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312018Volume 31, Issue5May/June 2018

Presidential Column

Suparna Rajaram
Suparna Rajaram
Stony Brook University, The State University of New York
APS President 2017 - 2018
All columns

In this Issue:
On Spanning the Borders

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

  • On Spanning the Borders

    In my inaugural column back in August, I reflected on an undertaking at APS that is fundamental for the growth of science — making the organization international. As the Association prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary at the Annual Convention this month in San Francisco, I want to share some thoughts — and numbers — to return to this aspirational theme. As scientists, we are concerned with methods and techniques that are independent of geographical borders. We want to put theories to empirical tests, run replications, collaborate, and develop better scientific practices, irrespective of where we are located. It is the methods that matter and the data that count. These goals create instant common ground and provide ready vocabulary for conversation among scientists. As psychological scientists, we gain something more when we span locations.


  • 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

  • Emerging Identities of Graduate Students

    Many students find the transition from undergraduate to graduate education a difficult one. After all, it might be the first time individuals live away from campus and their childhood homes, cook for themselves, do their own taxes, and figure out how to get their own health insurance. It’s a time associated with assuming adult responsibilities and independence as well as realizing one’s true potential. In addition, success in graduate school is perceived as reflecting a student’s future career trajectory. Given the many tasks that require our cognitive attention and eventual proficiency, the anxiety that arises during this time is to be expected. Amidst juggling the different responsibilities and demands that graduate school entails, students also go through the process of identity confrontation and continuity (Nimbalkar, 2011).

More From This Issue

  • Psychological Scientists Honored by NIH

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR) has announced that psychological scientists are taking home top honors at its annual event recognizing the best in behavioral science. APS Fellow Terrie E. Moffitt has been named the NIH Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors Distinguished Lecturer, and several psychological scientists have won the Matilda White Riley Early Stage Investigator Paper Competition. OBSSR’s Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors festival recognizes the best behavioral science conducted across and beyond NIH. Moffitt, the Nannerl O.

  • Charles L. Brewer, 1933-2018

    Renowned psychological science teacher and mentor Charles L. Brewer passed away on March 20, 2018, at age 85. Brewer was an APS Charter Member and Fellow and emeritus professor of psychology at Furman University. He was an influential teacher of psychological science, with more than 200 undergraduate students who went on to earn psychology PhDs. Early in his career, he taught at the College of Wooster in Ohio and Elmira College in New York. He joined the Furman University faculty in 1967 and served as the chair of the university’s psychology department from 1972 to 1984. He received the first Alester G. Furman Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Teaching in 1969.

  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences Elects APS Leaders as Members

    Several APS leaders, including APS Past President Robert W. Levenson, APS Past Board Member Lisa Feldman Barrett, and Current Directions in Psychological Science Editor Randall W. Engle, have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The psychological researchers are among a new class of 213 accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, and civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders that includes President Barack Obama, US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Oscar-winning actor/director Tom Hanks.

  • Bridging the Lab and the Real World

    Whether and to what degree discoveries made in the lab generalize to the real world has been a long-standing debate among researchers of all stripes. New advances in technology and methodologies are enabling psychological scientists to bridge this divide and bring the controlled assessment of the lab into the world at large. Five researchers working in a variety of areas came together at the 2017 International Convention of Psychological Science in Vienna, to discuss the ways in which they balance, combine, and synergize the confines of the lab with the complex reality of our world.

  • Back Page: Languages’ Layers

    Ted Supalla, Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery at Georgetown University Medical Center One of your research interests is exploring universals in language. What fundamental features do signed and spoken languages have in common? All languages have layers of structure, starting with a limited set of minimal contrastive formational features (sound contrasts in spoken languages; contrasts in handshapes and movements in signed languages) that combine into words, which then combine to form a potentially infinite number of sentences. This kind of grammatical productivity is found in both spoken and signed languages. What misconceptions about signed language do people often have?

  • Leaders in Applied Research

    The APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award honors psychological scientists for their lifetime of significant achievements in applied psychological research and their impact on critical problems and challenges in society at large. Here are a few of the award recipients from past years. Jacquelynne Eccles - 1996 Recognized for her contributions to developmental psychology and school policy, Eccles’s work highlights the influence of values on individual differences in gender-related choices, particularly in fields linked to physical science, technology, and engineering.