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Volume 29, Issue2February 2016

Presidential Column

C. Randy Gallistel
C. Randy Gallistel
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
APS President 2015 - 2016
All columns

In this Issue:
Psychological Science and Viewpoint Diversity

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.’

Featured


  • Psychological scientists and other researchers are exploring the ways that online communication is affecting the formation of friendships and romantic relationships.

  • Never before or since the Scottish Mental Surveys (SMS) of 1932 and 1947 has the cognitive capacity of almost an entire birth-year segment of a country’s population been measured. The results of those surveys have

  • A new field of research called cognitive hearing science holds particular significance for people with hearing impairments, whose inner ears don’t capture complete auditory information for the brain to process.

Up Front


  • Psychological Science and Viewpoint Diversity

    There is broad consensus within the community of researchers in psychological science that ethnic and gender diversity are good for the science. APS works hard, as a matter of policy and conviction, to promote that diversity. The question is whether diversity of political conviction is similarly important, and, if so, whether APS should work to promote it. Jonathan Haidt and Lee Jussim argue that it is and that we should. The APS Board of Directors will discuss this question at its May 2016 meeting, and we welcome comment. In the broadest terms, what is the scope of diversity appropriate to a social science? Is, for example, religious diversity important? And, regardless of how important to the science different diversities may be, can a scientific society address that scope with meaningful policies? -APS President C.

Practice


  • Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science

    Edited by C. Nathan DeWall and David G. Myers  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 and C.

First Person


  • What You Say Matters

    Many graduate students fear public speaking, yet for many of us it is a pervasive aspect of graduate life. Standing in front of a group of people, whether for an in-class presentation, at a weekly department lunch, or to lead tutorials and lectures, can be frightening. Though we may be confident in our knowledge of the material, often this confidence fades when we are confronted by the faces of our audience. Thankfully, science has come to our rescue, armed with empirical research that suggests ways in which we can convey confidence to our audience through our voices, even when that confidence may be lacking. Qualities of voice have been shown to influence perceptions of speaker confidence, and vocal confidence exerts persuasive power. This information has practical applications to the many domains of graduate life that involve public speaking, both in the classroom and beyond.

More From This Issue


  • Sushi roll in the shape of a heart

    Rocky Relationships Linked With Unhealthy Diets

    Romantic relationships certainly contribute to emotional as well as physical well-being, but studies indicate that people in distressed marriages are at risk for a slew of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and even

  • Books to Check Out: February 2016

    Moral Disengagement: How People Do Harm and Live With Themselves by Albert Bandura; Worth Publishers, December 25, 2015. Minority and Cross-Cultural Aspects of Neuropsychological Assessment: Enduring and Emerging Trends, 2nd Edition edited by F. Richard Ferraro; NY: Taylor & Francis, July 23, 2015. Pathfinders in International Psychology edited by Grant J. Rich and Uwe P. Gielen; Information Age Publishing, June 1, 2015. Generations and Collective Memory by Amy Corning and Howard Schuman; University of Chicago Press, August 31, 2015.

  • Science Publications Laud Reproducibility Efforts

    As 2015 came to a close, media outlets were publishing their typical year-in-review lists, and the replication movement in psychological science received recognition as one of the notable scientific advances of the year. The journal Science named a major attempt to replicate 100 papers published in top-tier psychology journals as one of the “breakthroughs of the year.” This collaborative project, facilitated by the Center for Open Science (COS) and APS Fellow Brian Nosek, was recognized as a major scientific achievement for psychology but also for science as a whole.

  • APSSC Members Honored by Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology (SSCP)

    Three APSSC members have been selected to receive the Outstanding SSCP Student Researcher Award. Each recipient will receive a free 1-year extension of their APS Membership. Colleen Stiles-Shields is a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University. Her advisor is David C. Mohr. Stiles-Shields’s research focuses on behavioral factors that can result in barriers to mental health treatment, and with NIH funding she is currently working to improve mobile apps that aid in the treatment of depression. Jonathan P. Stange is a doctoral candidate at Temple University under the supervision of APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Lauren B. Alloy.

  • NASA Exercise: Ranking Survival Objects for the Moon

    NASA Exercise Instructions Group members should be instructed to rank the objects individually (–10 min) and then in groups (15 min.). In the group part of the exercise, all groups should be instructed to employ the method of group consensus, which requires each group member to agree upon the rankings for each of the 15 survival items before the item becomes a part of the group decision (e.g., Hall and Watson, 1970). Instructors should ensure that students interact only within groups and no cross-talking occurs between groups. After revealing the correct answers and allowing teams to calculate their scores, record the team score and the lowest individual score from each team.

  • Love in the Time of Twitter

    Psychological scientists and other researchers are exploring the ways that online communication is affecting the formation of friendships and romantic relationships.

  • Intelligence Over Time

    Never before or since the Scottish Mental Surveys (SMS) of 1932 and 1947 has the cognitive capacity of almost an entire birth-year segment of a country’s population been measured. The results of those surveys have

  • Hearing With Your Ears, Listening With Your Brain

    A new field of research called cognitive hearing science holds particular significance for people with hearing impairments, whose inner ears don’t capture complete auditory information for the brain to process.

  • The Dos and Don’ts of Wikipedia Editing in the Undergraduate Psychology Classroom

    In today’s technology-mediated world, George Miller’s call to “give psychology away” to the public has become ever more salient (Tomes, 2000). The APS Wikipedia Initiative has embraced this call by challenging APS members to improve the accuracy and accessibility of psychology-related content on Wikipedia. For instructors of undergraduate courses, the APS Wikipedia Initiative provides a context for students to write about psychological science for the widest possible readership using minimal scientific jargon.

  • A Big Year for Psychological Science on the Big Screen

    From Oscar nods to the festival circuit, movies featuring psychological science took Hollywood by storm in 2015. At least four APS fellows were inspirations for the big screen this year in three award-winning films that focused on the science — as well as the human stories — behind some of the most influential research of the 20th century. The animated Pixar film Inside Out was one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2015; it has been nominated for 78 awards, including Oscar nominations for best animated feature film and best original screenplay. The initial idea for the movie came from an unlikely source: A panel at the 2005 APS Annual Convention.

  • Albert Bandura to Receive National Medal of Science

    Albert Bandura, who has received both the APS William James Fellow Award and the APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award, has been awarded the National Medal of Science. Bandura is a professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University, where he has served on the faculty since 1953. Awarded annually by a committee of presidential appointees, the National Medal of Science recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to science, technology, and engineering. In addition to Bandura, this year’s other eight awardees include microbiologists, physicians, and theoretical physicists. Awardees will receive their medals at a White House ceremony in January.

  • Maier Receives Grawemeyer Award for Work on Resiliency

    APS Fellow Steven Maier, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and director of the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Colorado–Boulder, has been named the recipient of the 2016 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. The awards were created by industrialist H. Charles Grawemeyer to “pay tribute to the power of creative ideas, emphasizing the impact a single idea can have on the world.” The honor includes a $100,000 cash prize.