Much Ado About Titles

Throughout the 25-year history of APS’s flagship journal, its contributors have borrowed heavily from literature, film, theater, and popular music to develop compelling titles for their research articles. In this installment of a special series celebrating Psychological Science’s silver anniversary, the Observer presents a sampling of those titles:

For Whom the Bell Curve Tolls: A Review of The Bell Curve

by Robert J. Sternberg

September 1995, pp. 257261

Much ADO About Nothing? Revisionists and Traditionalists Choose an Introductory English Syllabus

by Robert J. Robinson and Dacher Keltner

January 1996, pp. 1824

Whistling in the Dark: Exaggerated Consensus Estimates in Response to Incidental Reminders of Mortality

by Tom Pyszczynski, Robert A. Wicklund, Stefan Floresku, Holgar Koch, Gerardine Gauch, Sheldon Solomon, and Jeff Greenberg

November 1996, pp. 332336

The Credible Shrinking Room: Very Young Children’s Performance With Symbolic and Nonsymbolic Relations

by Judy S. DeLoache, Kevin F. Miller, and Karl S. Rosengren

July 1997, pp. 308313

To See or Not to See: The Need for Attention to Perceive Changes in Scenes

by Ronald A. Rensink, J. Kevin O’Regan, and James J. Clark

September 1997, pp. 368373

The Putt and the Pendulum: Ironic Effects of the Mental Control of Action

by Daniel M. Wegner, Matthew Ansfield, and Daniel Pilloff

May 1998, pp. 196199

Singing in the Brain: Independence of Lyrics and Tunes

by Mireille Besson, Frédérique Faïta-Aïnseba, Isabelle Peretz, Anne-Marie Bonnel, and Jean Requin

November 1998, pp. 494498

Show Me the Features! Understanding Recognition From the Use of Visual Information

by Philippe G. Schyns, Lizann Bonnar, and Frédéric Gosselin September 2002, pp. 402409

Don’t Stand So Close to Me: The Effects of Self-Construal on Interpersonal Closeness

by Rob W. Holland, Ute-Regina Roeder, Rick B. Van Baaren, Aafje C. Brandt, and Bettina Hannover

April 2004, pp. 237242

Running on Empty: Neural Signals for Self-Control Failure

by Michael Inzlicht and Jennifer N. Gutsell

November 2007, pp. 933937

You Can’t Always Get What You Want: Infants Understand Failed Goal-Directed Actions

by Amanda C. Brandone and Henry M. Wellman

January 2000, pp. 8591

Comfortably Numb: Desensitizing Effects of Violent Media on Helping Others

by Brad J. Bushman and Craig A. Anderson

March 2009, pp. 273277

Scent of a Woman: Men’s Testosterone Responses to Olfactory Ovulation Cues

by Saul L. Miller and Jon K. Maner

February 2010, pp. 276283

Apocalypse Soon? Dire Messages Reduce Belief in Global Warming by Contradicting Just-World Beliefs

by Matthew Feinberg and Robb Willer

January 2011, pp. 3438


These titles are fun, but they may not be appreciated by non-English speakers. The format, though – a short statement followed by longer one is quite common. In my Routledge book (Academic Writing and Publishing) I distinguish between 13 types of title…

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.