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Volume 16, Issue5May 2003

Presidential Column

Susan T. Fiske
Susan T. Fiske
Princeton University
APS President 2002 - 2003
All columns

In this Issue:
Donald W. Fiske

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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Up Front

  • Donald W. Fiske

    This month's column is a memorial to one of the field's pioneering researchers in methodology, who happened to also be Susan Fiske's father. He passed away after a long illness, and at press time, she and her family are coping with their loss. The Observer will feature remembrances from his colleagues in a future issue; the following is reprinted with permission from the University of Chicago News Office. Donald W. Fiske, a University of Chicago psychologist whose research taught scholars how to measure a person's abilities and personality, died April 6 in his Hyde Park home. He promoted rigorous methods to make psychology a true science and accordingly influenced generations of researchers. He was 86. He co-authored an early article with Donald Campbell that provided a quantitative approach for measuring differences between people.

APS Spotlight

  • Accreditation Helps Researchers and Subjects Alike

    One of the least understood areas of human research protection is the application of federal regulations for protecting subjects who participate in behavioral and social science research. I would like to address two widely held beliefs: that federal regulations are not applicable to behavioral and social science research, and that, when applying them to behavioral and social science research, IRBs often over-interpret the regulations. The behavior of IRBs is driven by several factors. First, the federal regulations are written from a clinical perspective. Take, for example, one of two criteria for waiving documentation of consent: "That the research presents no more than minimal risk of harm to subjects and involves no procedures for which written consent is normally required outside of the research context." While this criterion is perfectly understandable in a clinical setting, it lacks meaningful definition for research conducted outside of a physician's office or hospital environment. Second, IRBs, in light of the suspensions of major research programs between 1991 and 2001, have followed the lead of their institutions and become adverse to risk.

  • 100 Years of ‘the Experimentalists’

    The Society of Experimental Psychologists celebrated the beginning of its centennial year March 7-8, 2003 by holding its 100th annual meeting at Washington University in St. Louis. The centennial observation will culminate in 2004 with a meeting at Cornell University where the society was established in 1904. Known initially as "the Experimentalists," the society was formed by Cornell psychologist Edward Bradford Titchener (1867-1927) as a vehicle for organizing small, informal gatherings of North America's leading experimental psychologists. Members and invited guests were encouraged to speak about current research in their labs and to exchange barbed criticisms in smoke-filled rooms; women were specifically excluded. "Titchener created the Experimentalists in his own image," suggested Ludy Benjamin Jr. a noted historian of psychology and professor of psychology and educational psychology at Texas A&M University. During a brief talk on SEP history offered as part of the annual meeting, Benjamin discussed Titchener's complete dominance of the group's early meetings. Titchener's control of the society, he noted, was released only in his death in 1927.

More From This Issue

  • Psychologists on Non-Traditional Academic Departments

    Psychology in Business SchoolsBy Max Bazerman Max Bazerman is the Jesse Isidor Straus professor of business administration at Harvard University. He was previously on the faculty of the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University for 15 years. Bazerman's research focuses on decision making, negotiation, creating joint gains in society, and the natural environment. As a faculty member in a business school1 since 1979, I have often heard concerns and observations such expressed by psychology PhDs recruited by my department, including: Economists dominate business schools. There's no subject pool in business schools. You have to teach MBA students.

  • The Road to Rhodes: Language Fascination Shapes Psychology Studies

    About Rhodes Scholarships The following is excerpted from the Rhodes Scholarship Web site: "Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals.

  • Department Profile: Washington College

    Washington College is the tenth oldest college in America and the first founded after the revolution. It is also the only college that President George Washington gave permission to use his name. The college was founded through the efforts of William Smith, who felt strongly that American youth should not be sent abroad for an education but should be schooled within the borders of the new country. A tireless fundraiser, it is estimated that Smith collected 6 percent of the available currency in Maryland to open the college, a remarkable fundraising feat which has stood ever since as a challenge to development officers.

  • The Case for Research Training

    Research training has been a core issue for the American Psychological Society since our founding nearly 15 years ago. It's something we raise with Congress and federal agencies when we address issues of research funding and scientific priorities. Too often, however, we find that training is not foremost in the minds of the people who set those funding levels and establish those priorities. You don't hear much if anything about training when agency heads testify on their annual budgets, and you don't usually hear about it when members of Congress deliberate over research budgets, scientific goals in health or education, or any other topics involving federal support for research.

  • NIMH Strategies for Moving Evidence-Based Mental Illness Treatments from Laboratory to Real World Therapies

    Internet Resources The following web pages trace the various NIMH programs relevant to translational research: Report of the NIMH Clinical Treatment and Services Research Workgroup Interventions and Practice Research Infrastructure Program (IP-RISP) Dissemination and Implementation Research Program Centers for Basic Interdisciplinary Work Linking Behavioral Science and Neuroscience Centers for Translational Research in Behavioral Science The National Institute of Mental Health is funding small interdisciplinary networks to explore develop-ment of research plans that would move the growing body of knowledge about evidence-based treatments for mental illnesses out of psychology laboratories an…

  • Geography of Thought

    Several years ago in the Psychology Department at the University of Michigan, a student said something to Richard Nisbett that changed Nisbett's way of thinking and studying about cognition. "There is a difference between you and me," the student, Kaiping Peng, from China, told him. "You think the world is a line, and I think it's a circle." This comment led to a whole new area of research, and a new book that Nisbett has just written, The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why (Free Press, 2003). This was also the subject of his talk "Culture and Point of View" at the Eastern Psychological Association meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, March 14, 2003.