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Annual Editions: Landrum, 45e
The 10 Commandments of Helping Students Distinguish Science from Pseudoscience in Psychology, Scott O. Lilienfeld, APS Observer, September 2005
Author Scott Lilienfeld contends that beginning psychology students believe that the term psychology is synonymous with popular psychology, a discipline not firmly grounded in science. Lilienfeld continues that students should learn to discriminate good science and sound psychology from pseudoscience and psychology, as presented in the mass media, and be skeptical about popular psychology.
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness and the Future of Psychology, Martin E. P. Seligman and Raymond D. Fowler, American Psychologist, January 2011
Psychology has played in pivotal role in the U.S. Army since the early days of World War I with respect to recruit selection and more recently with treatment of psychological disorders among the rank and file. In this article, the authors show how positive psychology is being used to help improve soldiers' resilience in the face of repeated combat and related stressors in an effort to prevent or reduce anxiety, depression, suicide, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Improving Health, Worldwide, Kirsten Weir, Monitor on Psychology, May 2012
Psychologists have an incredible opportunity to promote health and help prevent disease, writes Weir reporting on recent research. One of the greatest threats to human life is malaria, which killed over 650,000 people worldwide in 2010. This is tragic, because the disease is both preventable and curable.
Psychology Is a Hub Science, John Cacioppo, APS Observer, September 2007
Discussing complex analyses that address scientific publications and relationships between concepts, Cacioppo persuasively makes the argument that psychology could be considered the hub science, just as theology and philosophy were classically believed to be hub disciplines in the Middle Ages.
A Scientific Pioneer and a Reluctant Role Model, Erin Millar, The Globe and Mail, December 17, 2012
From the early days of neurosurgery, Dr. Brenda Milner describes her role as both a researcher and a role model for other female scientists who work in male-dominated fields of study. By working, succeeding, and exceling in a male-dominated area such as neuroscience, Milner was able challenge stereotypes and break down barriers for others.
The Left Brain Knows What the Right Hand Is Doing, Michael Price, Monitor on Psychology, January 2009
Although the link between brain lateralization and handedness has long been known, recent research in neuroscience is revealing the connection between brain lateralization and a variety of other important human characteristics and traits.
Reflections on Mirror Neurons, Temma Ehrenfeld, APS Observer, March 2011
Only recently have scientists discovered mirror neurons in humans. These neurons depolarize when we perceive particular activities and engage in similar activities. Mirror neurons appear to be important to learning through observation.
Does Thinking Really Hard Burn More Calories?, Ferris Jabr, Scientific American, July 18, 2012
After a difficult mental challenge (such as completing a cumulative final exam or finishing the ACTs), how does the mental exhaustion relate to the physical exhaustion exhibited by some? In this article, Jabr reports on recent research that characterizes the energy consumption patterns of an active brain.
A Single Brain Structure May Give Winners That Extra Physical Edge, Sandra Upson, Scientific American, July 24, 2012
Reporting on the outcomes of recent research, Upson describes the brain's insular cortex (also called the insula) and its role in helping athletes anticipate future feelings A more highly developed insula in athletes may help them with better interoception—the sense of the body's internal state. Athletes with highly precise interoception may experience a competitive advantage.
Mini-Multitaskers, Rebecca A. Clay, Monitor on Psychology, February 2009
Do brain functions change when focusing on a singular task vs. focusing on many tasks simultaneously (that is, multitasking)? Clay reports on fMRI research that indicates that different parts of the brain are active when the task is presented alone vs. part of a multitasking situation.
Uncanny Sight in the Blind, Beatrice de Gelder, Scientific American, May 2010
Some people who suffer blindness due to brain damage have the amazing capacity for blindsight. That is, these individuals can detect visual properties of many stimuli, even though they cannot determine what those stimuli are. Blindsight enables otherwise totally blind individuals to detect, among other things, shapes, movement, color, and in some cases facial displays of emotion.
