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Five Myths About the Role of Culture in Psychological Research

Cornell University researcher and APS Fellow Qi Wang dispels some of the assumptions that researchers make about integrating cultural factors into their investigations.

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Volume 30, Issue1January 2017

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


  • In an APS-Psychonomic Society W.K. & K.W. Estes Lecture, APS Past President and US National Medal of Science Laureate Gordon H. Bower delivers a 60-year retrospective on his attempts to integrate the
    learning theories of his late mentor William K. Estes with those of the influential learning theorist Clark L. Hull.

Up Front


  • Scientists Explore How Nutrition May Feed Mental Health

    Good nutrition has long been viewed as a cornerstone of physical health, but research increasingly is showing diet’s effect on mental health as well. A special section in Clinical Psychological Science highlights the different approaches that psychology researchers are taking to understand the many ways in which nutrition and mental health intersect. Decades of research have shown the importance of proper nutrition in preventing and treating the ill effects of inflammation and stress, physiological processes that are intimately linked with mental health. Despite this clear connection, diet and metabolism typically do not feature in studies that examine aspects of psychological well-being. “Nutrition is not mainstream within the sciences that study mental health and illness,” psychological scientist Alan Kazdin, who organized the Special Section during his tenure as Clinical Psychological Science Editor, notes in his introduction. “Standard coursework in training and exposure to the scientific literature in the traditional mental health professions omit even a morsel. A single series of papers cannot redress that.

Practice


  • 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 the column for supplementary components, including classroom activities and demonstrations. Visit David G. Myers at his blog “Talk Psych”.

First Person


  • Reenvisioning Graduate School

    The field of psychological science is continually changing. These changes are spurred by many factors, from the development of new methodological approaches to shifts in the sociopolitical climate. For students, this ever-morphing environment can feel exciting, as though we are at the cutting edge of our field; yet it also can feel daunting, as if there is no end to the amount of training we need before we can jump-start our careers. The optimism that initially might have led us to pursue graduate degrees can slowly wear down after spending so much time plugging away at research projects; putting in many hours studying for classes that we often are told do not actually matter; and applying for scholarships, grants, awards, teaching assistantships, and practicum or internship placements year after year.

More From This Issue


  • Two Priming Effects to be Examined in APS Registered Replication Reports With Combined Protocol

    APS announces two new Registered Replication Report (RRR) projects. Data for these two projects will be collected concurrently as part of a single protocol, and participating laboratories will be listed as authors on both reports. These reports will be published in APS’s new journal, Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, and they will replicate Experiment 1 from: Mazar, N., Amir, O., & Ariely, D. (2008). The dishonesty of honest people: A theory of self-concept maintenance. Journal of Marketing Research, 45(6), 633–644. and Experiment 1 from: Srull, T. K., & Wyer, R. S. (1979).

  • Books to Check out: January 2017

    Liberation Psychology, Technologies of Mind Management and Self Actualization by Denis Carville; Denis Carville, September 20, 2016. Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations by Dan Ariely; TED Books, Simon & Schuster, November 15, 2016. Take Pride: Why the Deadliest Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success by Jessica Tracy; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, September 20, 2016.

  • Loftus Receives 2016 John Maddox Prize

    APS Past President Elizabeth F. Loftus has been awarded the 2016 John Maddox Prize, which honors scientists who have shown courage in promoting science on a matter of public interest in the face of difficulty

  • Major Change in NIH Policy for Clinical Trials Applications

    In a significant departure from current practices, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued new policies relating to grant applications involving clinical trials, including one mandating that all applications involving clinical trials must be in response to a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) specifically designed for clinical trials. The changes will affect applications submitted on or after September 27, 2017.

  • Linehan Receives Grawemeyer Award for Psychology

    APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Marsha M. Linehan, whose groundbreaking research has focused on developing interventions for teens at high risk for suicide and support networks for their families and friends, has won the 2017

  • Harnessing the Wisdom of Crowds to Improve Hiring

    Incorporating psychological research on implicit bias in hiring, the United Kingdom’s Behavioural Insights Team is investigating collaborative ways to help companies select the most qualified candidates for job openings.

  • Finding Common Ground Between Classic Learning Theories

    In an APS-Psychonomic Society W.K. & K.W. Estes Lecture, APS Past President and US National Medal of Science Laureate Gordon H. Bower delivers a 60-year retrospective on his attempts to integrate the
    learning theories of his late mentor William K. Estes with those of the influential learning theorist Clark L. Hull.