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262013Volume 26, Issue5May/June 2013

Presidential Column

Joseph E. Steinmetz
Joseph E. Steinmetz
The Ohio State University
APS President 2012 - 2013
All columns

In this Issue:
The Changing Landscape for Research and Education in Psychological Science

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

  • The Changing Landscape for Research and Education in Psychological Science

    It doesn’t seem possible but this is the last column of my term as APS President. Throughout the past year you have heard from many of our APS colleagues who hold various administrative positions in universities in the United States and Europe. They wrote on a variety of topics such as the importance of departments of psychology in their institutions, the current research climate in the behavioral sciences, new administrative structures designed to facilitate the teaching and research of psychological scientists, and the emergence of “Big Data” in our science.

APS Spotlight

  • Financial Decision Making and the Aging Brain

    Many of the most influential financial decision makers in our society from business to politics happen to be middle-aged. The average age of Fortune 500 chief executive officers and chief financial officers is around the mid-fifties. Historically, the average appointment age of Federal Reserve Chairs and National Economic Council Directors is also in the fifties. The number is not an artifact of averaging; all current members of the Council of Economic Advisers and half of the National Economic Council members are fifty-something. Is there some sort of peak of financial reason in the fifties? Recent research in economics, psychology, and neuroscience suggests that there may be.


  • Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science

    C. Nathan DeWall, University of Kentucky, and renowned textbook author and APS Fellow David G. Myers, Hope College, have teamed up to create a new series of Observer columns aimed at integrating cutting-edge psychological science into the classroom. Each column will offer advice and how-to guidance about teaching a particular area of research or topic in psychological science that has been the focus of an article in the APS journal Current Directions in Psychological Science. Current Directions is a peer-reviewed bi-monthly journal featuring reviews by leading experts covering all of scientific psychology and its applications and allowing readers to stay apprised of important developments across subfields beyond their areas of expertise. Its articles are written to be accessible to non-experts, making them ideally suited for use in the classroom.

First Person

  • Social Anxiety in the Age of Social Networks

    The advent of the Internet has changed the way individu­als and groups of individuals interact with one another and the world. In fact, an entire generation has been brought up with the idea that “socializing” includes an online component. Yet despite the recent technological advances in social communication, and the fact that social bonding is a crucial psychological aspect of being human, there are certain individuals for whom social interactions are difficult, leading to real-life anxiety (Stein & Stein, 2008). Although they crave the company of others, socially anxious individuals shun social situations for fear of being found out as unlikable or worse.

More From This Issue

  • The Either/Or of Psychological Science: A Reflection

    This article is part of a series commemorating APS's 25th anniversary in 2013. In David Lodge’s book Therapy, the main character, Tubby Passmore, turns to Kierkegaard’s book Either/Or to find understanding of his past, a sense of his present, and hope for the future. Tubby is particularly attracted to the essay called “The Unhappiest Man” because it sets out how such a person is never present to themself, but rather always living in the past or in the future. Always either remembering or hoping. Either thinking things were better in the past or hoping they’ll be better in the future. Tubby reflects on how well this fits him.

  • New Guidelines for Training in Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology

    The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy (ABCT) recently sponsored an Inter-organizational Task Force on Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology Doctoral Education to develop guidelines and statements of best practices for integrated education and training in cognitive and behavioral psychology at the doctoral level. The task force was co-chaired by APS Fellow Robert K. Klepac, Immediate Past-President of ABCT, and George F. Ronan, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Violence Reduction Clinic at Central Michigan University.

  • Celebrating 25 Years of APS

    In the next few issues, Perspectives on Psychological Science will publish several special sections celebrating the 25th anniversary of APS. Twenty-five is an interesting age for an organization: Many of our younger members were not yet born when APS began, and for many of our older members, 1988 was just another typical year in their long careers. Those of us in graduate school at the time may have wondered whether psychology really needed another professional organization and, if so, why it needed one with almost the same name as the behemoth American Psychological Association.

  • Awfully Funny

    Mankind has endured no greater tragedy than the Holocaust, but that hasn’t stopped comedians from joking about it over the years, nor audiences from laughing. Take a classic 2004 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, the

  • Reflecting on a Lifetime of Achievement

    As part of APS’s 25th Anniversary celebration, the Board of Directors is honoring 25 distinguished scientists who have had a profound impact on the field of psychological science over the past quarter century. Eight individuals have been selected to receive the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award, honoring a lifetime of significant contributions to applied psychological research. The remaining 17 scientists are receiving the William James Fellow Award, which recognizes their significant intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology. In this issue of the Observer, APS continues the series profiling four of these eminent scientists: John Darley, Patricia K.

  • APS Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions

    The APS Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2013 recipients of the APS Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions, in recognition of the significant impact their work is having in the field of psychological science. The award recognizes the creativity and innovative work of promising scientists who represent the future of psychological science. It places these recipients among the brightest minds in our field. This award is a fitting tribute to its namesake, Janet Taylor Spence, the first elected President of APS.

  • May/June 2013 Rising Stars

    This month, we conclude a multi-part APS series profiling Rising Stars in psychological science. The series, which began in the March issue of the Observer, highlights young luminaries in the field of psychological science. Eliza Bliss-Moreau Sabina Cehajic-Clancy Jonathan S. Comer Andres De Los Reyes Paul W. Eastwick Wolfgang Gaissmaier Kurt Gray Kristen M. Kennedy Ethan Kross Cristine H. Legare Lisa M. Leslie Jane Mendle Aprajita Mohanty Martin M. Monti Mary C. Murphy Derek Evan Nee Masi Noor Thomas M. Olino Christopher Y. Olivola Leah H. Somerville R. Nathan Spreng Benjamin C.

  • Fredrickson and Other Leading Scientists to Sign Books at the APS Annual Convention

    APS Fellow Barbara L. Fredrickson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, knows how to communicate psychological science to the public. On March 24, her op-ed on electronic devices, social connectedness, and health quickly became the most emailed article on The New York Times website, and it remained among the top 10 most emailed articles for several days. The op-ed was based on a forthcoming paper in Psychological Science in which Frederickson and her colleagues explore social genomics and the profound effects that social connection and social isolation can have on health and gene expression.

  • White House Announces BRAIN Initiative

    President Barack Obama has announced the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, an ambitious program designed to treat, cure, and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, and other brain disorders. The President has designated $100 million for the new program in his Fiscal Year 2014 Budget. According to a statement released by the White House, scientific breakthroughs in the last decade — including optogenetic research techniques and high-resolution brain imaging — mean the time is ripe for technologies capable of producing even more complex images of brain cells and neural circuitry.

  • NAS Receives Gift From Atkinson for Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences

    The National Academy of Sciences has received a gift of $3.5 million from APS Fellow Richard C. Atkinson to establish the NAS Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences. Beginning in 2014, a $200,000 prize will be given biennially to an individual (or pair of individuals) "responsible for significant advances in the psychological and cognitive sciences with important applications for formal and systematic theory in these fields.” Atkinson, an APS Charter Member, is a former director of NSF, former Chancellor of the University of California, San Diego, and was president of the University of California system from 1995 to 2003. "Dr.

  • Social Experiences Affect Our Genes and Health

    Prevailing wisdom suggests that our genes remain largely fixed over time. But, an emerging field of research is beginning to prove this intuition wrong. Scientists are uncovering increasing evidence that changes in the expression of hundreds of genes can occur as a result of the social environments we inhabit. As a result of these dynamics, experiences we have today can affect our health for days and even months into the future.