The Color of Sin: White and Black Are Perceptual Symbols of Moral Purity and Pollution, Gary D. Sherman and Gerald L. Clore, Psychological Science, August 2009
It is common to use metaphors and analogies grounded in the physical world to describe our perceptions of others and their actions, including moral behavior. Behavioral scientists are now learning just how accurate such language use is in describing our perceptions of morality.
Increasing Speed of Processing with Action Video Games, Matthew W. G. Dye, C. Shawn Green, and Daphne Bavelier, Current Directions in Psychological Science, December 2009
These authors argue that engaging in action-based video games may enhance perceptual reaction times without negatively influencing behavioral accuracy and judgment.
Corporeal Awareness and Proprioceptive Sense of the Phantom, Melita J. Giummarra et al., British Journal of Psychology, 2010
Amputees frequently report feeling the continued existence and movement of amputated limbs, which is called phantom limb perception. In a research study with 283 amputees, most amputees report that the phantom limb is normally sized and in its normal position; however, the location of the amputation and the conditions under which it occurred seem to influence the perception of phantom sensation.
You Do Not Talk about Fight Club If You Do Not Notice Fight Club: Inattentional Blindness for a Simulated Real-World Assault, Christopher F. Chabris et al., i-Perception, 2011
These researchers asked the question about how paying attention to one aspect of the environment can make us blind to other salient events (called inattentional blindness). In a real-world experience, 56% of participants noticed a staged fight during the day, whereas only 35% noticed the fight during the night. An event can occur right in front of us that we do not see.
Finding Little Albert: A Journey to John B. Watson's Infant Laboratory, Hall P. Beck, Sharman Levinson, and Gary Irons, American Psychologist, October 2009
One of the most famous research subjects of all time, known only by the name of "Little Albert," participated in a classic experiment on classical conditioning conducted by John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner. Watson and Rayner used Little Albert to study the development of fear. Before Little Albert could be "deconditioned" to the fear stimuli used in the study, he and his family moved and his whereabouts became unknown. As a result, much speculation developed about who Little Albert really was and whether he continued to fear the sorts of stimuli used in the study over the remainder of his life. This article summarizes the Beck and colleagues' detective work used in discovering who Little Albert really was.
Psychological Science and Safety: Large-Scale Success at Preventing Occupational Injuries and Fatalities, E. Scott Geller, Current Directions in Psychological Science, April 2011
Behavior analyst E. Scott Geller discusses the successful application of behavior analytic methods to reducing injuries and fatalities in the workplace. In particular, Geller describes how employees who are trained to identify dangerous work conditions, including their engagement in risky behavior, enhances the tendency to engage in safe work behaviors.
The Perils and Promises of Praise, Carol S. Dweck, Educational Leadership, October 2007
Psychologist Carol Dweck explains the positive and negative effects of praise on student learning and how praise can be used as an incentive to produce more learning in students. She contends that students may have one of two mindsets—a fixed mindset that focuses on how others judge them or a growth mindset that centers around learning in general and learning from one's mistakes in particular. Her research has shown that praising students for possessing a quality leads to a fixed mindset, whereas praising students for making an effort to acquire that quality contributes to a growth mindset.
Will Behave for Money, Sadie F. Dingfelder, Monitor on Psychology, November 2011
By using a contingency management system, good behaviors can be reinforced by giving cash, such as getting HIV-positive methadone patients to take their medication, or convincing pregnant smokers to stop smoking. Dingfelder reports on these and other research efforts that optimize the use of contingency management to positively shape people's behaviors.
Phobias: The Rationale behind Irrational Fears, Dean Burnett, The Guardian, June 28, 2013
The author addresses details about phobias, including arachnophobia and agoraphobia, as well as some thoughts about how they develop and treatment options.
Dangerous Distraction, Amy Novotney, Monitor on Psychology, February 2009
As technology, especially handheld devices, continues to permeate our lives, so does the potential for these devices to distract our attention. Such distractions have been implicated in numerous accidents, some of them fatal.
