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Volume 14, Issue7September 2001

Presidential Column

John Darley
John Darley
Princeton University
APS President 2001 - 2002
All columns

In this Issue:
Our Archival Stance Can Be Costly

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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Up Front


  • University of Missouri-Columbia

    The University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) was founded in 1839 as the first land grant state university west of the Mississippi River. One of four campuses of the University of Missouri system, MU is a member of the American Association of Universities and is classified as a Research One institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Students at MU have the use of Ellis Library and its nine branches, which make up the largest research library in the state. Taken together, they give access to 2.6 million bound volumes, 4.9 million microform titles, and over 17,000 current periodicals. The Educational and Counseling Psychology Department, which is housed in the University's College of Education, offers graduate degree programs in the applied behavioral sciences. The department currently has 24 full-time tenure track faculty members, 13 non tenure track faculty, and 21 full time staff on grants. Faculty are actively involved in professional associations, are on editorial boards, and have achieved recognition for their research, scholarly writings, and advancement of psychology.

  • Our Archival Stance Can Be Costly

    John Darley APS President In last month's column [Observer, July/August, 2001], I suggested that psychology, in contrast to many adjacent sciences, is characterized by a methodological preference for experimentation, because experimentation, uniquely, is a way of establishing causality. This methodological preference is driven by our meta-theoretical commitment to tracing out the workings of causal processes and our discovery that ordinary observational thinking does a rather poor job of establishing the causal ordering of events. Because we psychologists are so aware of the confusions and false inferences that people are led to in their everyday thinking, we have required demonstrations of causation that avoid these confusions and false inferences. Experiments, notoriously, are effortful, time-consuming, and costly to do.

Practice


  • University of Missouri-Columbia

    The University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) was founded in 1839 as the first land grant state university west of the Mississippi River. One of four campuses of the University of Missouri system, MU is a member of the American Association of Universities and is classified as a Research One institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Students at MU have the use of Ellis Library and its nine branches, which make up the largest research library in the state. Taken together, they give access to 2.6 million bound volumes, 4.9 million microform titles, and over 17,000 current periodicals. The Educational and Counseling Psychology Department, which is housed in the University's College of Education, offers graduate degree programs in the applied behavioral sciences.

More From This Issue


  • Views From Our Media Fellow: Communicating About Science

    Jill Kester was selected as the APS/AAAS 2001 Mass Media Fellow. Her internship is with the Richmond Times Dispatch in Richmond, VA. Below, Kester describes her background and offers her views on the importance of communicating science to the public. Kester I did my undergraduate work at Pomona College in southern California, and received a BA cum laude in 1996. I started out as a math major, briefly toyed with biology, and ended up in psychology for two main reasons: One, the course schedule allowed me to study abroad in Prague for a semester, and two, I found a wonderful mentor in the psychology department, Deborah Burke.

  • Where Was it Published?

    Some time ago, I was part of a selection-committee meeting regarding a potential hire. When the discussion turned to a particular article by the candidate, a member of the committee asked, "Where was it published?" Nothing wrong with that question - except I had the feeling that the individual had not read the article and possibly had no intention of doing so. Knowing where the article was published was somehow supposed to serve as a proxy for reading and evaluating it. If this were an isolated incident, it would be no big deal. But over the course of a career, more or less the same question has come up again and again, repeated in various surface-structural forms.

  • Reviewing for Risk: What’s the Evidence That It Works?

    The authors consider the effectiveness of the process for reviewing research proposals in terms of risk to human subjects, as it has evolved in psychological research in North America. They raise a fundamental question: Is there any evidence that these reviews are effective at reducing risk to the public? In Part I, they define the situation and identify some irrelevant measures of effectiveness. In Part II, which will be published in the October 2001 Observer, they discuss approaches and benefits to answering this question.

  • Code Overload: Doing a Number on Memory

    Pick up the phone, dial your 11-digit calling card number ... then punch in your 14-digit access code ... then the 11-digit long distance phone number you're calling. Punch in the extension of the person you're calling. "At the tone," tell the answering machine your daytime phone number and extension, your home phone number, your cell phone number (the return call may come while you are in transit, after all).... In your message, suggest that the information you need be faxed, remembering to give that number, or mailed, being sure to add your five-digit ZIP Code because we've all been warned by the Postal Service that un-ZIPped mail will end up in the dead letter file....

  • Darley Takes Helm as President

    You don't have to be from Princeton to be President of APS, but apparently it helps. APS is pleased to welcome this year's roster of distinguished leaders. Our new President is Princeton's John M. Darley, who succeeds Robert A. Bjork. Darley's colleague from Princeton, Susan Fiske, replaces Darley as President-Elect. New Board Members are Susan Mineka, Northwestern University, and Charles (Randy) Gallistel, currently at Rutgers University on leave from UCLA. Mineka and Gallistel succeed outgoing Board Members Robert Levenson and Henry L. Roediger, III. Darley, an APS Fellow and Charter Member, is a social psychologist who received his PhD from Harvard University in 1965.

  • New Publications Chair Heads Search for Journal Editor

    One of the first things on Morton Ann Gernsbacher's plate as the new chair of the APS Publications Committee is to find a new editor for the Society's flagship journal, Psychological Science. Sam Glucksberg's term as editor ends with the December 2003 issue. The new editor will begin accepting manuscripts in January, 2003. Gernsbacher Gernsbacher, a Fellow and Charter Member of APS, succeeds Henry L. Roediger, III as chair. She is in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she holds the title of Sir Frederic C. Bartlett Professor. Her research investigates the general cognitive processes and mechanisms underlying language comprehension.

  • Regulatory Changes Affecting IRBs and Researchers

    Let's face it. Getting IRB approval for research projects falls somewhere on a continuum from "downright painful" to "just get it over with." The experiences of researchers applying for IRB approval vary considerably, but very few applicants are likely to tell you they find it to be a pleasant experience.

  • Research Supports Distributed Model of Central Executive in Working Memory

    APS sponsors the William James Distinguished Lecture at the meetings of regional psychological associations as part of an overall effort to work more closely with the regional groups. The following report summarizes the presentation by John Jonides at the Western Psychological Association's 2001 meeting. Reports on APS William James Lectures by Sam Glucksberg, Princeton University, and Robert Cialdini, University of Arizona will appear in upcoming issues of the Observer. Jonides It isn't easy competing with Paradise, but John Jonides managed to do it.