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71994Volume 7, Issue3May 1994

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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    Disaster Response and Recovery

    Disasters like Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut draw massive media coverage, trauma interventions, and financial donations to victims. But psychological research shows the efforts don’t always yield the intended benefits.

Up Front

  • NIMH Grants to the Behavioral Sciences

    Investigators in several fields that are central to the research mission of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recently have voiced uncertainty and concern over the immediate prospects for new/competing R0-1 grant support from the Institute. Some queries reflect a degree of confusion about terms used to assess the "fundability" of application; others seek clarification of NIMH priorities with respect to both the balance of our portfolio and the mechanisms used to support research. I appreciate having this opportunity to describe key dynamics underlying our current funding pattern and to ensure that concerns, however understandable, are proportionate to reality. The NIMH research budget experienced unprecedented growth during much of the past decade.


  • How to Improve Your Teaching With the Course Syllabus

    Did you ever have a student misunderstand an assignment, express surprise that you had considered attendance important, or want an explanation of how you grade after the final exam has been scored and the semester is over? If, like most teachers, you receive a few such remarks every semester, you already appreciate the need for clarity in your communication with students. One of the best ways to clarify such communication is through your course syllabus. As a teacher, you have probably distributed thousands of them and no doubt have written a score or more, yet often the syllabus is given little serious attention. But as Rubin (1985) has pointed out, “We keep forgetting that what we know—about our disciplines, about our goals, about our teaching—is not known (or agreed upon) by everyone.