Science in San Francisco

Coverage of the 30th APS Annual Convention

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Volume 31, Issue6July/August 2018

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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Featured


  • Presidential Symposium

    In a wide-ranging look at memory, psychological scientists Henry “Roddy” Roediger, III, Dorthe Berntsen, Qi Wang, and Charan Ranganath reveal how brain circuitry, situational cues, culture, and shared experiences influence our recollections.

  • Bring the Family Address

    The study of people’s reactions to shifts in national demographics illuminates the broad psychological, social, and political implications of growing diversity across the world, says social psychologist Jennifer Richeson.

  • Fred Kavli Keynote Address

    Lynn Nadel shares his groundbreaking research on space and memory to explain how memories of life events adapt and change to accommodate new information.

APS Spotlight


  • How Technology Shapes Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions

    Technology is not just changing the way people interact with the world, it’s also changing the way scientists study human behavior and the brain. New technologies are allowing psychological scientists to take their research out of the lab and “into the wild,” where theories can be tested in real world settings. San Francisco is a world-famous hub of technology, and a fitting locale for a symposium on research on tech and the human experience. In a Cross-Cutting Theme Program at the 30th APS Annual Convention, speakers presented interdisciplinary work on the ways technology shapes learning, attention, behavior, and our social lives from childhood through old age.

  • Highlights from Symposium Sunday

    The 30th APS Annual Convention's Symposium Sunday programming put a spotlight on research in applied neuroscience, big data, and the neuropsychology of socioeconomic disadvantage. How Neuroscience Can Save the World Presenters took neuroscience beyond the medical and psychiatric realms to focus on how our understanding of the brain can address problems in society at large at “How Neuroscience Can Contribute to Solving Societal Problems,” a Sunday Symposium. The effects of lower socioeconomic status and chronic stress took center stage as Allyson Mackey, University of Pennsylvania, elaborated on how exposure to discrimination, crime, and toxins such as lead can change the brain.

  • Getting a Grip on Reality

    A Symposium Focuses on Our Ability to Distinguish the Real from the Imagined How do we learn to distinguish what’s real from our own internally generated thoughts, imaginings, and dreams? In a now-seminal 1981 paper, APS Fellow Marcia K. Johnson described a framework for reality monitoring ― our ability to differentiate between externally derived perceptions and our own internally derived thoughts.

  • Preparing Teachers for the Unexpected

    A month into her first job at an elementary school, a newly minted teacher encountered a situation her master’s degree in education had never prepared her for: a 7-year-old girl who, seemingly at random, would get up out of her seat and start spinning in a corner of the classroom. No one in any of her education classes had ever mentioned how to deal with a “spinner,” she told APS Fellow Daniel T. Willingham, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, and yet, when Willingham brought her predicament up with the other elementary school teachers he encountered through his work in educational psychology, they knew exactly the behavior she was talking about.

  • A Grand Memory Tour

    In a wide-ranging look at memory, psychological scientists Henry “Roddy” Roediger, III, Dorthe Berntsen, Qi Wang, and Charan Ranganath reveal how brain circuitry, situational cues, culture, and shared experiences influence our recollections.

  • The Paradox of Diversity

    The study of people’s reactions to shifts in national demographics illuminates the broad psychological, social, and political implications of growing diversity across the world, says social psychologist Jennifer Richeson.

  • Inequality Squares Up With Brain Function, Behavior

    While inequality has existed throughout human history, the topic has gained center-stage status in the past several decades, from the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s to the growing concerns about income disparities. Psychological scientists have provided insights into the drivers and perceptions of inequality and its consequences on our brains and behavior. Five researchers discussed these perspectives and discoveries in a Cross-Cutting Theme Program, “The Science of Inequality,” at the 30th APS Annual Convention.

  • Making and Remaking Memory

    Lynn Nadel shares his groundbreaking research on space and memory to explain how memories of life events adapt and change to accommodate new information.

First Person


  • Students Learn Naked Truths About Publishing, Jobs, and More

    The APS Student Caucus (APSSC) organized several exciting and informative events for student members from across the globe at the 2018 APS Annual Convention in San Francisco. The events included networking opportunities, award addresses, and sponsored sessions detailing how to succeed in graduate school, find and keep jobs in a competitive professional marketplace, and become a published journal author. APSSC programming began with a networking social on Thursday evening attended by over 250 students. The following morning, the Naked Truth sessions began with “The Naked Truth Part I: Getting Into Graduate School,” designed to provide students with information about navigating the graduate school application process. Preparation and intentionality throughout the application process were overarching themes.