Interoception: How We Understand Our Body’s Inner Sensations

The feel of our heart beat, the rumble of an empty stomach, the pleasure of a deep breath. Interoception — the ability to perceive the internal state of our bodies — is central to our thoughts, emotions, decision-making, and sense of self.

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Volume 32, Issue8October 2019

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 online and print subscriptions to the Observer, including the online archive going back to 1988. The print edition is a member-only benefit.

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    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.’

Featured


  • In this season of ghosts, witches, and everything spooky, APS President Lisa Feldman Barrett takes aim at the hordes of mistaken beliefs she sees continuing to haunt psychological science.

  • With $2.3 million from the National Institutes of Health, Emory University psychological scientist Rohan Palmer is searching for the genetic influences that leave some individuals particularly vulnerable to addiction.

  • APS Past Board Member Susan A. Gelman, Carol S. Dweck, Neil Burgess, and Andrew N. Meltzoff are honored for their lifetimes of achievement in the basic science of psychology.

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. Digital-Media Use and Mental Health: A Teachable Example of Psychological Science Shining Its Light “She sounds nice!” Digital-Media Use and Mental Health: A Teachable Example of Psychological Science Shining Its Light By David G. Myers Twenge, J. (2019). More time on technology, less happiness? Associations between digital-media use and psychological well-being. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 28, 372–379.

First Person


  • Student Notebook: Advice for Future Graduate Students

    You’ve finished your bachelor’s degree. What does the remainder of your path hold? For many psychology students who want to become clinicians or go into the academic realm of research and teaching, the next logical step is finding the ideal graduate program. Both master’s and doctoral programs have their drawbacks and benefits, but there are some general tips for navigating life as a graduate student that should benefit you no matter what degree you decide to pursue. Getting In When applying, impressive grades and GRE scores will be great, but they might not weigh as much as research experience or a unique internship when the admissions committee is deciding your fate.

More From This Issue


  • Zombie Ideas

    In this season of ghosts, witches, and everything spooky, APS President Lisa Feldman Barrett takes aim at the hordes of mistaken beliefs she sees continuing to haunt psychological science.

  • Advice for New Faculty

    It’s your first faculty job. Now what do you do? A panel of three psychological scientists who have been there, done that offer some advice. What are the first things you should do as a brand new faculty member? Kim Penberthy: Get a mentor if you have not already been assigned one. This should be a faculty member at a higher rank who has risen in your system. Check and see if there is a mentoring program in your institution and join it! Jessica Schleider: I’m not sure if these are things everyone should do, but here are some things I did do and found helpful: Find out who the “go-to” administrative folks are in and beyond your department.

  • Connecting the Dots Between Biology and Addiction

    With $2.3 million from the National Institutes of Health, Emory University psychological scientist Rohan Palmer is searching for the genetic influences that leave some individuals particularly vulnerable to addiction.

  • Cattell Fund Projects Explore Music, Mental Imagery, and Visual Meaning

    The 2019-2020 James McKeen Cattell Fund Fellowships have been awarded to APS Fellow Brad Wyble, Andrea Halpern, and Clayton Curtis. Presented in partnership with APS, the fellowships allow recipients to extend their sabbatical periods from one semester to a full year. During that time, the researchers plan to pursue the research projects outlined below.   Brad Wyble Pennsylvania State University My lab explores how the human mind extracts meaningful events from a continuous stream of sensory information.

  • It’s in the Genes

    I was in elementary school in the 1980s when I first asked my parents where they came from; when I was told their states of birth (Pennsylvania and Iowa), I asked: “But where before that?” I then learned that I have English and Irish heritage on my father’s side, and that Mom was “full German.” I didn’t think much more about my heritage until I entered college in 1995; the movie Braveheart was released that year, and it depicted England as the evil oppressor of Scotland, their northern neighbor. The movie increased my interest in my English heritage, so I entered the world of family history and genealogy to explore my identity — and I have enjoyed investigating my heritage ever since.

  • Psychological Scientists Recognized With NSF Early-Career Awards

    The National Science Foundation (NSF), one of the premier science-funding agencies in the United States, has recognized a group of psychological scientists with early-career awards. These psychological scientists were named to the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program, which provides support for scientists who are in the beginning stages of their faculty careers to further their research programs while continuing their work in teaching, learning, and dissemination of knowledge. APS Fellow Luke J.

  • Hacking the APS Convention

    It was an unusual sight for a Sunday morning session at the 2019 APS Annual Convention: The stage was empty, and all of the action was on the floor. Attendees had gathered in four groups, sitting around tables with laptops. Each group proceeded to spend the session talking, typing, and accumulating resources with the goal of facilitating best research practices. This was the scene of the first-ever APS hackathon — hopefully the first of many to come. Hackathons started in the tech industry and have been adopted by the open-science movement, as well — they’re a key feature of the programming at the annual conference of the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science (SIPS).

  • Universal Design for Inclusive Science

    Individuals with disabilities are often excluded from research participant pools. Psychological researcher Nazanin M. Heydarian highlights some resources that can enhance accessibility and inclusiveness in lab experiments.

  • 2020 APS William James Fellow Awards

    APS Past Board Member Susan A. Gelman, Carol S. Dweck, Neil Burgess, and Andrew N. Meltzoff are honored for their lifetimes of achievement in the basic science of psychology.