From the Science Directorate

The APA Science Directorate is pleased to sponsor four Advanced Training Institutes in the summer of 2009. These intensive training programs are hosted each summer at major research institutions across the country.

2009 Advanced Training Institutes Announced

The APA Science Directorate is pleased to sponsor four Advanced Training Institutes in the summer of 2009.  These intensive training programs are hosted each summer at major research institutions across the country.  ATIs expose advanced graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, new and established faculty, and other researchers to state-of-the-art research methods and emerging technologies.  A list of this year’s programs is included below.  Complete information about these exciting programs can be viewed on the APA Advanced Training Institutes page.

Non-Linear Methods for Psychological Science (June 8-12, Univ. of Cincinnati)

Research Methods with Diverse Racial & Ethnic Groups (June 22-26, Michigan State Univ.)

Structural Equation Modeling in Longitudinal Research (June 29-July 1, Univ. of Virginia)

Exploratory Data Mining in Behavioral Research (July 20-24, Univ. of Southern California)

You are invited to apply for these training opportunities.  Keep in mind that application deadlines begin in March.  Applications are available on the APA Advanced Training Institutes page and must be submitted electronically through each program's webpage.  Tuition for all ATIs is substantially lower than for other similar summer academic programs.  For more information, contact the ATI administrator at ATI or (+1/202) 336-6000.

Society’s Grand Challenges: Insights from Psychological Science

by Kirk Waldroff

During the past year, the Science Directorate worked alongside then-APA President Alan E. Kazdin to develop his initiative on the grand challenges to society. As one of his presidential initiatives, the ultimate purpose of this endeavor was to identify these challenges and acknowledge how the science of psychology can be used to help in addressing them. From a long and well-thought list, three specific topics were chosen to receive special attention:

Once these topics were selected, the Science Directorate created and published a series of three booklets, one for each topic. Each booklet describes how psychological science is already contributing to and will continue to play a large role in addressing each of these grand challenges.

Currently the booklets are available to the public, free of charge, both in print and electronic formats (ordering details below). It is our goal to widely disseminate these booklets, with a particular interest in targeting educators and policy makers.

The New Year promises to be a crucial decision-making time, particularly regarding policies that will affect how we, as a society, address some of our greatest challenges. As we look forward, it is of increasing importance that we communicate the powerful role that psychological science can play in creating positive outcomes. These booklets aim to do just that.

If you are interested in viewing the booklets you may do so online

If you wish to order printed copies, please contact Kirk Waldroff at the APA Science Directorate.

Get a Head Start for Graduate School

by Amy Pitta

APA undergraduate summer programs are designed to give promising undergraduate students an opportunity to experience cutting-edge psychological methods through seminars and hands-on laboratory activities. These programs are a fun way for students to equip themselves with the skills essential to enter and succeed in graduate school, while meeting students from across the country with the same interests.

Summer Science Fellowships

The APA Science Directorate is pleased to announce that the Summer Science Fellowships (SSF) will return in 2009. An offshoot of the successful Summer Science Institute, SSF aims to immerse advanced undergraduate students in the science of psychology by exposing them to the excitement and promise of the best of psychological science. Our principal objective is to prepare these students for the rigors of graduate study in psychological science.

An expenses-paid, intensive summer training program, SSF places up to 12 talented students in the psychology laboratories of some of the most outstanding researchers in the Washington, DC area for up to 7 weeks. SSF gives students an opportunity to explore the intellectual, personal, and social processes of scientific inquiry and to experience psychological research through hands-on laboratory activities. SSF offers promising students the opportunity to equip themselves with the skills essential to success in graduate school, and gives students who plan to pursue advanced degrees in psychological science the opportunity to be mentored by nationally-known faculty.

Eligibility is strictly limited to rising college seniors. Students from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. Students will be provided with travel funds, a stipend for living expenses, and a summer salary. This should make the program financially feasible for most college students.

Visit the Summer Science Fellowship page for complete details about the program and the online application.

