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182005Volume 18, Issue5May 2005

Presidential Column

Robert W. Levenson
Robert W. Levenson
University of California, Berkeley
APS President 2004 - 2005
All columns

In this Issue:
Tempus Really Fugits

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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Up Front

  • Tempus Really Fugits

    Trying to plan my remaining columns, I checked with my editor at the Observer to find out how many more were left to write before turning the Presidential Pen over to my successor. To my surprise, the answer was "just one." There's no doubt about it, tempus really fugits. A year in the life of an APS President goes by in a flash. Of course it's not quite over yet. Column deadlines being what they are, the final event of my term — the Annual Convention — is still over a month away. But, in "column time," this is the last chance to look back and reflect. The Main Event Committees, columns, conventions — there are a number of predictable activities in any presidential year. And then there are the things that just happen. To a large extent, this past year has been dominated by the changes in funding priorities at NIMH.

APS Spotlight

  • Champions of Psychology: Drew Westen

    In an ongoing series in which the APS Student Caucus talks with leading professors, Drew Westen shares his advice for success and challenges facing graduate students. Before becoming professor of psychology at Emory University, Westen was at the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University. He has been chief psychologist at Cambridge Hospital and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. His major areas of research are personality disorders, eating disorders, emotion regulation, implicit (unconscious) processes, psychotherapy effectiveness, and adolescent psychopathology.

  • College Admissions and the SAT: A Personal Perspective

    This article is adapted from an invited address given at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, held April 2004 in San Diego, California. My intent in this paper is to offer a personal perspective on the events that led to a major change in the college admissions test, known as the SAT. The new test is now in place for all students nationwide who must take the SAT as part of the admissions process for the college class entering in the fall of 2006. Hopefully, this account will be useful to those trying to change policies and practices deeply entrenched in our society. Before I begin, let me introduce some terminology.

  • Scientific Psychology: Science Versus Easy Accessibility?

    Suppose that a pair of closely related manuscripts is submitted to an experimentally-oriented journal JE-II in field F. The papers report a series of tests of a theory formulated in mathematical terms that appeared in a theoretically-oriented journal JT, also in field F. Suppose that the response of the action editor is: "There is no doubt that your manuscripts achieve a very high level of mathematical and technical sophistication, and all of the reviewers acknowledged their rigor and thoroughness. ... Predictably, a major issue for most of the reviewers was the accessibility of the manuscripts to the readership of this journal.


  • A Developmental Strategy to Write Effective Letters of Recommendation

    In The Complete Guide to Graduate School Admissions, Keith-Spiegel and Wiederman (2000, p. 175) state that letters of recommendation "are taken very seriously, and sometimes are as important as grades and test scores." This statement highlights the essential function letters play in our students' attempts to achieve their post-baccalaureate goals and to the crucial role faculty play in this process. Faculty who have written such letters know how rewarding this process can be, but they also are aware that it is a time-consuming, sometimes difficult, and occasionally frustrating task.

First Person

  • Senioritis Has a Whole New Meaning

    Start Early To Reduce Graduate School Admission StressThis fall I leapt into my senior year at West Virginia University as a general psychology and sport and exercise psychology double major. With graduation finally in my reach, I felt sure that I was going to be "living it up" my senior year. I was soon hit with the harsh realization that my fun-filled year would be crammed with graduate school admissions overload. The last few weeks of summer and the first few weeks of school were no longer lined with lazy Sundays at the creek and early-weekend football games. My life had turned into one huge lump of stress. I went through undergraduate school thinking "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it," in reference to the graduate school admission process.

More From This Issue

  • Observations

    School Starts Next Fall for UC-Merced APS Fellow and Charter Member Carol Tomlinson-Keasey is the inaugural chancellor of the University of California, Merced — billed as the United States' first new research university of the 21st century. After years of anticipation, the Merced campus will open in the fall of 2005. Tomlinson-Keasey, a distinguished developmental psychologist and longtime UC faculty member and administrator, will oversee the first new campus of the university to be built since 1965, and the first UC campus to be located in the Central Valley. Upon naming Tomlinson-Keasey chancellor in 1999, APS William James Fellow Richard C.