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Volume 18, Issue6June 2005

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.

APS members receive the Observer newsletter and may access the online archive going back to 1988.

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  • This is a photo of a piece of paper torn to reveal the phrase "uncover the facts"

    Myths and Misinformation

    How does misinformation spread and how do we combat it? Psychological science sheds light on the mechanisms underlying misinformation and ‘fake news.’

Up Front


  • The Greatest Literature Never Published

    Lurking in certain computers (and, in a bygone era, certain filing cabinets) lies a large body of fascinating psychological literature that has never been published and that is inaccessible in literature searches. This body of work is and has been critically important to the field despite its invisibility. It determines our scientific lives, and which papers are published and which are not. In addition, it shapes those papers that are published. I refer to the great body of action letters and reviews that issue forth from our journal editors and their editorial boards (and ad hoc reviewers) every year. Think of how many reviews and action letters there must have been in the history of psychology; consider how many new ones are created every year. Many reviews and letters are ordinary, but some have great ideas and are really fine pieces of work.

APS Spotlight


  • Advancing Applied Psychology: KU Conference Focuses on Bringing Science to Society

    On April 1 and 2, 2005, the department of applied behavioral science at the University of Kansas hosted a national conference, "Advancing Applied Behavioral Science in Psychology: Solving Societal Problems through Integrative, Empirical Research in the 21st Century." It was supported by the KU departments of psychology and of psychology and research in education, the child clinical psychology program, the college of liberal arts and sciences, the graduate school, and Schiefelbusch Institute for Lifespan Studies. The conference addressed four themes: barriers to applied behavioral science; advances in the integration of basic and applied research and conceptual analysis relevant to overcoming them; related progress in bridge or translational research for deriving, implementing, and validating science-based applications; and future research, training, and funding agendas. Short History, Long Past In their opening remarks, the organizers — Edward K. Morris, Rachel H. Thompson, and Gregory P. Hanley — noted the conference's short history, but long past. The department of applied behavioral science was established in 1963 as the department of human development and family life.

  • Why Alan Alda Hates Eggs: A Clarification

    My students got a kick out of reading about our joint research on false food memories in the APS Observer's April article, wonderfully titled, "Making Memories." But they also knew that one piece of the story was not quite right and were compelled to clarify and elaborate. As noted in "Making Memories," we attended a picnic at University of California, Irvine with Alan Alda, and he did refuse to eat hard-boiled eggs when they were first offered to him. But, contrary to the report, he did not tell us he remembered getting sick as a child, nor did he provide details about getting sick to our research group. Since we know a lot about how false beliefs can get transmitted, we thought it best to tell Observer readers what Alan Alda actually did and didn't do. That way, psychologists who want to use the Alda anecdote to illustrate a claim will have the facts straight.

Practice


  • The Greatest Literature Never Published

    Lurking in certain computers (and, in a bygone era, certain filing cabinets) lies a large body of fascinating psychological literature that has never been published and that is inaccessible in literature searches. This body of work is and has been critically important to the field despite its invisibility. It determines our scientific lives, and which papers are published and which are not. In addition, it shapes those papers that are published. I refer to the great body of action letters and reviews that issue forth from our journal editors and their editorial boards (and ad hoc reviewers) every year. Think of how many reviews and action letters there must have been in the history of psychology; consider how many new ones are created every year. Many reviews and letters are ordinary, but some have great ideas and are really fine pieces of work.

More From This Issue


  • The Compleat Picture

    Book Review: From Professing to Publishing, Department Politics to Getting Grants, The Compleat Academic Is ThereThe Compleat Academic: A Career Guide Second Edition Edited by John M. Darley, Mark P. Zanna, and Henry L. Roediger, III APA Books, 2004 I acquired my 1984 edition of Zanna and Darley's The Compleat Academic when a long-tenured professor was giving away books from her collection. It was a treasure passed along to me for which I am grateful. Unfortunately, it is perhaps a book to which many current graduate students are not regularly exposed. This, I believe, should change.

  • Psychology’s Theory of Relativity: When Research Is All in the Family

    Most families on a long road trip pass the time by singing songs, playing 20 questions, or spotting license plates from distant states. But for the Fiskes, hours on the interstate provided the chance for something a little different: collaborative research. They're one of several psychology families who have found teaming up with relatives a natural blending of professional and family life. But, to paraphrase Tolstoy, each of these academic families is academic in its own way. Collaborations range from occasional joint ventures to the equivalent of long-running mom-and-pop businesses. APS Past President Susan T.

  • Where Behavior and Biology Meet

    The second part of an occasional series profiling big psychology grants travels to Chicago's Center for Population Health and Health Disparities, where a transdisciplinary team looks for the causes and cures of cancer.

  • APS Lifetime Member Profile: Herbert C. Kelman

    Herbert Kelman, who calls himself a "political psychologist," came to the United States from Vienna during World War II. As professor of social ethics, emeritus, and chair of the Middle East Seminar at Harvard University, his research focuses on conformity and obedience, nationalism and national identity, ethnic conflict and its resolution, and the ethics of social research. "The moral responsibility of the individual is to resist the demands of an unjust structure," Kelman said. "It is the obligation of a citizen to take a stand on issues, particularly in relationship to peace and justice." From the onset, Kelman's science had social implications.

  • Observations

    When Harry Met Hallie Would a rose, by any other name, smell as sweet? It may depend whether your name is Roberta or Louise. Twenty years ago, Belgian psychologist J. M. Nuttin discovered that people especially like the letters that appear in their own names but are generally unaware of the reason — a phenomenon he called the "name-letter effect." In the last few years, a research team led by Brett W. Pelham, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, has investigated the role that this and other self-associations (preferences for the numbers in one's birth date, for example) play in people's major life decisions.