbaugh and Shoham for “bringing foundational family therapy ideas into the scientific mainstream.”

An influential proponents of clinical psychological science, Shoham served as president of the Academy of Clinical Psychological Science and played a key role in the creation of the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System. For almost two decades, as faculty members at the University of Arizona, she and Rohrbaugh studied the overlap of couple and family relationships with illness, addiction, and behavior problems — work that Rohrbaugh continues at George Washington. During the last years of her life, Shoham advocated for sound…


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