Scientists from a range of disciplines are coming together to take a good look at themselves. APS Fellow Jonathan Schooler outlines how psychological science can enrich our understanding of the ways science — and scientists — work.

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Volume 32, Issue9November 2019

Presidential Column

Photo of Lisa Feldman Barrett
Lisa Feldman Barrett
Northeastern University
APS President 2019 - 2020
All columns

In this Issue:
Looking at Psychology Through the Lens of Metascience

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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Up Front


  • magnifying glass and puzzle pieces

    Looking at Psychology Through the Lens of Metascience

    As psychological scientists, we think hard about the science we do. We formulate hypotheses and design studies. We observe our participants—the speed of button presses, fluctuations in blood pressure, the content of verbal reports—and we infer psychological meanings. I’d like to turn our focus to the process of science in general, which has been dubbed metascience. I mean, who can resist a little navel-gazing now and then? In early September 2019, I attended a conference that encouraged a multidisciplinary study of how scientists do science. This metascientific effort (one among many)[1] considered diverse factors that influence the questions we choose to ask, the experiments we decide to run, the priors we harbor when interpreting the data, and the conclusions we draw.

Practice


  • Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science

    Edited by C. Nathan DeWall and David G. Myers Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science offers advice and guidance about teaching a particular area of research or topic covered in this peer-reviewed APS bimonthly journal, which features reviews covering all of scientific psychology and its applications. The Benefits of Humble Pie Teaching Sleep to the Sleep-Deprived The Benefits of Humble Pie By C. Nathan DeWall Van Tongeren, D. R., Davis, D. E., Hook, J. N., & van Oyen Witvliet, C. (2019). Humility. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 28, 465-468. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721419850153 Ta-Nehisi Coates has every reason to brag. He grew up learning to weather adversity in Baltimore’s Mondawmin neighborhood. Police brutality, murder, and the crack epidemic were parts of daily life.

First Person


  • Student Notebook: Meta-Analyses, To Do or Not to Do

    Meta-analysis is the statistical procedure for aggregating and analyzing multiple data sets on a specific topic to answer one or more questions. Meta-analyses are designed to synthesize data across studies and provide statistical evidence for a specific effect, or lack thereof. The evidence from a meta-analysis is typically stronger than any single study or literature review. Further, meta-analyses can test why effects might vary across the data sets by conducting moderator analyses. You might be asking yourself, “Should I conduct a meta-analysis?” It’s a big question. I’ll share the pros and cons I learned from conducting my own (King, Katz, Thompson, & Macnamara, 2019). The idea of publishing a meta-analysis can be very attractive.

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  • Future Directions for Current Directions

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  • Biennial International Seminar on the Teaching of Psychological Science

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