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Volume 14, Issue1January 2001

Presidential Column

Robert Bjork
Robert A. Bjork
University of California, Los Angeles
APS President 2000 - 2001
All columns

In this Issue:
Department-ism: More Than Just Space Wars

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.

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Up Front


  • Department-ism: More Than Just Space Wars

    The university is a great place to learn about prejudice — first­hand. The prejudice that I'm talking about is so deeply ingrained in the nature of universities and other large organizations that it is not recognized as a near kin of racism, sexism, ageism, or the other "isms" that can be found in the appendix of most general psychology texts. Perhaps it is not surprising that academic psychologists have avoided even naming the prejudice that is openly practiced on our own campuses and within our own discipline. What I am talking about is departmentism.

  • Department-ism: More Than Just Space Wars

    The university is a great place to learn about prejudice — first­hand. The prejudice that I'm talking about is so deeply ingrained in the nature of universities and other large organizations that it is not recognized as a near kin of racism, sexism, ageism, or the other "isms" that can be found in the appendix of most general psychology texts. Perhaps it is not surprising that academic psychologists have avoided even naming the prejudice that is openly practiced on our own campuses and within our own discipline. What I am talking about is departmentism.

APS Spotlight


  • Psychological Scientists in the Private Sector

    Voicing Psychology at Big Blue BY JAMES R. LEWIS As an engineering psychologist at International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), I'm involved in commercializing the voice and speech technologies developed by IBM Research. These technologies include speech recognition, artificial speech production, speaker identification and translation. This work provides a tremendous opportunity to apply psychology - primarily cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics - to the design of human-computer interfaces. These opportunities include (but are not limited to): Developing design principles from the psychological and human factors literature, and applying the empirical methods of psychology to product design and to the development of product assessment instruments.I suppose most people have followed some strange path to get from where they started to where they are. My involvement in software development began in high school when I participated in New Mexico's First Annual Programming Competition. The competition included a crash course in FORTRAN, after which I decided that whatever I did with my life, it wouldn't be computers.

  • Absolute Focus on Research

    In 1997 I left a position as an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the MCP Hahnemann University School of Medicine to join RAND, a private, non-profit corporation that seeks to improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. At RAND, I am a senior behavioral scientist, and I serve as co-director of the Drug Policy Research Center (DPRC) with another psychologist, M. Audrey Burnam.Much of my time is spent working on two clinical research grants that I received from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The two grants extend work begun during my graduate training at Boston University as an experimental/behavioral psychologist, as well as my post-doctoral training at Johns Hopkins in drug abuse and behavioral pharmacology. Each of the NIDA grants examines the application of behavioral principles - specifically, the use of reinforcement to increase the occurrence of behaviors associated with abstinence. In addition to the NIDA grants, I work with professionals from a remarkable mix of disciplines in the promotion and conduct of drug policy research and analyses.

Practice


More From This Issue


  • From Brain Researcher to Social Scientist: They All Answer to ‘Psychologist’

    In a brightly lit laboratory in Northern California, Jennifer Eberhardt listens to the final thumps of a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) apparatus. In its cylindrical confines, a college student looks at pictures of Black and White males while the device measures the blood flow in his brain. Back east in New England, Bruce Compas' research assistants help a 12-year-old girl who suffers from unexplained abdominal pain settle in at their cozily-appointed lab. After affixing electrodes and a velcro belt to monitor the girl's heart and respiration rates, the assistants measure the girl's reactivity to pain by placing her arm in near-freezing water.

  • The (Mis)organization of Psychology

    Psychology is divided into areas such as biological psychology, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, social psychology, personality psychology, and so forth. Departments often organize their professors in this way, graduate programs are usually structured in this way, and jobs are typically advertised in this way. This organization of the field, departments, graduate programs, and jobs is less than optimal; it represents a misorganization of the field.

  • APS Fellows Chosen for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    From the Founding Fathers to the recent inductees, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has, as George Washington wrote, "a high reputation" across many disciplines. In 2000, three Fellows of the American Psychological Society were inducted into the Academy: Robert M. Krauss, Columbia University; Paul Rozin, University of Pennsylvania; and Leslie G. Ungerleider, National Institute of Mental Health.Election into the prestigious Academy is an enormous honor. "We humans seem to need recognition and awards throughout our careers, and this is a very appropriate and constructive way to do it," Rozin said.