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Volume 27, Issue2February 2014

Presidential Column

Elizabeth A. Phelps
Elizabeth A. Phelps
New York University
APS President 2013 - 2014
All columns

In this Issue:
Technology, Psychology, and a Coming Revolution in the Study of Decision Making

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 online and print subscriptions to the Observer, including the online archive going back to 1988. The print edition is a member-only benefit.

Looking to connect with the Observer? Visit our Contact the Editor page to discuss writing for us and our Advertising page for sponsorship opportunities. If you have questions about your subscription, please email APS@psychologicalscience.org.

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Up Front


  • Technology, Psychology, and a Coming Revolution in the Study of Decision Making

    Technological development can drive changes in science. For psychological science, the growth in technologies that monitor behavior or facilitate human interactions will lead to powerful, novel tools to aid our research. My guest columnist this month is my colleague, Paul Glimcher, who is a leading figure in the emerging discipline of neuroeconomics. He discusses how these new technologies may transform investigations of judgment and decision making. This emerging relationship between technology and psychological science will also be the topic of a Presidential Cross-Cutting Theme Program at the 26th APS Annual Convention, to be held May 22–25 in San Francisco, California.

  • New Website Aims to Reinvent Psychology Education

    APS Fellow Ed Diener and his wife Carol Diener want you to imagine taking chapters from various introductory textbooks, then shuffling them in any order you want to best fit the course you are teaching — all within minutes on a computer. Oh, and the book is free to your students. Chapters can also be used as supplementary readings, free of charge. This is precisely the model that the Dieners are proposing for psychology education.  Professors of psychology emeriti at the University of Illinois, the couple has founded the Diener Education Fund, a non-profit organization with the mission of re-inventing higher education to serve the changing needs of students and professors.

  • Launching an Education Revolution

    The Academic Observer is an occasional column by APS Past President and Publications Committee Chair Henry L. Roediger, III, who is James S. McDonnell Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. AO: What inspired you to pursue the Noba project? Why now? E&CD: We believe a revolution in college education is possible, making it both more effective and less expensive. This revolution will involve electronics and the Internet, as well as more active forms of learning for students. We want to be part of that revolution, and believe that our website (nobaproject.com) and award programs will spur innovation. Several things worried us about traditional textbooks.

Practice


  • New Website Aims to Reinvent Psychology Education

    APS Fellow Ed Diener and his wife Carol Diener want you to imagine taking chapters from various introductory textbooks, then shuffling them in any order you want to best fit the course you are teaching — all within minutes on a computer. Oh, and the book is free to your students. Chapters can also be used as supplementary readings, free of charge. This is precisely the model that the Dieners are proposing for psychology education.  Professors of psychology emeriti at the University of Illinois, the couple has founded the Diener Education Fund, a non-profit organization with the mission of re-inventing higher education to serve the changing needs of students and professors.

  • Launching an Education Revolution

    The Academic Observer is an occasional column by APS Past President and Publications Committee Chair Henry L. Roediger, III, who is James S. McDonnell Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. AO: What inspired you to pursue the Noba project? Why now? E&CD: We believe a revolution in college education is possible, making it both more effective and less expensive. This revolution will involve electronics and the Internet, as well as more active forms of learning for students. We want to be part of that revolution, and believe that our website (nobaproject.com) and award programs will spur innovation. Several things worried us about traditional textbooks.

  • 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.

First Person


  • Tipping the Scale: Strategies for Research Productivity in Grad School

    February 2014 Student Notebook Announcements Become an APSSC Campus Representative to promote psychological science on your campus. APSSC members may be eligible for travel grants to defray the cost of travel to the APS Annual Convention. Students submitting to the APS Annual Convention can be considered for the Student Research or RISE Research Awards. Please note, you can only be considered for one APS award per year. The Student Notebook is seeking advanced graduate students to contribute articles on the following topics: (1) developing a programmatic line of research and (2) establishing a research lab. For more information or to submit an article, contact the Student Notebook editor, Allison L. Skinner, at apssc.sneditor@psychologicalscience.org. Like most graduate students, I have productive days and less-than-productive days.

More From This Issue


  • Understanding ‘Chemobrain’

    Halfway through her chemotherapy treatment following a breast cancer diagnosis, Susan (not her real name) began to feel as though a blanket of fog had rolled over her brain. A highly successful professional in her 50s, she suddenly had trouble remembering the day of the month or even her own phone number. “Everything took longer to accomplish, whether it was getting dressed in the morning or cooking dinner,” she explains. “Just following a recipe wore me out if there were too many steps. I had major issues as well with directions and my own sense of space.

  • The Mechanics of Moral Judgments

    If you realize you never received an invitation to your friend’s housewarming party, you might wonder — accidental omission or purposeful slight? If you turn on the news and discover that an explosion close to home has caused death and destruction, a question likely to cross your mind is — tragic accident or terrorist act? We spend a great deal of time trying to decipher what’s going on inside the heads of our friends, our enemies, and other people around us. The inferences we make about people’s beliefs and motivations shape our moral judgments.

  • A Visionary on Vision

    APS Fellow Aries Arditi likens his work to skydiving. Founder of two vision research, development, and consulting companies, Arditi has spent more than 3 decades studying methods to help people with visual impairments. And like skydivers who don’t know where their parachutes will take them, his research — as he describes it — is inherently unpredictable. “Sometimes you may address a problem and it’s something like jumping out of a plane: You don’t know where you’re going to begin or where you’re going to land, or if [you’re] going to land on something fruitful,” he says. Although he has maintained strong ties to academe, Arditi has worked in the private sector for decades.

