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322019Volume 32, Issue2February 2019

Presidential Column

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

In this Issue:
Imagining Other Perspectives

About the Observer

The Observer is the online magazine of the Association for Psychological Science and covers matters affecting the research, academic, and applied disciplines of psychology. The magazine reports on issues of interest to psychologist scientists worldwide and disseminates information about the activities, policies, and scientific values of APS.

APS members receive a monthly Observer newsletter that covers the latest content in the magazine. Members also may access the online archive of Observer articles going back to 1988.

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  • Thumbnail Image for Disaster Response and Recovery

    Disaster Response and Recovery

    Disasters like Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut draw massive media coverage, trauma interventions, and financial donations to victims. But psychological research shows the efforts don’t always yield the intended benefits.


Up Front

  • Imagining Other Perspectives

    In January, I began with an obsession that I come by naturally, spatial thinking, and observed, perhaps self-referringly, that it is ubiquitous. Paths take us from place to place in the world, and from thought to thought in the mind, along lines that can go in many directions. I ended with perspective, contrasting a perspective from inside the paths, the route that takes you from place to place or idea to idea, and a perspective from above, a map-like view that allows you to see many possible routes. With a caveat: In order to see many possible routes, you need to know the landscape, and that that can be a challenge. This month, more musings about perspective-taking, in particular, perspective-switching. But first a detour, not to worry, we’ll get back on track. As you know, anything with “mind” catches the attention of the public.


  • 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. 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 at his blog “Talk Psych”.

First Person

  • Student Notebook: Benefits, Drawbacks, and Suggestions for Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

    Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is an online crowdsourcing platform designed to aid in recruiting people to complete various tasks (Buhrmester, Kwang, & Gosling, 2011). Overall, Amazon advertises its MTurk service as offering access to over 500,000 different workers from 190 countries; however, the majority (more than 75%) of MTurk workers live in the United States and India (Paolacci & Chandler, 2014). The tasks posted on MTurk by “requestors,” referred to as human intelligence tasks (HITs), range in length and duration and are completed by “workers” for a set, usually small, fee. Tasks posted by requesters on MTurk are referred to as human intelligence tasks (HITs). MTurk is a great data collection tool for graduate student researchers who are investigating a novel trend but might be concerned with finding large amounts of participants in a reasonable amount of time.

More From This Issue

  • Back Page: A Rural Reach for STEM Education

    Psychological scientist Martha Escobar of Oakland University’s Cognitive and Behavioral Lab investigates the use of evidence-based approaches to promote scientific learning in low-income rural areas. What is the aim or rationale behind your NSF-backed research project? Our overall goal is to reach populations typically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to increase their interest and persistence in scientific careers. Our participants want to explore science, but lack the access and resources to attend available educational programs.

  • Cooperation in Chimpanzees Reveals Aspects of Our Evolutionary Past

    At the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the Republic of Congo, more than 150 chimpanzees roam the tropical plains and islands that make up their new home, orphaned as a result of hunting and the exotic pet trade. These chimps, who are free to navigate their rain forest environment in the large social groups that come naturally to them, are the closest to wild chimpanzees that most psychological scientists are likely to get, said Alexandra Rosati, a professor of psychology and anthropology at the University of Michigan.

  • Animal Research Accrediting Group Welcomes Psychological Scientist to Top Governance Position

    Steven I. Dworkin, a Western Illinois University psychology professor, has begun serving as Board of Directors Chair at the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International. Dworkin has represented APS on the board for the past 3 years, and says his new role serves as a testament to the significant influence that psychological science has on the organization’s activities. “I have had the opportunity to stress the importance of behavior standards in providing high quality care for animals used in our research endeavors,” Dworkin, who studies neurobehavioral pharmacology, said of his involvement with AAALAC.

  • Context Shapes Choice of Healthy Foods

    Given a choice between indulgent and healthy foods, what will most people pick? The answer may depend on what other foods sit nearby on the grocery shelf, research published in Psychological Science suggests. Paradoxically, the nearby presence of an indulgent treat can cause more people to opt for a healthy food, said study coauthor Scott Huettel, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. Context, in other words, affects food choices. “When people choose foods, they don’t simply reach into their memory and pick the most-preferred food. Instead, how much we prefer something actually depends on what other options are available,” Huettel said.

  • Janet Shibley Hyde Sinks Stereotypes With Data

    Through meta-analytic work, APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Janet Shibley Hyde is toppling long-held assumptions about differences between men and women’s capabilities, attitudes, and emotions.