Advanced Statistical Training in Psychology

Advanced Statistical Training in Psychology (ASTP) is an intensive, 9-day seminar on statistics and research methods in a dynamic setting that emphasizes hands-on computer skills. Up to 20 students who plan to pursue a graduate degree in psychology are selected annually. Students are mentally stimulated with lectures, SPSS activities, hands-on activities, and discussions of graduate school. After a full day of t-tests, multiple regression, linear correlation, ANOVA, and repeated measures design, students have the opportunity to participate in blackjack workshops, juggling workshops, Charades, and other fun.

The ASTP targets students who are rising seniors and who are from traditionally underrepresented groups in psychology. The definition of underrepresented groups for this program is extremely broad, including students who are members of ethnic minority groups, first generation college students, and students who have had to overcome social or economic barriers on the road to academic excellence.

2008 Science Leadership Conference Looks to the Future of Scientific Communication

by Howard Kurtzman, Deputy Executive Director

The fourth annual APA Science Leadership Conference, sponsored by the Science Directorate and Board of Scientific Affairs, was held on Oct 2-4, 2008, in Tempe, Arizona. The theme of the conference was Designing the Future: Innovations in Knowledge Dissemination for Psychological Science. Organized in collaboration with the APA Publications and Databases Office, the conference explored the changing landscape of publication and sharing of scientific information and the new opportunities that arise for the dissemination of psychological science.

The 125 conference participants included not only psychologists but also library and information scientists, publishers, and scientists in other fields who have pioneered new approaches to disseminating research. The conference agenda featured presentations and discussions on such topics as:

  • Implications of the growth of interdisciplinary and translational research for the contents and formats of journals

  • Open access to publications and data, including the development of academic and government-sponsored research repositories

  • The impact of new technologies on how scientists access and communicate about research

  • How scientists' career stages, research specialties, and home institutions influence the ways they contribute to and use publications

  • The challenge of making research accessible and useful to practitioners, policymakers, and the general public

Leading off the conference were presentations by scientists whose work exemplifies the growing trend towards interdisciplinary and translational approaches within psychological science. Liliana Lengua ( University of Washington) provided an overview of her multi-level approach to investigating the development of self-regulation and risk factors for psychopathology in young children, while Susan Cochran (UCLA) discussed the interface of psychology and public health with examples from research with sexual minority populations. These presentations framed questions about how research can be most effectively reported and disseminated to audiences that span multiple scientific and clinical fields. (Another scheduled speaker, Kevin Ochsner of Columbia University, was not able to attend but shared his slides, which describe the rapidly developing fields of social-cognitive and affective neuroscience and the types of journal formats that are most appropriate for reporting work in those areas.)

Two speakers offered perspectives from the publishing community. Michael Mabe, the CEO of STM (International Association of Scientific, Technical, & Medical Publishers), reviewed the scientific, financial, and political issues surrounding calls for open access to research articles over the Web and described a recently initiated study of over 300 European journals that is assessing the impact of implementing various models for open access. Linda Beebe, of the APA Publications and Databases Office, discussed recent developments in APA's journals and books programs and indexing and database services as well plans for future expansions, including incorporation of social computing ("Web 2.0") applications.

Other speakers addressed the various ways in which scientists are using the Web for scientific communication. Carol Tenopir ( University of Tennessee) presented data on the evolving patterns of scientists' use of electronic and print journal articles. Noriko Hara ( Indiana University) reviewed her research on how geographically dispersed scientists engage in interdisciplinary collaboration over the Web and the factors that determine the success of their interactions. Hakon Heimer, the executive editor of Schizophrenia Research Forum, discussed how Web-based moderated forums can be designed to serve the information needs of scientists with particular shared interests and facilitate greater communication among them. And Roberta Spalter-Roth (American Sociological Association) described an ongoing study examining the relation of university faculty's social networks to their patterns of usage of digital science education resources.

