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Breaking Free From Bad Behaviors

Many people try their best to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Others strive to be good environmental stewards, cutting down their usage of electricity and water. And still others intend to treat everyone fairly, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.

But those efforts require a level of self-control that can easily be drained. Old habits die hard.

In a cross-cutting theme program titled “Breaking Free — Intersecting Perspectives on the Science of Behavior Change” at the 2016 APS Annual Convention in Chicago, psychological scientists shared cutting-edge research on halting and reversing destructive behavior.

APS Fellow Russell A. Poldrack of Stanford University strayed from the focus on self-control to discuss his research on the use of automatic mechanisms to change behavior. Poldrack asserts that habits we learn early on (including bad ones) are not overwritten when we break them, but instead lurk in a latent state to emerge later on.…


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Deploying Technology to Revolutionize Science

The technology revolution is raising new questions for both the science and the applications of psychology. Can mental health care be delivered remotely over the Internet? Can we use neuroimaging technology to adaptively control our own brain activity? How can technology be used to study people in settings far more natural than a lab?

In a cross-cutting theme program, “Advancing Psychological Science Through Technology,” at the 2016 APS Annual Convention in Chicago, leading researchers opened a window into the future role of technology in psychological science.

Psychological and computer scientist Rainer Goebel, who directs the Maastricht Brain Imaging Center at Maastricht University, the Netherlands, talked about the use of ultra-high magnetic field scanners as a way to link cognitive phenomena such as perception, attention, working memory, imagery, and awareness to cortical layers in the brain.

Noting the scientific potential of online panels and communities, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk, Tara…


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Bower Reflects on Integrating Two Theoretical Frameworks

This is a photo of APS Past President Gordon H. Bower.As a Yale university graduate student back in the mid 1950s, APS Past President and William James Fellow Gordon H. Bower was being indoctrinated into the then-dominant learning theory of Clark Hull, who sought to explain learning and motivation by scientific laws of behavior.

But he became a devotee of William K. Estes’s statistical theory of learning after meeting him at a 1957 workshop.

At the APS-Psychonomic Society W. K. & K. W. Estes Lecture at the 2016 APS Convention in Chicago, Bower delivered a 60-year retrospective on his attempts to integrate or translate Hull’s theory into Estes’s statistical framework. He also talked about his many years of collaboration with…


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Workshop Shows how to Make Open Science an Everyday Practice

Courtney Soderberg and Brian Nosek discuss the importance of open-science practices.How can we carry out research that is credible and useful in solving social problems? What are the interventions, tools, and techniques that will improve the daily practice of psychological science? These are the questions that motivate researcher Brian Nosek, Courtney Soderberg, and the rest of the team at the Center for Open Science (COS) in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In their workshop at the 2016 APS Annual Convention in Chicago, Nosek (Executive Director of COS and professor of psychology at the University of Virginia) and Soderberg (statistical consultant at COS) highlighted the practical strategies and tools that scientists can use to conduct research in a way that fosters openness, integrity, and…


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Ariely Packs Address With Jokes, Anecdotes, and Lots of Science

This is a photo of Dan Ariely giving the Fred Kavli keynote address at the 2016 APS Annual Convention.True to form, Dan Ariely packed his Fred Kavli Keynote Address with plenty of jokes and humorous anecdotes in the opening night of the 2016 APS Annual Convention in Chicago. But his 40-minute speech still incorporated plenty of the behavioral science that has made him famous.

Ariely, the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, discussed his years of research, involving tens of thousands of study participants, showing how people cheat or lie just a little — in a way that…


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