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Volume 16, Issue4April 2003

Presidential Column

Susan T. Fiske
Susan T. Fiske
Princeton University
APS President 2002 - 2003
All columns

In this Issue:
So You Want To Be a Social Neuroscientist?

About the Observer

Published 6 times per year by the Association for Psychological Science, the Observer educates and informs on matters affecting the research, academic, and applied disciplines of psychology; promotes the scientific values of APS members; reports on issues of international interest to the psychological science community; and provides a vehicle for the dissemination on information about APS.

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    Myths and Misinformation

    How does misinformation spread and how do we combat it? Psychological science sheds light on the mechanisms underlying misinformation and ‘fake news.’

Up Front


  • So You Want To Be a Social Neuroscientist?

    In this guest column, Lisa Feldman Barrett, an emotions researcher who employs a wide range of methodologies, reflects on starting up a new line of expertise, with some tips for easing the stretch when bridging boundaries. Susan T. Fiske APS President About thirty years ago, the cognitive revolution brought a new subdiscipline to social psychology. We called it social cognition, and we imported complex methods and theories from cognitive science to support and guide our understanding of social behavior, asking new questions about the social mind. More recently, we are beginning to apply cognitive neuroscience to the social mind, investigating links between mind, brain, and behavior. Some call this new, emerging subdiscipline social neuroscience. I've been applying these neuroscience methods to my research on emotional experience, which originated from a social psychology perspective.

APS Spotlight


  • 50 Years of DNA: What It Has Meant to Psychological Science

    Celebrate the discovery more than the discoverers ... Rosalind Franklin Discovering the structure of DNA was a race that others would soon have won if Watson and Crick had not beaten them to it. In part, Watson and Crick won the race because they had seen an unpublished X-ray photograph of DNA by Rosalind Franklin that showed unmistakable evidence of a helical structure. Two weeks later, they built their famous model of DNA as a double helix. Franklin died 5 years later at the age of 37 not knowing that Watson and Crick had seen her DNA photograph before they published their model of DNA. Although Franklin has been used as an example of the misogyny of the science establishment because she did not share in the Nobel prize for discovering the structure of DNA, Nobel prizes are never awarded posthumously - Franklin died in 1958 and the Nobel prize was awarded in 1962 (Maddox, 2002). REFERENCE Maddox, B. (2002). Rosalind Franklin: The dark lady of DNA. London: Harper Collins. The 20th century has been called the century of the gene. The century began with the re-discovery of Mendel's laws of heredity. The word genetics was first coined in 1903.

  • Sobriety Epidemic Endangers Nation’s Well-Being

    Experts are warning of an alarming new plague overtaking our community and our very culture: sobriety. Everywhere the seemingly ubiquitous face of sobriety appears to be rearing its ugly head. Although some may in the name of tolerance seek to make light of sobriety or dismiss it as a passing, harmless fad, disturbing statistics reveal what may turn out on closer inspection to be merely the poisonous tip of the iceberg of woe. As just one example, newly released FBI statistics have revealed that a shocking number of crimes are committed by people who are legally sober at the time. In 1997, over half the murders and robberies, and nearly half the assaults that resulted in arrest were perpetrated by sober people. In many cases, both the assailant and the victim were found to be sober. Official traffic statistics suggest that sober people are often a menace to themselves and others. Sober people have been found to be responsible for half the fatal car crashes and a large number of lesser accidents. If one includes both drivers and passengers of all cars involved, a whopping 87 percent of all automotive accidents involve at least one sober person - sometimes even a child.

First Person


  • Publishing in Graduate School: Tips for New Graduate Students

    If your career goal is to become a research psychologist, there are few more worthwhile endeavors you can undertake than writing an article or two while you are still in graduate school. Publishing quality research not only can let you contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge, but also can form the basis for a future program of research, providing the groundwork for a successful career as a research scientist. In addition, potential employers often appreciate a demonstrated ability to conduct and publish research. But how can you balance conducting and publishing research with the competing needs to do well in classes, write your thesis and dissertation, pass your comps, and have a social life outside of academia? As a beginning graduate student, you may have doubts that you measure up when it comes to the skills required to produce original research.

More From This Issue


  • Michigan State University

    Michigan State University Neal Schmitt, chair Department of Psychology Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48824-1117 Michigan State University was founded in 1855 as the nation's first land grant university prior to the enactment of the Morrill Act in 1862. The university served as the model for the 69 land grant universities that were subsequently established under that act. MSU started as a school devoted to teaching the science of agriculture, but is now a comprehensive research university with 4,402 faculty and academic staff, and 34,342 undergraduate, 7,657 graduate, and 1,367 professional students.

  • Science Goes to School: Grant Program Seeks Scientific Foundation for Nation’s Schools

    He was hooked by a 5-year-old girl. While at State University of New York-Stony Brook, Robert Siegler conducted a standard experiment, but with low expectations that he could duplicate Jean Piaget's findings. He poured water from one glass into a taller, thinner glass and asked the young girl if the amount of water had changed. She said yes, there was now more water. He repeated the procedure and asked his advisor, Robert Liebert, the same question. Liebert answered correctly, of course, and explained why pouring didn't change the amount.

  • Psychologists in Non-Traditional Academic Departments

    Crossing Disciplines, Languages, and Borders By Linda Polka Linda Polka is an associate professor in the school of communication sciences and disorders at McGill University. She is also the interim director of McGill's inter-disciplinary doctoral program in language acquisition. Polka received her PhD in experimental psychology, and completed the academic and clinical practica to become a clinical audiologist at the University of South Florida in 1989. Her research has examined how language experience shapes the development of speech perception.

  • From Bench to Trench: NCI Building Science-at-the-Ready Solutions

    One hundred fifty participants, evenly distributed among researchers, health care practitioners, and representatives of public and private funders and nonprofit public policy organizations, gathered last fall in Washington, D.C. for a "Designing for Dissemination" conference, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Center for the Advancement of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.