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Volume 14, Issue2February 2001

Presidential Column

Robert Bjork
Robert A. Bjork
University of California, Los Angeles
APS President 2000 - 2001
All columns

In this Issue:
On Writing About Psychological Science

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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    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


  • Connecticut College

    Overview Connecticut College is a highly selective, coeducational, private liberal arts college. It is located in historic New London, on the north shore of Long Island Sound. The beautiful campus occupies 702 acres (including the 426 acre arboretum) on a hill overlooking the Thames River and Long Island Sound. New London is approximately halfway between New York City and Boston. Originally chartered in 1911 as Connecticut College for Women, the College was founded to provide women with an institution in Connecticut where they could earn a degree. Men were admitted to graduate study in 1960, and in 1969 the College changed its name and opened up its undergraduate programs to men, who now make up nearly half of the 1600 students enrolled. The Department of Psychology has nine full-time and two part-time faculty, whose efforts are occasionally supplemented by the efforts of emeriti faculty or additional part-timers. Most faculty teach both undergraduate and graduate students, and we pride ourselves on running integrated activities and giving individual attention to students.

  • On Writing About Psychological Science

    Recently a friend of mine described me to his colleagues as a "journalist." My vague irritation at this designation, which even superseded my pleasure at being called a good one, got me to thinking about the kind of writing I do, in contrast to the kind that my academic colleagues do. I realize that I have an idiosyncratic career. Unfortunately, it means that I spend half my time explaining to laypeople that I am a psychologist but not a therapist, and the other half explaining to psychologists that I am a writer but not a journalist. Unlike the typical journalist, a writer gets to have a personal voice - to draw conclusions, to write in the first person, to express opinions with enthusiasm, sarcasm, or humor. I have never been interested in doing what most journalists do: "covering" a story as an impartial observer, reporting "both" sides even when there are more than two sides or when the sides are not remotely equal in validity.

APS Spotlight


  • Depression in Primary Care: Depressing News, Exciting Research Opportunities

    When psychologists think of research to improve treatment outcomes for depression, they typically think of efficacy studies: randomized clinical trials evaluating psychotherapies or comparing psychotherapy to medication. As important as such studies are, there is a disconnect with the needs of depressed persons in the community, since the majority of these people will not be treated in a specialized mental health setting. Depressed persons in the community are much more likely to visit a primary care physician than be treated by a mental health professional. Unfortunately, it is likely that their depression will remain undetected by their physician. Even if their depression is detected, a growing number of studies demonstrate that patients diagnosed with depression in primary care fare no better than those who are missed.

Practice


  • Connecticut College

    Overview Connecticut College is a highly selective, coeducational, private liberal arts college. It is located in historic New London, on the north shore of Long Island Sound. The beautiful campus occupies 702 acres (including the 426 acre arboretum) on a hill overlooking the Thames River and Long Island Sound. New London is approximately halfway between New York City and Boston. Originally chartered in 1911 as Connecticut College for Women, the College was founded to provide women with an institution in Connecticut where they could earn a degree. Men were admitted to graduate study in 1960, and in 1969 the College changed its name and opened up its undergraduate programs to men, who now make up nearly half of the 1600 students enrolled.

More From This Issue


  • Science in Educational Media: Taking it to the (Sesame) Street

    There is a tremendous range in the degree to which research plays a role in the production of educational media for children. Many producers rely on little or no research input, limited, perhaps, to occasional consulting by educational advisors or a test of the appeal of a pilot episode. By contrast, a smaller number of producers use research more extensively, an approach that is typified (and was pioneered) by Sesame Workshop.

  • Decade of Behavior Initiative is Under Way

    APS President Robert Bjork and his UCLA colleague Christine Dunkel-Schetter at the Decade of Behavior "launch" on Capital Hill last fall. Behind them is an exhibit on "Stress in Pregnancy and Effects on the Offspring Throughout the Lifespan" based on the work of APS Fellow and Charter Member Dunkel-Schetter and APS Charter Member Marci Lobel of SUNY Stony Brook. A new initiative is under way to increase the visibility of behavioral and social science research. The "Decade of Behavior" (DoB) is modeled after the Decade of the Brain initiative that was developed in the 1990s by the neuroscience community.

  • NIH Does It Again

    For the third year in a row, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) received a large double-digit increase in its annual budget. At a time when partisan rancor has been and will continue to be the hallmark of the deliberative process in the U.S. Congress, NIH is enjoying solid bipartisan support for the goal of doubling its budget between FY 98 and FY 03.In FY 2001, NIH, which is the federal government's leading source of funding for psychological science research and training, will have $20.3 billion to spend this year. That's 14 percent over the FY 2000 budget. Some may remember the excitement when NIH cracked the $10 billion mark in 1993.