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312018Volume 31, Issue8October 2018

Presidential Column

Barbara Tverksy
Barbara Tversky
Teachers College, Columbia University and Stanford University
APS President 2018 - 2019
All columns

In this Issue:
Minding Education

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

  • Minding Education

    After two remarkable careers, one in cognitive science, overlapping the next in academic leadership, APS Fellow Stephen M. Kosslyn has embarked on a third, designing new institutions of higher learning based on the best evidence from the cognitive sciences. His pathbreaking work on imagery led him from elegant experiments to AI to showing that creating images, indeed, thinking, could be seen in the brain in real time. That work led to the publication of numerous influential articles and books and earned him many prizes and awards. His leadership roles at Harvard led to the directorship of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. From there he served as Founding Dean and Chief Academic Officer of the Minerva Schools, an innovative international university about to graduate its first class.

First Person

  • Testing for Measurement Invariance: Does your measure mean the same thing for different participants?

    From Beck’s Depression Inventory to the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), psychological scientists regularly use scales, schedules, and inventories in published empirical papers. But how can we be certain that these questionnaires actually measure the same construct across all respondents? Take shame and guilt, two indicators of negative affect on the PANAS. They are generally considered negative emotions in individualistic cultures. But in collectivistic cultures, shame and guilt are seen somewhat positively; they represent self-reflection and self-improvement rather than sheer wrongfulness (Eid & Diener, 2001; Mesquita & Leu, 2007). Such equivalence issues eventually prompted the development of an international version of the PANAS that excludes items carrying different meanings across cultures (Thompson, 2007).

More From This Issue

  • 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.

  • Crossing Disciplines and the Lifespan

    In a new recurring feature, the Observer showcases university labs and departments that have advanced integrative science. In the inaugural installment, APS Fellow Qi Wang talks about Cornell University’s Department of Human Development, which she chairs.    What is the history of the department? What was its genesis? The Department of Human Development at Cornell University is an interdisciplinary entity that uses multiple approaches, methods, and levels of analysis to study human development across the lifespan and integrates basic and translational research to enhance development and well-being in diverse contexts and populations.

  • Learning Language Outside the Box

    APS William James Fellow Barbara Landau challenges enduring theories on the complex interplay of language, sensory input, and thought processes.

  • Does Concentration Blunt Our Sense of Smell?

    Inattentional blindness plays out when, absent any vision problems, individuals are so focused on a visual aspect of a scene that they fail to notice some other, highly visible feature.