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Volume 26, Issue2February 2013

Presidential Column

Joseph E. Steinmetz
Joseph E. Steinmetz
The Ohio State University
APS President 2012 - 2013
All columns

In this Issue:
Beyond the Department

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


  • Beyond the Department

    President’s Note: In the last few Presidential Columns, the issue of expanding the interdisciplinary nature of psychological science has been discussed as it relates to “Big Data” as well as partnerships with other disciplines. This month, APS Past President Elizabeth D. Phillips (formerly Capaldi), who serves as Executive Vice President and Provost at Arizona State University, provides another perspective on this topic. Specifically, she addresses how administrative structural changes, a reconceptualization of how we organize graduate faculty and graduate education, and novel ways of assigning teaching credit for courses at Arizona State University have facilitated the development of interdisciplinary approaches to psychological science. -Joseph E. Steinmetz Psychology is inherently interdisciplinary.

APS Spotlight


  • Twenty Years Later, Gibson’s Advice Is Still Good

    This article is part of a series commemorating APS's 25th anniversary in 2013. This year will mark the 20th anniversary of a talk by Eleanor J. “Jackie” Gibson that served as the Keynote Address at the 1993 APS Convention. It’s instructive to revisit that talk as we celebrate the early years of APS. It was an insightful commentary on the state of the field at the time by one of our most esteemed scientists, and it provides an opportunity to reflect on her contribution and our field’s progress since. It’s important to remember that Gibson, an APS William James Fellow, was unusual for her time — a woman of achievement in a field rife with sexism.

  • Three Teachers’ Treasured Technologies

    Are these not the best of times for professing psychology? Gone are yesterday’s chalk, overheads, and VHS cassettes. Enter today’s PowerPoint animations, embedded video clips, and SMART Boards. We are no longer forced to brave rain, sleet, and snow to access information at a library; now, our fingers do the walking. Whether at Stanford or Samford, Cambridge or Cape Town, the same information flows to us all. Electronic and social media make communication easier than ever. For the three of us, more than 200,000 21st-century e-mails to and from colleagues, editors, and students have defined an increasingly virtual workplace and academy.

  • Silent Treatment

    Let me tell you a story. It takes place when I was in kindergarten, so picture me shorter, with jaunty green ribbons on the ends of my braids and bright red sandals (I was going through my Wizard of Oz phase). It was lunchtime, and emboldened by the sort of youthful enthusiasm that comes from eating four chocolate chip cookies within 2 minutes, I approached two of the popular kids in my class and asked if I could join their game. They were playing “trains,” a simple game that consisted of creating a conga line (the train) and chugging off around the playground.

  • What Implicit Processes Tell Us About Romantic Attachment

    You might have a friend like Susie who tends to have problems maintaining romantic relationships. When she is involved with someone, she continuously obsesses about some aspect of her relationship and is vigilant for any sign that her partner is ready to leave her. Or, perhaps you know someone like Tom who also has problems maintaining relationships, but for different reasons. Tom values his independence and freedom almost excessively. When he is in a long-term relationship, you often wonder, “Why?” He seems happier spending his time alone rather than with his partner. Then you might know someone like Steven, who seems to have it all when it comes to relationships.

  • Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science

    C. Nathan DeWall, University of Kentucky, and renowned textbook author and APS Fellow David G. Myers, Hope College, have teamed up to create a new series of Observer columns aimed at integrating cutting-edge psychological science into the classroom. Each column will offer 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.

Practice


  • Interteaching: Ten Tips for Effective Implementation

    Interteaching (Boyce & Hineline, 2002) is a new, multi-component method of classroom instruction that has its roots in B. F. Skinner’s operant psychology, or as it is more commonly known today, behavior analysis. Behavior analysis views a person’s behavior — which includes acting (overt behavior) and thinking or feeling (covert behavior) — as a function of three interacting variables: genetics, past experiences, and current environmental conditions (e.g., Hineline, 1980). Because a person’s genetics and past experiences cannot be manipulated, modifying behavior becomes largely a matter of manipulating current environmental conditions (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2006).

  • Portfolios in Psychology Classes

    In this Teaching Tips article, our goal is to share our experience using portfolios in psychology courses and dispel some of the “myths” we encountered along the way. Our hope is that our experience can help others considering the use of portfolios who may be hesitant to implement them due to concerns such as: They are a haphazard collection of student work, are too time-intensive to incorporate into a large course, are independent and non-collaborative projects, or are technologically impossible to implement. The article that follows describes our collective experience implementing portfolios in a course taught by one of the authors (MB).

  • A Civic Scientific Literacy Perspective in the Psychology Classroom

    One of the most enjoyable aspects of teaching psychology courses is that we get to share some highly relevant, personally applicable, and fascinating science with our students. Among the sciences, psychology has perhaps the most far reaching applications to personal and societal matters. Of course, instructors who teach science courses of all types want their students to understand the deeper, societal relevance of the material and research they cover. Thus, regardless of the particular scientific field, we find that one goal of developing scientific literacy is teaching our students to actually apply and use scientific knowledge.

First Person


  • Untangling the Web

    The difficulties we graduate students face when conducting research include an over-reliance on the psychology research pool for participants; inability to access a unique population; and having little money to compensate participants. Internet technology offers new options for gaining access to participants. Several high-traffic Internet site options are described below, along with some suggestions for collecting data using those sites. There are three important points of consideration before beginning this research: quality; ethics; and IRB approval. Concerning quality, collecting a few extra pieces of information for quality verification can be helpful.