Several innovative forms of journals and reporting were highlighted at the conference. Stephen Anderson ( Yale University) described the Linguistic Society of America's eLanguage initiative, which provides linguistics researchers with a straightforward infrastructure for establishing new electronic journals in specialized and emerging research areas. Philip Bourne (UCSD) reported on efforts such as SciVee that enable the integration of traditional research reports, such as journal articles and conference posters, with databases and video material. In a related presentation, Moshe Pritsker, founding editor of the online Journal of Visualized Experiments, spoke about the advantages and challenges of producing peer-reviewed research reports in video format.

A major focus of the conference was the role of academic institutions in scientific dissemination. Rebecca Kennison ( Columbia University) examined the planning and management of institutional digital research repositories, which collect all of the publications, data, and related materials produced by researchers at an institution. Karla Hahn (Association of Research Libraries) discussed the emerging role of universities as publishers and disseminators of research and as developers of new digital instruments for presenting and communicating about research.

In the last formal session of the conference, a panel of university administrators considered the challenges facing academic institutions as disciplinary boundaries become less rigid and new forms of scientific dissemination emerge. The panelists, all psychologists, were Jeffrey Alberts (former Associate Vice President for Research, Indiana University), Elizabeth Capaldi (Executive Vice President and Provost, Arizona State University), Bernadette Gray-Little (Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, University of North Carolina), and Alexandra Logue (Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost, City University of New York). They identified a number of issues that the academic community will need to address in coming years, including: how to encourage and build productive interdisciplinary research teams while also recognizing the contributions of individual team members; how to evaluate new forms of scholarship (websites, blogs, video, etc.) in making tenure and promotion decisions; and the funding and management of digital research repositories and their integration with traditional libraries and university presses.

Much time at the conference was also devoted to general discussions among the participants. These discussions both built on and extended beyond the points raised in the presentations. Participants offered a large number of suggestions for new approaches and initiatives for disseminating psychological research that can be implemented by APA, academic institutions, publishers, funding agencies, and individual scientists. A report of the recommendations generated at the conference is in preparation and will be released in early 2009. Coverage of the conference will also appear in the December 2008 issue of the Monitor on Psychology.

The annual APA Science Leadership Conference brings together established and emerging leaders in psychological science and related fields to address major research and policy issues in psychology. Previous conferences have focused on the sharing of psychological science with the public, career development of psychological scientists, and advocacy for federal support of psychological science. Planning will soon begin for the 2009 Science Leadership Conference

Call for Nominations: Master Lectures and Distinguished Scientist Lecturers

The American Psychological Association’s (APA) Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) is soliciting nominations for speakers for the 2010 Master Lecture Program and the 2010 Distinguished Scientist Lecture Program.  These annual programs spotlight experts in psychological science and are sponsored by the APA’s Science Directorate.

Selected speakers receive an honorarium of $1,000 and reimbursement for travel expenses, up to $1,000.  All nominees should be excellent public speakers.  BSA will review all nominations at its 2009 spring meeting and begin to contact potential speakers for these programs.  Nominations may be for either the Distinguished Lecture Program or the Master Lecture Program (or both).

The Master Lecture Program, developed by BSA,supports up to five (5) psychological scientists to speak at the APA Annual Convention.  A list of previously selected speakers can be found on-line at the Master Lectures Program page. BSA has organized the lectures into ten core areas that reflect the field.  Each year, five of these areas are addressed by Master Lecturers.  Speakers for the 2010 Convention, to be held in San Diego, CA, August 12-15, 2010, will be chosen to have expertise in each of the following areas:

-developmental psychology

-learning, behavior, and action


-psychopathology and treatment

-social and cultural psychology

The Distinguished Scientist Lecture Program, developed by BSA, supports up to three (3) psychological scientists to speak at Regional Psychological Association meetings to be held in 2010.  Speakers must be actively engaged in research, with expertise in any area.  A list of previously selected speakers and their topics can be found on-line at the Distinguished Scientist Lecturer Program page.

Please send in the name of your nominee(s) by e-mail or fax to Rachel Martin, APA Science Directorate, 750 First Street, N.E., Washington, DC. 20002-4242 (e-mail; fax 202-336-5953).  Nominations must be received by February 16, 2009.