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Volume 19, Issue1January 2006

Presidential Column

Michael Gazzaniga
Michael S. Gazzaniga
University of California, Santa Barbara
APS President 2005 - 2006
All columns

In this Issue:
What's in a Name?

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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    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.’

Up Front


  • What’s in a Name?

    Starting a column about APS changing its name with the famous question Juliet posed to Romeo in their eponymous play may seem a bit of a stretch, but I simply couldn't find a way to fit “APS” into S. Ellis' (1965) “Name Game” template. (If “Shirley, Shirley bo Birley Bonana fanna fo Firley...” doesn't ring a bell for you, you can Google “The Name Game Lyrics” for a first exposure or refresher course.) Nonetheless, like a Elizabethan drama replete with twisted plot, a courtship that started eight years ago, survived a plunge from the balcony into a first ballot defeat, resurrected itself despite clashes between warring clans, and recently found true love in the form of an overwhelmingly supportive vote has led APS to change its name to the “Association for Psychological Science.” Do names matter? Again we need only turn to the world of entertainment for the answer. For those growing up in the pre-Zellwegerian age, there was a certain fascination with tracking how movie stars changed their names. Thus, Bernard Swartz became Tony Curtis (a.k.a. “the American Dreamboat”) and, my own personal favorite, Leonard Sly metamorphed into beloved singing cowboy Roy Rogers.

  • E-Mail Onslaught: What Can We Do?

    A joke that is making the rounds: God bumps into Satan after not seeing her for many years. “Satan,” She says, “you have been lying low. Except for nuclear weapons, you haven't been up to mischief in the last few hundred years. Just the same old stuff: war, pestilence, natural disasters, terrorism. You're losing your touch.” Satan smiles and says “No, you're wrong. Where do you think email came from?” Of course, it wasn't supposed to be like this. Remember when e-mail first came into our offices? It seemed A Great Thing: We could stay in touch with our colleagues; we could exchange ideas and papers; we could collaborate much more easily with people in far away locations. Google and other search engines tamed the Internet and allowed us to find information more easily. It was all supposed to be so good. Where did it go wrong? Spam came creeping into our computers, first as a trickle, then as an avalanche. Then viruses that endangered our computers came riding in on the backs of e-mail attachments. A security industry developed to fight back, but the spammers and crooks seem to stay one jump ahead. However, at least for most of us, spam and viruses are not the main problem.

Practice


  • E-Mail Onslaught: What Can We Do?

    A joke that is making the rounds: God bumps into Satan after not seeing her for many years. “Satan,” She says, “you have been lying low. Except for nuclear weapons, you haven't been up to mischief in the last few hundred years. Just the same old stuff: war, pestilence, natural disasters, terrorism. You're losing your touch.” Satan smiles and says “No, you're wrong. Where do you think email came from?” Of course, it wasn't supposed to be like this. Remember when e-mail first came into our offices? It seemed A Great Thing: We could stay in touch with our colleagues; we could exchange ideas and papers; we could collaborate much more easily with people in far away locations. Google and other search engines tamed the Internet and allowed us to find information more easily. It was all supposed to be so good. Where did it go wrong?

First Person


  • Champions of Psychology: Robert Levine

    As part of our ongoing series with psychology's leading professors, Robert Levine, California State University, Fresno, recently shared his advice for success and the challenges facing graduate students. Levine is a professor of social psychology and an associate dean who has won many awards and published many articles in professional journals and trade periodicals. He has written three books. His most recent one, The Power of Persuasion: How We're Bought and Sold, has been translated into six languages. Levine's Web site is www.psych.csufresno.edu/levine/. APSSC: What led you to choose psychology as a career path? Robert Levine: I've always loved watching people, traveling, and have always been attracted to the measures of social science. APSSC: What advice would you offer a graduate student interested in social psychology? Levine: I would tell them to think broadly.

More From This Issue


  • Too Sexy for Your Shirt?

    Men everywhere want to know: What makes a man attractive to women? Poor dears – they're so confused. Sometimes women seem attracted to responsible, stable, wealthy men, men who might make good fathers. But other times they seem drawn to the dangerous rogues, irresponsible and selfish, but oh so good-looking. Psychological science is showing that what a woman finds sexy may in fact depend on when you ask her — and that there may be good evolutionary reasons for women's varying tastes. Steven W. Gangestad and his collaborators at the University of New Mexico have undertaken a series of studies mapping the sexual preferences of women across their monthly cycle.

  • Scientists Noted for Mental Mapping Win International Psychology Prize

    How do people know where they are and how they got there? Two scientists whose pioneering research addressed those questions have earned the 2006 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. APS Fellow and Charter Member Lynn Nadel and his colleague John O'Keefe explained their theory of the brain's mapping system in a 1978 book, “The Hippocampus as a Cognitive Map” and in subsequent journal articles. Nadel directs the cognition and neural systems program at the University of Arizona. O'Keefe is professor of cognitive neuroscience in the anatomy and developmental biology department at University College London.

  • HIV/AIDS and Drug Use

    The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has launched a new public awareness campaign highlighting the link between the spread of HIV/AIDS and drug use. Today, there are about one million people in the United States living with AIDS; about one-third of those cases are attributed to drug use. Transmission by the contaminated needles of intravenous drug users has long been understood as a method of HIV transmission. But the new ad campaign focuses on the more insidious link between drug use and new AIDS infections: the behavioral effects of drug use that leadto risky sexual activity. According to NIDA director Nora D.

  • Just Published

    Hunter-Gatherer Childhoods: Evolutionary, Developmental, and Cultural Perspectives Barry S. Hewlett, (ed.) and Michael E. Lamb, (ed.) 2005 Transaction Publishers ISBN: 0-202-30748-4 483 Pages In the vast anthropological literature devoted to hunter-gatherer societies, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the place of hunter-gatherer children. Children often represent 40 percent of hunter-gatherer populations, thus nearly half the population is omitted from most hunter-gatherer ethnographies and research. This volume is designed to bridge the gap in our understanding of the daily lives, knowledge, and development of hunter-gatherer children.

  • Everything Old Is New Again

    APS Members have spoken. And they have, overwhelmingly, voted to change our name to the Association for Psychological Science. The new name went into effect January 1, 2006. A record number of members cast their ballots in the election, and of those, over 86 percent supported the move. “I am pleased as punch that APS has changed its name to the Association for Psychological Science,” said APS Fellow and Charter Member Carol Tavris, who first suggested the name change in 1998, in a letter to the APS Board. “At the time I suggested the change, I felt it was crucial to both distinguish ourselves from the APA ...

  • Diversity in Teams: A Two-Edged Sword Requires Careful Handling

    The world of work is changing. Increased globalization, greater workforce diversity (at least in North America), and the need to apply a wide variety of skills to increasingly complex jobs has resulted in flatter organizational structures and an increased use of work groups and teams that are demographically and functionally diverse. Fortunately, diverse teams are more creative and perform better than homogeneous teams— right? After all, it's intuitively obvious that diverse teams can exploit a variety of perspectives and skills. On the other hand, it's also obvious that birds of a feather flock together for a reason: They get along well.

  • William James’ Shaky Sojourn in Stanford

    When the developmental psychology team John and Eleanor Flavell came to Stanford in 1976, they rented a house that contained a dusty copy of The Letters of William James, edited by his son, Henry (James, 1920). In flipping through the volume, John noticed a letter in which William James described his experience as a visiting scholar at Stanford University in 1906. The letter provides an engaging personalized glimpse of the renowned William James in his portrayal of the “primeval” West, the newly founded university, and the travails of lecturing.