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Volume 15, Issue5May/June 2002

Presidential Column

John Darley
John Darley
Princeton University
APS President 2001 - 2002
All columns

In this Issue:
Getting Ahead of the Curve: Anticipating Future Policy Needs in Today's Research

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


  • James Madison University

    James Madison University School of Psychology MSC 7401 Harrisonburg, VA 22807 Contact: Jane Halonen 540-568-2555 halonejx@jmu.edu Faculty Jane S. Halonen, Director Michael Stoloff, Undergraduate Director Lennis Echterling, Graduate Coordinator Steven Evans, Human Development Center Director Jeffrey Andre Kevin Apple Suzanne Baker Kenneth Barron James Benedict Jerry Benson JoAnne Brewster Douglas Brown James Butler Harriet Cobb James Couch Eric Cowan Christine DeMars T. Dary Erwin William Evans Sara Finney Pamela Reed Gibson Tammy Gilligan Joann Grayson Kathleen Haley William Hall Charles Harris Charles Huffman Arnold Kahn Michele Kielty Briggs Charles Lockett Sharon Lovell Virginia Andreoli Mathie J. Edson McKee Becky McKenzie Helen Moore Anthony W. Paolitto Jack Presbury Monica Reis-Bergan Sheena Rogers Bijan Saadatmand Timothy Schulte Sherry Serdikoff Craig Shealy A. Renee Staton Anne Stewart Carl Swanson Donna Sundre Cheryl Talley Ashton Trice Grace Viere William Walker Patricia Warner Richard West Steven Wise The School of Psychology at James Madison University promotes broad undergraduate education and specialized graduate training in the fields of psychology and counseling.

  • Getting Ahead of the Curve: Anticipating Future Policy Needs in Today’s Research

    The story to date. At unpredictable times, some current event, itself unpredictable, throws an issue onto the "national public agenda." September 11th threw terrorism onto the national agenda, where it had not been before, even though many who studied terrorism had pointed out our appalling vulnerability to terrorist attack, and marked the inevitability of events like those that finally occurred. What happens when an event suddenly demands its place "on the national agenda?" One consequence is that the executive and legislative branches of the government abruptly understand that they must be seen to move toward solutions of the now "critical" problem, and that they are at risk of censure for having not looked ahead to see the problem before it turned from potential to acute. Rather obviously, a sense of urgency results. Connecting this to what I have mentioned before in these columns, those charged with coping with the problem will work through already established social networks of contacts, to recruit plausible suggestions about what to do.

Practice


  • James Madison University

    James Madison University School of Psychology MSC 7401 Harrisonburg, VA 22807 Contact: Jane Halonen 540-568-2555 halonejx@jmu.edu Faculty Jane S. Halonen, Director Michael Stoloff, Undergraduate Director Lennis Echterling, Graduate Coordinator Steven Evans, Human Development Center Director Jeffrey Andre Kevin Apple Suzanne Baker Kenneth Barron James Benedict Jerry Benson JoAnne Brewster Douglas Brown James Butler Harriet Cobb James Couch Eric Cowan Christine DeMars T. Dary Erwin William Evans Sara Finney Pamela Reed Gibson Tammy Gilligan Joann Grayson Kathleen Haley William Hall Charles Harris Charles Huffman Arnold Kahn Michele Kielty Briggs Charles Lockett Sharon Lovell Virginia Andreoli Mathie J. Edson McKee Becky McKenzie Helen Moore Anthony W. Paolitto Jack Presbury Monica Reis-Bergan Sheena Rogers Bijan Saadatmand Timothy Schulte Sherry Serdikoff Craig Shealy A.

More From This Issue


  • Thinking About Drinking: NIAAA Tackles Alcohol Abuse on Campus

    "Come on, guys. Look at yourselves! All you do is study. I'm going to show you the true meaning of college: we're gonna go out and party!" - Homer J. Simpson Homer does have a point. It's widely accepted that alcohol is a major part of campus life. Each year, thousands of unsupervised 18 to 22 year-olds will drink as part of their college social experience, and for many it does not pose a health risk. But sometimes the drinking doesn't end with a couple of beers. In fact, there is a sense that alcohol abuse has reached epidemic proportions on campus, and is a factor in assaults, injuries, and deaths among young people.

  • A Haven for Primates in Panama: Animal Psychologist Rasmussen Rehabilitates Refugees

    When APS Fellow Dennis Rasmussen first slipped into his high-topped rubber boots over 20 years ago to research Panamanian tamarins, the animal psychologist quickly became captivated by the study of primates in their natural environments. Chiquito, a rufous-naped tamarin (Saguinus geoffroyi). His interest began when he arrived in Agua Clara, a peninsula west of the Barro Colorado Nature Monument in a man-made waterway called Gatun Lake that was created to form the Panama Canal, to study a rare species of monkeys known as tamarins. Rasmussen focused his study on a theory that the tamarins were monogamous; his research disproved the theory.

  • Dateline NBC Giving Away Psychology

    A few years ago, when I was Director of Communications at APS, I was always struck by the motto featured at the bottom of every piece of APS stationary: "Advancing the scientific discipline and the giving away of psychology in the public interest." I know that the dedication to George Miller's directive was - and is - very much at the core of every APS activity. And although I'm no longer at APS, it is still an important part of my day-to-day job as an assistant producer in the Psychology Unit of Dateline NBC. Dateline's Psychology Unit was developed to bring the psychology lab to viewers, and viewers into the lab.

  • Fashion vs. Passion: The Perils of Fad Hiring

    Back in the 1950s, there was a time when every kid had a hoola hoop. If you didn't, you were, well, nobody. A few years later, the fad was yo-yo's. Everyone just had to have a yo-yo. If you didn't, unbespeakable things would happen to you, at least in your social circle. Today scooters are the rage, although the fad has probably peaked and chances are that a lot of them are in dry dock in garages and basements, never to be used again.

  • Memory Vs. Experience: Happiness is Relative

    When we talk about being happy, what do we really mean? We know that happiness comes from a variety of sources, depending upon a person's point of view. But according to APS Fellow Daniel Kahneman, people don't know how happy they are because happiness is so relative. Kahneman, a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University, discussed this and related research findings in a lecture entitled "Memory vs. Experience" as part of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Lecture Series at the National Institutes of Health. Take, for instance, a study Kahneman conducted in 1998 with his colleague David Schkade, from the University of Texas at Austin.