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182005Volume 18, Issue7July 2005

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.

APS Spotlight

  • An APS Research Hotline

    As evaluators of research, psychologists are really good fault-finders. Our critical skills are nonpareil. It has been my experience that the range of things that can be wrong with a research study is rather small. In fact, we tend to look for the same faults in every research study we evaluate. If we identify none, we conclude the study must be pretty darn good, because we couldn't find anything wrong with it. I say if we are so good at spotting fatal flaws in our colleagues' research, we should become skilled in helping them to survive these near death experiences. That's right; I'm saying APS should enter the research recovery, repair, and restoration business. Here is my idea. First, we gather a dozen of the most esteemed and talented researchers in APS — a panel of subject matter experts second to none. (How we pick the 12 people out of the pool of 2,000 who think they should be chosen is not my problem.) Their task is to collectively provide workable solutions to the common problems they are so adroit in identifying in the research of others. Now comes the slick part: A "research hotline" — how about (555) APS—HELP ?

  • When Research Findings and Social Norms Collide

    There have been a good many discussions of the complicated and challenging inter- relationships between behavioral science research and social policy or program development, viewed from a variety of perspectives (White, 1996; Zigler & Hall, 1999). Some have considered the various ways in which research findings may be used (or misused) to inform or influence policy development (Bertenthal, 2002; Lerner, Fisher & Weinberg, 2000; McCall, Groark & Nelkin, 2004; Newcombe, 2002). Others deal with the importance of the scientific benefits frequently resulting from research addressed specifically to applied problems or social policy questions (Bronfenbrenner, 1974; McCall & Groark, 2000.). This commentary addresses a narrower issue regarding the relationship between the reporting of developmental research findings and social policy considerations. The main purpose is to raise awareness and promote discussion of some potential and often subtle constraints on the open reporting of research findings which arise from concerns about their possible social policy implications.

First Person

  • Meet the 2005-2006 APSSC Board

    During the 2005 APS Convention in Los Angeles, CA, the following new officers and members of the APS Student Caucus were announced. President Jennifer Thorpe New York University Hello! My name is Jennifer Thorpe, and I am honored to be the American Psychological Society's Student Caucus President for 2005-2006. I will do everything in my power to serve the best interests of students. I encourage you to contact me with thoughts, ideas, or anything else at [email protected]. I am currently a second-year graduate student at New York University, pursuing my PhD in social psychology. I received my bachelor's degree at Columbia University. I grew up in New York as well, and am excited to have you come to my hometown for the 18th Annual Convention! There are several areas of research that capture my interest.

More From This Issue

  • Observations

    Stanford's Annual Conference The fifth annual Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Conference, sponsored by the Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Association and the Stanford chapter of Psi Chi, was held on May 7, 2005. Initiated in 2001, SUPC has become an integral part of Stanford's psychology department. 'The conference was fantastic,' SUPC associate director and oral presenter Laura Nowell said.

  • Flashback: Members of the Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences at Stanford in 1967

    Flashback: Members of the Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences at Stanford in 1967. First row: Lester Hyman, Richard Atkinson, Ed Crothers, William Estes, Gordon Bower, Harley Bernbach Second row: Unknown, Richard Shiffrin, Bill Mahler, Steve Link, Elizabeth Loftus, George Wolford Third row: Gordon Allen, David Tieman, John Holmgren, Bill Thompson, David Rumelhart Fourth row: Ken Wexler, Rich Freund, John Brelsford, Leo Keller Fifth row: Mike Clark, David Wessel, Peter Shaw, Don Horst, Dewey Rundus. Members not pictured include Pat Suppes, Guy Groen, Bob Bjork, Dave Wessel, Gary Olson, Bill Batchelder, Hal Taylor, Joe Young and Jim Townsend.

  • A Vacation Really Out of This World

    Tourists in space? Vacationing in an orbiting space resort? A romantic honeymoon excursion, literally to the moon? It's not as far off as you might think. In 2001, Los Angeles millionaire Dennis Tito paid an eight-day visit to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket. Last year, Michael Melvill piloted the first civilian-made reusable rocket, SpaceShipOne, into space and back. This feat was repeated five days later, capturing the ship's builder, Burt Rutan, the $10 million X-Prize. (SpaceShipOne, now donated to the Smithsonian, will hang alongside Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St.

  • Mountainous Memoirs

    APS Fellow George Loewenstein, Carnegie Mellon University, was an avid mountain climber "until I had kids and couldn't tolerate the risk." The Observer asked him about his most memorable climb. Maybe in 1986, when I almost killed my wife, Donna, on Mt. Assiniboine in the Canadian Rockies. It was one of the last days of a holiday and we'd been weathered out of climb after climb. At 4 a.m. in a hut just below the peak, we gathered with several other climbers for the final ascent. The others took one look at the weather and headed back down. But frustrated by not being able to do any decent ascents, I insisted to Donna that we should go despite the iffy weather.