The APS Global Observer

Bringing you news and information about psychological science and scientists throughout the world

The Global Observer (GO), published monthly by the Association for Psychological Science (APS) bridges geographical and scientific boundaries within psychological science and with other disciplines. Click here for the latest issue.

Each issue includes a mix of research summaries, news items, commentary, and "Editor's Choice," highlighting outstanding articles from top international journals. Click here for the complete list of "Editor's Choice" selections.

GO is sent to APS members and the members of European subdisciplinary organizations that APS is partnering with in a joint effort to connect ideas and people in today's exciting psychological science enterprise. Click here for additional information on this initiative.

Note: Another project emerging from this effort is the APS Postdoc Exchange, a free searchable resource to advertise postdoctoral research and training positions from around the world, particularly in the US and Europe.

Editor's Choice

Early Attachment and Culture Affect Responses to Ostracism

In a recent study, researchers explored why people find it difficult to be excluded from a group as well as how culture and attachment affect those feelings. ... More>

The Psychological Pros and Cons of Connectivity

Modern workers are moving toward a continually connected lifestyle via mobile technology, but few psychological studies have examined the impact this has on employees’ work and personal lives. ... More>

How Friends and Personalities Mix

Close friendships can be rewarding, but they often require hard work to maintain. In a 2015 study, researchers examined the relationships among different aspects of personality and friendship satisfaction. ... More>

Learning With Amnesia

In a recent study, researchers used the unique experiences of an actor with amnesia to better understand learning in individuals affected by the syndrome. ... More>

How Language ‘Framing’ Influences Decision-Making

The way information is presented, or “framed,” when people are confronted with a situation can influence decision-making, even in situations requiring life-or-death choices. ... More>

The Apple of the Mind’s Eye

This image is an illustration of an apple.

With its simple design, the Apple Inc. logo is one of the most recognizable emblems in the world. But how well do people remember details of the icon? ... More>

Neuroimaging Highlights Emotion Perception and Memory

This is a photo of family photographs hanging on a clothesline in front of a cloudy sky.

Perception often is thought of in terms of sensory stimuli — what we see, hear, and smell — but it extends beyond the five senses, including complex function of emotional perception. We also can turn this perception inward, toward our own appraisal of an emotional stimulus. ... More>

Learned Creativity — How to Innovate in the Classroom

This is a photo of students painting in an art classroom.

Research shows that principals may have a larger impact on the schools' outcomes than previously thought. ... More>

Making Connections Within Text: A Review of Anaphor Resolution

Psychological scientists examining children's eye movements found evidence that both working-memory capacity and reading comprehension are important for developing a specific skill. ... More>

What the Rise of Large Datasets Means for Psycholinguistics

The rise of Big Data has given rise to new opportunities, such as collecting word variables, in the field of psycholinguistics. It also has raised new questions about large-scale datasets. ... More>

Fuzzy Thinking Gives Adolescents a Clearer View of Risk

APS Fellow Valerie F. Reyna, Rebecca B. Weldon, and Michael McCormick, all of Cornell University, describe how fuzzy-trace theory may provide suggestions about altering adolescents’ tendency toward risky behavior. ... More>

Examining the Mechanics of Different Types of Choice

Observations about how people make seemingly random choices have helped Maya Bar-Hillel develop a living framework to classify simultaneous choices. ... More>

Reducing Intergroup Conflict Through Contact

In a 2015 meta-analysis, psychological scientists examined the effectiveness of intergroup contact at reducing ethnic prejudice. ... More>

Bilingualism and the Aging Brain

Researchers examined the age of dementia onset in immigrant and US-born monolingual and bilingual Hispanic Americans to shed light on conflicting results about the cognitive effects of bilingualism. ... More>

Are Impulsivity Problems Memory Problems?

