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Volume 21, Issue5May, 2008

More from this Issue

Providing “Realistic Course Previews” to Enhance Learning and Satisfaction

Are you teaching a difficult psychology class? Having only taken a high school Introduction to Psychology classes, many college students are often ill-prepared for and surprised by the rigorous theory, content, and research in many psychology courses. You know what happens then…by the middle of the semester, students are frustrated More

Psychology in Singapore

When I was preparing to come to the National University of Singapore (NUS) for a one-year visiting appointment in 1991 (a stay which has now stretched to 17 years), many of my friends and colleagues in Texas, where I was teaching at the time, had little idea of where Singapore More

Then and Now: The New Face of Psychology

“Is he ‘famous’ famous, or ‘psychology’ famous?” a young student asked her friend as she passed by the information booth at the APS 19th Annual Convention last year. She was no doubt talking about one of the many pioneers of psychology featured at our annual meeting. Those of us who More

The History Corner: The Lip Key

The lip key (pictured to the right) was a device used in a variety of early studies in psychology, particularly reaction-time experiments.  It consists of metal plates separated by a spring. Connected to a timing device such as a chronoscope, and a power source (typically a wet battery) the lip More

Science Advisor to the Next President

The position of Presidential Science Advisor was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in November 1957, a month after the Soviet Union stunned the United States and the world by launching Sputnik I, the world’s first artificial satellite. Except for a hiatus between January 1973 and August 1976, every president More

Perils of Provocative Scholarship

In 2003, Nicole Taus filed a civil suit against me regarding an investigation that I conducted with Melvin Guyer, University of Michigan, into the accuracy of a published report by a court-appointed psychiatrist that Taus had recovered a memory of childhood sexual molestation by her mother. Over the ensuing years More

Talk to the Hand: New Insights into the Evolution of Language and Gesture

In his book Me Talk Pretty One Day, humorist David Sedaris chronicled his pain at trying to learn French, in France, at age 41. His commiseration with a fellow language student sounds like it could be a dialogue between, say, two australopithecines, dimly anticipating the communicative achievements of their hominid More

Update on NIH Peer Review Changes

As previously reported (see the December 2007 and January 2008 Observers), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is contemplating significant changes in its peer review system. Peer review has been put under the microscope and dissected, and NIH is now in the process of putting it back together again. Internal More

The Upside of Anger

Here’s a maxim from the “duh” department: People typically prefer to feel emotions that are pleasant, like excitement, and avoid those that are unpleasant, like anger. But a new study in the April issue of Psychological Science says this may not always be the case. Psychologists Maya Tamir and Christopher More

On the Newsstand

Cultural Insights: Brain Scans Support Surprising Differences in Perception Between Westerners And Asians The Boston Globe March 3, 2008 “New brain research is adding high-tech evidence to what lower-tech psychology experiments have found for years: Culture can affect not just language and custom, but how people experience the world at More

A Deadly Philosophy

Humans are the only species that systematically murders its own for ideological reasons. More than 50 million people were victims of mass murder in the 20th century, making it the deadliest century on record. That included the Ottoman Turks’ murder of 1.5 million Armenians, the Nazis’ extermination of 6 million More

Behavioral and Social Sciences: Uncle Sam Wants You

When the Bush administration steps down next January, it will leave behind an ambitious proposal for greatly increasing the role of social and behavioral research in U.S. efforts to prop up unstable nations, “especially those threatened with armed conflict or civil strife.” In pursuit of this objective, the proposal calls More

A Letter to Young Scientists

Psychological science in the 21st century promises to be quite different from that of the preceding century. During the 20th century, we saw a specialization, differentiation, and development of various approaches, methods, and levels of analysis, producing distinct fields — bounded areas whose borders were defended as the turf within More