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262013Volume 26, Issue1January 2013

Presidential Column

Joseph E. Steinmetz
Joseph E. Steinmetz
The Ohio State University
APS President 2012 - 2013
All columns

In this Issue:
Big Data Has Left the Station

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.

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  • 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.

Up Front

  • Big Data Has Left the Station

    President’s Note: A big difference in the academy today compared with the academy we knew 25 years ago is the emergence of interdisciplinary approaches to research and scholarship. While there are a number of reasons for this trend, first and foremost there has been a growing recognition that the major problems facing the world are complex, requiring varied approaches and various levels of analysis for their solutions. Indeed, the days of the “lone wolf” researcher are on the decline, and this has led to a more team-oriented approach to research and scholarship. This has resulted in the emergence of fields at the intersection of our traditional disciplines. Most notably for psychology may be the emergence of neuroscience and cognitive science as well as a recent emphasis on translational research that connects basic and clinical research efforts.

APS Spotlight

  • Donations to Disaster Victims

    We are frequently asked to donate money to disaster relief appeals and other charitable causes. We might part with our cash in response to some requests, but choose to ignore others. Have you ever wondered what triggers these differential responses? Why does someone who wells up with empathy for one victim turn the other way when witnessing the plight of others? According to our research featured in the European Journal of Social Psychology (Zagefka, Noor, Randsley de Moura, Hopthrow, & Brown, 2011), one important factor is the perceived cause of the disaster.

  • Different Strokes for Different Folks

    When Jo Ann Gardner and Charles Thomas sat down with Psychology Today editor T. George Harris in 1970, the historical backdrop was the rapid social and political transformations rocking American culture. Academic psychology was not immune. Historian Alexandra Rutherford describes how the 1969 American Psychological Association (APA) convention, organized around the theme of “Psychology and the Problems of Society,” became a forum for the concerns of women and African American psychologists (2006).

  • Social Psychology Then and Now

    Gordon Willard Allport (GWA) was a giant as a scholar. As he progressed from one major topic to another — the self, attitudes, and prejudice in social psychology; traits, values, and functional autonomy of motives in personality — he left us with comprehensive reviews in books, chapters, or journal articles, each providing a framework that encompassed the range of theories in the topic’s history. His reviews aided many later scholars’ efforts — offering not only one-stop historical educations, but also theoretical starting points on which they could build. When Richard Evans interviewed Allport in 1966, GWA was terminally ill with cancer.

  • Derailed: The Rise and Fall of Diederik Stapel

    Diederik Stapel fabricated data for over 50 peer-reviewed articles, many of which were published in leading journals, including Science. He has now published Ontsporing (Derailed), a 315-page autobiography that provides a fascinating tale of the events leading up to and following the discovery of his large-scale academic fraud. [1] The book’s opening chapter depicts a sweating, indicted Stapel driving through The Netherlands, retracing the locations in which his fraudulent studies were presumably carried out, anxiously trying to straighten out his story and evade the inevitable. The scene is gripping.


  • Landing Your First Teaching Job: Tips From Two Recent Hires

    If you’re reading this, you’ve likely completed the first important step of being on the job market — conceptualization. You can envision yourself being out of school and having a real, academic job. The problem is: How do you get there? Being on the job market for the first time can be intimidating. Actually, scratch that. How about terrifying? Fortunately, there is a wealth of resources available to help guide you through the process; the information contained in this article is intended to be just one of the many tools at your disposal. With that in mind, it may be helpful to start by giving a framework for the perspective of this article.

  • How to Survive and Thrive During Your First Years in a Tenure-Track Job

    As a graduate student, the primary focus is typically on research. Some graduate students may teach a few courses, but typically the message is clear: Research comes first. The lack of training in teaching while in graduate school has left some newly minted professors ill-equipped to teach undergraduates (Gaff, 2002). When entering academia as an assistant professor, regardless of whether you are at an R1 university, a private liberal arts college, a community college, or employed at an institution somewhere in between, as a faculty member, you will be evaluated on three dimensions: teaching, research, and service.

  • Self-Knowledge in the Classroom

    My colleagues and I have observed that some of our students take the same course multiple times with the goal of improving each time, but often only manage to accrue a dismal track record of failing or near-failing grades. Similarly, there are students who pursue a major that is clearly not a good match for them (as reflected in consistently poor grades), thereby often significantly delaying their graduation or dropping out as “failures.” Miller and Wrosch (2007) partially addressed this problem in their provocative article by calling attention to the possibility that culturally driven mandates to “never give up” may not always be the best advice.

First Person

  • State of the APS Student Caucus

    The coming year marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of APS. The year of APS’s founding, 1988, was also the year that 14 motivated individuals decided to come together to form a group devoted to serving the needs of psychology students by providing them with the skills and opportunities necessary to excel in the field. The APS Student Caucus was born.  Today, the APSSC has grown to represent more than 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students all over the world. We are much bigger, but our original focus has remained the same. This past September, the APSSC Executive Board held its annual Fall Meeting  to discuss the current and future directions of our ever-growing global student organization. The purpose of our meeting was to ensure that we continue to build on the effectiveness of our programs and to recognize the interests of our fellow student affiliates around the world.

