Robots for Research

From R2-D2 to Astro Boy to WALL-E, science fiction is riddled with diminutive, scrappy robots and androids that serve as sidekicks, assistants, and even heroes. But in the real world, childlike robots are increasingly at

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Volume 29, Issue8October 2016

Presidential Column

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

In this Issue:
Preregistration, Replication, and Nonexperimental Studies

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.

APS members receive the Observer newsletter and may access the online archive going back to 1988.

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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.’

Featured


  • In “The Brain That Couldn’t Remember,” published in The New York Times Magazine* on August 7, 2016, journalist Luke Dittrich raises what he suggests are ethical issues surrounding the testing of Henry Molaison, the well-known

  • In a bit of Halloween hilarity, APS Past Board Member Lisa Feldman Barrett and humorist Daniel J. Barrett make the case for extending emotion research into the spirit world.

  • Psychological scientists are studying promising interventions designed to change the mind-sets of students who believe their intelligence is limited or fixed.

Up Front


  • Preregistration, Replication, and Nonexperimental Studies

    In last month’s column, I worried about whether encouraging us to preregister our hypotheses and analysis plan before running studies would stifle discovery. I came to the conclusion that it needn’t — but that we need to guard against letting the practice run away with itself. In this column, I take up a second concern about preregistration: That it seems to apply only to certain types of studies, and thus runs the risk of marginalizing studies for which preregistration is less fitting. Preregistration is designed to ensure that if the data we collect confirm our hypotheses, those hypotheses were the ones we intended to test before the study began — and not new hypotheses we’re generating based on what we’re observing.

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 and C.

First Person


  • Notes on Brain Camp

    Summers have a special meaning, and perhaps purpose, for academics, whose lives are structured around the 9-month school year. For this reason, and because of the manifold opportunities for internships and summer schools available to graduate students, summers are a good time for resetting, taking stock, shifting perspectives, and learning — learning, in particular, not just from instruction, or even from structured experience, as might be common during the academic year, but learning for the (noninstrumental) sake of learning, learning from exploration and self-generated curiosity, when there are no deadlines, external pressures, or specific goals to accomplish.

More From This Issue


  • Books to Check Out: October 2016

    Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David; Avery, September 6, 2016. Psychology Led Astray: Cargo Cult in Science and Therapy by Tomasz Witkowski; Brown Walker Press, July 20, 2016.

  • Lilienfeld Plans New Features for Clinical Psychological Science

    APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Scott O. Lilienfeld has been tapped as the new Editor of Clinical Psychological Science (CPS), succeeding Founding Editor Alan E. Kazdin. Lilienfeld is a professor of psychology at Emory University and an advocate for evidence-based treatments and methods within the field. He is known for having coauthored such books as 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology, Brainwashed, and others that explore and sometimes debunk psychological claims that appear in the popular press.

  • In Defense of Suzanne Corkin

    In “The Brain That Couldn’t Remember,” published in The New York Times Magazine* on August 7, 2016, journalist Luke Dittrich raises what he suggests are ethical issues surrounding the testing of Henry Molaison, the well-known

  • Cattell Fund to Support Research on Memory, Emotion, Learning

    The 2016–2017 James McKeen Cattell Fund Fellowships have been awarded to APS Past Board Member Barbara L. Fredrickson, APS Fellow Aaron S. Benjamin, and developmental psychologist Rachel F. Barr. Presented in partnership with APS, the fellowships allow recipients to extend their sabbatical periods from one semester to a full year. Here, in their own words, are the projects the three researchers plan to pursue during their sabbaticals. Barbara L. Fredrickson University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill I investigate links between people’s positive emotions and their physical health.

  • What Do Ghosts Feel?

    In a bit of Halloween hilarity, APS Past Board Member Lisa Feldman Barrett and humorist Daniel J. Barrett make the case for extending emotion research into the spirit world.

  • Mind Over Midterms

    Psychological scientists are studying promising interventions designed to change the mind-sets of students who believe their intelligence is limited or fixed.

  • Remembering Earl B. ‘Buz’ Hunt

    Friends and colleagues of an acclaimed intelligence researcher celebrate his wit, charm, and scientific focus on individual differences in cognitive abilities.