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Volume 18, Issue9September 2005

Presidential Column

Michael Gazzaniga
Michael S. Gazzaniga
University of California, Santa Barbara
APS President 2005 - 2006
All columns

In this Issue:
Start Spreading the Science: Setting the Stage for a New Kind of Convention

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


  • Start Spreading the Science: Setting the Stage for a New Kind of Convention

    Welcome back to the excitement of a new academic year. I always find September refreshing, not only for the set of new and bright faces peering around each new corner, but also from the sense of renewal a summer break can bring to the tired Spring mind. There is always a sense of newness, not only to new ideas and experiments, but also to opportunities for communicating the wonders of the psychological sciences. As we all get ready to tackle the great and continuing scientific issues of the day, issues that range from the nature of genes and how they become expressed through nervous system circuits and up to issues of social process and moral behavior, we all want more from our professional groups and annual meetings.

APS Spotlight


  • Conventional Experience: The APS Annual Convention Through an International Lens

    When I started my research position at the University of Vienna in Austria, I was asked to get in contact with international research colleagues. Before then, I had only attended conventions in German-speaking countries, and this would not suffice. I started doing Internet research to try to get in contact with colleagues outside of Europe. And then I found it: The APS 17th Annual Convention. This had to be my first international convention! I wasn't sure what to expect: Would anybody talk to me? Would the convention meet my interests and could I learn something there? Would I get to know what research and the publication of research in the US is like?

  • Psychology Has a New Old Home at Georgia Tech

    Most people — and all sports fans — know the Georgia Institute of Technology as Georgia Tech. Historically, our students referred to Tech as the North Avenue Trade School since it resides on North Avenue in Atlanta across the street from the world headquarters of Coca-Cola, and until recently, the mission of the school was almost entirely training practical engineers. About 20 years ago, an enlightened group of Tech leaders and administrators set the goal of making Tech a research university on par with the best science and technology universities in the nation.

  • Positive Psychology for Tsunami Survivors

    Two days after the Southeast Asia tsunami hit, Bangkok-based psychologist Dominique Norz contacted Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania's Positive Psychology Center, asking for help. Norz was then a participant in Seligman's Authentic Happiness Coaching teleconference course. She hoped that Thai mental health professionals could be trained to use the concepts and interventions of positive psychology in their work with tsunami survivors.

Practice


  • The 10 Commandments of Helping Students Distinguish Science from Pseudoscience in Psychology

    "Professor Schlockenmeister, I know that we have to learn about visual perception in your course, but aren't we going to learn anything about extrasensory perception? My high school psychology teacher told us that there was really good scientific evidence for it." "Dr. Glopelstein, you've taught us a lot about intelligence in your course. But when are you going to discuss the research showing that playing Mozart to infants increases their I.Q. scores?" "Mr. Fleikenzugle, you keep talking about schools of psychotherapy, like psychoanalysis, behavior therapy, and client-centered therapy. But how come you've never said a word about sensory-motor integration therapy?

First Person


  • When Graduate and Undergraduate Students Collaborate — Everybody Wins!

    Many psychology training programs have a strong research emphasis. There are multiple demands on graduate students and they must conduct research while also managing coursework, teaching duties, and any applied responsibilities. Undergraduate students are often limited to class-based research and have minimal academic advising. Collaboration between graduate and undergraduate students can have many benefits. At the University of Georgia, undergraduates who are majoring in psychology are given the opportunity to work in research labs with graduate students and faculty. Beyond direct exposure to experimental methods, this collaboration helps guide students in career planning and long-term professional relationships. How Graduate Students Benefit Graduate students' productivity is often improved by working with undergraduate research assistants. It is possible to increase the number, breadth, and quality of projects with the additional support. Undergraduates can assist with literature reviews, preparing materials for research, data collection, data entry, basic analyses, and the interpretation of results.

