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Volume 14, Issue9November 2001

Presidential Column

John Darley
John Darley
Princeton University
APS President 2001 - 2002
All columns

In this Issue:
Sense-Making Before and After September 11

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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


  • Vanderbilt University

    Psychological Science at Vanderbilt University has a powerful new look and an enhanced presence bringing together vital capabilities to tackle important psychological issues. The Department of Psychology (Arts and Science) and the Department of Psychology & Human Development (Peabody College) are integrating select graduate and undergraduate degree programs to take advantage of the combined resources of over 50 faculty members. This process involves a number of key faculty hires.

  • Sense-Making Before and After September 11

    Very little seems to have changed in the little college town in which I live. The weather has turned cool, and the maples are turning red along the street that I travel to work. Tiny girls and tiny boys bicycle to elementary school, lost under their safety helmets, watched from a tactful distance at street crossings by their mothers and fathers. Farther down the street the buildings of the college appear, surrounded with the flurry of construction activity that never seems to quite get finished by beginning of term. Ordinary times. This is what my world is telling me, and I suspect it is what the regularities of your world is telling you also. But in fact a great deal has changed in all of our worlds since the morning of September 11th, and it seems worthwhile to try to say what some of these changes are. To do so, I will draw on the concept of sense-making, a concept used by our organizational psychologists to understand the actions of individuals in organizations as they confront the unexpected in their worlds. At all times, people are seeking to make sense of the meanings of changes in their social or physical environment.

Practice


  • Vanderbilt University

    Psychological Science at Vanderbilt University has a powerful new look and an enhanced presence bringing together vital capabilities to tackle important psychological issues. The Department of Psychology (Arts and Science) and the Department of Psychology & Human Development (Peabody College) are integrating select graduate and undergraduate degree programs to take advantage of the combined resources of over 50 faculty members. This process involves a number of key faculty hires.

More From This Issue


  • NCI Behavioral Research is Outside the Box

    Arthritis patients using Palm Pilots to self-report their pain... A laboratory studying how people navigate the Internet... A web site to help others design "usable, useful and accessible" web sites... Methods developed to evaluate large federal research initiatives... An agenda to accelerate the testing, development and evaluation of health behavior theories... This hardly reads like a laundry list of activities one would expect the National Cancer Institute to be interested in, but that's precisely what it is.

  • Three Objections to Databases Answered

    Sixteen years ago, the National Academy of Sciences published a report on data archiving for the behavioral sciences entitled Sharing Research Data. Much of the report was devoted to a discussion of objections by behavioral scientists to having databases. In the years since the report was published, the effort to create data archives for psychology has limped along without generating widespread enthusiasm, and the objections to databases have remained unchanged. That lack of change is remarkable because experiences with the databases that have managed to come into being have demonstrated that workable answers exist to each of these objections. A database is any repository for information.

  • The East/West Conference on Health and Well Being

    Sometimes it is possible to make a dream come true. I did just that in March of this year, when the East/West Conference on Health and Well Being was convened in Kathmandu, Nepal. The result of four years of planning, this conference brought together scholars from the east and the west interested in health and well being, broadly defined, to establish a research and policy agenda between them. Over 60 scholars from around the world attended. Participants came from Australia, France, Korea, Israel, India, Japan, Nepal, The Netherlands, South Africa and the U.S.

  • Sam Glucksberg, Speaking Figuratively

    My job is a jail. Who hasn't thought that, or something like it, at one time or another (APS employees being the clear exception, of course-we love our jobs). But this expression isn't intended to actually invoke the image of someone chained to a desk behind bars. The figurative intent is immediately obvious. Observer photo by Julie Katz APS Fellow and Charter Member Sam Glucksberg, Princeton University, delivers the William James Lecture during the 2001 Eastern Psychological Association Annual Convention. For researchers, this raises an interesting question: How do metaphors work? That is, how do we get to the non-literal meaning of this kind of language?

  • Science Writing: Keep the Audience in Mind

    It was a story with sex appeal: "Widely-used antidepressants may help slow the progression of Parkinson's disease!" Lots of people use antidepressants, and lots of people are affected by Parkinson's, including some very famous people. Readers would be interested. It had the chance of making it into the paper at a time when column inches were being eaten up by the terrorist attacks and America's response. But as I researched the story, I came to believe that therapeutic potential of antidepressants for treating Parkinson's was the most speculative aspect of the research reported in Science magazine, and from a scientific point of view, not the most interesting.