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Volume 14, Issue10December 2001

Presidential Column

John Darley
John Darley
Princeton University
APS President 2001 - 2002
All columns

In this Issue:
Do We Fear the Right Things?

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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


  • University of Rochester

    Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences was founded in 1996 to better allow undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, and faculty to pursue interdisciplinary studies of the mind and brain. Advances in neuroscience and in computer science, along with striking progress in the behavioral sciences during the last 15 years, have fundamentally altered the way we approach the study of perceptual, motor, linguistic, and cognitive behaviors. A growing understanding of how the brain performs its computations, and the resulting efforts to characterize this processing via formal models, have brought powerful new insights to our understanding of perception, language, and reasoning. The department was formed so that investigators using these different approaches to understanding the mind and brain-behavioral, neural, and computational-could easily interact and collaborate with one another, and could jointly train the interdisciplinary scientists of the future.

  • Do We Fear the Right Things?

      DAVID G. MYERS "Freedom and fear are at war," President Bush has told us. The terrorists' goal, he says, is "not only to kill and maim and destroy" but to frighten us into inaction. Alas, the terrorists have made progress in their fear war, by diverting our anxieties from big risks toward smaller risks. Flying is a case in point. Even before the horror of September 11 and the ensuing crash at Rockaway Beach, 44 percent of those willing to risk flying told Gallup they felt fearful. "Every time I get off a plane, I view it as a failed suicide attempt," movie director Barry Sonnenfeld has said. After five crashed airliners, and with threats of more terror to come, cancellations understandably left airlines, travel agencies, and holiday hotels flying into the red. Indeed, the terrorists may still be killing us, in ways unnoticed. If we now fly 20 percent less and instead drive half those unflown miles, we will spend 2 percent more time in motor vehicles. This translates into 800 more people dying as passengers and pedestrians. So, in just the next year the terrorists may indirectly kill three times more people on our highways than died on those four fated planes.

Practice


  • University of Rochester

    Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences was founded in 1996 to better allow undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, and faculty to pursue interdisciplinary studies of the mind and brain. Advances in neuroscience and in computer science, along with striking progress in the behavioral sciences during the last 15 years, have fundamentally altered the way we approach the study of perceptual, motor, linguistic, and cognitive behaviors. A growing understanding of how the brain performs its computations, and the resulting efforts to characterize this processing via formal models, have brought powerful new insights to our understanding of perception, language, and reasoning.

More From This Issue


  • Zimbardo Tells All: How Psychologists Can Achieve World Domination

    The above headline got your attention, right? It got my attention too when a Stanford graduate student offered a chance to hear Phil Zimbardo talk about "how psychologists can achieve world domination." Well, he never actually offered a blueprint for conquering the globe (although you get the impression he might have one tucked away somewhere). But, Zimbardo, an APS Fellow and Charter Member, offered plenty of useful advice for excelling in the field of psychological science. Zimbardo The event, held late one Friday afternoon last Spring, drew about thirty people.

  • Behavioral Science Working Group Looks at IRB Regulations

    Related Items Protection Money: Human Subjects Research Legislation October 2001Reviewing for Risk: What's the Evidence That It Works? September 2001 Regulatory Changes Affecting IRBs and Researchers September 2001 Got the IRB Blues?

  • Giving Science a Life Outside the Lab

    Locantore Editor's note: This report is part of a continuing series of updates from Locantore during her Media Fellowship at the Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch. In some ways, newspaper writing is very ephemeral. I've already begun to forget what I wrote about a few weeks back. And who will ever refer to those stories again? On the other hand, it's rewarding to know that thousands of people are reading my articles. My news stories may be short lived, but they exist in the world in a way that my scientific writings never will. This is what journalism can do for science-give it a life outside of the lab. Terrorism continues to loom large over the newsroom at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

  • Psychology and Technology

    A fusion of psychology research and digital technology has the potential to improve the lives of many people, including the visually impaired, for whom researchers are developing personal guidance systems that will allow them greater mobility. To create these devices, technology experts have worked hand-in-hand with professionals from other disciplines, including psychological scientists. APS Fellow and Charter Member Roberta Klatzky is one such scientist whose ongoing work is leading to a device that will help blind individuals walk in any location and be confident with their surroundings.

  • NIH Center Makes Strides in Global Health Initiatives

    Efforts to reduce health disparities around the globe are yielding more research and training opportunities for behavioral scientists. Known for its work in studying the nature and prevention of disease outside the United States, the Fogarty International Center, the international arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), takes a multidisciplinary approach to addressing global health issues such as HIV/AIDS and other emerging infectious diseases, population growth, mental illness, and tobacco-related illness by supporting behavioral, clinical, epidemiological, and basic research and research training. Keusch According to the Center's director, Gerald T.

  • Part Three: Three Ways to Use Databases as Tools for Psychological Research

    Previous Articles Sharing Data: It's Time to End Psychology's Guild Approach October 2001Three Objections to Databases Answered November 2001 Though databases as tools for psychological research are in their infancy, thinking about their ideal organization is surprisingly far along. Three schools of thought have emerged. But the technology for databases is being innovated so rapidly that it is premature to judge any approach as best. In fact, a hybridization containing elements of all three is becoming possible thanks to technological developments and the work of some far-thinking scientists.