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292016Volume 29, Issue1January 2016

Presidential Column

C. Randy Gallistel
C. Randy Gallistel
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
APS President 2015 - 2016
All columns

In this Issue:
Licensure for Clinical Scientists: A Critical Issue for Psychological Scientists

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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    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

  • Licensure for Clinical Scientists: A Critical Issue for Psychological Scientists

    In pursuit of its overarching goal of furthering the science of psychology, APS has been supporting efforts to revise the state licensure laws for clinical psychologists. In this guest column, Robert W. Levenson, former president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and an APS Past President, and a leader in research on human emotion, explains why. -APS President C. Randy Gallistel Why devote a presidential column in the Observer to licensure for clinical psychologists? Why is APS deeply involved with this issue? How is this topic relevant for psychological scientists of the nonclinical persuasion? Fair questions all. Still, I hope you will read on. I believe that licensure is an issue of great importance to us all and that it goes to the very heart of why we do psychological science. Licensure: Who and Why? In the United States, licensure is the province of the states.


  • Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science

    Edited by C. Nathan DeWall and David G. Myers  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 and C.

First Person

  • Activate Active Learning

    Take a moment to reflect on your educational experiences: How were you taught during your primary education years compared with your secondary education years and with your higher education experiences? When I ask my friends and colleagues these questions, many note a shift from active to passive learning, from student-centered to teacher-centered classrooms. Our educational pipelines seem to leak active, hands-on experiences until all that remains are lectures and slideshows. As instructors, we need to reclaim the active-learning, student-centered classroom to give students the best learning experience possible. Why Active Learning? Numerous studies have shown that lecturing is an ineffective method of teaching (e.g., Wieman, 2014) as it is not based on the most effective teaching and learning techniques.

More From This Issue

  • Books to Check Out: January 2016

    To submit a new book, email [email protected]. Brain Asymmetry and Neural Systems: Foundations in Clinical Neuroscience and Neuropsychology by David W. Harrison; Springer International Publishing, March 27, 2015. The Confidence Game by Maria Konnikova; Viking Books, January 12, 2016. Emotions, Learning, and the Brain: Exploring the Educational Implications of Affective Neuroscience by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang; W. W. Norton & Company, November 16, 2015.

  • APS Recognizes Students for Research on Underrepresented Groups

    Since 1999, APS has been recognizing excellent student research related to socially and economically underrepresented groups through the RISE Research Award. Students submitting poster research on such groups are eligible to apply for the award, which affords recipients the opportunity to present their research at a special symposium at the APS Annual Convention. Award recipients also earn a $250 cash award. RISE Award winners for 2015 included a wide cross-section of important research on cultural, clinical, and industrial–organizational issues. They include: Robert Lane of St.

  • Psychological Science Finds Big Audience in 2015

    When The New York Times published a list of its 2015 articles that had received the most attention from readers — as measured by the total time that readers spent viewing them — a story on psychological science came in at Number 4. Titled “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” the story chronicled one writer’s quest to find love using a set of questions that APS Fellow Arthur Aron (Stony Brook University) published in 1997 as part of a study on cultivating interpersonal intimacy in a laboratory setting. Read the original Times article.

  • A Commitment to Replicability: An Interview with the Editor of Psychological Science

    The Association for Psychological Science is committed to publishing cutting-edge research of broad interest in its journals. But it also aims to publish empirical work built on strong and sound research practices. This week, Psychological Science Interim Editor D. Stephen Lindsay published an editorial confirming the journal’s commitment to replicability and encouraging practices that increase the likelihood that studies can be reproduced by other researchers following the same method. The Observer asked Lindsay for his thoughts about replicability in psychological science. Does the interestingness of a given study come at the cost of replicability?

  • 2016 APS Mentor Awards

    The APS Mentor Award recognizes those who have significantly fostered the careers of others, honoring APS members who masterfully help students and others find their own voices and discover their own research and career goals. Four psychological scientists have been selected to receive the 2016 APS Mentor Award. Richard N. Aslin University of Rochester Many psychological scientists know APS Fellow Richard N. Aslin as an expert in perceptual development, specifically concerning implicit or “statistical” learning among infants. He studies the mechanisms that allow infants to observe regularities in speech and visual scenes and eventually extract meaning from those patterns.

  • Attention on the Brain

    Research links mindfulness meditation with everything from metacognition to cortical thickness in the brain, says APS Fellow Tania Singer. She and other psychological scientists impart the latest findings from the science of paying attention.

  • Defending Rigorous Science Down Under

    In 1988, the same year that APS was founded in the United States, psychological scientists in Australia faced a major education reform that greatly expanded the number of universities in our country: The Australian government converted many colleges of advanced education into universities. These new institutions often had few research traditions but taught some elements of psychology, usually with an emphasis on counseling. Accordingly, pressure mounted for the accreditation of an increasing number of professionally based undergraduate programs in psychology with much less content in basic science than traditionally had been the case.

  • Society for Affective Science to Host Third Annual Conference

    Registration is now open for The Society for Affective Science’s third annual conference, to be held March 17–19, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Chicago, Illinois. Discount pricing is available for those who register before January 15, 2016. SAS was founded in 2012 as a professional environment for scientists interested in affective phenomena in all their many forms. The society’s third conference will feature a presidential symposium, invited addresses, TED-style talks, flash talks, salons, method lunches, and poster sessions.

  • Rajaram, Weber Among APS Fellows Elected to Society of Experimental Psychologists

    APS Past Board Members Suparna Rajaram of Stony Brook University and Elke U. Weber of Columbia University are among eight psychological scientists recently elected to the Society of Experimental Psychologists (SEP). Others elected in the most recent SEP cohort include APS Fellows Todd Braver (Washington University in St. Louis), Barbara Mellers (University of Pennsylvania), Robert Sekuler (Brandeis University), Robert Siegler (Carnegie Mellon University); and Marvin Chun (Yale University).