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Volume 15, Issue8October 2002

Presidential Column

Susan T. Fiske
Susan T. Fiske
Princeton University
APS President 2002 - 2003
All columns

In this Issue:
Reality Monitoring

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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  • This is a photo of a piece of paper torn to reveal the phrase "uncover the facts"

    Myths and Misinformation

    How does misinformation spread and how do we combat it? Psychological science sheds light on the mechanisms underlying misinformation and ‘fake news.’

Up Front


  • Reality Monitoring

    My Presidential columns will feature a series of reflections and illustrations of collaborations that bridge areas within  psychological science and between it and other sciences. Last month, I reflected on the virtues and perils of such bridging research. This month, Marcia Johnson suggests that cross-area collaborations can deepen our micro-understanding and broaden our macro-understanding of how people monitor the sources of information. - Susan Fiske APS President 2002-03 In Figure I, you may see the duck and I may see the rabbit. What is the "reality"? As a freshman, the idea that our minds may construct different realities seemed to me a profound insight into the human condition (it still does). As new assistant professors, John Bransford and I investigated such constructive processes.

More From This Issue


  • Research Agency Budgets Off to a Good Start

    The Fiscal Year 2003 budget of the federal government is the subject of much debate on Capitol Hill and in the media. Despite the much publicized partisan squabbling that is characterizing deliberations on some issues, both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are enjoying bipartisan support and are solidly out of the blocks in the race for funding increases. As the Observer goes to press, only the Senate has approved FY 03 appropriations for these agencies. The House will take up these spending measures in the latter days of September at the very earliest. The Senate has approved an NIH budget of $27.2 billion, which will complete the doubling of the NIH budget that began five years ago. This is an increase of $3.7 billion over FY 02, although close to half — $1.46 million — of this amount is appropriated to the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases for bio-terrorism and vaccine research. NSF was given a $S.3 billion budget by the Senate, an 11.8 percent increase over FY 02. This is $300 million more than the Foundation submitted as their budget request to Congress.

  • B/STARTing in the Right Direction

    By giving investigators the resources to develop pilot data, B/START supports the future generation of behavioral science researchers during a critical juncture in their development. While funding opportunities for young investigators are still limited, the grant program represents significant progress in the effort to reverse a decline among junior researchers documented more than a decade ago. A 1988 study by the former Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA) revealed that researchers under the age of 35 were receiving 13 percent of its grants, compared to 26 percent in 1980. Soon after the study's release, APS spearheaded efforts to examine the loss of the researchers. In 1991, APS Executive Director Alan Kraut approached NIMH's then-Acting Director Alan I. Leshner with an idea of sponsoring a small group of behavioral scientists chosen by APS to analyze the issue and recommend solutions. The following year, an advisory group including Kraut, Toni Antonucci, Richard Bootzin, Rachel Clifton, James Jones, Charles Kiesler and Georgine Pion, held a meeting to discuss the issue with NIMH officials.