Upfront

APA has launched a new component of its ongoing public education program designed to increase people's understanding of psychology as a science and the work of psychologists in research and other diverse work settings. Launched in March with the theme Psychology: Science in Action, the campaign addresses APA's Strategic Plan objective to increase the public's recognition of psychology as a science and a STEM discipline.

Its strategies and content are based on the results of public opinion polling and focus groups APA conducted to better understand the public's thinking about the discipline. This public awareness research helped determine the messaging and campaign tactics that would be most effective to increase the public's understanding of psychology as a science.

Through a series of psychologist profiles, the campaign demonstrates how psychologists use empirical research to ask and answer important questions. These profiles demonstrate how psychology contributes to a wide array of daily life activities from learning to health care, from workplace productivity to criminal justice.

This initial phase of the campaign is focused on reaching students at the high school and early college levels, as well as their teachers and counselors. The campaign's publications and social media activities share the underpinnings of psychology as a science, the value of the psychology major and the many career paths within the discipline. Students and other visitors to the website will learn about the critical role psychological research plays in improving lives and advancing our understanding of human and animal behavior.

"The Psychology: Science in Action campaign is an exciting next phase of APA's ongoing public education program," says Rhea K. Farberman, APA's executive director for Public and Member Communications, who oversees the campaign. "I'm particularly excited about the great stories we tell in the campaign's video profiles of psychologists doing important research."

The campaign, she says, is also an opportunity for APA to bring the breadth and depth of psychology to students in media they use — the Web and social media. "Our goal is to educate the next generation of professionals about career opportunities in psychology and the many ways the discipline makes important contributions to society," Farberman says.

The campaign website is at PsychScienceAction.org. There, teachers will also find suggestions for classroom activities and curriculum materials. Students and others interested in psychology can also follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter (@apa, #PsySci).

Initial campaign materials include posters featuring Eduardo Salas, PhD, Deborah Tate, PhD, and David Strayer, PhD. Salas studies team communication and how to decrease errors in high-risk work settings. Tate studies how new technologies can help people lose weight. Strayer studies distracted driving. Copies of all three posters can be ordered on the Science in Action website.

Later this year, additional campaign activities will include opportunities for students to enter their psychological science research projects in judged contests and share their work with other campaign followers via social media, including Tumblr and YouTube.