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Volume 15, Issue7September 2002

Presidential Column

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

In this Issue:
A Case for Lumping, Neatly

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


  • A Case for Lumping, Neatly

    At this juncture in our field, constant centrifugal forces pressure us to fly apart at the seams, breaking psychology apart. The forces are visible everywhere in the challenges they present: Splitting psychology into separate departments, resulting in a number of bad divorces or enduring but unhappy marriages across research areas Maintaining balance and broad commitment in our whole-field journals, such as Psychological Science, Current Directions in Psychological Science, and Psychological Science in the Public Interest Exposing students adequately to all of psychology in a single survey course Representing psychology in the Annual Review series, concurrent with more specialized companion volumes, such as Neuroscience Keeping trust and loyalty across constituencies within our whole-field organizations, such as APS.

More From This Issue


  • Getting Published: Revise and Resubmit

    One of the most important steps in the research process is communicating findings to colleagues. However, as anyone who has submitted research to a journal knows, getting your research published in a reputable journal can be a confusing, lengthy, and frustrating process. At this year's meeting of the Western Psychological Association in Irvine, California, Nancy Eisenberg and Steven West, both of Arizona State University, delivered an invited presentation on publishing from the editors' perspective. In addition to having published hundreds of articles, each has been on the editorial boards of numerous journals.

  • The Role of Institutional Culture and Values: What Really to Look for in the Job Hunt

    Many years ago, when I was a young and foolish assistant professor, a student came to me for advice regarding which of two job offers I thought she should take. One of the two offers was from a more prestigious institution, the other from a somewhat less prestigious institution. Normally, the issue of which offer to take might seem straightforward, but in this case, it wasn't. The less prestigious institution seemed to be a better match to what she valued, and that institution therefore probably would value her more.

  • APS Fellows Elected to NAS

    Known as the highest honor to be awarded to a scientist or engineer, election to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) brings together national and international experts from 31 scientific disciplines each year in recognition of their professional achievements. Last April, a trio of psychological scientists - APS Fellows Susan Carey, Charles "Randy" Gallistel and Richard Nisbett - was elected to the Academy as part of a group of 72 new members. When they are formally installed next April at the NAS annual meeting, the three will join 57 other psychological scientists who are members.

  • Lab Courses for Undergrads: Benefits Are Clear

    Michael Toglia's important invitation to comment on laboratory courses in the undergraduate psychology major (Toglia, 2002) arose from two questions. "First, is it important for psychology majors to engage in laboratory activities beyond what is required in the core? Secondly, if so how should or could we go about designing these laboratory experiences?" In my experience as a long-time member of a small, experimentally-oriented undergraduate department, the dilemma of where and how laboratories should be incorporated seems to be a perennial focus of intense discussion. In this essay, my focus is on Toglia's first question.

  • Reading Other People’s Mail

    Since 1975, I have made probably 15 trips to the Archives of the History of American Psychology, in Akron, Ohio. My first is the most memorable. In 1974 I was a young assistant professor at Nebraska Wesleyan University. That year I presented a paper on the history of psychology at the American Psychological Association annual meeting, based on some research I had done at the University of Nebraska Archives. Marion McPherson was in the audience and approached me after my talk, informing me that there were materials at Akron relevant to my topic.

  • New Leadership, Familiar Faces

    Princeton social psychologist Susan T. Fiske took the helm of the American Psychological Society as 2002-03 President at the conclusion of the 14th Annual Convention in June. Henry L. Roediger, III became President-elect and John T. Cacioppo and Denise C. Park began their terms as Members of the APS Board of Directors. All are APS Fellows and Charter Members, and are distinguished, highly-regarded researchers in their respective fields. Fiske succeeds Princeton colleague John M. Darley who continues on the Board as Immediate Past President. Robert A. Bjork, University of California, Los Angeles, concluded his term on the Board, having served as APS President in 2000-01.

  • Are We Prepared for Big Science?

    For a significant portion of the 20th century, science was akin to a cottage industry, where discoveries took place in individual laboratories headed by a single investigator. The image was that of lone geniuses, such as Marie Curie, Jonas Salk or B. F. Skinner, working independently in their labs. This somewhat romanticized view of scientific discovery has given way to a significantly scaled-up enterprise. It is increasingly common for networks of researchers supported by multi-million dollar forms of technology and scientific equipment to collectively address new and far ranging questions.