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Volume 16, Issue12December 2003

Presidential Column

Henry L. Roediger, III
Henry L. Roediger, III
Washington University in St. Louis
APS President 2003 - 2004
All columns

In this Issue:
Reading and Writing; Speaking and Listening

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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  • This is a photo of a piece of paper torn to reveal the phrase "uncover the facts"

    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


  • The University of Vermont

    On a hill overlooking the shores of Lake Champlain, at the foot of the Green Mountains, the University of Vermont combines faculty-student relationships most commonly found in a small liberal arts college with the resources of a major research university. The university is currently home to 7,600 undergraduates, 1,100 graduate students, 394 medical students, and more than 1,157 full- and part-time faculty. Student-faculty ratio is 13:1. Sponsored awards received by the university in fiscal year 2003 totaled over $115 million. The University of Vermont was founded in 1791. Its everyday designation as "UVM" derives from its Latin name Universitas Viridis Montis - University of the Green Mountains. It is likely that the study of psychology began shortly thereafter, under the rubric of moral philosophy. In 1937, the department of psychology became a separate entity, carved out of a program of psychological studies housed in the philosophy department of the College of Arts and Sciences. From the beginning, the department has emphasized the systematic study of behavior and internal states.

  • Reading and Writing; Speaking and Listening

    The literature. What are we to do about it? It mushrooms, it expands, it explodes. Every day there are more and more journals and books. Our desks pile high with books unread, journals unopened, manuscripts carefully downloaded and put in neat piles. What we can know becomes an increasingly small fraction of what there is to know, even in a narrowly defined field (never mind the field as a whole). As mentioned in an earlier column, I am teaching a one-hour course on "The Psychology of Academia" and the class is reading essays on time management for beginning professors. Several authors in that volume have written about devoting time to writing and to keeping that time sacrosanct. However, no one advised beginning professors to set aside time to read. Maybe the authors thought that, of course, academics must read. No need to tell them that. But do we? I recall a study published years ago in the American Psychologist (which, of course, I can't find now - who can find all the stuff they have read?) in which subscribers to journals were asked, in the year after a full volume had been published, to check off on a table of contents which articles they had read from the previous year.

Practice


  • The University of Vermont

    On a hill overlooking the shores of Lake Champlain, at the foot of the Green Mountains, the University of Vermont combines faculty-student relationships most commonly found in a small liberal arts college with the resources of a major research university. The university is currently home to 7,600 undergraduates, 1,100 graduate students, 394 medical students, and more than 1,157 full- and part-time faculty. Student-faculty ratio is 13:1. Sponsored awards received by the university in fiscal year 2003 totaled over $115 million. The University of Vermont was founded in 1791. Its everyday designation as "UVM" derives from its Latin name Universitas Viridis Montis - University of the Green Mountains. It is likely that the study of psychology began shortly thereafter, under the rubric of moral philosophy.

First Person


  • Gaining Admission: Tips and Strategies for Competitive Graduate School Applications

    Applying to graduate school can be an arduous process. However, much can be done to decrease application stress and increase the likelihood of being accepted by competitive programs. Ideally, many of these activities (e.g., developing relationships with faculty, maintaining a competitive GPA, becoming involved in research projects) should be initiated early in the undergraduate career. The applicant must determine an area of psychology to specialize in, as well as specific research interests within that area. It is important to develop a professional relationship with a faculty member who will act as a mentor during the undergraduate years and aid the application process. There are many resources (see References and Resources below) available to help determine which aspects of the application are emphasized by specific programs.

More From This Issue


  • Psychological Science Goes Monthly; New Covers for APS Journals

    Psychological Science Goes Monthly Beginning in January 2004, Psychological Science will be published monthly and APS journals will have new covers. In 1990, APS Fellow and Charter Member William K. Estes, the founding editor of Psychological Science, wrote an editorial for the inaugural issue about the current state of journal publishing and included his predictions for the future of psychology journals. Estes' editorial made the case for a new journal with a cross-disciplinary approach that encouraged psychologists to present research and applications in a comprehensible and interesting format that educated non-psychologists in government, industry, and academia could consume.

  • Scientists in the Service

    Fighting the Elements Helping Human Performance Conquer Natural Environments By Richard F. Johnson The path that took me to my position as a civilian research psychologist at the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine - the USARIEM - in Natick, Massachusetts, may seem unique, but it's not so unique to anyone exposed to cooperative education as an undergraduate. Before graduating from Northeastern University with an ROTC commission, I was an attendant nurse of a mental hospital, a manager of a sheltered workshop for chronic schizophrenics, and used an NIMH grant to study the effects of emotion on physical appearance.

  • Taylor, Beck Recognized by Institute of Medicine

    Taylor The Institute of Medicine recently recognized Shelley E. Taylor and Aaron T. Beck for their continuing contributions to the psychological sciences. Beck Taylor, an APS Fellow and Charter Member, was one of 65 new members elected to the IOM, a part of the National Academies. New members are chosen by current members for their major contributions to the health and medicine, or its related fields, such as behavioral science. For a complete list of new members, visit the . APS Fellow Beck was honored at the IOM 2003 Annual Meeting as the recipient of the Rhoda G. and Bernard G. Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health.

  • New Psychological Science Associate Editor Reid Hastie

    Reid Hastie cuts straight to the point like it's his job. And as new associate editor of Psychological Science, it will be. "I much prefer short empirical reports to the bloated carcasses that are common in most other journals," said Hastie, an APS Fellow and psychology professor specializing in judgment and decision-making at the University of Chicago. "And [Psychological Science] is the best, and almost the only, journal that publishes empirical reports that span the full range of psychological research." Hastie Hastie completed his PhD at Yale under Endel Tulving and has served on the editorial board of 17 journals.

  • Cultural Psychology: Studying More Than the ‘Exotic Other’

    In psychology departments across the country, a growing number of psychologists are doing something called "cultural psychology." As they unpack their experiences and observations, unveil their theories and methods, and unfurl their often surprising results, an air of mystery collects around them. Who are these people? What is culture? What does it have to do with psychology? Why should I care? How can I join? To address these questions, several cultural psychologists explained who they are, what they do, how they do it, why it's important, and what it takes to succeed. What Is Cultural Psychology?

  • NIH Research Under Scrutiny

    Research funded by the National Institutes of Health that focuses on sexual behavior and HIV has come under fire recently by critics, and Congress is involved in the controversy as well. The names of over 150 grantees, recipients of close to 200 NIH grants, recently appeared on a list developed by the Traditional Values Coalition, or TVC, an organization that describes itself as a "ministry group that is always speaking up for those basic Christian values and beliefs that have made America great." This list made its way from TVC to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and from the committee to NIH, and is now the source of much discussion in Washington.

  • Rigor, Relevance, and Utilization

    The Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 established a new organization within the U.S. Department of Education, the Institute of Education Sciences. The statutory mission of IES is to expand knowledge and provide information on: a) the condition of education (through the National Center for Education Statistics); b) practices that improve academic achievement (through the National Center for Education Research); and c) the effectiveness of federal and other education programs (through the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance). The Institute is led by a director and overseen by the National Board of Education Sciences.