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Volume 17, Issue5May 2004

Presidential Column

Henry L. Roediger, III
Henry L. Roediger, III
Washington University in St. Louis
APS President 2003 - 2004
All columns

In this Issue:
Writing Textbooks: Why Doesn't It Count?

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

  • Writing Textbooks: Why Doesn’t It Count?

    In 1975 I was an assistant professor at Purdue University and in my third year on the faculty. One day my colleague Barry Kantowitz came to see me with a proposal: Would I be interested in joining him in writing a textbook on experimental psychology? He sketched his ideas for the book, which sounded exciting, but then gave me some advice that surprised me. Barry told me I should think carefully about writing a book because I didn't have tenure. Textbooks, he said, have a low standing in academia at research universities and not only would writing a text not help me get tenure, it could actually hurt, because many of my senior colleagues might see it as a frivolous activity. A young assistant professor should be doing research and writing research articles, not frittering away time writing a textbook.

APS Spotlight

  • The Fall of Babble-on

    Over the past few years, there has been an increasing call for "interdisciplinary," "multidisciplinary," and "transdisciplinary" research. While each term can be defined distinctly, all refer to the notion that we need scientists who can conceptualize and perform research that incorporates the perspectives and possibly the methodologies of other disciplines. For example, incorporating the perspectives of other disciplines is essential if discoveries from the basic sciences, such as neuroscience or behavioral science, are to be translated into clinical application. And conversely, mental health treatments that are now available clinically, but are not adequately understood behaviorally or biologically, must move back to the basic research arena if they are to be effectively characterized and superior alternatives created. Why is this "translation" important in mental health? Fundamentally, it is the realization that mental illnesses and behavioral disorders have complex etiologies and phenomenologies and therefore will require coordinated efforts among many disciplines to develop effective and sustainable interventions. Recent advances, such as the work by Caspi et al.

  • Annual Convention Previews

    Two researchers preview their 2004 Annual Convention invited presentations. Amy T. Galloway The First Day of Class: Getting off to a Great Start By Amy T. Galloway During my first year at Furman University, I realized that majoring in cello performance was not in my future. I decided to stay in the orchestra, but to pursue something equally practical - a career studying animal behavior. I obtained a BA in psychology from Furman, completed a master's degree in animal behavior at Bucknell University, and then received a PhD from the University of Georgia, where I studied feeding behavior in tufted capuchins monkeys. In particular, my mentor, Dorothy Fragaszy, and I examined how infant capuchin monkeys learn about food from their mothers and other group members. Toward the end of my graduate career, we investigated and compared the motor skills of children and capuchin monkeys. After working with young children on this project, I became interested in studying feeding behavior in children, but by that point I was wrapping up my dissertation work.

More From This Issue

  • Advanced Pace: As AP Psychology Gains Interest, It Gains Colleges’ Respect

    The first Advanced Placement psychology examination was taken by approximately 4,200 high school students in 1992, and that number has since increased dramatically. More than 62,000 students took the test in 2003, and about 73,000 are expected to take it in May 2004. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions to be completed in 70 minutes, followed by two essay questions to be completed in 50 minutes. Students choose from a list of essays on AP exams in some of the other disciplines, but on the psychology test all students are required to answer both essay questions.

  • Why Did You Study Psychology?

    Why did psychology’s leading researchers take that first course? Was it the compelling advice of a master? Perhaps a sudden epiphany? There’s a story behind every good psychologist. A cross-section of psychologists were asked to share their stories and illuminate the heart of this careerma king decision. This series showcases the paths of psychologists in various disciplines from around the world. Developing a Supertaste By Linda M. Bartoshuk Linda M. Bartoshuk As a kid growing up in Aberdeen, South Dakota, I read science fiction and dreamed of astronomy. Junior high had a career day; students got to interview members of the profession to which they aspired.

  • What Was I Thinking? Kahneman Explains How Intuition Leads Us Astray

    This is a story without an ending. And that's not the only thing wrong with it. In fact, there were a number of flaws in Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman's lecture "A Perspective of Flawed Thought," in March 2004 at the National Institutes of Health. Quite purposefully, the entire talk was full of them. "I specialize in flaws," Kahneman said. However appropriate that self-deprecating remark was to the topic, it hardly applied to the speaker's celebrated accomplishments.

  • PROFILE: The College Board’s Howard Everson

    If you or someone you know has taken the SAT, or an Advanced Placement test, or even so little as considered college in the past 12 years, chances are APS Charter Member Howard Everson has affected your life, and you didn't even realize it. Howard Everson That's because Everson is the chief research scientist at the College Board, where he has worked in some research and development capacity since 1992. He is among the many scientists at the College Board who develop and create the SAT, PSAT, AP, and NMSQT tests awaiting high school juniors and seniors across the country each year.

  • Clinical Science Training at a Crossroads

    More than a decade ago, Richard McFall challenged clinical psychology to become more connected to science, specifically to use methods supported by scientific evidence. Among other things, his challenge inspired a movement within psychology to develop clinical training programs that are grounded in research. In a direct outgrowth of that movement, members of the Academy for Psychological Clinical Science met earlier this year with leaders from the National Institute of Mental Health to explore issues related to clinical science training, student recruitment, and the need for translational and multidisciplinary research.

  • Fund Making a Big Splash: Myers Donation Will See Immediate Results

    As reported in the April 2004 Observer, APS has received a $1 million gift to support initiatives relating to education. Wasting no time, the planning committee for the APS Fund for Teaching and Public Understanding of Psychological Science has already held its first meeting and several promising ideas have emerged from the group's initial deliberations. The Teaching Fund was established with an endowment from APS Fellow and Charter Member David G. Myers. Rather than waiting for the endowment to produce income to support the Fund's activities, APS is underwriting the planning process now so that the endowment will have a more immediate impact.

  • APS to Launch New Journal: The Psychological Scientist Due Early 2006

    The American Psychological Society is unveiling plans to publish a unique new journal, The Psychological Scientist, beginning in early 2006. The search for the journal's founding editor is under way and the APS Publications Committee has issued a "Call for Nominations" asking APS Members to recommend candidates for this post.

  • Transdisciplinary Omelet: NIDA Grantees Are Cooking up a New Approach to Keeping Kids off Drugs

    "Just say no!" didn't do it. Project DARE didn't do it either. Neither did "This is your brain on drugs," coupled with images of an egg frying. Now, two multimillion-dollar research initiatives funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse are searching for ways to finally create effective and longlasting anti-drug campaigns. One of the initiatives is a transdisciplinary prevention research center that teams scientists from diverse disciplines at Duke and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill to identify peer influences on substance use, and leverages that knowledge into better ways of delivering prevention messages to young people.

  • Readers Receive Positive Response: Current Directions Series Has Started off Right

    READERS EDITORS SOCIAL (2003) Janet B. Ruscher Tulane University Elizabeth Yost Hammer Loyola University DEVELOPMENTAL (2003) Jacqueline Lerner Boston College Amy E. Alberts Tufts University ABNORMAL (2003) Thomas F. Oltmanns Washington University in St. Louis Robert E. Emery University of Virginia INTRODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY (DUE OUT 2004) Kathleen H. Briggs University of Minnesota Carol A. Tavris COGINITION, LEARNING AND MEMORY (DUE OUT 2004) Barbara A. Spellman and Daniel T.