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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


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  • PROFILE: The College Board’s Howard Everson

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  • Clinical Science Training at a Crossroads

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

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  • 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.