More From This Issue


  • APS, Psychonomic Society Join Forces on Estes Fund

    A new partnership of APS and the Psychonomic Society will oversee a fund to extend the legacy of one of the most influential psychological scientists of the past century. The partnership will support a variety of activities aimed at strengthening methodology in mathematical, quantitative and experimental psychology and related areas. The two organizations will jointly oversee the William K. & Katherine W. Estes Fund, established in honor of the late Bill Estes and his wife Kay.

  • Heart shape on fire

    Passionate Love

    If there’s one sentiment shared by all great artists, from Shakespeare to Beyoncé, it’s this: Love is intense. Only in the last century have psychological scientists begun to regard passionate love as a viable research topic.

  • Post-Divorce Journaling May Hinder Healing for Some

    Recently divorced or separated people who are feeling unlucky in love this Valentine’s Day might want to think twice before writing in-depth journal entries about their negative feelings. Although many health-care professionals encourage journaling, new research published in Clinical Psychological Science shows that writing in-depth about difficult feelings immediately after a split may do more harm than good. Psychological scientist David Sbarra of the University of Arizona and colleagues studied individuals who had physically separated from a spouse on an average of three months before the start of the study.

  • Teaching Matters

    If you teach in college for 40 years, and you teach an introductory psychology class of 250 students each semester, you will have taught 20,000 students in that course over your career. What is the statistical probability that one of the students whom you taught, and perhaps inspired, will develop an effective treatment for alcoholism, or a way to reduce traffic accidents, or a better method to teach reading, or a way to reduce domestic violence? The statistical truth is that for most of us, we are more likely to impact our world through our teaching than through our research. All of us here can point to those teachers who changed our lives for the better.

  • Psychological Scientists Elected as AAAS Fellows

    Cesario Venturina Borlongan, University of South Florida Randy Lee Buckner, Harvard University Jonathan D. Cohen, Princeton University Neal J. Cohen, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Nelson Cowan, University of Missouri–Columbia Yadin Dudai, Weizmann Institute of Science Celia B. Fisher, Fordham University Margaret Gatz, University of Southern California Peter Adrian Hancock, University of Central Florida Todd F. Heatherton, Dartmouth College Todd D. Little, University of Kansas Laurence T. Maloney, New York University Alex Martin, National Institute of Mental Health John J.

  • Lipsitt Honored by American Humane Association

    APS Fellow Lewis Lipsitt received the Vincent De Francis Award at the American Humane Association’s 18th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in Washington, DC. Lipsitt is Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Medical Science, and Human Development at Brown University, where he also served as founding director of the Child Study Center from 1967 to 1991. The Vincent De Francis Award, which recognizes extraordinary achievements in the field of child welfare, recognizes Lipsitt’s lifetime achievements on behalf of children, including research, leadership, and advocacy.

  • New Editorial Team for the New Year

    As sharp-eyed readers may have noticed when opening their first Psychological Science of the new year, something’s changed. Turn over that iconic red cover and you’ll find a brand new editorial team listed, signaling the completion of the transition from Rob Kail’s editorship to that of the journal’s new Editor in Chief, Eric Eich. A professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, Eich officially took the helm at Psychological Science in 2012, but this year will bring the first volume consisting entirely of articles accepted during his tenure.

  • Which Study Strategies Make the Grade?

    Students everywhere, put down those highlighters and pick up some flashcards! Some of the most popular study strategies — such as highlighting and even rereading — don’t show much promise for improving student learning, according to a new report published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest. In the report, APS Fellow John Dunlosky of Kent State University and a team of distinguished psychological scientists review the scientific evidence for 10 learning techniques commonly used by students. Based on the available evidence, the researchers provide recommendations about the applicability and usefulness of each technique.

  • Treisman Receives National Medal of Science

    APS William James Fellow and past APS Secretary Anne Treisman, professor of psychology at Princeton University, is one of 12 researchers who will receive the National Medal of Science at the White House in early 2013. The National Medal of Science, along with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, is the highest honor that the US government grants to scientists, engineers, and inventors. Treisman’s research focuses on how humans perceive the world around them and turn those perceptions into meaningful thoughts, memories, and actions.

  • Gernsbacher Will Discuss Diverse Brains at 25th APS Annual Convention

    Humans differ in height, eye color, and their ability to perceive color. Most read with their eyes, but some read with their fingertips. A majority communicates through speaking and listening, but a minority communicates through signing. Humans are diverse, and so are our brains. At the 25th APS Annual Convention in Washington, DC, APS Past President Morton Ann Gernsbacher will talk about “Diverse Brains” in her Bring the Family Address. Research-based neuroimaging has inspired scientists to map out general principles of phenomena that are common to all people — but it has also inspired scientists to identify atypical neural function and structure.

  • Psychological Science Gains Currency in the BrainBank

    In 2011, APS Fellow Bruce Hood presented the Royal Institution of Great Britain Christmas Lectures. The Christmas Lectures, which have been held each year since 1825, are a series of talks on a single theme that changes each year. The lectures are broadcast on UK television and have been part of the British Christmas tradition for generations. Hood, who is the Director of the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre at the University of Bristol, UK, spoke about the theme “Meet Your Brain.” In his series of talks Hood explained how the external world is represented in different parts of the brain, the role of executive control, and social specialization of the brain.