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282015Volume 28, Issue2February 2015

Presidential Column

Nancy Eisenberg
Nancy Eisenberg
Arizona State University, Tempe
APS President 2014 - 2015
All columns

In this Issue:
Juvenile Justice for Some

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

  • Juvenile Justice for Some

    I have known Sandra Graham’s work nearly my entire career, for years before I met her. She is a leader among developmental scientists studying aggression, educational outcomes, social cognition, and issues related to the role of ethnicity/race in diverse development processes and outcomes. In this column, Graham shares some of her personal thoughts and insights as a psychological scientist regarding the recent killings of unarmed Black adolescent males. -Nancy Eisenberg Trayvon Martin, 17, as he walked home after buying snacks at a local convenience store; Michael Brown, 18, after an altercation with a police officer in a patrol car; and Tamir Rice, 12, as he waved a toy gun in a park 100 yards from home.


  • 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 David G. Myers and C.

First Person

  • Careless Responding on Internet-Based Surveys

    Campus Representative Program The Campus Representative Program is designed to increase communication between students and APS/APSSC. Serving as a Campus Rep is a great way to network with other students and directly connect your campus with APS and the APSSC Executive Board. Sign up online, or reapply for the next academic year to maintain your position. Contact Jonathan Waldron at [email protected] for more information. Mentorship Program The APSSC Mentorship Program is designed to connect undergraduate student affiliates with graduate mentors. We are currently accepting applications for both graduate student mentors and undergraduate student mentees. For more information on how to get involved, undergraduate and graduate student affiliates are encouraged visit the APSSC website or contact Staci Weiss, the Undergraduate Advocate, at [email protected].

More From This Issue

  • A Look Back at Elaine Walker’s PSPI Editorship

    How can we leverage our understanding of resilience to help victims of disasters recover? Are the secret algorithms used by dating sites really superior to more conventional methods for finding our perfect mate? Do seemingly ubiquitous learning techniques such as highlighting text and taking practice tests really help us learn better? These are just a few of the questions that have been explored with exceptional depth in the pages of the seven volumes of Psychological Science in the Public Interest published during the tenure of Editor-in-Chief Elaine F.

  • Birthplace of a Journal

    One of psychological science’s most historic sites has dual legacies: It was the home of the field’s foremost figure and — decades later — the birthplace of one of its leading empirical journals. William James moved into the stately home at 95 Irving Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1889, just as he was completing his formative work Principles of Psychology. He continued his prolific writings in his new home, where he resided until his death in 1910. Members of James’s family continued to occupy the house long after his death, but his grandson sold it to the President of Fellows of Harvard College in 1968. Enter  William (Bill) and Katherine (Kay) Estes.

  • Fast-Tracking Intimacy

    A close relationship between two people can take months, even years, to develop — it simply takes time to feel comfortable enough with another person to reveal the parts of your personality and your life that you tend to keep private. But a recent story in The New York Times sheds light on psychological research published almost 20 years ago indicating that, given the right conditions, it may be possible to develop a feeling of intimacy with another person in less than an hour. In three studies led by APS Fellow Arthur Aron of Stony Brook University, researchers created 190 pairs of university students — some cross-gender and some same-gender — none of whom were already friends.

  • Why People Go on Dates They Know Won’t Work Out

    How could kindness and compassion ever clash with the romantic essence of Valentine’s Day? According to a recent study published in Psychological Science, it may be the very desire to spare someone’s feelings that leads us to accept undesirable date requests. Across two studies, psychological scientists Samantha Joel and Geoff MacDonald of the University of Toronto, Canada, and Rimma Teper of Yale University found evidence that the feelings of a potential romantic partner strongly influence decisions, even when that means choosing a date’s self-interest over one’s own.

  • Cognitive Shields

    Some brains stay strong despite showing all the biological signs of dementia. Psychological science is identifying specific lifestyle defenses against cognitive decline.

  • APS Honors Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek for Lifetime Contributions to Psychological Science

    APS Fellows Roberta M. Golinkoff (University of Delaware) and Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek (Temple University) will receive the 2015 APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award for their collaborative research on language, literacy, education, and spatial development. Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek changed the field of developmental psychology in the late 1980s when they introduced the Intermodal Preferential Looking Paradigm (IPLP), which allows researchers to measure preverbal infants’ language abilities by presenting side-by-side visual stimuli along with an auditory stimulus and then observing whether infants look at the visual stimulus that matches the auditory stimulus.

  • LeDoux Recognized by APS for Fear, Anxiety Research

    Joseph E. LeDoux, a 2015 recipient of the APS William James Fellow Award, will speak at the 27th APS Annual Convention in New York City, to be held May 21–24, 2015. LeDoux will speak about how the brain learns to cope with fear, anxiety, and threat states. LeDoux’s groundbreaking research on brain–behavior relationships has shown how neural and molecular mechanisms support Pavlovian aversive conditioning, a form of learning in which stimuli associated with harm become threatening and both trigger innate defense reactions and motivate novel actions.

  • Echolocation Helps Visually Impaired

    Human echolocation operates as a viable “sense,” working in tandem with other senses to deliver information to people with visual impairment, according to new research published in Psychological Science. Ironically, the proof for the vision-like qualities of echolocation came from blind echolocators wrongly judging how heavy objects of different sizes felt.

  • Books to Check Out

    To submit a new book, email [email protected]. The Psychology of Eating and Drinking: 4th Edition by Alexandra W. Logue; Routledge, December 10, 2014. Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being by Brian R. Little; HarperCollins, October 6, 2014. The Oxford Handbook of Multicultural Identity edited by Veronica Benet-Martinez and Ying-Yi Hong; Oxford University Press, July 24, 2014.

  • Building a Better Student Body

    College admissions offices typically rely on two major cognitive measures to supplement prospective students’ applications: high-school grade point average (GPA) and SAT or ACT scores. But for too long, these measures have been given disproportionate weight as indicators of whether a student will thrive in a college environment and be an asset to the university, argued APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Neal Schmitt in his award address at the 26th APS Annual Convention.

  • Valerie Reyna Becomes Editor of PSPI

    A high-quality journal of juried review articles on issues of broad social importance is needed now more than ever. Psychological science is directly relevant to the most pressing social, economic, and health problems of our day, yet is vastly underutilized. To be sure, PSPI has increased the uptake of behavioral research in policy and practice, but so much more potential exists. Building on the success of prior editors, I want to propel the scientific and practical influence of behavioral research forward.