The Secret Life of Pronouns by James Pennebaker: What Do "I" and "We" Reveal about Us?, Juliet Lapidos, Slate, August 24, 2011
In this article, Lapidos reports on recent research that examines the role of pronouns as unexpected keys to communication. For instance, certain words, such as "nice" or "weird," are considered content words. However, this research focuses on function words, such as pronouns, articles, prepositions, and auxiliary verbs.
The Epidemic of Media Multitasking While Learning, Annie Murphy Paul, The Brilliant Blog, May 3, 2013
This author describes research suggesting that when students multitask during schoolwork, the learning is less effective and more shallow as compared to studying with full attention. Other negative performance effects associated with multitasking, such as more time needed to complete assignments, more mistakes, and lower grades, have also been documented.
Pigeons, Like Humans, Can Behave Irrationally, Sandra Upson, Scientific American, August 2013
Researchers are exploring the idea that if animals exhibit irrational behaviors (such as gambling), that commonality with humans may lead to some of the underlying brain mechanisms. Using pigeons in a laboratory, the researchers noted that pigeons make common reasoning mistakes similar to compulsive gamblers, such as the sunk cost fallacy.
Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, and Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity, Kathleen D. Vohs, Joseph P. Redden, and Ryan Rahinel, Psychological Science, August 2013
These researchers studied how order vs. disorder in one's physical environment may influence choices and behaviors, such as orderly environments encouraging tradition and convention, and disorderly environments encouraging breaking with convention and creativity. In three different experiments, the data uncovered supported the researcher's hypothesis about order and disorder.
Women at the Top: Powerful Leaders Define Success as Work + Family in a Culture of Gender, Fanny M. Cheung and Diane F. Halpern, American Psychologist, April 2010
More and more women are emerging as leaders of businesses, industry, and national governments. The authors of this article raise the question about how women, who typically have strong family care responsibilities, become such influential and successful leaders. Based on cross-cultural research, the authors develop a leadership model to account for why women are able to make it to the top of their fields.
Resisting Temptation, Eric Wargo, APS Observer, January 2009
According to this article, willpower is the secret of self-mastery or the ability to exercise self-control when confronted with the choice between a smaller, short-term reward and a larger, longer-term reward.
What Does Guilt Do?, Art Markman, Psychology Today, May 8, 2012
Guilt is a powerful emotion because it is key to maintaining relationships with others in our environment. Reporting on recent research, Markman explores two possible functions of guilt: trying to help the person who was harmed in some way or trying to help others more generally.
Need Motivation? Declare a Deadline, Phyllis Korkki, New York Times, April 20, 2013
This author discusses the role of deadlines and how making a deadline public can be a positive motivator for completing the necessary task.
Self-Efficacy in the Workplace: Implications for Motivation and Performance, Fred C. Lunenburg, International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration, 2011
In this review paper, the author defines self-efficacy as the beliefs about one's ability to complete specific tasks, and then discusses four specific aspects or components of self-efficacy: past performance, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and emotional cues.
The Mind at Midlife, Melissa Lee Phillips, Monitor on Psychology, April 2011
In this article, the author addresses the belief that middle-aged adults experience diminished brain functioning and shows that in many instances this belief is unfounded. In fact, middle-aged adults sometimes develop new cognitive skills.
Blessed Are Those Who Mourn—and Those Who Comfort Them, Dolores Puterbaugh, USA Today Magazine, September 2006
Americans seem to live in a death-denying society. Puterbaugh, a mental health specialist, discusses appropriate and inappropriate ways friends and family should behave toward someone who is grieving. She also alludes to the seminal work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
Harnessing the Wisdom of the Ages, Amy Maxmen, Monitor on Psychology, February 2012
Reporter Maxmen writes about the success of Experience Corps, a nonprofit program that recruits and organizes retired volunteers to serve as mentors to students who are struggling in schools of need. Not only do students benefit, but fMRI studies suggest cognitive benefits to seniors as well.
The Benefits of Positive Parenting, David Bornstein, New York Times, February 20, 2013
This author writes about the outcomes based in improving parenting from a project called the Positive Parenting Program. Given the pervasive nature of child abuse and neglect worldwide, the scientific study of parenting may be able to provide small interventions that can provide positive results.