  • Cognition Colored by Emotion

    Emotions can sometimes act as a kind of “sixth sense,” steering us toward certain behaviors, decisions, and judgments. Perhaps no one is more familiar with these emotional phenomena than affective science pioneer Gerald L. Clore, recipient of the APS William James Fellow Award and professor of psychology at the University of Virginia.

  • Psychological Scientists Elected as AAAS Fellows

    Congratulations to the following APS Fellows who have been elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The new fellows will be recognized at the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago. Theresa M. Lee, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Past APS Board Member Eugene Borgida, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities John P. Capitanio, University of California, Davis, and California National Primate Research Center Leonard H. Epstein, University at Buffalo, School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, SUNY Mark Stuart Goldman, University of South Florida Eileen Kowler, Rutgers University

  • Developing Interactive Tools for Teaching Statistics to Psychology Students

    Of the many types of new technological tools available for teaching statistics, which ones will actually help students learn? Research suggests students will receive the greatest benefit only if the tools include structured interactions that encourage learning through discovery. The recently developed pencast and apps for iPhones and iPads are two tools that could be used to help students learn basic concepts in statistics. Through the APS Fund for Teaching and Public Understanding of Psychological Science, I developed several sets of tools which will be available at www.teachpsychscience.org. Pencasts are paired audio and written PDF files created by digital smartpens.

  • Psychology Significantly More Scientific Than Previously Thought (p < .01)

    Four years ago, I would have chuckled if I had seen the words “psychology” and “science” used in the same sentence without a “not” in between. Science was biology, chemistry, physics — after all, those were the subjects waiting for you when you got to “science” class. Psychology, on the other hand, was Freud and red chaise lounges and the balding white man whom my classmate Matt Darning had to go see in first grade after he pulled his pants down during gym for the third time. To the surprise of my sophomore self, today I’m slated to study Evidence-Based Social Intervention at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and planning to pursue a PhD in social psychology afterward.

  • Karpicke Honored by White House

    The White House has announced that Jeffrey D. Karpicke, James V. Bradley Associate Professor at Purdue University, is the recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The honor, which is the highest bestowed on early-career scientists and engineers by the United States government, was granted to 102 researchers. Karpicke’s research interests include human learning and memory, cognitive science and education, learning and cognitive strategies in children, and educational technology.

  • NIH Seeks Proposals to Increase Diversity in Science

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is offering three new funding opportunities which will be distributed through a newly established Diversity Program Consortium and are designed to address the lack of diversity in the scientific research community. The initiatives will include and be targeted toward serving the behavioral, biomedical, clinical, and social sciences. Following the announcement from the National Institutes of Health, the Association for Psychological Science has joined a consortium of science organizations and universities to submit a grant proposal for The National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN).

  • Rayner to Receive 2014 William James Fellow Award

    APS Fellow Keith Rayner, known widely for his modern eye-tracking methodology in reading and visual perception, has been named a 2014 APS William James Fellow Award recipient for his contributions to the basic science of psychology. Rayner will give his award address, discussing how culture, writing systems, and age influence our reading, at the 26th APS Annual Convention, which will be held May 22–25, 2014, in San Francisco. Rayner heads the Rayner Eyetracking Lab and is the Atkinson Professor of Psychology at the University of California, San Diego.

  • Inside the Psychologist’s Studio: Eleanor Maccoby

    Some of the first women to enter the field of psychological research sought to examine differences between the sexes, even as they suffered from gender discrimination themselves, APS William James Fellow Eleanor Maccoby recently said in an interview with APS Past President Kay Deaux. Maccoby, known widely for her contributions to developmental and gender studies research, spoke to Deaux at Stanford University on August 26, 2013, about Maccoby’s seminal work in child rearing. Maccoby noted that when she enrolled in graduate school and devoted herself to psychology entirely, the “heartland” of psychology was learning theory, based upon B.F.

  • Kathleen Vohs Receives Anneliese Maier Research Award

    She’s found that a messy desk can promote creative thinking. She’s identified the economic principles that influence how women respond to sexually suggestive ads. She’s demonstrated that performing a ritual leads to more enjoyment when eating and drinking. APS Fellow Kathleen Vohs has been a prolific investigator of the links between psychology and consumer behavior. In recognition of her work — in particular her ongoing exploration of self-regulatory processes — Vohs has received a 2014 Anneliese Maier Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

  • Dueling Brains

    As previously reported in the APS Observer, Indiana University Bloomington (IUB) unveiled what was said to be the world’s largest anatomically correct sculpture of a human brain at the Department of Psychological and Brain Science’s recent 125th anniversary celebration. But following a refutation from APS Fellow F. Robert Treichler at Kent State University (KSU) in Ohio, IUB’s primacy in the “large-brain-sculpture” arena is under threat. According to the concerned KSU professor, the Kent State Golden Flashes have hosted a much larger brain since 1999 when Cleveland Arts Prize recipient Brinsley Tyrrell and several students carved the 12-foot sculpture from 30 tons of sandstone.

  • Books to Check Out: February 2014

    To submit a new book, email apsobserver@psychologicascience.org. Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict by Ara Norenzayan; Princeton University Press, August 25, 2013.