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152002Volume 15, Issue3March 2002

Presidential Column

John Darley
John Darley
Princeton University
APS President 2001 - 2002
All columns

In this Issue:
A New Age of Exploration

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


  • State University of New York – New Paltz

    Department of Psychology JFT 314 75 South Manheim Blvd. New Paltz, NY 12561 Barbara Novick , Department Secretary (845) 257-3470; Fax: (845) 257-3474 novickb@newpaltz.edu The Psychology Department was founded in 1968. The 13 current faculty members represent both research-oriented and applied fields within psychology. The Department is dedicated to teaching, research, and public service. Instruction in the methods and content of the field of psychology is provided within the liberal arts and sciences' tradition of encouraging intellectual and personal development. The curriculum offers a diversity of learning situations and includes many opportunities for writing, independent study, and research with faculty members. Further, two psychology clubs, one for undergraduates and one for graduate students, in addition to a local chapter of Psi Chi, all play active roles in the campus community. Research and Practicum Facilities The department has a variety of research and practicum facilities designed partially to extend students' experiences outside the classroom.

  • A New Age of Exploration

    Advances in science and engineering have the potential to increase our security and economic prosperity, and improve the quality of our lives. But they also dismay many of us. In part, we are unnerved because we know far too little about the role we ourselves play in bringing about these transformations, and how new knowledge and technology in turn will affect our daily lives, our families, our institutions, and the future of our planet. In these changing times, we need a renaissance in the study of humankind. The social, behavioral, cognitive and economic sciences can help us make the well-informed choices that will guide us down the path to a successful future. New knowledge in these areas can vastly increase our menu of options, and give us the power to foresee and predict the consequences of our decisions and actions. Rapid change and increasing complexity are hallmarks of our 21st century world. The ways we live, work, and educate our children have all changed in what seems like the blink of an eye. Technology permeates every corner of our world, holding out possibilities for healthier, more satisfying lives.

Practice


  • State University of New York – New Paltz

    Department of Psychology JFT 314 75 South Manheim Blvd. New Paltz, NY 12561 Barbara Novick , Department Secretary (845) 257-3470; Fax: (845) 257-3474 novickb@newpaltz.edu The Psychology Department was founded in 1968. The 13 current faculty members represent both research-oriented and applied fields within psychology. The Department is dedicated to teaching, research, and public service. Instruction in the methods and content of the field of psychology is provided within the liberal arts and sciences' tradition of encouraging intellectual and personal development. The curriculum offers a diversity of learning situations and includes many opportunities for writing, independent study, and research with faculty members. Further, two psychology clubs, one for undergraduates and one for graduate students, in addition to a local chapter of Psi Chi, all play active roles in the campus community. Research and Practicum Facilities The department has a variety of research and practicum facilities designed partially to extend students' experiences outside the classroom.

  • Parting Ways: Ending Your Course

    Much emphasis has been placed on the use of activities at the begin-ning of a course to provide opportunities for introductions, begin to create a comfortable classroom atmosphere to encourage discussion and learning, or develop a sense of community and group identity. In many teaching books (e.g., McKeachie, 1999) there is an entire chapter devoted to getting started and what to do on the first day of a course such as breaking the ice, introducing the teacher and textbook, and allowing time for questions. Much less attention has been given to the equally important task of providing closure at the end of a course or seminar. After a great deal of time developing a sense of comfort and community in the classroom, ignoring class endings seems awkward and abrupt to both students and faculty. Use of "parting-ways" techniques: Provides emotional and psychological closure to the classroom thereby reducing awkwardness. Acts as an opportune time to summarize central ideas and review content. Wraps up the class in ways that add to students' entire semester-long experience and sense of accomplishment. Stimulates interest in the topic area and possibly major.

First Person


  • Teaching Psychology: Graduate Student Shares His Lessons Learned from a Summer Teaching Undergraduate Statistics

    Although the Observer does a good job conveying ideas about the teaching of psychology in its "Teaching Tips" section, I sometimes have felt that graduate students who are teaching face a unique role and need these tips conveyed to them in a different manner. Whereas experienced teachers incorporate these tips into their existing teaching styles, graduate student instructors are developing their own teaching methods. For this reason, teaching an advanced undergraduate level statistics course this past semester has been one of the most time consuming and demanding aspects of my graduate school career. Through the wisdom given to me by many excellent teachers as well as through my own trial and error, I have learned some valuable lessons for graduate student instructors. First, you are the expert in the area you are teaching.

More From This Issue


  • On Self Reports

    In Defense of Self Reports BY REBECCA NORWICK, Y. SUSAN CHOI, & TAL BEN-SHACHAR Special to the Observer It has been more than 20 years since the validity of self-report data was first seriously called into question. Back then, Nisbett and Wilson (1977) offered a critical examination of the many weaknesses of verbal reports of mental processes. Their review of self-report data encompassed many types of self-report methods, and invited the question of how self-reports should be best used given their limitations.

  • More on Peer Review

    A Dissident View 'How Can One Budget for a Discovery?' Excerpted from: "Peer Review: The Holy Office of Modern Science," by Maciej Henneberg, Natural Science, February 20, 1997. "The peer review of grants has its origin in industrial practice. Many people propose to do many things but resources are limited. How can a small number of people who hold the purse strings know everything? The answer is that they cannot, and so they must ask specialists. The best solution is to ask people working on problems similar to the one a grant application proposes to solve. They will be able to highlight merits and point out errors of the proposal. ...

  • Nakamura Named Acting Director of NIMH

    APS Fellow and Charter Member Richard Nakamura has been named acting director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), making him the highest-level psychologist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Nakamura has pledged to continue NIMH's expansion of its support for basic and clinical behavioral research which began under former director Steven E. Hyman. Hyman left NIMH to become provost at Harvard University.

  • NIH Helps Pay Student Loans for Clinical Researchers in Psychology

    Exciting news! The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is offering student loan repayments for clinical researchers, including psychologists. Among other things, the program should help stem the loss of clinically-trained scientists who might otherwise feel compelled to go into practice in order to pay off their educational debts. There are a number of specific eligibility requirements, but in general, eligibility extends to doctoral-level recipients of NIH training or research support who conduct clinical research. "The program was developed mainly to encourage MD clinical researchers," said APS Executive Director Alan Kraut.

  • Sitting in Judgment: Myths and Realities of Peer Review

    It's burdensome, it's time-devouring, it plays havoc with your life and your research, it stifles innovation, it over-values flaws and undervalues potential, and the pay is somewhere between paltry and nonexistent. Why in the world would anyone, let alone our nation's most successful scientists, subject themselves to anything like that? Yet, literally tens of thousands do so each year, including a sizeable cadre of psychological investigators. "It," of course, is peer review, the process by which grant proposals are evaluated anonymously en route to life-or-death funding decisions.