For Kids, Self-Control Factors into Future Success, Nancy Shute, NPR (National Public Radio), February 12, 2012
Having self-control as a child has been linked to having fewer health problems as adults by researchers. Children who demonstrated lower levels of self-control more often had health problems, a criminal record, or were more likely to be single parents. Although such findings are not cause-and-effect evidence, this author writes about different approaches parents can use to encourage the development of self-control in their children.
Evolutionary Psychology and Intelligence Research, Satoshi Kanazawa, American Psychologist, May/June 2010
Using his Savanna Principle—the idea that humans have difficulty understanding and adjusting to circumstances absent in their evolutionary history—Kanazawa argues that evolutionary psychology is helpful in studying intelligence and in developing novel approaches for researching intelligence.
Enough about You, Christopher Lasch, Utne Reader, May/June 2011
In an in-depth essay about narcissism, writer Lasch reviews the social and economic influences on our behavior and how we affect others. How do we find the balance between self-promotion (self-preservation) and the development and encouragement of others around us?
Political Attitudes Vary with Physiological Traits, Douglas R. Oxley et al., Science Magazine, September 19, 2008
These researchers describe some fascinating outcomes that suggest that political views may have a biological basis. Research participants were exposed to sudden noises and threatening visual images: individuals with lower sensitivity to those events are likely to support foreign aid, liberal immigration policies, and gun control. Participants with higher sensitivity to those events are more likely to favor defense spending, capital punishment, and patriotism.
That Elusive Birth Order Effect and What It Means for You, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Psychology Today, May 18, 2013
This author describes the outcomes from a meta-analysis of 529 journal articles about birth order published over a 20-year period. Birth order is more complex than the common stereotypes, and researchers examine differences between actual birth order (the numerical rank in the family) and psychological birth order (one's self-perceived position in the family).
How Good Are the Asians? Refuting Four Myths about Asian-American Academic Achievement, Yong Zhao and Wei Qiu, Phi Delta Kappan, January 2009
These authors address common beliefs about Asian Americans and academic achievements and point to harmful myths that mask underlying problems. Because of the prevalence of such myths, there are policy implications for educational institutions that may be misguided if policy choices are based on mythological beliefs.
Replicating Milgram, Jerry Burger, APS Observer, December 2007
Long heralded as one of the most ethically controversial psychology studies of all time, modern-day researchers have questioned whether college and university institutional review boards (IRBs) would approve replication of Milgram's obedience to authority study today. However, psychologist Jerry Burger received IRB approval to conduct a partial replication of this famous study and tells the story of how he did it in this article.
The Psychology and Power of False Confessions, Ian Herbert, APS Observer, December 2009
When charged with committing a crime, some individuals confess to having done it, even though they are completely and totally innocent. Such false confessions seem to transcend logic and have prompted psychologists to study the factors that compel people to confess falsely. A defendant's confession often convinces juries that he or she is guilty as charged and often corrupts other evidence, including eyewitness testimony, which further leads juries to believe the accused is guilty—even when the confession is false.
We're Wired to Connect, Mark Matousek, AARP The Magazine, January/February 2007
Social intelligence matters, or so says noted psychologist Daniel Goleman. It allows us to connect with others in important ways. Goleman attributes the decline of human relatedness to technology. The brain, however, is wired for us to engage with others, and the neuroplasticity of the brain may save our society from decline.
Gross National Happiness in Bhutan: The Big Idea from a Tiny State That Could Change the World, Annie Kelly, The Guardian, December 2012
From a nationwide perspective, the country of Bhutan has worked to measure progress not from measures such as the gross national product, but to emphasize the spiritual, physical, social, and environmental health of citizens through measures of what is called gross national happiness (GNH). As this developing country values environmental conservation and sustainability, GNH principles also extend to educational principles and practices.
