image description
332020Volume 33, Issue1January 2020

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.

Read more

Latest Under the Cortex Podcast

Trending Topics >

  • 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.


  • Transparency plus scrutiny guarantee that research gets the credibility it deserves, according to APS Fellow Simine Vazire, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis.

  • Integrative research explores storytelling, metacognitive training, and exploring the “vuja de” as strategies for understanding and changing patterns of behavior.

  • Our willingness to engage in proenvironmental activities reflects how we identify as a part of our social and political ecosystems, as well as how we envision our relationship with science itself.

  • Part of the scientific process is dealing with conflicting data and results. APS President Lisa Feldman Barrett suggests making a resolution this year to transform your adversaries into your greatest resource, scientifically speaking.

Up Front

  • Take an Aisle Seat

    Much of the world has just ushered in a new year and is busily engaged in the aspirational activity called “making New Year’s resolutions.” You know, exercise more and eat less. Save more and spend less. And so, I humbly submit for your consideration, “discuss more and dismiss less” — that is, let’s engage with our critics. Behind every scientific success you can always find a chorus of critics, and I mean that in a good way. Part of the scientific process is dealing with conflicting data and mistakes, and yet it’s tempting to find fault with the criticisms or even the critics themselves. But if you accept that being wrong is an opportunity for discovery, then the people who disagree with you should become your best friends. Call it “taking an aisle seat,” after the metaphor of reaching across the political aisle. If you’re sitting near the aisle, it’s easier to reach across.

Government Relations

  • Frontiers of Psychological Science: An Interview with Eveline Crone

    Eveline Crone, Professor of Neurocognitive Developmental Psychology at Leiden University, has been elected as vice president of the European Research Council (ERC), an EU-focused scientific funding body with an annual budget of over €2 billion. In her new role, Crone oversees the funding of the social sciences and humanities, a portfolio that includes psychological science. Crone, a member of the ERC scientific council, studies brain development in children and adolescents, focusing on how the brain permits complex decision-making in daily life. In 2017, she was awarded the Spinoza Prize, which is the highest scientific award in the Netherlands. In April, she will begin a new position as professor of developmental neuroscience in society at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

APS Spotlight


  • Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science

    Edited by C. Nathan DeWall and David G. Myers Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science offers advice and guidance about teaching a particular area of research or topic covered in this peer-reviewed APS bimonthly journal, which features reviews covering all of scientific psychology and its applications. Teaching Students about Tribal Animals Get Students Interested in Boredom Teaching Students about Tribal Animals By C. Nathan DeWall Clark, C. J., Liu, B. S., Winegard, B. M., & Ditto, P. H. (2019). Tribalism is human nature. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 28(6), 587–592. On Thursday, July 25, 2019, President Donald Trump made a phone call that rocked the stability of his presidency.

First Person

More From This Issue

  • The Social Dynamics of Environmentalism

    Our willingness to engage in proenvironmental activities reflects how we identify as a part of our social and political ecosystems, as well as how we envision our relationship with science itself.

  • Over 50 APS Leaders, Fellows Make List of Top-Cited Researchers for 2019

    More than 50 APS Fellows are among the most highly cited researchers of the last decade, according to a new report. Included in that list are APS President Lisa Feldman Barrett, Past President John T. Cacioppo, several recipients of APS lifetime achievement awards, and a Nobel laureate. The psychological scientists are listed in the Web of Science Group’s Highly Cited Researchers 2019, an annual list of influential researchers around the world. The list contains approximately 6,200 scientists whose work ranks in the top 1% of citations in their fields for papers published during the period of 2008–2018. The list covers 21 fields ranging from materials science to neuroscience and behavior.