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282015Volume 28, Issue4April 2015

Presidential Column

Nancy Eisenberg
Nancy Eisenberg
Arizona State University, Tempe
APS President 2014 - 2015
All columns

In this Issue:
Confidentiality, Privacy, and Institutional Review Boards

About the Observer

The Observer is the online magazine of the Association for Psychological Science and covers matters affecting the research, academic, and applied disciplines of psychology. The magazine reports on issues of interest to psychologist scientists worldwide and disseminates information about the activities, policies, and scientific values of APS.

APS members receive a monthly Observer newsletter that covers the latest content in the magazine. Members also may access the online archive of Observer articles going back to 1988.

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    Disaster Response and Recovery

    Disasters like Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut draw massive media coverage, trauma interventions, and financial donations to victims. But psychological research shows the efforts don’t always yield the intended benefits.

Up Front

  • Confidentiality, Privacy, and Institutional Review Boards

    Anthony E. Kelly is Professor of Educational Psychology at George Mason University and is a Senior Advisor to the Directorate of Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation. Kelly’s interest in research methodology led to two NSF grants for the study of online learning of mathematics with the late mathematician Mika Seppälä (his colleague from Finland), which posed unanswered questions on privacy. A third NSF grant supported an interdisciplinary conference on privacy and Institutional Review Board practices, which informed this opinion piece. I heard about the interdisciplinary conference and some of the issues that were discussed among that group.


  • Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science

    Aimed at integrating cutting-edge psychological science into the classroom, Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science offers advice and how-to guidance about teaching a particular area of research or topic in psychological science that has been the focus of an article in the APS journal Current Directions in Psychological Science. Current Directions is a peer-reviewed bimonthly journal featuring reviews by leading experts covering all of scientific psychology and its applications and allowing readers to stay apprised of important developments across subfields beyond their areas of expertise. Its articles are written to be accessible to nonexperts, making them ideally suited for use in the classroom. Visit David G. Myers and C. Nathan DeWall’s new blog “Talk Psych” at

First Person

  • Grad School Abroad

    Are you considering pursuing a psychology graduate degree abroad? Have you been offered the chance to participate in an international exchange program? Studying in another country during graduate school offers many great opportunities for personal and professional growth, but it also entails challenges. For those considering international study, I offer a few tips for making the most of your experience abroad. 1. Explore Your Possibilities Sometimes, the opportunity to study abroad just knocks on your door. If your supervisor, for example, is aware of the importance of such an experience for your future career and has connections with researchers from other countries, he or she may suggest that you go on an exchange program. You can also take a more active approach if you are interested in graduate studies abroad. As a first step, check your university’s partner universities.

More From This Issue

  • Books to Check Out: April 2015

    To submit a new book, email The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Mindfulness edited by Amanda Ie, Christelle T. Ngnoumen, and Ellen J. Langer; Wiley–Blackwell, April 2014. Psychology Gone Wrong: The Dark Sides of Science and Therapy by Tomasz Witkowski and Maciej Zatonski; Brown Walker, January 29, 2015. Tales From Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in Neuroscience by Michael S. Gazzaniga; Ecco, February 3, 2015. The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve Our Lives & Our World by Anthony Biglan; New Harbinger, March 1, 2015. How and Why Thoughts Change: Foundations of Cognitive Psychotherapy by Ian M.

  • Feigenson, Niv Receive NAS Troland Award

    Lisa Feigenson and Yael Niv have been named the 2015 recipients of the Troland Research Awards, two $75,000 prizes given each year by the National Academy of Sciences to recognize young investigators for extraordinary achievement in the area of experimental psychology. Feigenson is a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and heads the Laboratory for Child Development there. Her research focuses on object representations in infants and young children, combining elements of numerical cognition, object-based attention, and short-term memory.

  • Hernandez Recognized for Research on Language Learning

    Arturo Hernandez, University of Houston, has been honored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation with a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award for his research showing how the brain learns and processes language.

  • Unifying Psychology as a Physical Science

    25 Throughout 2015, the Observer is commemorating the silver anniversary of APS’s flagship journal. Among the reports in the first issue of Psychological Science, released in January 1990, was an article titled “Mother Nature’s Bag of Tricks Is Small” by the late Duke University psychological scientist Gregory A. Kimble. In the article, Kimble argued that, like biology and physics, psychology holds fundamental principles that cut across its various specialties. In the following essay, APS Fellow Dean Keith Simonton, University of California, Davis, reflects on Kimble’s vision of unity within psychological science. There is something ironic about this article’s place in both Gregory A.

  • Registered Replication Reports: An Update

    When APS debuted the Registered Replication Report (RRR) initiative in 2013, it marked a milestone in the reproducibility movement that has been building in psychological science and other areas of scientific inquiry in recent years. The goal of the initiative is to publish large-scale, multicenter replications of important findings that can give more precise estimates of effect sizes; to this end, one RRR has been completed and several more are on the way.

  • What’s New at Psychological Science

    On January 1, Associate Editors Robert Hartsuiker (University of Ghent, Belgium), APS Fellow Keith Holyoak (University of California, Los Angeles), and APS Fellow Valerie Reyna (Cornell University) left Psychological Science (PS) to become editors of the Journal of Cognitive Psychology, Psychological Review, and Psychological Science in the Public Interest, respectively. Filling their positions at PS are Marc Buehner (Cardiff University, United Kingdom), Matt Goldrick (Northwestern University), and Leaf Van Boven (University of Colorado). Marc and Matt began their associate editorships on January 1, while Leaf will start on June 1.

  • APS Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions

    APS recognizes six psychological scientists pushing the limits of their field with the 2015 APS Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions. This year’s award-winning research spans an exceptional breadth, encompassing topics such as the overlap of visual perception and action, the evolution of cognition and culture, human collectivism, the neurobiological and behavioral roots of anxiety, cognitive science’s role in education, and the social side of emotions. In the profiles that follow, the six recipients describe their unique research programs. The Janet Taylor Spence Award is named for APS’s first elected president, who passed away in March.

  • Building Educational Bridges

    Empirically tested principles of learning and memory rarely seem to find their way into actual classrooms. Teachers still use techniques and curricula that are suboptimal for student learning, and students still use study techniques that are ineffective. As a result, many students walk out of introductory courses without the solid foundation in the subject matter that they need for more advanced coursework and for success in their everyday lives. What’s more, many teaching tools and techniques are implemented without solid evidence that they enhance learning.