Behavioral scientists are exploring how various types of impulsivity and prospective memory--that is, a person's ability to make plans and execute them later on--are linked. ... More>

A Tutorial on Evaluating Hypotheses Using Bayesian Methods

In a recent article in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology, researchers used the example of a hiking trip to illustrate the advantages of Bayesian thinking over traditional statistical methods. ... More>

A New You: Behavior Change May Drive Personality Change

What does it really take to alter your personality? Researchers have presented a framework describing three preconditions for self-directed personality change. ... More>

ESCOP Journal’s ‘Best Paper’ Shows How Collaboration Influences Memory

A study led by Hae-Yoon Choi, a PhD candidate from Stony Brook University in the United States, is being recognized with the 2014 Journal of Cognitive Psychology Best Paper Award. Choi's article, “The Role of Group Configuration in the Social Transmission of Memory: Evidence From Identical and Reconfigured Groups,” focuses on how collaboration influences memory. ... More>

A New Twist on a Classic Puzzle

Researchers examining study participants' intuitive responses to a reasoning problem found that the way the information was presented significantly influenced the percentage of people who answered correctly. ... More>

Social Interaction and Extremism

In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, researchers explored the role social interaction plays in how people accept radicalism. ... More>

A New Take on Employee Burnout

Researchers from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières in Canada are seeking to learn more about employee burnout by studying how psychological needs affect certain job characteristics. ... More>

Need to Solve a Personal Problem? Try a Third-Person Perspective

Psychological scientists examine why we find it easier to solve others' problems than our own, and what we can do to eliminate this judgment bias. ... More>

How a Habit Becomes an Addiction

Barry J. Everitt of the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, outlines neural evidence that helps to explain why 20-30% of drug users descend into addiction. ... More>

Giving Brings Its Own Rewards

Psychological scientists say how we spend our money affects our overall happiness, but perhaps not in the way we assume. ... More>

The Perks of Being Detail Oriented

How we remember where we have left something may depend on the way we process our surrounding environments. ... More>

Comorbidity Among Mental Disorders: A New Approach

There may be a simpler underlying structure to psychopathology than the one implied by the current classification system, say psychological scientists. ... More>

A Closer Look at the Face in Your Toast

We often see images and words where none actually exist. Psychological scientists are taking a closer look at the neural functions behind this behavior. ... More>

An Adaptationist Theory of Trait Covariation

New research examines what factors contribute to covariation between individual traits. ... More>

The Process of Problem Solving

Psychological researchers are generating new findings on the roles that reasoning and deduction play in everyday problem-solving. ... More>

The Right Methods for the Right Questions

Two developmental psychologists call on scientists to choose methods that match the subject under investigation. ... More>

Are We Overreacting to Cyberbullies?

Expert Dan Olweus asserts that cyberbullying is far less common than traditional types of bullying. ... More>

Bilingualism Alters the Way the Mind Works

An article published in the Journal of Cognitive Psychology highlights bilingualism as one experience that can have a profound impact on lifelong neural and cognitive development and functioning. ... More>

Work Engagement: Ironing Out the Details

The problem of work engagement hasn’t been lost on the business community — or on psychologists. Research on engagement has increased exponentially over the past decade. ... More>

On the Relationship Between Social Class and Prejudice

Studies suggested that prejudice is more prevalent among people from lower social classes. A new pattern explores why this pattern exists. ... More>

The Ticking Clock

What does lateness say about us as employees? Two concurrently run studies take a look. ... More>

Think Again: Nostalgia Increases Positive Feelings Towards Out-Groups

A recent study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology suggests nostalgia has a positive effect on attitudes towards out-groups. ... More>

Sleep Unbinds Memories From Their Emotional Context

The authors of a recent article in the journal Cortex wondered if sleep could protect memories from emotional interference. ... More>

Blindsight in Children With Cerebral Lesions

A study published in Cortex addresses why some children who sustain damage to the visual processing areas of the brain retain an unconscious ability to respond to visual stimuli. ... More>

The Influence of Children’s Personalities on Interventions for Aggression

In a new study, a group of psychological scientists examines how personality influences the effectiveness of an intervention for aggressive children. ... More>

Trading Places

Hide-and-seek: child’s play, or an important developmental tool that teaches children how to work together? British scientists Alex Gillespie and Beth Richardson think it might be both. ... More>

Hearing What We Read

Psychological scientists have discovered new evidence of what goes on in the brain when people read printed words. ... More>

Putting a Little Personality Into Social Psychology (and Vice-Versa)

A group of scientists have proposed an integrative framework for studying interactions between personality and social relationships. ... More>

What’s Location Got to Do With It?

