Brains and Bacteria

What’s in our guts can affect what’s on our minds. Psychological scientists and microbiologists collaborate to explore the relationships among gut microbes, mood, behavior, and the immune system.

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Volume 31, Issue10December 2018

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.

APS members receive the Observer newsletter and may access the online archive going back to 1988.

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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.’

Featured


  • APS Past President Morton Ann Gernsbacher designs her online psychology courses
    to encourage students to engage with content more deeply than they might in traditional college classes.

  • Through lab experiments and field studies with survivors of historic wildfires, APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Richard A. Bryant has demonstrated the power of relationships and community to temper psychological trauma.

Up Front


  • The Mind-Body-Environment Connection

    To say that Sarah Williams Goldhagen is a prolific writer on architecture and urban design would be an understatement. Similarly, to say that Sarah Williams Goldhagen is a passionate advocate of human-centered design would be an understatement. But there you have it, and if you are inspired, you have much to explore, beginning with her 2017 book, Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes our Lives, which was indeed welcomed by the world with rave reviews. Her perspective on architecture and urban design is deeply affected by her extensive knowledge of psychology, from end to end. She argues forcefully that the built world affects every aspect of our well-being and social interactions. Goldhagen is also a frequent speaker and contributor to many magazines and papers.

First Person


  • Getting Involved On and Off Campus

    For many people, the first few years of graduate school are pretty much alike: spending hours reading journal articles, taking classes, formulating research questions, doing the research, and writing papers. Aside from the occasional required self-care (e.g., sleeping, eating, bathing), graduate school becomes all about the academics. Sure, during first-year orientation I learned about the events I could be attending, the graduate student government, and the community, but those concerns were easy to ignore while I focused intently on research. At the time, I didn’t understand the importance of the idea that, even in graduate school, it was important to have and maintain a work-life balance. My involvement started small; I began as a Campus Representative for the APS Student Caucus (APSSC).

More From This Issue


  • Klatzky, Bonanno, MacCoun Honored With 2019 APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award

    APS Past Treasurer Roberta L. Klatzky and APS Fellows George A. Bonanno and Robert J. MacCoun have received the 2019 APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award. Klatzky is a professor in the department of psychology as well as at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. She researches perception and action, focusing on touch and space perception and cognition. Some of her basic research has been applied to navigational aids for the visually impaired, telemanipulation, and surgical robotics. Klatzky has authored more than 300 articles and chapters and has written or edited seven books.

  • The Cooperative Revolution Is Making Psychological Science Better

    Psychology is currently experiencing something of a revolution, and it is a cooperative one. It’s a response to psychology’s so-called “replication crisis,” a period of self-reflection that revealed problematic flexibility in data analysis, publication bias (null findings are less likely to be submitted and/or published than positive findings), and disappointingly low replicability rates — challenges that are also playing out across disciplines ranging from cancer biology to neuroscience. But change is coming.

  • Long Live Psychology! … and Long-Lived Psychologists

    Turning 76 years old in a week, and still loving what I do, I find myself inspired by two recent emails. One, from social psychologist Thomas Pettigrew, age 87, responded to my welcoming his latest work by attaching 14 of his recent publications. The second, from C. Nathan DeWall, pointed me to an interesting new article coauthored by developmental psychologist Walter Mischel, age 88 (who, sadly, died just hours before this essay was posted). That got me thinking about other long-lived people who have found their enduring calling in psychological science.

  • 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.

  • Leveraging Learning Principles Online

    APS Past President Morton Ann Gernsbacher designs her online psychology courses
    to encourage students to engage with content more deeply than they might in traditional college classes.

  • The Social Defense

    Through lab experiments and field studies with survivors of historic wildfires, APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Richard A. Bryant has demonstrated the power of relationships and community to temper psychological trauma.