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Cover Story

March Methodology Madness

Every spring, March Madness hits college basketball in the US. The Observer borrows the tournament’s nickname to spotlight innovations and trends in research practices. In our annual March Methodology Madness issue, we report on the latest tools and techniques that psychological scientists are pioneering and employing to advance the study of the human condition. ... More>


Presidential Column

The Minimum Description Length Principle

Both as scientists and in our everyday lives, we make probabilistic inferences. Mathematicians may deduce their conclusions from their stated premises, but the rest of us induce our conclusions from data. . . . How can we decide when complex hypotheses are justified? ... More>


Observer Article

Under the Hood of Mechanical Turk

When Amazon launched a product called Mechanical Turk (MTurk) just over a decade ago, the e-commerce giant billed it as an online service to enable a marketplace of workers to complete tasks in exchange for payment. But it didn’t take long for the product to become a significant research tool in psychological science worldwide. ... More>


Observer Article

Video as Data

Children’s behavior is rich, complex, and fascinating. But it is transient. At every time scale, from milliseconds to months, behavior happens and then it vanishes. Newborns’ “gas smiles” metamorphose into expressions of real pleasure, babies’ babbles become reciprocal conversations and teen poetry jams, and infants’ awkward toddling steps transform into ballet recitals and soccer goals. But all of it disappears into the ether as soon as the moment has passed. ... More>


Observer Article

Across Your Universe

When considering all the ways smartphones have revolutionized our society, their impact on psychological research may not be at the top of most people’s lists. But the new ubiquity of handheld communications devices has granted researchers unprecedented access to their subjects. ... More>