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Volume 23, Issue5May/June 2010

Presidential Column

Linda Bartoshuk
Linda Bartoshuk
University of Florida
APS President 2009 - 2010
All columns

In this Issue:
This Stigma of Obesity

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

Up Front


  • This Stigma of Obesity

      Linda Bartoshuk University of Florida In the food and health sciences, the medical effects of obesity are well-documented and well-publicized. But, just as obesity may be associated with a variety of health issues, it can also bring a less well-understood effect: stigma and discrimination. In 2005, the battle against obesity stigma got a new champion: The Rudd Center at Yale (http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/ ) founded by APS Fellow Kelly Brownell. A leader in health psychology, Brownell got his PhD in clinical psychology at Rutgers University.

APS Spotlight


  • Marsha M. Linehan

    University of Washington APS Fellow Marsha Linehan is a Professor of Psychology and adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. She is also Director of the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, a consortium of research projects developing new treatments and evaluating their efficacy for severely disordered, multi-diagnostic, and suicidal populations. Her primary research is in the application of behavioral models to suicidal behaviors, drug abuse, and borderline personality disorder. She is also working to develop effective models for transferring science-based treatments to the clinical community.

  • Unicorn Joyrides and Other Rewards of a Doctorate in Psychology

    "It's like you get to ride around on a unicorn and grant wishes.” That’s how my friend Andy described my new job as Vice President of Content Development at The Tech Museum, a hands-on science and technology center in San Jose, California. I have to agree with Andy; the job is pretty magical. Over the next few years, I will spearhead the design of some 100 new exhibits on Silicon Valley, biotechnology, green energy, and technological solutions to social and environmental problems. I get to work with curators, designers, educators, and engineers to make science and technology delicious for everyone.

  • Behavioral Science is the New Green

    Large reductions in energy use are required to avert climate change and strengthen national security. Behavior change — getting households and businesses to reduce energy use through behaviors such as insulating, replacing cars and light bulbs with energy efficient models, and turning off idle equipment — is a source of reductions that can be deployed relatively quickly and at low cost compared to technology solutions, such as wind and solar power generation. The current energy crisis may represent the single largest opportunity for behavioral sciences to make an impact on real world events.

  • Building a Psychology Lab at a Community College

    Few dispute the importance of introducing undergraduates to the methods of experimental psychology. Unfortunately, the resources aren’t always available to provide access to laboratory research opportunities. The psychology laboratory at Inver Hills Community College outside St. Paul, Minnesota opened its doors to faculty and students on August 24, 2009. Equipped with multiple pods of psychophysiology equipment, the new lab allows faculty in the psychology department to introduce students to psychological experimentation that helps to elucidate psychological science while demonstrating its application to real-life phenomena.

  • Champions of Psychology: Marsha Linehan

      APS Fellow Marsha Linehan is a Professor of Psychology and adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. She is also Director of the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, a consortium of research projects developing new treatments and evaluating their efficacy for severely disordered, multi-diagnostic, and suicidal populations. Her primary research is in the application of behavioral models to suicidal behaviors, drug abuse, and borderline personality disorder. She is also working to develop effective models for transferring science-based treatments to the clinical community.

Practice


  • Mentoring in Directed Independent Study

    Most of us can remember having had one or more good teachers during our education ― individuals who made learning fun, memorable, or easy. A lucky few of us, however, have had a mentor, a combination of teacher and counselor, who connected with us allowing for a heightened transfer of knowledge and wisdom. Mentors teach, coach, and advise, guiding their student’s development and providing a model to emulate. The depth of the mentoring relationship is what makes each of these learning mechanisms effective and is also what sets mentoring apart from teaching. Mentoring is therefore most effective when the mentor and student can establish a bond: This is easier when both individuals have positive dispositions, are committed to the interaction, and have an established compatibility.

First Person


  • A Survival Guide for Your First Review Process

    Your initial first author experience in the review process is not unlike setting out to explore the wilderness without a travel guide; you are likely to get lost or, even worse, never return. Even if you’ve been a co-author on another paper, you probably have been spared the brunt of preparation for submission and the emotional attachment of revisions by the first author. Thus, be prepared for a substantially different adventure! After navigating my own publishing obstacles, I can offer a few quick tips on consulting the map, self-administering first aid, navigating rough terrain, and setting up camp in the great publication outdoors. Consulting the Map You probably want to publish that hefty thesis, dissertation, or course research paper that has demonstrated your vast knowledge in a research area.

More From This Issue


  • Is Love a Numbers Game?

    A number of recent studies have looked at what happens to humans when faced with extensive choice — too many kinds of chocolate or too many detergents to choose from at the grocery store. Under such circumstances, consumer psychologists believe that the brain can be “overwhelmed,” leading to poorer quality choice or choice deferral. Psychological scientist Alison Lenton, University of Edinburgh, and economist Marco Francesconi, University of Essex, wanted to know if the same was true of mate choice, given that humans have been practicing this particular choice for millennia. In a study published in Psychological Science, Lenton and Francesconi analyzed data from 84 speed dating events.

  • Cattell Sabbatical Awardees Announced

    Douglas L. Medin and Alison Gopnik have been awarded this year’s James McKeen Cattell Fund Fellowships. These awards provide an extended sabbatical period that allows the recipient to pursue new research. They are available to North American university faculty members committed to the scientific study of human behavior and its applications for improving human welfare. A past member of the APS Board of Directors, Douglas Medin will primarily use his sabbatical to integrate the findings he and several colleagues have accrued over the past few decades exploring the relationships between culture and one’s understanding of nature.

  • A Face Is More Than the Sum of Its Parts

    You stop at a shop window and wonder why someone inside is blatantly staring at you — until you realize that person is you. Scenarios like this are impossible for most of us to imagine, but quite common for sufferers of acquired prosopagnosia (AP), a condition hindering the ability to recognize faces which can occur after brain damage. In a new study, Belgian researchers have found that the condition is linked to an inability to process faces holistically, that is, as a whole. Meike Ramon and Bruno Rossion from the Université de Louvain in Belgium have been investigating the case of PS, a 59 year-old kindergarten teacher and one of the few cases of pure acquired prosopagnosia in the world.

  • Cattell Sabbatical Awardees Announced

    Douglas L. Medin and Alison Gopnik have been awarded this year’s James McKeen Cattell Fund Fellowships. These awards provide an extended sabbatical period that allows the recipient to pursue new research. They are available to North American university faculty members committed to the scientific study of human behavior and its applications for improving human welfare. A past member of the APS Board of Directors, Douglas Medin will primarily use his sabbatical to integrate the findings he and several colleagues have accrued over the past few decades exploring the relationships between culture and one’s understanding of nature.