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Volume 28, Issue10December 2015

Presidential Column

C. Randy Gallistel
C. Randy Gallistel
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
APS President 2015 - 2016
All columns

In this Issue:
APS and Open Science: Music to Our Ears

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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  • 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


  • APS and Open Science: Music to Our Ears

    From most of the press accounts of the ambitious project on reproducibility in psychological research published in Science this past summer, one would not have learned that, under the leadership of APS, psychological science has taken the lead in addressing an issue that is highly relevant to most, if not all, contemporary sciences. Alan G. Kraut, who has recently retired as APS Executive Director, and who pushed APS to address this issue vigorously while he was in charge at APS, gives a breezy insider’s account of progress on this important issue. -APS President C. Randy Gallistel Remember those Behind the Music profiles on VH1? You know, the ones that recounted the career of some classic rock band — ah, those early successes, that inevitable midcareer setback (so sad), and then (ta-da!) the ultimate triumph?

Practice


  • Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science

    Edited by C. Nathan DeWall and David G. Myers  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 the column for supplementary components, including classroom activities and demonstrations. Visit David G. Myers and C.

First Person


  • The Many Varieties of Mentors

    It is hard to express the importance of the mentor–mentee relationship in a brief article. In my experience, this relationship is one of the most valuable in a graduate student’s life. Students should forge this relationship early on and strengthen it throughout their graduate career and beyond. Graduate school is a time to grow both professionally and personally, and I hope that my advice will assist readers in capitalizing on a mentor’s ability to help with both. There is no “standard” mentor–mentee relationship. During my graduate years, I have witnessed many different types of mentoring relationships, and each had pros and cons. Supporting my anecdotal experience is a research study by Clark, Harden, and Johnson (2000), who investigated mentor–protégé relationships. From a sample of 800 doctoral students, 91% evaluated the relationship with their mentor as positive.

More From This Issue


  • Establishing Psychometric Expectations for Neurobiological Assessments

    Across psychological science, there has been an explosion of new tools and technologies over the last decade. In an upcoming symposium at the 28th APS Annual Convention in Chicago, May 26–29, 2016, experts will discuss the cross-cutting implications of emerging psychometric standards unique to neurobiological measures. From neuroimaging to genetic analysis, these new tools ostensibly provide previously unimaginable access to underlying biological processes in the brain. However, these neurobiological measures aren’t always held to the same internal psychometric standards for temporal stability and consistency standards as traditional assessments are.

  • Books to Check Out: December 2015

    To submit a new book, email apsobserver@psychologicalscience.org. Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson; Reprint Edition, Mariner Books, October 20, 2015. Development of Mathematical Cognition, 1st Edition: Neural Substrates and Genetic Influences Edited by Daniel Berch, David Geary, and Kathleen Mann Koepke; Elsevier, October 22, 2015.

  • Psychological Scientists Honored by the National Academy of Medicine

    Three psychological scientists — APS Fellow Valerie F. Reyna, and Nobel laureates Edvard I. Moser and May-Britt Moser — are among 80 new members just elected to the National Academy of Medicine. Membership in the National Academy of Medicine is said to be “one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.” Reyna is the director of the Human Neuroscience Institute and the codirector of both the Cornell University Magnetic Resonance Imaging Facility and the Center for Behavioral Economics and Decision Research.

  • A Brief History of Psychological Science

    The Observer concludes a year-long series celebrating a quarter-century of the journal Psychological Science by taking a look back at the last 25 years of the journal, including leadership, special sections, and ongoing updates to publication standards and practices. 1990 In the journal’s first volume, Founding Editor William K. Estes publishes one special section on electronic publishing and one on the William James Symposium in recognition of the centennial of Principles of Psychology. 1993 Psychological Science features a special section on terminological standards for sex and gender in social science literature. 1995 John F. Kihlstrom becomes Editor.

  • little girl is afraid of shadow

    Redefining Fear

    Some people think Pavlovian fear conditioning research has convincingly shown how fear and anxiety operate in the brain — but APS William James Fellow Joseph E. LeDoux believes there is more to the story.

  • Making Sense

    “What is it like to be a bat?” asked philosopher Thomas Nagel in his influential 1974 essay. “I assume we all believe that bats have experience,” he continued, but can we ever understand what it is like to fly, navigate by sonar, or spend our days snoozing upside down in an attic? Even if we understand how a bat (or for that matter, another person) behaves, Nagel argued, we can’t presume to know what one experiences.

  • World Bank Puts Psychological Science on World Stage

    Psychological science is making a big splash in world of international development. This month the World Bank announced a new initiative intended to bring insights from behavioral science directly to the forefront of international development. Established in 1944, the World Bank Group employs more than 10,000 employees in more than 120 offices worldwide. The goals of the group are to end extreme poverty worldwide through work with international governments and financial institutions. “Development policy is due for a redesign based on a more realistic understanding of how people think and behave,” the World Bank announced on its website.