Psychological scientists Snehlata Jaswal and Robert H. Logie conducted a series of experiments to study the importance of configural encoding in feature binding. ... More>

Weighing the Risks

In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Cognitive Psychology, a team of researchers led by Toshihiro Wakebe of the University of Tokyo investigated the role of risk aversion in information-gathering behavior. ... More>

Language That Reinforces Inequality

A recent study in the European Journal of Social Psychology addresses how language can reinforce stereotypes. ... More>

Study: False Memory Increases in Nonhabitual Consumers of Caffeine

The consumption of as little as 100 mg of caffeine elicits reliable changes in arousal and, in turn, false memories in individuals who do not habitually consume caffeine, according to a new study. ... More>

Seeing and Imagining Are Different in the Brain

In an article published in the Journal of Cognitive Psychology, William L. Thompson adds to our understanding of visual perception by contrasting visual attention with visual mental imagery. ... More>

A Long-Term Approach to Studying Antisocial Behavior

A longitudinal study of Estonian adolescents that was recently published in the European Journal of Personality may be an important addition to the literature on antisocial behavior. ... More>

Everyone Judges Sexy Women — but Why?

“Are sexualized women seen as complete human beings?” — and if not, why? A group of psychological scientists led by Jeroen Vaes of the University of Padova, Italy, tried to answer these questions by studying volunteers’ reactions to photographs. ... More>

Police Prejudice Is Not What You Think

A team of psychological scientists led by Juliette Gatto of Blaise Pascal University, France, took a close look at prejudice in new police recruits, officers with a year of training, and a control group from the general population. They discovered unexpected nuances. ... More>

What Is Logical Isn’t Always True

Edward J. N. Stupple and colleagues propose a model in Journal of Cognitive Psychology to explain a logic conundrum. ... More>

Certain Kinds of Passion Can Take a Toll on Self-Esteem

The findings from a recent study in the European Journal of Social Psychology suggest that not all passions are created equal; some kinds of passion may even be harmful to your health. ... More>

The Rocky Road to a Sense of Self

A group of researchers in the Netherlands has fleshed out some of the details about relationships among identity, self, and mental health in young adolescents. ... More>

Walking: Good for More than Your Waistline

Memory is so important in our daily lives, and it can be frustrating (not to mention embarrassing) when we have trouble recalling information. But can we improve our memories? ... More>

Donate to Help? Only if Nature Caused the Disaster

The world has had a tough couple of years with wars, hurricanes, oil spills, and floods. Donations are requested, but how likely are you to donate? ... More>

Warning: This Face Is Dangerous

If you’re a little, soft-spoken guy, duking it out mano-a-mano with a tough, masculine type probably isn’t in your best interest — and a fair amount of research on threat perception and dominance explores why men perceive (and presumably avoid) threats differently. But what if you’re a little, soft-spoken gal? ... More>

Heritability in the Era of Molecular Genetics

Today it seems to be common knowledge that most behavioral and psychological traits have a heritable genetic component. But what does it really mean when a study says that the heritability of Trait X is 46%? Do you know? Do researchers know? ... More>

Writing Tip: Better “You” Than “I”

Do readers responded differently to stories depending upon whether they are narrated from the perspective of ‘‘you’’ or ‘‘I’’? Recent research published in the Journal of Cognitive Psychology offers some tips for writers who want to impact their readers. ... More>

Act Your Age

There is no denying that in Western society, youth is valued. It is estimated that in 2008, more than £16 billion was spent on anti-aging products the United Kingdom. In 2006, Americans spent over $45 billion on cosmetics, plastic surgery, and hormone therapy. Despite this massive effort to combat aging, there is little research on the social consequences of attempting to look younger.... More>

Your Brain on Injustice

In a recent article published in the European Journal of Personality, Anna Baumert and her coauthors suggested justice-sensitive people develop unique conceptions of injustice that influence their thoughts about justice.... More>

Beauty in the Brain of the Beholder

Why is it that what one art critic considers a masterpiece looks like a child’s finger painting to someone else? Psychological scientists are looking for answers by analyzing art, society, […] More>

Insight on Out-of-Body Experiences


When you hear “out-of-body experience,” you probably think of hallucinations caused by drugs or a mental instability, but a new study published in Elsevier’s Cortex suggests that out-of-body experiences (OBEs) occur in nonclinical populations as well.... More>