  • Champions of Psychology: Stephen J. Ceci

    In an ongoing series in which APS Student Caucus talks with leading professors, Stephen J. Ceci shares his advice for success amid the challenges facing graduate students. An APS Fellow, Ceci is among the most internationally influential and well-known developmental psychologists. He holds a lifetime endowed chair in child development at Cornell University, where he also teaches and does research. His studies of children's suggestibility, intelligence and memory have had a major impact on clinical and forensic practices around the world. Ceci is founding co-editor of Psychological Science in the Public Interest and served on the APS Board of Directors (1996-1999). APSSC: Your work addresses the testimonial competence and memory accuracy and intelligence of children who have a history of being abused. Can you talk a little about that? CECI: I don't do expert testimony work. People sometimes draw from the research of what we do. On decisions made from the Supreme Court down to state and local courts it's common to see citations to psychological research from varying labs. This is used in legal arenas whenever a child is a key witness.

More From This Issue


  • Prentice Named Dean of Faculty at Princeton

    Deborah A. Prentice, an APS Fellow, began her tenure as dean of the faculty at Princeton University on July 1. Previously, Prentice had served as chair of Princeton’s psychology department for 12 years. Under Prentice’s leadership as department chair, Princeton hired a more diverse psychology faculty, launched the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, and was recognized for having the top-ranked psychology department in the United States. University President Christopher L. Eisgruber said in a statement that Prentice is one of Princeton’s most accomplished department chairs. “Debbie possesses a unique combination of humane judgment, strategic insight, and administrative skill,” Eisgruber said.

  • Commentaries on Undergraduate Research Participation

    Engaging Research Participants The nagging thought that ran through my head as I prepared to run my first study with undergraduate participants was "I sure hope they do a better job than I used to do when I was an undergrad!" As an apprehensive freshman participant, I just wanted to get a taste of what it would be like to be a psychology major and also put five or ten bucks in my pocket. I sincerely wanted to help the researchers too, and I certainly didn't want to disappoint anyone, but on a few occasions I couldn't help feeling like I had done just that.

  • In the Name of Science

    The Board of Directors of the American Psychological Society has unanimously recommended that APS change its name to the Association for Psychological Science to underscore APS's dedication to science as well as the international scope of its membership. This proposal will be decided by a vote of APS Members in October. In keeping with the Society's bylaws, the name change will need approval from two-thirds of the votes cast. This name change was presented earlier this year in an Observer column by APS Treasurer Roberta Klatzky ("The Case for Changing Our Name," April, 2005).

  • Straat Science

    I returned to the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in September 2004, about 14 years after a first, much briefer stay there. Visa requirements involved a fairly rigorous background check. I had to be fingerprinted, for example, in order to get my FBI rap sheet, a mandatory part of the visa application. When I finally arrived in Belgium, I had to apply for a national identity card, which required several trips to an office near the statehouse, as well as a police visit to my apartment to make sure I was who I claimed to be. By coincidence, one of the projects I was pursuing in Leuven had to do with the way people trace identity.

  • Observations

    Facing the Way We Elect Our Leaders Apparently CNN, the Gallup Poll, and the New York Times are working way too hard during election season. A study published by Princeton University researchers in the June 10 issue of Science shows that a photograph is more than enough for voters to pick the most competent candidate during election time. Participants were shown black-and-white headshots of two candidates in 95 Senate races. Races involving high-profile candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Richard Gephardt were excluded from the study, as was any data where the participant recognized either candidate.

  • Gazzaniga Is APS President

    Michael S. Gazzaniga, Dartmouth College, is APS President for 2005-06. His term began at the end of the 2005 Convention and will continue through the 2006 Convention. Gazzaniga was elected in 2004 to a three-year presidential term, which includes one year each as President-elect, President, and Immediate Past President. APS Members also chose Morton Ann Gernsbacher as President-elect and Patricia Devine and Douglas Medin as at-large members of the APS Board of Directors. Their terms are from 2005-08. Devine and Medin fill vacancies left by departing Board members John Cacioppo, University of Chicago, and Denise Park, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

  • The View From Within

    APS Member Abrams is Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) in the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Prior to joining OBSSR in April 2005, Abrams was professor of psychiatry and human behavior and professor of community health at Brown University Medical School, and co-director of Transdisciplinary Research at Brown-affiliated Butler Hospital. Abrams holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and psychology from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa and masters and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Rutgers University.