A Prescription for Change

New insights from learning and motivation science are challenging conventional views of addiction as a brain disease.

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Volume 32, Issue4April 2019

Presidential Column

Barbara Tverksy
Barbara Tversky
Teachers College, Columbia University and Stanford University
APS President 2018 - 2019
All columns

In this Issue:
Philosophy and Psychological Science: Let’s Revive the Cognitive Revolution!

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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Featured


Up Front


  • Philosophy and Psychological Science: Let’s Revive the Cognitive Revolution!

    Valeria Giardino is the ultimate multi-multi-multi. Or inter- inter- inter-. She is multi-disciplinary, multi-national, multi-lingual, an Italian philosopher who collaborates with psychologists, a CNRS researcher in Nancy (France) at the Henri Poincaré Archives, University of Lorraine, with previous research positions in the US, the UK, Spain, and Germany. Characteristically, she has brought that breadth and depth to bear on broad issues of interest to both philosophy and psychological science: philosophy of science, logic, epistemology, and mathematics. She has put forth a new vision and new approaches to the study of scientific, especially mathematical, reasoning. Her work has elegantly shown ways in which mathematical reasoning relies on nonverbal tools for thought, in particular diagrams and gestures.

Practice


First Person


  • Student Notebook: Diverse Opportunities for Students in Psychological Science

    When the weather starts to get chilly and the leaves start to fall, students begin the application process for graduate school. Starting with writing and revising their resumes, students gather all the information that will strengthen and support their applications. Although a high GPA is widely perceived as a determining factor for graduate school entrance, there are other significant factors that can help students’ applications stand out as well. These include involvement on campus and with professional organizations, leadership positions, research experiences, mentoring experiences, and internships. Campus Leadership Being involved in different sub-organizations in the psychology department at the State University of New York at Fredonia (SUNY Fredonia) allowed my colleagues and I to feel a sense of belonging.

More From This Issue


  • Insights From High-Risk Fields Can Help Minimize Mistakes in the Lab

    Everyone makes mistakes, including psychology researchers. Small missteps, such as typing a name incorrectly or forgetting to write down an important piece of code, can have significant and frustrating consequences for identifying research mistakes and eliminating them before a manuscript is submitted for publication. In an article published in Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, researcher Jeffrey Rouder of the University of California, Irvine and colleagues use principles drawn from high-risk fields to propose best practices for minimizing mundane mistakes in psychology labs.

  • Nora S. Newcombe, Linda B. Smith Receive SEP Awards

    The Society of Experimental Psychologists (SEP) has awarded its most prestigious honors to APS William James Fellows Nora S. Newcombe and Linda B. Smith in recognition of their pioneering achievements in experimental psychology.

  • Trigger Warnings Do Little to Reduce People’s Distress, Research Shows

    Trigger warnings that alert people to potentially sensitive content are increasingly popular, especially on college campuses, but research suggests that they have minimal impact on how people actually respond to content. The findings are published in Clinical Psychological Science. “We, like many others, were hearing new stories week upon week about trigger warnings being asked for or introduced at universities around the world,” says psychology researcher Mevagh Sanson of The University of Waikato, first author on the research.

  • 2019 APS Mentor Awards

    Four APS Fellows have been selected to receive the APS Mentor Award, given each year in recognition of APS members who masterfully help students and others discover their own research and career goals. Beyond their individual contributions to diverse areas of research, such as the science of motivation, memory, social and cognitive learning, and education, these scholars’ dedication to their students and colleagues has fostered a thriving community of psychological scientists. Carol S. Dweck - Marcia K. Johnson - Geraldine Downey - Mark H. Johnson Carol S.

  • Honoring John M. Darley

    The Princeton University faculty recently adopted a memorial resolution honoring APS Past President and William James Fellow John Darley, who passed away in August 2018. Darley served on the Princeton faculty for 44 years. He is widely known for his research, in collaboration with Bibb Latané, on bystander behavior in emergencies, and for his contributions to science across a vast range of areas, including morality and the law, the function of punishment, and energy conservation.

  • Harnessing the Power of the Mind for Pain Relief

    Humans are hardwired to avoid and escape pain. It’s there to help us survive, signaling an imminent threat that we need to evade. But when pain becomes chronic, those danger signals don’t stop ringing. People aren’t born equipped to manage that kind of daily distress — making opioids an attractive, and often necessary, option. But research by psychological scientist Beth Darnall suggests that we may be able to learn to dampen these alarms ourselves through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Pain is both a sensory and an emotional experience, says Darnall, a professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford University.

  • The Science of Behavior Change

    An overview of just some of the programming coming to the APS Annual Convention in Washington, DC.  To see all the exciting symposia, plenary sessions, and other events, click here.   Behavioral factors are central to many public health challenges, including tobacco use, obesity, and cancer, so it’s no surprise that changing behavior has the potential to improve health. But what are the scientifically proven ways to encourage that behavior change? Scientists will share answers to that question at the APS Annual Convention in Washington, DC in an event organized by the Science of Behavior Change Research Network (SOBC).

  • Where Psychology Majors Work

    All of us involved in undergraduate education go to great lengths to ensure our curriculum provides training in the content, methods, critical thinking, and communication skills appropriate for a major in the science of psychology. But despite that training, neither employers nor psychology students presume they have the skills important for success in the world of work. In a 2012 paper, educational psychologist Todd Haskell (Western Washington University) and colleagues pointed out how this irrational belief persists, with negative consequences for our field and our students — particularly when it comes to their career choices and the opportunities they seek.

  • Back Page: Attitudes About Accents

    Psychologist scientist Karolina Hansen of the University of Warsaw in Poland investigates the assumptions and biases we harbor toward foreign and native accents. How did you become interested in studying linguistic biases? It all started with a Cognitive Psychology lecture. The whole lecture was interesting, but what especially attracted my attention was the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis about linguistic relativity. I found it a fascinating and intuitively true idea that people who speak different languages will see the world differently. Straight after the lecture I borrowed a book with a collection of Whorf’s articles and essays from a library.