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282015Volume 28, Issue5May/June 2015

Presidential Column

Nancy Eisenberg
Nancy Eisenberg
Arizona State University, Tempe
APS President 2014 - 2015
All columns

In this Issue:
Thoughts on the Future of Data Sharing

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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  • Thumbnail Image for Disaster Response and Recovery

    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

  • Thoughts on the Future of Data Sharing

    A number of policy changes are occurring that could profoundly affect our science, perhaps in unanticipated ways. Unfortunately, many of these changes are being formulated without sufficient input from psychological scientists, even though components of the policies could threaten the protection of privacy, the data quality, the nature of our samples, and perhaps even the design of studies. An example is reflected in policies regarding data sharing. In accordance with directives from the United States Congress and the White House, federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently have been releasing updated expectations about data sharing.


  • Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science

    Aimed at integrating cutting-edge psychological science into the classroom, Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science offers 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 bimonthly 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 nonexperts, making them ideally suited for use in the classroom. Visit David G. Myers and C.

First Person

  • Strategies for Developing Purpose in Your Research

    After my poster recently was accepted for a conference presentation, I called my mentor to share the good news. When I told him I was thrilled to be stepping into the profession, he answered, “Zach, you are a professional.” This caused an epiphany for me: Many graduate students are trying to enter a profession of which we already are key members, with all the responsibilities that entails. As graduate students, we sometimes lose sight of the larger purpose of our work. We take classes, do research, mentor undergraduate students, present at conferences, and produce manuscripts to prepare ourselves for the professional world. Yet in the meantime, we forget that we already are contributing to our profession by tackling meaningful issues. As graduate students, much of our research happens under the direction of peers and mentors, but we still must maintain motivation and purpose.

More From This Issue

  • Decoding the Neural Signature of Consciousness

    Consciousness has kept philosophers and scientists occupied for centuries. Lofty ideas related to humanity, agency, and responsibility all relate to the thing we call “consciousness”; and yet, we still don’t understand how this elevated concept plays out on a mechanistic level within individual people. Is it possible to pinpoint when and how conscious awareness occurs? According to psychological scientist Stanislas Dehaene (Collège de France and INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, France), the answer may be yes.

  • The Lasting Power of Patience

    Longitudinal data from thousands of participants show that childhood measures of self-discipline predict everything from personal income to the pace of physiological aging in adulthood.

  • How Brains Think

    When we get angry, several bodily changes occur. Our skin temperature rises half a degree (hence the term “boiling mad”). Our blood pressure and heartbeat increase (as if we could “explode”). We also undergo disruptions in our perceptions (become “blind with rage”) and fine motor control (get “hopping mad”). These common metaphors for anger all involve embodiment — a concrete form given to emotions, perceptions, and expressions, says world-renowned cognitive linguist George Lakoff. Essentially, he has found, humans understand complex aspects of their experience using a range of physical terms.

  • APS Convention Program Brings Science to the Courtroom

    Since 1989, DNA evidence has proven that 329 people in the United States — many of whom served lengthy prison sentences — did not commit the crimes of which they had been convicted. Speakers at a cross-cutting theme program at the 2015 APS Annual Convention in New York, May 21–24, will discuss how lessons from psychological science can help bring order to our often chaotic legal and criminal justice systems, from the beginning of the process (such as determining competency to stand trial) to the end (such as providing testimony that could influence jury verdicts).

  • Werner Named Recipient of Verriest Medal

    APS Fellow John S. Werner will receive the 2015 Verriest Medal at the biennial meeting of the International Colour Vision Society, July 3–7, 2015, in Sendai, Japan. Werner, Distinguished Professor of ophthalmology and vision science at the University of California, Davis, is receiving the medal for his outstanding contributions to the field of color vision. As director of UC Davis’s Vision Science and Advanced Retinal Imaging Laboratory, Werner studies how aging and age-related diseases affect vision.

  • Psychology of Language: From the 20th to the 21st Century

    Throughout 2015, the Observer is commemorating the silver anniversary of APS’s flagship journal. In addition to research reports, the first issue of Psychological Science, released in January 1990, included four general articles covering specific lines of study. Among those articles was “The Place of Language in Scientific Psychology,” written by the late Princeton University psychology professor George Miller, a major contributor to the birth of psycholinguistics and cognitive psychology in general. In that article, Miller argued that no general theory of psychology is adequate if it doesn’t take language into account.

  • Graham, Ceci Elected to National Academy of Education

    Past APS Board Member Stephen Ceci and current APS Board Member Sandra Graham have been elected to the National Academy of Education (NAEd) along with four other psychological scientists. Ceci is Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology at Cornell University, and Graham is a professor of education and Presidential Chair in Education and Diversity at the University of California, Los Angeles. NAEd members are elected “on the basis of outstanding scholarship related to education.” The Academy was founded in 1965.

  • Gazzaniga Receives APS Lifetime Achievement Award

    APS Past President Michael S. Gazzaniga has been named a 2015 William James Fellow Award recipient for lifetime contributions to basic psychological science for his innovative experiments with split-brain patients, which revolutionized the understanding of human consciousness by showing that the brain’s two cerebral hemispheres undertake distinct cognitive functions. Known as the father of cognitive science for his groundbreaking contributions to the field, Gazzaniga will give his award address at the 2015 APS Annual Convention in New York City, to be held May 21–24.

  • Design With Humans in Mind

    Working in the technology realm, APS Fellow Donald A. Norman helped engineers base their designs on scientific findings about the ways people and products interact.

  • Is There a Gender Gap in the Perception, Action, and Cognition Program at NSF?

    When academics, legislators, media outlets, and the general public raise concerns about women’s underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, they often describe the issue in generalities. This tendency can be deceptive, as there are vast differences among the many STEM disciplines. In more nuanced discussions, engineering and computer science often are derided for having the lowest rates of participation by women (possibly even declining from 1980s participation levels). Although it may be tempting to point fingers at other fields, psychological scientists should resist the urge to be smug about the gender balance in our own field.

  • Preaching About Teaching

    The study of how people learn stems back to the infancy of psychological science, when pioneers such as B.F. Skinner, William James, and Edward Thorndike developed “learning science” with the goal of telling teachers what to do. Nevertheless, true classroom-centered research remains scarce, argues APS Fellow David B. Daniel of James Madison University. Daniel set the tone for the inaugural International Convention of Psychological Science Teaching Institute with a provocative opening plenary presentation. He began with a question: How can we leverage psychological science to develop usable knowledge for teaching and learning?