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Volume 29, Issue7September 2016

Presidential Column

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

In this Issue:
Why Preregistration Makes Me Nervous

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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    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


  • Susan Goldin-Meadow begins her 1-year term as President, and Suparna Rajaram becomes President-Elect. C. Randy Gallistel transitions to immediate Past President while APS Fellow Deanna M. Barch and Simine Vazire join the Board for 3-year terms.

  • Psychological scientists don’t typically describe brain areas as fickle, two-faced, or agreeable, but APS William James Fellow Richard B. Ivry explains why he ascribes a specific personality trait to the region that controls our sensorimotor system.

  • Psychological scientist Jacqueline S. Mattis and other researchers explain the psychological and cultural foundations of spiritual beliefs and practices.

Up Front


  • Why Preregistration Makes Me Nervous

    I must admit that when I first heard of the effort to get psychological scientists to preregister their studies (that is, to submit to a journal a study’s hypotheses and a plan for how the data will be analyzed before that study has been run), I had a moment of panic. It seemed, on the surface, entirely too regulated for my tastes. I have since calmed down and now see the usefulness of preregistration — indeed, APS has been at the forefront of encouraging preregistration to make our science more transparent and reliable. Manuscripts accepted for publication in Psychological Science are eligible to earn three separate badges designed to promote open science (Eich, 2014). (Editor’s Note: Clinical Psychological Science now offers badges as well. See story on p. 13.).

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


  • Telling a Story: The Secret Ingredient to Getting an NSF Fellowship

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) provides 3 years of generous funding for graduate students in the STEM or STEM education fields. The GRFP is one of the most esteemed and competitive fellowships a graduate student can receive, so it is no surprise that 16,500 students applied in 2015, with only 2,000 receiving the award. “OK, so how do I get one?” Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer. You can find many blog posts and websites outlining tips and tricks for applying; however, what exactly distinguishes the winners from the other accomplished applicants is not always clear-cut. One factor — in the STEM fields, at least — may be the underappreciated art of telling a story with your writing. With grant money dwindling, the ability to tell a story may be a critical aspect of receiving funding.

More From This Issue


  • Diversifying Science To Represent Diverse Populations

    Despite increasing attention to issues of diversity in scientific research, participant populations in behavioral science tend to be relatively homogeneous. Understanding how people differ across various dimensions, and how those differences are driven by underlying psychological, biological, and social processes, is critical to building a rigorous and comprehensive clinical science. A special series in the July 2016 issue of Clinical Psychological Science highlights the importance of broadening the traditional scope of clinical science research, and advancing the field so it can adequately address the needs and concerns of diverse populations.

  • Replication Project Investigates Self-Control as Limited Resource

    A new research replication project involving 24 labs and more than 2,100 participants failed to reproduce findings from a previous study suggesting that self-control is a depletable resource. The findings are published as part of a Registered Replication Report (RRR) in the July 2016 issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science. Over the last 20 years, numerous studies have provided evidence supporting the idea that our capacity for self-control is finite — using self-control on one task reduces an individual’s ability to exert self-control on a subsequent task. But recent analyses have challenged the strength of this so-called ego depletion effect.

  • McConkey Awarded Title of Order of Australia

    APS Fellow Kevin M. McConkey, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of New South Wales, Australia, recently was awarded the title of Member of the Order of Australia. The Order of Australia acknowledges people who “provide outstanding community service and whose achievements enhance national identity,” said Angus Houston, chairman of the council of the Order of Australia. McConkey, who was added to the general division of the Order, received his PhD in psychology from The University of Queensland, Australia, and graduated from the advanced management program at the Harvard Business School.

  • The 2016-17 APS Board

    Susan Goldin-Meadow begins her 1-year term as President, and Suparna Rajaram becomes President-Elect. C. Randy Gallistel transitions to immediate Past President while APS Fellow Deanna M. Barch and Simine Vazire join the Board for 3-year terms.

  • Lindsay Talks Plans for Psychological Science

    Psychological Science Editor in Chief D. Stephen Lindsay is promoting a variety of ways to solidify the scientific rigor in articles published in APS’s flagship journal. Lindsay was named Editor in Chief this past spring after serving as Interim Editor for nearly a year. The Observer recently asked him about his plans for the journal. Observer (OBS): Are there some steps you had deferred while you were Interim Editor that you now want to take as Editor in Chief? D. Stephen Lindsay (SL): Yes, there are several actions that I thought would be presumptuous to make as Interim Editor.

  • Kazdin Moves off ‘Center Court’ at Clinical Psychological Science

    In the 4 years since he became Founding Editor of the journal Clinical Psychological Science (CPS), Alan E. Kazdin has built the publication into a thriving venue for cutting-edge, boundary-crossing research on a wide range of topics in the clinical realm. As he turns the CPS Editorship over to Scott O. Lilienfeld, Kazdin shares with the Observer his reflections on the journal’s achievements and APS’s mettle in launching the unique publication. (Look for a Q&A with Lilienfeld in the October issue of the Observer.) Observer (OBS): When CPS first launched, you committed to developing a publication that reflected the work of multiple disciplines worldwide.

  • The ‘Stubborn’ Cerebellum

    Psychological scientists don’t typically describe brain areas as fickle, two-faced, or agreeable, but APS William James Fellow Richard B. Ivry explains why he ascribes a specific personality trait to the region that controls our sensorimotor system.

  • The Roots of Religion

    Psychological scientist Jacqueline S. Mattis and other researchers explain the psychological and cultural foundations of spiritual beliefs and practices.

  • Clinical Psychological Science Begins Awarding Open Practices Badges

    Clinical Psychological Science (CPS) has become the second APS journal to adopt an Open Practices Badge program, following a model that Psychological Science pioneered more than 2 years ago. All manuscripts newly submitted to CPS will now be eligible to receive up to three badges for meeting any or all of the following criteria: Open Data: The study’s data were submitted to an open-access repository. Open Materials: The study’s materials/measures were submitted to an open-access repository. Preregistration: The study’s results were reported according to an open-access design and analysis plan formulated prior to data collection. New CPS Editor and APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Scott O.

  • PCSAS Accreditation Is Recognized by Veterans Health Administration

    The single largest employer and trainer of clinical psychologists, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), has announced that students and graduates of programs accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) are eligible for internships and employment in the Veterans Health Administration. This action paves the way for the delivery of more empirically validated psychological treatments to the nation’s military veterans. It also has enormous implications for the training and licensure of clinical psychologists in the US and, by extension, other nations. And it sets a model for how other mental health disciplines might train students.

  • Books to Check Out

    Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth; Scribner, May 3, 2016 Honor Bound: How a Cultural Ideal Has Shaped the American Psyche by Ryan P. Brown, Oxford University Press, 2016. Realist Inquiry in Social Science by Brian Haig and Colin Evers; Sage, January, 2016. The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence by Dacher Keltner; Penguin Press, 2016. The Mind Club: Who Thinks, What Feels, and Why It Matters by Daniel M. Wegner and Kurt Gray, Viking, 2016.