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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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How Did Humans Learn to Count? Baboons May Offer Clues

This is a photo of an olive baboon in the wild.

Learning to count comes early in life for humans. Most kids know how to count before they enter formal schooling and the ability to understand basic quantities is fundamental to everyday life. Researchers at the University of Rochester wanted to know whether the cognitive underpinnings for this important ability might be found in some of our close cousins: baboons.

“Nonhuman animals do not use words like one, two, and three, or numerals like 1, 2, and 3, to “count” in the way that humans do. Nonetheless, it is well established that monkeys and other animals can approximate quantities without these symbolic labels,” researcher Jessica Cantlon and colleagues write.

While research had shown that monkeys possess a sense of numerical quantity, it wasn’t clear whether they could track and compare changing quanities…

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Intuition and Cooperative Decision Making Focus of APS Registered Replication Report Project

Editors of Perspectives on Psychological Science are now accepting proposals from researchers who would like to participate in a new Registered Replication Report (RRR) designed to replicate a 2012 experiment on cooperation and selfishness in economic decision making. The experiment, conducted by David G. Rand, Joshua D. Greene, and Martin A. Nowak, explored the hypothesis that people will be more likely to cooperate when they have to make quick, intuitive decisions.

In a one-shot, anonymous economic decision like that used in the original study, “rational” decision makers should not cooperate, because there are no personal benefits to cooperation and other players will have no opportunity to retaliate. According to the “social heuristic hypothesis,” though, when people have to make quick, intuitive decisions, they may rely on their more typical daily experience with non-anonymous interactions as the basis for their decision, leading them…

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