More From This Issue

  • Throw Negative Thoughts Away in 2013

    If negative, unwanted thoughts are coming between you and your 2013 New Year’s resolutions, try throwing the pessimistic thoughts away. Research published in Psychological Sciencesuggest that when people wrote down their thoughts on a piece of paper and then threw the paper away, they mentally discarded the thoughts as well. Pablo Briñol, at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, and his coauthors asked high school students to write down either positive or negative thoughts about his or her body during a three-minute period. All the participants were asked to look back at the thoughts they wrote.

  • Kazdin Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

    Alan E. Kazdin was awarded the 2012 Career/Lifetime Achievement Award at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) 46th Annual Convention in November. Kazdin, who is John M. Musser Professor of Psychology at Yale University, is an APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow and the Founding Editor of APS’s newest journal, Clinical Psychological Science. ABCT commended Kazdin for his work treating children with behavior problems and his work with research methods in clinical psychology. As Director of the Yale Parenting Center, Kazdin’s research has focused primarily on responding to aggressive and antisocial behavior in children, as well as on everyday parenting techniques.

  • Gottesman Receives Grawemeyer Award

    APS Fellow and Charter Member Irving I. Gottesman, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, has received the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology, designed to recognize outstanding ideas, and along with it a $100,000 prize. Gottesman, who helped to create the first academic program on behavioral genetics in the US, is an influential mental-health researcher in the area of models for exploring the causes of schizophrenia. His research on the genetics of schizophrenia has been instrumental in shaping how mental disorders are classified. The Grawemeyer Award recognized Gottesman’s “endophenotype concept in schizophrenia.”

  • Perspectives Issue on Replication Free to All

    The November 2012 issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science is dedicated to the topics of replicability and research practices. This special issue received over 215,000 downloads in its first 3 weeks online. APS and SAGE have made the full issue freely available in order to encourage wide discussion of these important subjects. Free online at:

  • Conoley Named Acting Chancellor

    APS Fellow Jane Close Conoley has been named Acting Chancellor of the University of California, Riverside. She is currently a professor of counseling, clinical, and school psychology and the dean of the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Conoley’s research focuses on family interventions and interventions for children with disabilities. She is particularly interested in serious emotional disturbance and aggression among children and youth. “Jane Conoley is an established leader and scholar who cares deeply about providing access to opportunity for those who aspire to higher education,” said University of California President Mark G.

  • Cicchetti Wins 2012 Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize

    APS Fellow Dante Cicchetti, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, was awarded the 2012 Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize for his research on the consequences of child maltreatment and neglect. For over 30 years, Cicchetti has studied the consequences of child maltreatment and neglect, as well as the conditions that lead to resilience. His work looks at psychosocial aspects, such as a child’s family situation, and neurobiological and genetic factors. “To see the positive and not just the problems — this is crucial when studying the development and resilience of maltreated children. It’s a dynamic process.

  • Rubin Honored by Aarhus University, Denmark

    In 2012, APS Fellow and Charter Member David C. Rubin, Duke University, received an honorary degree from Aarhus University, Denmark, at a ceremony attended by Queen Margrethe II. Rubin has been connected to Aarhus University since 1985. He was a visiting professor for 2 years and has published over 20 articles with Aarhus faculty. Rubin’s research focuses on human memory, cognition, and neuroscience, specifically long-term memory for real-world events and its neural basis. The focus on memory for complex real-world events calls for interdisciplinary collaboration, and Rubin has played a major role in developing autobiographical memory to the respected field of research it is today.

  • Clinical Science Accrediting System Earns National Recognition

    The Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS), which focuses on the quality and outcomes of scientific training of doctoral-level clinical psychologists, was recognized as an accrediting body by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the national nongovernmental gatekeeper of accrediting organizations. This “seal of approval” is an important symbolic development in the evolution of modern clinical psychological science, and it has enormous practical implications.

  • Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science

    C. Nathan DeWall, University of Kentucky, and renowned textbook author and APS Fellow David G. Myers, Hope College, have teamed up to create a new series of Observer columns aimed at integrating cutting-edge psychological science into the classroom. Each column will offer 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.

  • Little girl smiling and lying on grass with music notes around her

    A Musical Mind

    APS Fellow E. Glenn Schellenberg reviews the cognitive, social, and emotional side effects of musical training.

  • McCartney Appointed Next President of Smith College

    APS Fellow and Charter Member Kathleen McCartney, who has been the Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education for the past seven years, will be the next president of Smith College starting in July 2013. McCartney, a renowned expert on child development and early education, was a coauthor of "Facts, Fantasies and the Future of Child Care in the United States" in the very first issue of Psychological Science in January 1990. “I am so proud to be appointed the 11th president of Smith College,” McCartney said in a Smith College press release. “While other colleges boast of naming a first woman president, Smith today announces its fifth.