13 Practical Tips for Training in Other Countries, William J. Rothwell, T + D, May 7, 2012
Global opportunities necessitate the training of individuals to understand cultural nuances and local etiquette, but this author suggests that learning and development professionals must be culturally sensitive to issues on a deeper level. The author offers 13 tips for those desiring meaningful training experiences in different countries.
The Kids Aren't All Right, Christopher Munsey, Monitor on Psychology, January 2010
New research shows that parents underestimate the extent to which their children experience stress and worry. This research also shows that mothers experience stress more than fathers and that of eight major metropolitan areas in the United States, residents of Denver experience the most stress.
The Recession's Toll on Children, Amy Novotney, Monitor on Psychology, September 2010
Among the deleterious effects of poverty is impairment of cognitive functioning in children. As psychologists study this relationship, they are discovering new ways of intervening to prevent this problem. Primary among these interventions is parent training.
Hypochondria: The Impossible Illness, Jeff Pearlman, Psychology Today, January 1, 2010
Hypochondriasis is a condition where a person has symptoms of an illness but there is no specific identifiable cause for the illness. In this article, Pearlman discusses his own struggle with being a hypochondriac and reviews the most recent research into the causes and treatments of this disorder.
Bringing Life into Focus, Brendan L. Smith, Monitor on Psychology, March 2012
Although the stereotype is that ADHD is a childhood disorder, ADHD in adults can cause substantial disruptions in relationships, careers, and the pursuit of higher education. Smith reports on recent research about the diagnosis of adult ADHD and the role medications (such as stimulants) may play.
The Roots of Mental Illness, Kirsten Weir, Monitor on Psychology, June 2012
An approach gaining more traction in psychology is that mental illness results from a malfunction of brain processes, which leads to the importance of taking a biological perspective. Weir reports on researchers who agree and who do not completely agree with this viewpoint, focusing on the fruitful explanations that a biological perspective can offer.
PTSD Treatments Grow in Evidence, Effectiveness, Tori DeAngelis, Monitor on Psychology, January 2008
The war in Iraq has brought great suffering to many; including a high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among returning American soldiers. DeAngelis describes current treatment options for PTSD and discusses their relative effectiveness. The good news is that several treatments appear to be effective in treating PTSD.
When Do Meds Make the Difference?, Tori DeAngelis, Monitor on Psychology, February 2008
The three most common options available for the treatment of mental disorders include psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, and the combination of both. Psychologists exploring the efficacy of these options reveal that in the long run, psychotherapy produces the best results.
More Support Needed for Trauma Intervention, Beth Azar, Monitor on Psychology, April 2012
Researchers have demonstrated that children who are neglected and abused suffer from an increased risk of substantial mental health and physical health problems. Azar reports on recent research that chronicles both the scope of the PTSD problem for children as well as effective interventions.
Yes, Recovery Is Possible, Rebecca A. Clay, Monitor on Psychology, January 2012
As part of the Recovery to Practice initiative, mental health professionals from diverse backgrounds are collaborating to help other mental health practitioners understand that people can recover from mental illnesses. Based on the research, Clay reports about the successes of the initiative to both identify best practices for mental health recovery as well as develop training programs for mental health professionals.
Addiction Interaction, Relapse and Recovery, Cheryl Knepper, Scientific American, April 29, 2013
This author describes the situation in which substance abuse and addiction often co-exist with other addictions and compulsive behaviors, such that treating one condition without treating the other may result in less-than-desired outcomes. Reporting on recent research, an integrated multidisciplinary treatment approach that includes family members may provide an opportunity to normalize patient behavior, as well as identify relapse triggers and high-risk situations.
Post-Prozac Nation: The Science and History of Treating Depression, Siddhartha Mukherjee, New York Times, April 19, 2012
Antidepressants, like Prozac, are the third most common prescription drug in the United States. Patients with depression describe the relief provided by Prozac as transformative and like the lifting of a fog. The author describes several hypotheses for how Prozac works, including the correction of existing chemical imbalances in the brain. In some research circles, the key question has shifted from how Prozac works to does Prozac work?