From the Science Directorate

The Science Directorate published two new printed and web resources for students and the general public to learn about functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) in psychological science.

APA Science Directorate Publishes Pamphlets on fMRI and Psychological Science

In March 2007 the Science Directorate published two new printed and web resources for students and the general public to learn about functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) in psychological science.

During the past six summers, the APA Science Directorate has supported a series of NIMH funded Advanced Training Institutes on how psychologists can incorporate fMRI into their research. As the capstone of this series of ATIs, we have published two new booklets (one for adults and one for teenagers) about fMRI-based psychological research. Our goal is to educate as many people as possible about the advances allowed by fMRI, with special emphasis on its applications in psychology.

These booklets highlight some of the most exciting fMRI research taking place in psychology by focusing on four broad sections: Improving Lives, Treating Disorders, Addressing Social Problems, and Exploring the Mind. A broad range of research is highlighted in each of these sections, on such problems as addiction, racism, and dyslexia. We seek to make the material come alive for readers through the use of numerous examples, straightforward language, and a full-color format including plenty of illustrations.

The booklets are intended for general audiences who are interested in learning about psychological science and its applications to everyday life. Through outreach activities, such as the publication of these booklets, the Science Directorate is working to increase public knowledge and understanding of psychological science.

Electronic versions of both the teen and adult booklets are available on the web at www.apa.org/science and fMRI booklets for educational uses. Printed copies can be requested via Email. Be sure to share these resources widely.


APA Training Institutes on GIS & Web-Based Research

Applications are still being accepted for two of this summer’s APA Advanced Training Institutes (ATIs). These intensive training programs expose advanced graduate students, new and established faculty, post-docs, and other researchers to state of the art psychological research methods and emerging technologies. 

We encourage you to consider these programs for yourself and to forward this announcement widely to colleagues and students who may be interested.

An ATI on Performing Web-Based Research will be held July 9-13, 2007, at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls. This program will cover the how, why, and why not of designing and implementing web-based research. Examples of interactive experiments that are conducted on the web are discussed, and instructors provide background on the history of internet-based research, as well as the ethics of collecting data on the web. Other topics include longitudinal web methods, large shared databases, web panels, and the recruitment and retention of online participants. Website creation is introduced using basic html and the Authorware software package, as needed for each individuals project. Attendees should come prepared with a web project (or an idea for a web-based experiment) that they would like to work on during the week. Applications will be accepted until seats are filled.

Another ATI will introduce Geographic Information Systems for Psychological Research, and will be held August 16, 2007, in San Francisco, CA. The timing of this one-day program immediately prior to the APA Convention is intended to make it easier for psychologists to attend and learn about this emerging technology. This ATI will focus on the uses (and potential uses) of GIS in psychological research, with plenty of examples. A panel of psychologists who use GIS in their research will speak about the strengths of this methodology and its contribution to their investigations. The development of current the current technology and computer programs will also be discussed. When possible, demonstrations of GIS technology will be matched to the research interests of attendees as described on the registration forms. Dr. Reginald Golledge, a leading behavioral geographer, will direct this ATI. Applications will be accepted until seats are filled.

Tuition for all ATIs is substantially lower than marketplace prices because of a subsidy from APAs Science Directorate. Applications are available and must be submitted electronically through the programs website. For more information, contact APAs Science Directorate via Email or (+1/202) 336-6000.


Early Researcher Awards Deadline Set

The APA Science Student Council has announced September 14, 2007 as the deadline date for submissions for the 2007 Early Researcher Awards. These awards recognize outstanding student researchers who are currently early in their graduate training. We are unable to accept submissions from advanced graduate students for research completed earlier in their graduate training.

Strong preference will be given to students who demonstrate outstanding research abilities earlier in their graduate training (i.e., up to and including masters thesis or equivalent), and who show a considerable level of independence in conducting their research.

Up to three awards will be given in 2007, drawn from basic science, applied science, and interdisciplinary science areas. Each recipient will receive an award of $1,000.

If you have any questions, contact the Science Directorate or telephone at (+1/202) 336-6000.


APA Member Provides First Rate Testimony on Second Chance Act

by Geoff Mumford

On March 20, APA member Roger Peters testified before the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the House Committee on the Judiciary. Peters is Chair and Professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy at the University of South Florida, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute in Tampa, Florida, where he conducts research on the integration of drug abuse treatment in criminal justice settings. The hearing was held in support of the Second Chance Act (H.R. 1593), a bill to provide substance abuse treatment resources for those transitioning from the prison system.

Peters was joined on the witness panel by representatives of various corrections facilities, faith-based programs, Goodwill Industries, and non-profit residential work programs. Peters, the only scientist testifying, was selected as a witness after APA Science Government Relations Office (GRO) staff contacted the subcommittee to suggest that the hearing include a research perspective. Following his testimony, Peters responded to a range of questions related to the importance of mental health services in offender rehabilitation; the effectiveness of short versus longer-term treatment services to those in re-entry programs; and the special needs of older offenders.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Science GRO staff accompanied Peters to see Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, who had expressed concerns during the hearing about the lingering effects of gang violence and prison rape on those trying to get a new start via re-entry programs. Peters appearance was timely as he served as a reviewer on a guide entitled "Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations, recently published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Science GRO staff had arranged for delivery of a copy of the guide to every Member of Congress in January as part of an on-going education campaign on behalf of the Friends of NIDA coalition.