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Draft of Observer Column Sparks Strong Social Media Response

A set of abstract watercolor textured speech bubbles in various sizes and colors all overlapping symbolizing gossip, social media networking and conversation.

The Observer, APS’s membership magazine, found itself in an unusual position this week when a draft of an upcoming Presidential Guest Column began circulating on Facebook and Twitter. The opinion piece, written by APS Past President Susan T. Fiske at the invitation of current APS President Susan Goldin-Meadow, decries the unmoderated criticism of researchers on social media.

The piece, submitted for publication in the magazine’s November issue and still in the editing phase, has generated a strong response on Twitter and Facebook, with many criticizing both Fiske and the Observer for its tone and content.

APS encourages its members to air differing viewpoints on issues of importance to the…

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New Reports Showcase Collaborations Between Governments, Behavioral Scientists

Whitehouse_rotator1Dozens of collaborations between behavioral scientists and government agencies are on display in two new reports emanating from Washington, D.C. and the United Kingdom.

Annual reports from the White House’s nascent Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) and the UK’s Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) are now available online, and reflect a rise in governments and businesses across the globe applying behavioral science to their operations.

The White House created the SBST in 2014, and in 2015 President Obama signed an executive order directing federal agencies to incorporate more behavioral science into their activities and services. As noted in the just-released 2015-16 annual report, SBST’s scope of work expanded significantly within the past year to include 40 different collaborations with federal agency partners. (more…)

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The Psychological Pros and Cons of Connectivity

This is a photo of a Black businessman.Although modern workers are moving toward a continually connected lifestyle via mobile technology, few psychological studies have examined the impact this has on employees’ work and personal lives. But a recently published study from South Africa indicates that people generally view their experiences with smart phones, emails, and wireless networks with more positivity than negativity.

A team led by industrial psychology researcher Wihan de Wet of North-West University in the Johannesburg area created a qualitative research design using semistructured interviews. The sample included 25 adults, ages 24 to 60, employed in various industries including finance, law, education, health care, and mining.

More than 90% of the participants said they used at least three communication devices. The researchers asked them…

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Preregistration, Replication, and Nonexperimental Studies

Why Preregistration Makes Me Nervous,” APS President Susan Goldin-Meadow’s column in the September 2016 issue of the Observer, has generated considerable interest online, as reflected in comments on the APS website and on social media. In light of that response, we provide an early posting of her October column, in which she continues her examination of preregistration.

This is a portrait of APS President Susan Goldin-Meadow.In last month’s column, I worried about whether encouraging us to preregister our hypotheses and analysis plan before running studies would stifle discovery. I came to the conclusion that it needn’t — but that we need to guard against letting the practice run away with itself. In this column, I take up a second concern…

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Heart Trouble: Exploring Links Between Racism and Health Risks

This is a photo of a stethoscope and a cardiac monitor reading.Studies have shown that perceptions of racial bias contribute to health disparities between Blacks and Whites, but a fundamental question remains: Is overt bias linked with health disparities, independently of people’s perceptions? Psychological scientist Jordan Leitner and colleagues took advantage of data from two large samples to find out.

Their findings, published in Psychological Science, suggest that people who live in communities with high levels of overt racism are more likely to die from heart disease and other circulatory diseases, and this is especially true for Black individuals.

“This suggests that living in a racially hostile environment might be detrimental to both the group targeted by this bias, in this case Blacks, as well as the group that harbors the bias, in this case Whites,” lead study author Jordan…

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