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Getting Hands-On Deepens Science Learning

The rise of virtual and online classrooms has meant that students have fewer opportunities for hands-on experiences with the concepts they are learning. But new research suggests that students who are able to test or demonstrate scientific concepts in ways that are hands-on understand the concepts more deeply and score better on science tests.

This is an illustration of various physics concepts.The research, published in Psychological Science, comes from the Human Performance Lab at the University of Chicago, led by psychological scientist Sian Beilock.

“This gives new meaning to the idea of learning,” Beilock in a UChicago news story. “When we’re thinking about math or physics, getting students to actually physically experience some of the concepts they’re learning about changes how they process the information, which could lead to better performance on a test.”

To see…


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Diverse Perspectives on Strengthening Science

During the last 5 years, Perspectives on Psychological Science (PPS) has published several special sections focused on improving research methods and strengthening psychological science. This special section, introduced by Editor Barbara A. Spellman, is an eclectic collection of articles that present new insights into the strength of our science or provide commentary on topics raised in past methodology-based special sections.

Why are some scientists tempted to use questionable research practices, fabricate data, or otherwise cheat in the pursuit of science? Engel explains this temptation — and how we can reduce it — using a standard economic model describing both the individual benefits to an investigator that can arise from scientific disintegrity and the potential costs to the investigator and to other scientists.


Not all types of replications are the same. Exact replications seek to directly repeat a past study, whereas critical replications seek…


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Richeson, Behrmann Cohen, Dell, and Baillargeon Elected to NAS

APS Past Board Member Jennifer A. Richeson and APS Fellows Marlene Behrmann Cohen and Gary S. Dell have been elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS). APS Fellow Renée Baillargeon has been elected as a Foreign Associate of NAS. NAS announced the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates on April 28. Scientists are elected to NAS on the basis of “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

Jennifer A. Richeson is a professor of psychology and African American studies at Northwestern University. She studies how belonging to different social groups (e.g., racial, class, and gender groups) impacts behavior, thoughts, and emotions. One current project seeks to alleviate the stress associated with interracial interactions by reducing effortful self-regulation during such interactions.

Marlene Behrmann Cohen is a…


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Marsh Receives Cozzarelli Prize for Outstanding Research on Altruism

Marsh_Abigail_webAn article by Abigail A. Marsh of Georgetown University has been recognized with the 2014 Cozzarelli Prize for excellent, original work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Marsh coauthored the article “Neural and Cognitive Characteristics of Extraordinary Altruists” with her Georgetown colleagues Sarah A. Stoycos, Kristin M. Brethel-Haurwitz, John VanMeter, and Elise M. Cardinale, along with Paul Robinson of the University of Washington. They received the Cozzarelli Prize in the category Behavioral and Social Sciences.

In their prize-winning article, Marsh and her coauthors describe their use of structural and functional brain imaging to study “extraordinary altruists,” specifically people who donated kidneys to strangers, reducing their own welfare in order to improve the welfare of another person whom they did not know. The team discovered that in comparison with control subjects, extraordinary altruists displayed heightened activity in the right…


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A New Twist on a Classic Puzzle

Bat_and_ball“A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?”

Take a minute to think about it … Do you have the answer? Many people respond by saying that the ball must cost 10 cents. Is this the answer that you came up with? Although this response intuitively springs to mind, it is incorrect. If the ball cost 10 cents and the bat costs $1.00 more than the ball, then the bat would cost $1.10 for a grand total of $1.20. The correct answer to this problem is that the ball costs 5 cents and the bat costs — at a dollar more — $1.05 for a grand total of $1.10.

So why do so many people answer incorrectly? The answer is that people often substitute difficult problems with…


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