While completing a postdoctoral fellowship, Stephen Hinshaw, PhD, made a daring move: He penned a literature review and submitted it to Psychological Bulletin, the field's most-cited journal and one that's often filled with pieces by more seasoned researchers. Hinshaw analyzed dozens of studies and showed that hyperactive children are not necessarily aggressive, or visa versa, a finding that laid the groundwork for his research program and more refined treatments for chronically misbehaving children.
"Writing that review paper was a galvanizing force in getting my research program together," he says.
As incoming editor of Psychological Bulletin, Hinshaw will encourage early career researchers to follow in his footsteps and write research reviews as well as articles on empirical research. Such scientists can bring a fresh perspective to established theories, and writing a review gives them the opportunity to stake a claim on an area of research, he says.
Hinshaw also hopes to promote healthy debate within the journal's pages. He and his editorial board will identify especially provocative or controversial articles and solicit responses from other researchers.
"Readers really enjoy and profit from the creative spark and clash of ideas," he says.
Hinshaw, who chairs the University of California, Berkeley's psychology department, is perhaps best known for his work on developmental psychopathology. Over the last three decades, he's been a central force in understanding attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and he is the principal investigator for a $1.6 million National Institute of Mental Health study of new behavioral treatments.
While developmental and clinical psychology are his areas of expertise, Hinshaw has a background in a wide variety of subfields including quantitative psychology and neuroscience-experience that will aid him as he edits one of the field's most multidisciplinary journals, he says.
Review papers, while perhaps not as glamorous as new findings, can be enormously influential to other researchers, Hinshaw adds. In fact, his two Psychological Bulletin reviews have garnered more citations than any of his other journal articles.
"A good review paper is like a beacon or searchlight that points out the strengths and weaknesses in the field," he says.