image description
Volume 14, Issue5May/June 2001

Presidential Column

Robert Bjork
Robert A. Bjork
University of California, Los Angeles
APS President 2000 - 2001
All columns

In this Issue:
Good and Evil and Psychological Science

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.

APS members receive the Observer newsletter and may access the online archive going back to 1988.

Looking to connect with the Observer? Visit the About page to learn about writing for us, advertising, reprints, and more. We’d love to hear from you. If you have questions about your subscription, please email APS@psychologicalscience.org.

Latest Under the Cortex Podcast

Trending Topics >


  • This is a photo of a piece of paper torn to reveal the phrase "uncover the facts"

    Myths and Misinformation

    How does misinformation spread and how do we combat it? Psychological science sheds light on the mechanisms underlying misinformation and ‘fake news.’

Up Front


  • Iowa State University

    Overview The ISU Department of Psychology is growing in both size and reputation. At present, we have 24 regular faculty: 11 Full Professors, 9 Associate Professors, and 4 Assistant Professors. We have hired 7 of these faculty in the last 3 years, and intend to hire 3 more this year. We are in the midst of several major renovation projects totaling well over $400,000. When completed (December, 2000), we will have an additional 3000 square feet of state-of-the-art office and lab space. In the most recent NRC Report, Psychology had the largest improvement in rankings of any department on campus. The University is committed to maintaining this growth - as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has targeted the Department of Psychology for further expansion and development. We now offer the Ph.D. in three main areas: Social, Counseling, and Cognitive. We also offer a Master of Science degree in General Psychology, and B.A. and B.S. degrees at the undergraduate level.

  • Good and Evil and Psychological Science

    To me, evil means great human destructiveness. Evil can come in an obvious form, such as a genocide. Or it can come in smaller acts of persistent harm doing, the effects of which accumulate, like parents being hostile and punitive, or a child being picked on by peers day after day for a long time. Goodness means bringing about great benefit to individuals or whole groups. It too can come in an obvious form, like a heroic effort to save someone's life, or great effort in pursuit of significant social change, or in smaller, persistent acts. Nations often act in selfish and destructive ways. But goodness by groups, small and large, does exist. In the case of nations, goodness often comes from mixed motives, as in the case of the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe, but also was aimed at preventing the spread of Communism. At other times, as in Somalia - where intervention to help reduce starvation ended in violence and confusion - seemingly altruistic motives come to bad ends. The work of the Quakers in the abolition of slavery, and the village of LaChambon in France saving thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, illustrate goodness born of humane values and altruism.

Practice


  • Iowa State University

    Overview The ISU Department of Psychology is growing in both size and reputation. At present, we have 24 regular faculty: 11 Full Professors, 9 Associate Professors, and 4 Assistant Professors. We have hired 7 of these faculty in the last 3 years, and intend to hire 3 more this year. We are in the midst of several major renovation projects totaling well over $400,000. When completed (December, 2000), we will have an additional 3000 square feet of state-of-the-art office and lab space. In the most recent NRC Report, Psychology had the largest improvement in rankings of any department on campus. The University is committed to maintaining this growth - as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has targeted the Department of Psychology for further expansion and development. We now offer the Ph.D. in three main areas: Social, Counseling, and Cognitive.

More From This Issue


  • Applying the Science of Learning

    How is that we know so much about the way people think, learn and remember, but for the most part don't use that knowledge in the classroom? This was the underlying theme when a select group of high-powered researchers and academics met at a conference on "Applying the Science of Learning" (ASL) at the Kellogg West conference facility outside of Los Angeles earlier this Spring. Co-chairs Diane Halpern and Milton D.

  • IRB Review: It Helps to Know the Regulatory Framework

    Behavioral and social scientists have complained over the years that federal human subject regulations place needless restrictions on their research. I disagree. In the six years I spent as an IRB chairperson and the 12 years I spent as a federal regulator in the Office for Protection from Research Risks and its successor, the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), my experience has been that the regulations are extremely flexible and should present no impediment to well-designed behavioral and social science research.

  • Congress Sees Daily Double on NIH, NSF

    The ponies are off and running in the annual race we call the federal budget process. Competing interests are jockeying for position, and even though the country is no longer saddled with a deficit, it appears that President Bush is trying to rein in spending for science and health, with at least one notable exception. Since Congress convened in January, the atmosphere on Capitol Hill has been like a race track, where the new Administration's policy issues - tax cuts, environmental policy, education reform, the economy, campaign reform, regulatory rollbacks - have exploded from the starting gate like pent-up ponies confined too long in their stalls.