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332020Volume 33, Issue6July/August 2020

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

  • Open Society and Open Mind

    Shinobu Kitayama began a one year term as APS President onJune 1, 2020. See the full APS Board of Directors and the APS Bylaws here. The world is facing an unprecedented threat from COVID-19. As a collective of scholars with a mission to better understand the human mind, APS has a unique opportunity to help address urgent societal issues and needs. In my first Presidential Column, I want to share some thoughts toward that end. It will help, however, if I begin by sharing some of my background as a scholar.   Formative Experience Shinobu Kitayama Early in the 1980s, I was a graduate student at Kyoto University, Japan. I was studying social psychology. My fellow graduate students and I looked up all the famous names that appeared in the textbooks. From time to time, we tried to run the studies discussed in the textbooks and, better yet, to add something new to such studies.

Recent Research

  • Research Briefs

    Beyond Western, Educated, Industrial, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) Psychology: Measuring and Mapping Scales of Cultural and Psychological Distance Michael Muthukrishna, Adrian V. Bell, Joseph Henrich, et al. Psychological science has predominantly used data from the United States and other societies characterized as Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD). To assess the generalizability of the data, obtained using WEIRD societies, scientists usually compare those data with East Asian nations’ data, but there are many differences in small-scale societies. Thus, there appears to be a need for a tool that helps to design and plan comparative studies. Muthukrishna and colleagues introduce a method for measuring the psychological and cultural distance between any two societies.

Government Relations

APS Spotlight

  • National Academy of Sciences

    Six APS Fellows Elected to Membership in National Academy of Sciences

    Six Fellows of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) are among the most recent inductees into the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Membership in the NAS is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. The academy announced Monday, April 27, 2020, the election of 120 members and 26 international members in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. APS Fellows newly elected into the NAS are: Randall Engle, full professor, School of Psychology, College of Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. Susan J. Goldin-Meadow, the Beardsley Ruml Distinguished Service Professor, department of psychology, The University of Chicago, Ill. Elke U. Weber, the Gerhard R.

First Person

More From This Issue

  • Racism: Further Considerations from Psychological Science

    A review of some of the research on the nature of racism and the social processes that maintain it; the issues of structural and institutional racism; the consequences of various forms of racism; and possible paths of action to combat racism.

  • APS Establishes the Scott O. Lilienfeld APS Travel Award

    The new Scott O. Lilienfeld APS Travel Award will fund travel and lodging for one or more graduate students attending APS Annual Convention beginning in 2021. Scott O. Lilienfeld Initiated by a group of Lilienfeld’s friends and colleagues, the award seeks to honor and extend APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Scott O. Lilienfeld’s influence on the next generation of clinical scientists by recognizing graduate student achievement in clinical psychological science research and theory. “[Scott Lilienfeld’s] encyclopedic knowledge and contributions across multiple domains have moved our field forward in many directions.”Steven J.

  • Mahzarin R. Banaji Elected to American Philosophical Society

    Mahzarin R. Banaji APS Past President Mahzarin R. Banaji (Harvard University) has been elected to the American Philosophical Society  for her revolutionary work on implicit social cognition. Banaji is among 34 individuals recognized by the society this year for their extraordinary accomplishments across the sciences, humanities, and civil or cultural life. Banaji, an APS William James Fellow, studies how our implicit, or unconscious, mental systems influence social attitudes and beliefs, particularly in relation to in-group/out-group behavior.

  • Barbara Tversky Receives Kampé de Fériet Award

    Barbara Tversky APS Past President Barbara Tversky (Teachers College, Columbia University, and Stanford University) has received the Kampé de Fériet Award for her research on memory, thought, spatial models, and event perception. The award, named for the French scientist Joseph Kampé de Fériet, recognizes significant work in the field of information processing and the management of uncertainty. Tversky, an APS Fellow, received the award virtually June 17th during the 18th International Conference on Information Processing and Management of Uncertainty in Knowledge-Based Systems. During the conference, she also presented a keynote speech on how action shapes thought.