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Volume 30, Issue5May/June 2017

Presidential Column

Susan Goldin-Meadow
Susan Goldin-Meadow
The University of Chicago
APS President 2016 - 2017
All columns

In this Issue:
What Counts As Data?

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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    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.’

Featured


  • Geneticist Thomas Bourgeron details the various methods — including genetic analyses, brain imaging, mouse models, and even stem-cell applications — that he and his colleagues are using to identify the biological pathways that contribute to diversity in autism spectrum disorders.

  • The interactions among children’s brains, bodies, and surrounding environments have tremendous effects on how they learn to speak and identify specific items in their field of view. APS Fellow Linda B. Smith shares her groundbreaking methods for examining these processes.

Up Front


  • What Counts As Data?

    There are times when data relevant to the truth need to be ruled out of court. Consider a doctor who has been accused of treating a patient with a practice that is now known to be associated with a morbid outcome — but was not at the time of treatment. Data that clearly establish a connection between the practice and the morbid outcome are deemed inadmissible in court, which seems perfectly reasonable given that the court’s goal is to establish the doctor’s guilt or innocence, not to establish the truth. By contrast, our goal as scientists is to establish the truth. Yet we too have constraints on what we admit as data in pursuing that truth. Data are often inadmissible because of concerns about bias. But what I find interesting is that different fields worry about different types of bias and, as a result, rule different types of data out of court.

Practice


  • 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 the column for supplementary components, including classroom activities and demonstrations. Visit David G. Myers at his blog “Talk Psych”.

First Person


  • Natural Selection: The Mentoring Edition

    In today’s society they may be hidden, but good shepherds do exist. They nurture. They guide. They use their foresight to keep their flock safe and ensure its survival. As graduate students, we often find ourselves members of such a flock, seeking guidance, knowledge, and survival skills from those who act as shepherds — our mentors. A good mentor can ensure successful completion of your research project. Furthermore, healthy mentor–mentee dynamics facilitate a prosperous graduate experience. This article aims to define several attributes that characterize a good mentor and to encourage you to progress from flock member to shepherd status by becoming a mentor. Attributes of a Mentor There is no perfect formula for selecting a mentor, but below are three characteristics that scholars agree a mentor should have: Competency.

More From This Issue


  • ‘Hello From the Other Side’ at ICPS 2017: Editors Answer Researchers’ Questions About Publishing Integrative Science

    Psychological scientists are increasingly focused on making their research programs more robust and impactful by integrating multiple fields and levels of analyses. However, in doing so they face numerous challenges, including the need to master the language and literature of several areas. When these researchers then look to publish their integrative findings, they face similar obstacles. A panel of editors from some of the most respected journals in psychological science gathered at the 2017 International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS) in Vienna to discuss their viewpoints on conducting and publishing integrative science.

  • APS Among Partners in March for Science

    Thousands of people, many wearing knitted “brain” caps, braved persistent rain on April 22 to participate in the flagship March for Science, held on the National Mall in Washington, DC. APS was one of many scientific organizations

  • APS Fellows Elected to National Academy of Sciences

    Five APS Fellows, including APS Past President Henry L. “Roddy” Roediger, III, have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. APS Fellows Baruch Fischhoff, Robert M. Seyfarth, and Michael Tomasello are also among the 84 newly elected members, and APS Fellow Gergely Csibra has been elected an NAS foreign associate. Election to NAS is one of the highest honors in science, with members serving as advisors to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine. Each year, current NAS members elect a new class of scientists to join their ranks.

  • 2017 APS Janet Taylor Spence Awards for Transformative Early Career Contributions

    Five psychological scientists whose research aims to illuminate some of the most fundamental aspects of human life — from romantic relationships to moral judgment, from eating behavior to cognitive development — have been awarded the 2017 APS Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions. Their areas of study may span many lines of inquiry, but these researchers share a unique talent for bridging disciplinary boundaries, using various methodological approaches to investigate their questions through an integrative lens.

  • 2017 APS Mentor Awards

    Recipients of the APS Mentor Award for 2017 include David M. Buss, University of Texas at Austin; Randall W. Engle, Georgia Institute of Technology; Paul L. Harris, Harvard University; and Phoebe C. Ellsworth, University of Michigan.

  • Across the Spectrum

    Geneticist Thomas Bourgeron details the various methods — including genetic analyses, brain imaging, mouse models, and even stem-cell applications — that he and his colleagues are using to identify the biological pathways that contribute to diversity in autism spectrum disorders.

  • Perception and Play: How Children View the World

    The interactions among children’s brains, bodies, and surrounding environments have tremendous effects on how they learn to speak and identify specific items in their field of view. APS Fellow Linda B. Smith shares her groundbreaking methods for examining these processes.